Mirrorverse by Joseph Bates

Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear the world ‘multiverse,’ I instantly think of superheroes, villains, and/or Dr. Daniel Jackson trying to explain the phrase to yet another person at Stargate Command. Perhaps that’s because I’m a bit of a nerd. Maybe not just a bit.

Joseph Bates’ Mirrorverse is about the multiverse. But there are no superheroes, no villians, and certainly no Lieutenant Samantha Carter. His story actually concerns what happens when an ordinary person, dissatisfied with life, gets hold of a new technology under the guise of writing a review for a newspaper. The wonderful and bizarre device allows anybody to see what is happening throughout the multiverse, whether that is their own lives or those of famous people.

The temptation of satisfied curiosity is not new. We’ve all had that niggling feeling. That notion of I shouldn’t be looking at this, and yet we never seem to peel our eyes away. We dig deeper, instead. Somehow it always seems to work out that when we don’t like what we see, that’s when its hardest to stop. Mirrorverse plays into this idea. I mean, what couldn’t go wrong when you’re striking up an affair with your re-married ex-wife?

Of course, what could also go right?

That’s perhaps why the idea of a multiverse, at the baseline, terrifies me. Sure, there’s probably a version of me that has knife-fingers and a waxed handlebar mustache, if I were ever to know that, I might simply stop living my own life. I would get far too wrapped up in what was happening in my other lives that I might forget to live my own. That’s not the direction this story goes. But it’s how my brain does after reading it. In short, we should never ever broadcast the multiverse on television.

Mirrorverse is available in Joseph Bates’ Tomorrowland, his excellent debut collection. Happily also available over at The Rumpus. Though I must say the whole collection is well worth it.

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