All the Myriad Ways

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
All the Myriad Ways
First edition
AuthorLarry Niven
Cover artistDean Ellis
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherBallantine Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (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.



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.

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.

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.