All the Myriad Ways
|Cover artist||Dean Ellis|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
All the Myriad Ways is a collection of 14 short science fiction stories and essays by American writer Larry Niven, originally published in 1971.
- "All the Myriad Ways"
- "For a Foggy Night"
- "Wait it Out"
- "The Jigsaw Man"
- "Not Long Before the End"
- "Unfinished Story #1"
- "Unfinished Story #2"
- "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"
- "Exercise in Speculation: The Theory and Practice of Teleportation"
- "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel"
- "Inconstant Moon" (Made into an Outer Limits episode)
- "What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?"
- "Becalmed in Hell"
The title story can be read as a response to stories featuring the many-worlds interpretation as a key plot point, by 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 actually are 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.
In "Wait It Out", an astronaut marooned on Pluto exposes himself to the planet's extreme cold, intending to go into frozen sleep until rescue eventually comes, but finds his brain still functioning due to superconductivity.
And "What Can You Say About Chocolate-Covered Manhole Covers" explains all of the creation myths as a breeding experiment by aliens.