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Alternate or Alternative Universe (AU) aka Alternate World, Alternate Cosmos, Parallel World or Parallel Universe refers to science fiction set in a universe or Earth that exists in addition to the known world, but which usually has different physical laws or history than ours.
The concept might have begun with H. G. Wells’ Men Like Gods (1923):
We accept your main proposition unreservedly; namely, that we conceive ourselves to be living in a parallel universe to yours, on a planet the very brother of your own, indeed quite amazingly like yours, having regard to all the possible contrasts we might have found here.
Some academics make distinctions among all of these terms, but we don’t.
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