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Alternate History

Dreams full of time-forks or set in timebranches, parallel worlds, alternate histories, if-time, or chronoloops. All those moments that aren't so easy to label past, present or future.

When I was a kid, I read an old science fiction tale by Heinlein ("Elsewhen") that had a tossed-off yet quite ambitious model of all possible spacetimes and experiences--simpler and clearer than any of the many-world or one-world physics models I've seen. Sort of a Feynman diagram for cosmoses! (I recently learned Heinlein based it on J.W. Dunne's dream research.) Picture a hilly landscape dissected by rivers--rivers of time. Height is unlikeliness: outcomes of events slope downward (much like Richard Dawkins's "Climbing Mount Improbable", written decades later). Time-streams are where many possible outcomes are indistinguishable, and reality runs dense. In this model, past and future are local--just going with the flow down the local slope; upstream was your past. But if you're in good shape, you can (the story's premise went) hike upstream or down, despite the current. Or over to another stream. Or even (if you have the nerve) scale the Dubious Hills.

Most time travel in dreams is along the time-stream we know, past or future; but now and then the dreaming mind will stray further afield--as you'll see below.

RELATED TOPICS: past & future - time & time travel in general - choices - prediction and precognition - clocks and timekeeping - probability sheaves and quantum dreams - other worlds - doors into other universes - shamanic dreams - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

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ADOPT A SON TO WIN A MATE: by Wayan; 2010/11/24; a dream of priorities
I'm a big cat lonely in this human city. Wish I had a mate! But as soon as
I take responsibility for an orphaned boy, in walks an older girl...
AIDA'S TOILET BOAT: by Wayan; 1993/4/7, a psychic dreamtale.
A sexy comedian and her troubles down the drain. A dream that turned out to be true...
ARSON MUSIC: by Wayan; 2000/10/4, a parallel-world dream on ethics
Driving through California farm hills with subtly different natural laws,
I find social consequences. Can physics create evil?
THE AZTEC EMPIRE'S RESERVATIONS: by Wayan; 1998/3/19, a parallel-world dream
The modern Aztec Empire is as bad as Anglos toward other Indians, for it's not poverty that hurts...
BABY HITLER'S DOG; 2012/2/7 by Wayan; a grotesque time-travel dream (of health advice?)
An old actor tells me "I met Hitler when we were both babies.
I knew what was coming so I wanted to kill him, but then I'd BE him..."
BUGS AND ROOSEVELT: by Wayan; 1982/5/2, a wild predictive dream illustrated as an epic poem
I'm Bugs Bunny. I torment Daffy Duck till I learn that in many time-branches the New
Deal happened late... or never. I decide to prod a reluctant Franklin Delano Roosevelt...
CAPRICES: by Wayan; 2006-, a trio of nondream variant Earths:
Land is sea, sea is land: that's a lotta land!
Seas siphoned off by alien chefs. A lotta different land!
High is low, low is high, abysses are land. Surprisingly sparing land...
CHRISTA'S FUR: by Wayan; 2018/6/9, a smutty spiritual dream-poem riffing on Leonardo's 'Last Supper'?
In an alternate Judea, I long for a female Christ and her lesbian apostles.
My lust is unrequited, till a small Sex Kitten gives me some wise advice...
CHRONOPHOBIA!: by Wayan; 1993/7/10, a physicist's nightmare on time's arrow
I find myself driving a speeding car down a freeway--in reverse. No, not reverse gear...
THE CIRCUS HUMANS' DESERTION: by Wayan; 1988/2/19; a holy dream.
I join a circus, but soon all the best carnies sail off to the Blessed Isles. The circus animals pitch in
and carry on--clumsy and lonely. Then a divine herald arrives from the Isles: Donald Duck! He says...
CLOUD WAR: by Wayan; 2012/12/22, a dream of eco-apocalypse on the darkest day of the year
Clouds wake up. Maybe they were always aware, but now they're aware of us. And rage against us all.
Oh, humanity'll survive. But easy times are over...
CLOWN POINTS: by Wayan; 2013/3/17, a nightmare about... philosophy?
Clowns have a point system like chess masters, and abuse apprentices to gain ahead,
just like capitalism--but I think this dream's about the suppression of magic...
COLLAPSE THEM IN THE ZONE: by Wayan; 1995/4/7, a dream of ghosts and physics.
I explore a zone lost in Shroedinger probabilities, and meet time-ghosts who want to collapse into reality...
CONTRACT CLOAKS FOR COURIERS: by Wayan; 2019/5/30, a dream on enforcing contracts
After a day of medical mess-ups, I dream whites routinely cheat super-fast Native American pony couriers,
till the riders demand showy down payments called Contract Cloaks. Now cheats'll get publicly exposed...
THE CREEK: by Louisa E. Rhine; c. 1925? a lifesaving predictive dream
I was camping by a creek. I went to get soap and returned to find my baby son face-down in the water...
CROSSTIME HEALTH RISK: by Wayan; 1999/7/23, a warning dream of parallel worlds.
A man learns to hop between time-branches, but like all transportation, this has epidemiological risks...
CUPOLA: by Wayan; 1994/7/28, a dream of an alternate life.
I live in a cupola atop a Victorian house in the Haight-Ashbury, but that's not the City out my windows...
DELIGHT EVOLVES FLIGHT: by Wayan; 2011/12/23, an advisory dream
In a parallel world, a gliding griflynx displays a brilliant
evolutionary strategy: joy! It's the strongest mate magnet...
DESERT EYES: by Wayan; 1984/3/4, a dream of portals.
We desert-hobbits break through to a world of jungle giants who
see differently from us. Will they believe us about the UFOs?
DESERT SLAVERS: by Wayan; 2015/5/29; a grim dream replayed a bit better
A gang of slavers catch my family. I flee on a bike but it breaks down. Stranded. Replay! This time I have a gun...
DON'T WANT HIM TO SOAR: by Wayan; 1991/4/18, a dream of sabotage.
In a parallel world, a visionary's building the first plane only now. I'm his assistant. But I don't WANT...
DOPPELBRUDER: by Wayan; 1985/5/9, a dream of a self at war over... labels?
Lured to a parallel, feudal world by a marriage-vow, I'm trapped in my double's arrogant, twisted mind...
DRACONIAN VACATION: by Wayan, 2019/4/16, an alternate-Earth dream
Just a dream vacation! I take a train trip up the East Coast,
meeting, sketching and flirting with the locals, though they're...
DRAGON WITH A SUITCASE: by Wayan; 1994/1/8, a dream on alienation.
A young dragon, raised as human, is finally setting out to see the world on dragon-terms...
EDITH KEELER: by Wayan, 1975/10/8, an incubated dream giving multiple answers
I asked my dreams to show me my Shadow--what I deny. It showed me at least FIVE! And in every
time-branch, a runaway truck crushed me--the Truck of Ideology. Not that I seemed able to avoid it...
ELIZABETH'S SOLE ESCAPE: by Wayan, 2017/7/29, a genderbent nightmare on... genes?
I'm Queen Elizabeth I, but I made a mistake--focused too much on art and culture.
Now, plotters who I overlooked smash in my bedroom door. I snatch a vial of poison...
ELLIS CRITIQUE: by Wayan; 2008/12/10, four dreams comically challenge Havelock Ellis's dream-theories!
Pa warns me to protect my paws. Then gilt wounds my sole. Then
a lioness eats a tasty drumstick. Then a bus crashes on our corner--for real!
THE ETHICS OF LUCIDITY: by Wayan; 1994/2/19, a thoughtful dream on time and cause.
I'm at a symposium on how our beliefs alter not just the future, but the PAST...
FALL OF A PRINCE: by Wayan; 2006/11/17, a dream on the morality of predicting.
A time-traveling historian's caught in a moral dilemma: warn an ancient prince
that in her history books he died of a fall? Can you change fate? Should you??
GHOST GATOR: by Wayan; 1984/10/9, a lip-reading dream.
A child from another universe materializes--part way. Too bad we called in that expert from Stanford...
GIRL IN THE WATER: by Wayan, 2000/10/7, twin dreams on... dreamwork?
In a California with no Gold Rush, wild deer carry a girl over the San Fernando hills to a secret dream-pool...
Then in a Japantown hotel lobby, that girl floats meditating in a huge aquarium, as local gossips lie about her...
GIRL INTO HERON: by Wayan, 2017/11/7, a dream-poem of an uncertain choice
Four thugs stalk a gawky girl through the Everglades. She treads on a black stone and...
becomes a blue heron! Her stalkers vanish--did they become birds too? Should I step up?
GOLDIE'S RHINOPOTAMUS: by Wayan; 2013/4/10, a Fellini dreamjoke with advice.
I'm in Venice. The police chief (armored) and Goldie Hawn (near-naked)
ride a skittish monster. Turns out bareback works better...
HELPLESSLY LUCID: by Alder; 2007/6/23, a lucid dream in which Im powerless!
Im a homeless elf. Were a persecuted minority group. I know Im dreaming and try to change it but...
HER CUTIE MARK: by Wayan, 2016/8/7, a dream fusing Shakespeare & My Little Pony
After seeing The Tempest with a tattooed Miranda, I dream she has a Cutie Mark on her flank--
a logo showing her life-purpose, life-path. But she's outgrowing it...
HIS DEER WIFE: by Wayan; 1995/7/9, a dream of love in a parallel world.
I'm a slave, a scribe in the house of a Captain of the New Aztec Empire, when he brings home a wife...
HITLER'S ROOST: by Wayan; 1983/2/14, a fierce dream-poem hinting at a dirty secret later bared
I built a Bavarian treehouse with a great view, hoping Hitler'd confiscate it.
He did! Now he's exposed to Allied spy planes--and assassination...
THE HOLY HARP: by Wayan; 1994/3/22, a dream of musical guilt.
The Goddess's harp, that calls in the seasons, just passed on. But the new harper has a shocking admission...
HOP TO THE SHAH: by Wayan; 2010/5/18, a flying political dream
Diplomacy's failed. To stop the impending Iranian War single-handed,
I hop like a monster flea across Iran to corner the New Shah...
I THOUGHT HE LIKED ME: by Wayan; 1994/8/16, a dream of rejection... or worse.
I join the Seattle Tribal Council, which of course means marrying them all. The husband I'm to sleep with
on our Council Honeymoon seemed to like me, till he pulls that practical joke...
THE INCIDENCE OF BUDDHAS: by Wayan; 1996/4/24, a dream testing me.
I'm in a mall that enlightened customers alter with a thought. But too many Buddhas spoil the architecture...
INERTIAL DAMPER: by Wayan; 2017/8/26; a dream warning for another.
I'm trapped in a mad scientist's car that squeezes through wall-cracks. But when
she aims at a wall with NO cracks, I have to pull out the smuggled alien device
in my pocket. Just before impact I switch on the Inertial Damper...
INUIT MEDITATION: by Wayan; 1989/11/16, a comically surreal dream.
I'm the first tuna to get a scholarship to Stanford.
Naturally I sign up for a course in Inuit Meditation...
THE LEAD HAZARD OF WITCHES: by Wayan; 2008/11/21; an alternate-world dream
I'm in an America where witches are burned & abused women grow on trees. Yet three of us heal...
LIFECYCLE: by Wayan; 1980s. Pencil sketch of daydream
The life-loop. A woman bears a child who grows up to become herself, who bears a child who...
LIZARD OR WIZARD? Or, ARACHNOLYPSE by Wayan, 2021/2/21; a cynical magical dream
An idiot wizard lures car-sized spiders into our town. I find a spellbook that repels them, but I must hide it;
my community college professors, Gandalf and Saruman, may confiscate it. For I'm no wizard, just a lizard...
MARK'S DISSOLVE: by Wayan, 2015/7/31, a dream-poem of a world where death is different
My friend Mark is ready. He evaporates into the spirit realm--as we all do here when we die! Flesh to glass to air...
MERCURY: by Wayan; 1982/3/7, dream-poem of a lost future.
Mercury didn't spin! One side fire, one side ice. We farmed in domes, between--until the sun brightened...
THE MOONS OF THE NEXT TEN DAYS: by Wayan, 1983/3/7, an otherworldly predictive dream
Two moons rise. From one unpeels a sort of rind; on it I see the future
tracks of these moons' shadows and tidal sway on Earth, predicting ...
MORAL FIBER: by Wayan; 1997/11/10, a dream of trouble in Ecotopia.
We hippies won, but now we're backward and isolated; it's time we joined the rest of our alternate Earth...
MURDERS IN HAYWARD: by Anonymous #5; c.2002 or 2003, a psychic nightmare.
I dream I live in Hayward, California. One day my family's murdered. Years later I find that dream-street is real...
MUTISM'S PENUMBRA: by Wayan, 2019/9/9, an otherworldly dream of a curiously familiar malaise
In a world of wizards, many have gone silent. They seem to forget speech exists. A toxin, a disease? But what explains
people's calm as more go mute? No, it's an insidious spell--with a penumbra making us take its spread for granted...
MY SINE-FRIEND: by Wayan; 1984/3/6, an emotional dream of time and rebirth.
An animal-girl I know lives like a sine-wave, first forward in time, then backwards, dying at every zero...
NEW LEVEL!: by "Julian"; 2006/5/22, 3 gamelike dreams in one night, two of them epic
My mom and I road-duel an alien beetle, then investigate a deepspace Marie Celeste;
then I spy for the Angevin Empire to protect the Crown Jewels...
ONE FRUIT REMAINS UNEATEN: by Catshall; November 1983, a journal dotted with dreams
My day life as an artist and explorer of the San Francisco underground scene
gets regularly commented on by my dreamlife...
THE ONI PLAGUE: by Wayan; 2018/2/2, a dream implying our leaders are sociopathic
Humans and elves like me can get along, but not oni (Japanese demons)--they'll hurt anyone for gain...
ORDEAL BY INFRASTRUCTURE: by Wayan; 1987/11/22, a Clintonian dreamtale--before Clinton!
I want to join the inner circle of America's political elite.
But to do that I have to survive the Ordeal by Infrastructure...
PAUL PULLS THE TRIGGER: by Paul Sharits, 1969/12/16, a dream of a replayed, amplified suicide
I see myself shoot myself. Director-me decides this isn't dramatic enough to wow audience-me, so
actor-me tries again, firing half a dozen times! Maybe suicidal imagery is how I realize no-self...
PERISSA: by Wayan; 1997/9/13, a sexy dream-comic (small screen, slow loading? Illus. text)
When Perissa, an exhibitionistic centaur, bares her body in a crowded Coliseum,
she also bares a human-supremacist plot...
PICNIC IN THE RUINS: by Wayan, 2002/9/18, digital painting of dream figure.
On an alternate Earth where centaurs lived in a beach town with old Roman ruins, a local girl invited me on a picnic...
PYRAMID POWER: by Wayan; 1981/2/2, a dream of love and time.
We drive into a zone of perpetual night to see Sweet Melinda, but our time-path splits! Two lives at once?
THE RIFT ZONE: by Wayan; 1987/11/27, a long-term psychic dream.
I'm not ambivalent--I'm confused! I live here by the Rift Zone and I don't. I'm single and not. Two lives!...
RING OF SIX: by Wayan; 2018/11/30; an advisory dream of alternate lives
Six women in six similar feudal empires swap places repeatedly. They can never meet,
but they can leave notes, each helping out the next soul to swap in...
RINGSHADOWS: by Wayan; 1985/3/7, an otherworldly ecodream with subtle advice.
Earth has rainbow rings. They're braided like Saturn's, so their shadows create tinted microclimates...
SAFETY GETS ME HOT: by Wayan; 1997/3/27, a dream on sensitivity.
I'm trapped in a post-apocalypse pulp story! Fun for my readers, but not for me! How to escape?
A SEAMY REALITY: by Wayan; 1999/10/21, a surreal predictive dream.
Sharp seams between realities cross Silicon Valley; I end up in the Dark Castle of the Oracle. When I wake...
SHEVEK'S TIME-SLIP: by Wayan; 1996/10/14, a chronohomeostatic dream.
Shevek invents time-travel and discreetly alters the past. But the future alters
Shevek's present, to undo his changes! Who's sabotaging him? Or... WHAT?
SLIDES: by Wayan; 2018/1/28, a surreal playful flirtation dream
I cross San Francisco on public transit--a network of children's slides. One leads into...
A wormhole full of aliens, where a goofy-haired reporter interviews a hacker...
STREAMLINING: by Wayan; 2004/11/10, a dream within a dream
I dream I'm an otter, and wake into a dream about sculpture--and learn my style's due to my species...
TEACH DREAM E.S.P.: by Wayan; 2012/2/14. An advisory dream with an intriguing model of time.
I'm co-teaching a class on ESP. My specialty's sending warnings to my own past self to change the present...
TEHURA TRIES COMICS: by Wayan; 1994/7/19. pencil, Xerox, erasable crayon.
I dreamed a sphinx artist visited humanity and drew the crazy natives. I copied her sketchbook...
TERTIARY INFECTION:by Wayan, 2016/4/28; a therapeutic/advisory dream of a helpful disease
Flying saucers land, and give us weird compulsions. I catch an unusually mild case,
a tertiary infection, and find I'm actually better off...
TEXANS: by Wayan, 2018/8/22, an alternate-world dream
The Lone Star Planet--worldwide Texas--is weirdly empty. No kids at all! Instead, teens
ping into existence pre-formed. An alternate Earth with no concept of change?
THIEU, I'M SORRY: by Wayan, 1997/11/1, a troubling dreamtale.
Visiting Time City, I witness the "suicide" of a woman named Thieu but suspect it was really assassination...
TIBETAN DISASSEMBLY: by Wayan; 2007/7/5, a dream of a desperate ploy
A woman in Tibet disassembles herself! A local god hires her spirit,
but she uses the office equipment to backup her memories and...
TILT!: by Wayan; 2002-3, a nondream study of four alternate Earths
I drilled new poles in my globe and tilted the Earth. Ice Age or Carboniferous? Flood or drought?
Come visit tropical Antarctica, the Thai Desert, the Hawaiian glaciers, the jungles of France!
TILT THE GLOBE TO MAXIMIZE BIOMASS: by Wayan, 1990/3/31, a cryptomnesic dream prodding me for a decade
I dreamed I took a globe off its stand, drilled new poles, and put it back on tilted, so that
most continents are greener; Tokyo, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego are now all tropical...
13 years later, dream forgotten, I start what I think is a nondream art project, by tilting...
TIME-CAT: by Wayan; 2013/11/23; a self-flagging predictive dream
I'm a cat person, grooming. But not MY fur--it's a woolly mass of timelines!
We cats travel time, smoothing out snarls... Then I wake, go to a party, and...
TRAIL OF POGS: by Wayan; 2004/9/6, my dreams' response to the first Burning Man dream-workshop
A trail toward Freedom has extra markers, for it's three trails, superimposed! Not all the cues are for us...
TWO BISHOP APPLICANTS: by Wayan; 1984/11/21, a surreal but mercilessly logical dream.
My mind and my soul both apply for a job in Stanford Cathedral. Their rivalry grows to a shamanic duel...
UNICORN TIMEFORKS: by Wayan; dreamed 2019/5/25, a shamanic warning dream
A man enslaves a unicorn and makes her split time, for his profit! But the timeforks
don't heal as he expected. So the unicorn takes unilateral action (sorry).
Those time-forks look like our current political war. Prepare for sharp kicks...
THE VERIZON EXPERIMENT: by Wayan; 2014/3/31, three linked dreamlets, the last self-flagging as predictive
1: A nature spirit's physics experiment proves that time forks. But how much? How dense is the multiverse?
2: I sculpt a model of this multiverse. A physicist likes it; the nature spirit likes it more. So she swipes it...
3: A 'friend' offers refugees my bedroom, crowding me and my work into a corner. I wake. The phone rings...
WHY I LIE: by Wayan, 2016/10/7, a dream on privacy-guilt
In a class, asked to share a bit about myself, I lie. Why? Not only are people like me
illegal, my particular story would be seen as impossible...
WISH-RATIONED EARTH: by Wayan; 2015/6/19; an advisory dream on...miracles?
I'm stranded on an alternate Earth under strict rationing--of wishes!
But you need to wish a few times a year to keep the system greased...
A WORLD TOO WEIRD FOR WORDS: by Wayan, 2011/1/21, a utopian dream--or is it?
I'm in a college class studying a bizarre alternate Earth where
anarchist co-ops never evolved and (of all things) money rules all...

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