Call for Chapters: The Multiverse in Popular Culture

deadline for submissions: 
February 29, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
University Press of Kansas
contact email: 

The University Press of Kansas has expressed interest in publishing a book of essays about representations of the multiverse in popular culture.  The theory of the multiverse – the premise that our known universe if merely one iteration of an infinite number of alternate universes – has recently emerged from scientific obscurity to become a common trope of popular fiction.  Everything Everywhere All at Once won 2022’s Academy Award for Best Picture, multiversal timelines are a central feature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and representations of parallel realities in television shows such as SlidersFringeDr. Who, and Rick & Morty have familiarized this radical concept for mass-audiences.  The emergent popularity of the multiverse as a narrative device resonates with critical theories about the "worldmaking" of fiction, the postmodern dissolution of metanarratives, and Deleuzian networks of multiplicity, and it is informed by literary precedents in Jorge Luis Borges, Philip K. Dick, and Italo Calvino.  From a political perspective, multiverse narratives reflect the fractured reality of American political discourse, a condition acknowledged in references to “the Fox News Cinematic Universe” and the Trumpiverse.  The multiverse also reflects the ontology of the Internet, with its countless variations on a single meme, which sometimes disappear or are retroactively rewritten, or that even wobble into uncanny real-world instantiations.  The Internet provides a kind of parallel reality that we all have one foot in all of the time, and our daily exposure to this disruptive state of being certainly influences contemporary ontologies.  Narrative itself, with its long history of representing parallel realities and also of essentially being a parallel reality, may provide the most compelling expressions of these ontologies, as well as the most promising insights about how to navigate and communicate across them. 

We seek proposals for chapters that discuss representations of the multiverse in popular culture.  We particularly welcome close readings of individual films, television episodes, graphic novels, online videos, or other popular texts that address the political, cultural, and/or philosophical implications of specific representations of the multiverse.

Please submit 300-word chapter proposals to Randy Laist at by February 29, 2024.