Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Neologisms you can use: “alternity”


Sometimes you need a word that doesn’t exist for the thing you’re trying to pinpoint. I wasn’t happy with “alternative universe,” which is I think what theoretical physicists might call it.

You know what I mean. It’s the reality that would have existed if you had chosen the road not taken. In other words, a different, better universe that was possible if not for your terrible decision. Or maybe even if you made a good decision — like marrying the right person instead of the first one to come along. An “alternity” exists in which you married that first one, and my guess is things don’t work out so well over there.

And I think of it as an “alternative eternity” because these things have ripple effects. They’re like when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and you get this cascade of mirror images receding like a tunnel into … into what? Into forever, I guess. Each one of those slices is an alternity.

I swear I wasn’t using any hallucinogens when this came to me. I was just wondering what those worlds could be called, where all the choices I might have made had lasting effects that played out over time and produced other effects. And just think of all the alternities that could have been forged from those. It positively boggles the mind, eh? Mine anyhow.

So that’s how I spent my holiday. How’s about you?


10 comments on “Neologisms you can use: “alternity”

  1. Woebegone but Hopeful
    July 6, 2016

    Writers for Marvel comics tied readers and each other into knots with ‘Differing Timelines’ to shoe-horn stories which wouldn’t work in the established continuity
    Alternity is a much clearer and succinct term, makes the idea more personal to the reader,

  2. Audrey Driscoll
    July 6, 2016

    I love that word — “alternity.” It’s perfect, and sounds real, rather than some sort of awkward construction. “Some of us” think we belong in a different world and ended up in this one by mistake. 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 6, 2016

      Glad you like it, Audrey. Feel free to use it, where appropriate. 😉

  3. John W. Howell
    July 6, 2016

    Whew. I did stupid stuff like mow the lawn and sit by the Gulf. You are my hero.

  4. islandeditions
    July 7, 2016

    Use it in a story title, quick! Before someone else does. Great word.

  5. 1WriteWay
    July 9, 2016

    I like the word too and spend probably too much of my time pondering “alternities.” Then again, that’s where some of my stories come from … If I had stayed in my hometown and married the first guy that proposed, what life would I be leading now? Would I even have a life still to lead?

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 9, 2016

      It kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?

      • 1WriteWay
        July 9, 2016

        Somethings to the point of scaring myself …

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2016 by in Writing and tagged , .
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