Multiverse (Stephen King)

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Many of the novels and short stories written or co-written by Stephen King take place in a multiverse created by the author.

Fictional history, structure and worlds of Stephen King's multiverse[edit]

In the beginning, there was a magical presence known as the Prim - also referred as the "darkness behind everything" - from which Gan arose. When All-World was created, Gan appeared in metaphysical form as a giant edifice known as the Dark Tower, alongside six Beams which are protected by twelve Guardians.

It is said that one of the Guardians, Maturin the Turtle, vomited out a universe as the result of a stomach ache. This universe is the location of the Keystone Earth, which is a reflection of the "real world" and also includes a fictional version of Stephen King himself. It is the location of the Rose too.

Some people have the ability to travel between universes by "going Todash", other ways are through rare artifacts like the Wizard's Rainbow, the Talisman and the Lil Pink.

Gan uses Stephen King as a facilitator to tell the tale of the Gunslinger, so Roland Deschain could successfully go about his task of reaching the Tower. If the author died before completing his task, Roland would not have "known" how to further proceed on his quest to the Tower and, without any significant remaining opposition, the Crimson King would have finally toppled the Dark Tower and initiated "Discordia" - the event which all universes would have ceased to exist - and there would be no story created.

Ka[edit]

Ka is a plot element in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It is a word of the fictional language High Speech.

In the books, it is a mysterious force that leads all living (and unliving) creatures. It is the will of Gan, the approximate equivalent of destiny or fate, in King's fictional language of High Speech. Ka can be considered to be a guide, a destination, but is certainly not a plan - at least, not one that is known to mortals. Ka is not necessarily a force of good or evil; it manipulates both sides, and seems to have no definite morality of its own. To this end, Ka resonates with the concept of Karma.

The official Dark Tower site (see below) describes ka as the following: "Ka... signifies life-force, consciousness, duty and destiny. In the vulgate, or low speech, it also means a place to which an individual must go."

Concepts involving ka[edit]

Because of the importance of ka to the world of King's Dark Tower, many phrases in the High Speech use the word ka, such as:

  • ka-babbies: young ka-tet members.
  • ka-tel: a class of apprentice gunslingers.
  • ka-mai: ka's fool.
  • ka-me: ka's wiseman; the opposite of ka-mai.
  • kas-ka: a prophet
  • ka-shume: a unique feeling that a ka-tet is destined to break soon.
  • te-ka: ka's friend.
  • Can'-Ka No Rey: the red fields of none, where the Dark Tower lies.
  • tet-ka can Gan: the navel (specifically, the navel of Gan).
  • kas-ka Gan: singer of Gan's song/ prophet of Gan.
  • ves-ka Gan: Song of the Turtle

Ka-tet[edit]

A ka-tet is a group of beings brought together by ka. "We are ka-tet. We are one from many," says Roland Deschain on the day before the Battle of Algul Siento.[1] Ka-tet is the belief that a group of people can be tied together by fate, or ka. It is said that a group has shared "khef" or the water of life. Sometimes the symbol of water is used literally, as in a ritual Roland and his ka-tet performs the night before the battle of Algul Siento. In the seventh novel, Susannah Dean, who ends up understanding ka maybe more than Roland himself, comes to the understanding that in simple terms, "ka-tet" means family.

Roland's ka-tet includes himself, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Oy, and Jake Chambers. Roland's previous ka-tet included himself, Cuthbert Allgood, Jamie De Curry, and Alain Johns.

References in other works by King[edit]

Ka is mentioned in some of King's other books, including Hearts in Atlantis, Desperation and Insomnia. The characters James Eric Gardener in The Tommyknockers and Rosie McClendon in Rose Madder also ponder about ka. It is mentioned in The Stand by Judge Farris when he observes a crow outside his window that he believes is Randall Flagg shortly before he is killed by Flagg's men. However, in this context it appears that "ka" refers to the Egyptian word for life force.

The ka-tet concept has been frequently used by King, even in books that do not use the terms ka or ka-tet, such as It, The Stand, Desperation, Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and Duma Key. This may be compared to Kurt Vonnegut's "karass".

The Random and the Purpose[edit]

The Random and the Purpose are like the red and the black squares on a checker board, defining each other by contrast.

— Lachesis

The Random and the Purpose are concepts elaborating the "grammar" of All-World introduced in Insomnia. The Purpose and the Random are driving forces on the different levels (worlds or realities) the Dark Tower connects. There are even stronger forms like the Higher Purpose and the Higher Random. It is not totally clear whether these higher forms are multiple individual beings sharing a common aim, or if they are underlying forces not bound to personal forms. Both Purpose and Random have so-called agents, middlemen between ordinary human beings ("Short-Timers") and the god-like All-Timers. Clotho and Lachesis are agents of the Purpose, while Atropos is an agent of the Random. Central is the idea that Purpose and Random need to be in balance.

The Higher Random and the Higher Purpose[edit]

For each field exist higher beings which seem to be god-like. While arguably Gan or Maturin would belong to the Higher Purpose , the Crimson King or It are beings of the Higher Random .

[...] beyond the Short-Time levels of existence and the Long-Time levels on which Lachesis, Atropos and I exist, there are yet other levels. These are inhabited by creatures we could call All-Timers, beings which are either eternal or so close to it as to make no difference. Short-Timers and Long-Timers live in overlapping spheres of existence - on connected floors of the same building, if you like - ruled by the Random and the Purpose. Above these floors, inaccessible to us but very much a part of the same tower of existence, live other beings. Some of them are marvellous and wonderful; other are hideous beyond our ability to comprehend, let alone yours. These beings might be called the Higher Purpose and the Higher Random...or perhaps there is no Random beyond a certain level; we suspect that may be the case, but we have no real way of telling. We do know that it is something from one of these higher levels that has interested itself in Ed, and that something else from up there made a countermove. That countermove is you, Ralph and Louis.

— Clotho

List of worlds and universes[edit]

Designation Notes First appearance
All-World
  • Homeworld of Roland Deschain, Randall Flagg and many others.
  • Divided into three regions; In-World, Mid-World and End-World.
  • Place of the Dark Tower (Gan), the linchpin that connects all realities.
The Dark Tower
Keystone Earth
  • The readers of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series would recognize as "the real world."
  • It includes King himself as the author of the Dark Tower novels and is the universe in which the Dark Tower itself is represented by a rose growing in a vacant lot in New York City.
  • Place of the Rose, the gate to access the Dark Tower in All-World.
Mainstream universe Carrie

The Colorado Kid

Pet Sematary

IT

Eddie Dean's home Universe
  • In this Universe the US involvement in the Vietnam war continued for longer and Co-Op City is in Brooklyn instead of the Bronx.
The Drawing of the Three
The Territories
  • A parallel dimension that Jack Sawyer can enter through his innate connection to the place.
  • Populated by "twinners."
The Talisman
Boo'ya Moon
  • A dream world where Lisey's late husband, Scott Landon had traveled to.
Lisey's Story
Rose Madder
  • A world behind a painting.
  • Homeworld of Dorcas.
Rose Madder
The Null
  • A dimension of chaos where dead humans are enslaved for eternity by insane, Lovecraftian beings. The most powerful being is known as Mother.
Revival
The Stand Universe
  • This timeline features a post-apocalyptic world where most of the people were infected by a virus called "Captain Trips".
The Stand
Cell Universe
  • This timeline features a post-apocalyptic world where a terror attack caused anyone who used a cell phone to be reduced to a zombie like state.
Cell
The Regulators timeline
  • Realm altered by Tak with the help of autistic boy Seth.
  • There is a dimensional portal (an ini) that is connected to Tak's prison and the city of Desperation, located in the mainstream universe.
The Regulators
UR 17000
  • William Shakespeare lived until 1620, writing two additional plays – Two Ladies of Hampshire and A Black Fellow in London
"Ur"
UR 88416
  • No assassination attempt was made on John F. Kennedy during his trip to Dallas in November 1963. Kennedy returned to Washington and ended the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War against the recommendations of Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara; Secretary McNamara resigned his position and was replaced by United States Army Bruce Palmer Jr..
  • The Civil Rights Movement was milder, with fewer riots in American cities, and no assassination attempt was made on Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Kennedy won a second term in 1964 and Maine Senator Edmund Muskie defeated New York governor Nelson Rockefeller to win the presidency in 1968 by a landslide.
  • In January 1968, Kennedy's last party at the White House was played by the Beatles, though drummer Pete Best suffered a seizure and was rushed to the hospital.
UR 117586
  • The Amazon Kindle that Wesley Smith received in 2009, the Lil' Pink, came from this universe.
UR 1000000
UR 2171753
UR 4121989
UR 6201949
  • Ernest Hemingway was a crime writer who published It's Blood, My Darling. Along with his crime novels, he also published A Farewell to Arms.
UR 7191974
  • Ernest Hemingway was born in 1897 and lived until 19 August 1964, writing four more novels than he wrote in UR 117586.
  • One of his novels exclusive to this earth is Cortland's Dogs.
Todash space
  • The limbo between dimensions populated by monsters, e.g. Cthun ("N.")
  • A military experiment performed in Shaymore, the "Arrowhead Project," apparently intended to create a trans-dimensional window with which to peer through into other dimensions.
"The Mist"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]