Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Many Worlds (Slight Return)

Well, I haven't written anything here for a while. But now people have been asking me (well OK, one person...) - when am I going to update my blog? The truth is, I've been put off Doctor Who somewhat recently, and the culprit is most definitely the final story of the last series. I've already expressed my misgivings about Last of the Time Lords, so I won't bother going over all that again - except to say it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and a sense of general indifference. I'll get over it. Although there continue to be things that don't inspire confidence - the whole Catherine Tate business for a start - on the whole I've enjoyed the new series and I think the producers generally know what they're doing. And at the end of the day, it's only a tv show... (Hmm... Do fans expect too much from Doctor Who? There's a topic for a future entry right there.)

So let's forget about that for now and concentrate on something I can talk about - continuity! I've been giving some further thought to my Many Worlds Interpretation as outlined below. For my sins, I was discussing this on Outpost Gallifrey - (I think there's another blog entry some time in the madness I've encountered on the OG forum...) - and one of my correspondents accused me (yes, accused - that's not too strong a term) of using a "multiverse" explanation as a way of avoiding continuity issues. Naturally, I strenuously denied this. I was however being disingenuous. MWI is indeed a multiverse theory. But I think I can be excused because the concept of multiverse is fairly nebulous and can have varying definitions depending on who you're talking to.

Generally speaking (in science fiction anyway) a multiverse is taken to be any number of alternative universes exisiting in parallel, usually with alternative versions of your main characters. This concept crops up in Doctor Who a few times (Inferno and Rise of the Cybermen being the most obvious) but those are very specific examples. And that's not what I'm postulating with MWI - although my OG antagonist clearly thought that I was. So it was to distance myself from the whole "parallel universes" thing that I denied my belief in a multiverse. Because that way lies madness - there are people who want to believe that the novels and the audios exist in different parallel universes. And some authors even want to try and prove it. (I'm looking at you, Gary Russell...) And back along, Lawrence Miles thought that Virgin and BBC novels existed in separate universes - though seemingly none of the other authors did - but as that gave rise to some interesting ideas, I'll overlook it.

What I'm suggesting is a single universe where all possible outcomes and permutations exist. The series itself supports such a notion - there's the famous scene in Pyramids of Mars where the Doctor travels into the alternative future. Looking back over my previous entry, I think some confusion has crept in when I said this:
Every time the Doctor steps out of the Tardis, he changes the conditions of the universe around him. At any moment, only some of his past adventures might actually have happened to him.
What's probably more accurate to say is that all of his past adventures have occurred to him, but he might not be aware of them all at any precise moment. Because quantum theory is all based around observation - so the Doctor may find himself in a part of the continuum from which it is impossible to observe (or even remember) certain other events. We could even take this idea one stage further and suggest that it's us, the audience, who are the observers. At one time, we could only see the tv episodes, and so we perceived them as following on from each other. With successive iterations of the universe, the books and comics and audios start to appear and we "perceive" that they must have fitted between the episodes in ways we just couldn't conceive before. Well, it's a thought...


Anonymous said...

i to have a large who collection, and spot many errors, but i do not try and justify why i like Dr Who, saves me a lot of hassle.

OG goes over my head, Dr Who is a wonderful form of escapism,

billy was eye candy , in a leela kind of way but tate? hmm
am i boverd?

NickF said...

Surely the recent set of Decide Your Destiny books represents the ultimate expression of your Many Worlds theory?