All the Myriad Ways

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All the Myriad Ways
AllTheMyriadWays.jpg
First edition
Author Larry Niven
Cover artist Dean Ellis
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction stories and essays
Publisher Ballantine Books
Publication date
1971
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 181 pp

All the Myriad Ways is a collection of 14 short stories and essays by science fiction author Larry Niven, originally published in 1971.

Contents[edit]

Overview[edit]

In the eponymous story contained within, Niven attempted to craft a response to stories featuring the many-worlds interpretation as a key plot point, taking the social implications of infinite realities to a depressing conclusion. A police detective, pondering a rash of unexplained suicides and murder-suicides occurring since the discovery of travel to parallel universes, begins to realize that if all possible choices that might be made are actually made in parallel universes, people will see their freedom of choice as meaningless. The choice not to commit suicide, or not to commit a crime, seems meaningless if one knows that in some other universe, the choice went the other way. They therefore kill themselves or commit the crime, because they abandon the sense of choice.

The oft-discussed essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" is a humorous discussion of the difficulties Superman might encounter in trying to conceive a child with Lois Lane.