The best books on navigating the multiverse while trying to stop your brain melting

The Books I Picked & Why

Stormbringer

By Michael Moorcock

Book cover of Stormbringer

Why this book?

This is the book that, more than any other, ignited my passion for alternative realities, what dwells within and what happens if those realities spill out. That was 45 years ago, and I still love all the Elric stories, but this one I feel captures the essence of who Elric is and the sacrifices he is doomed to make to bring back balance to the universe. Dark and moody, and featuring one of the all-time greatest sword and sorcery heroes in a complex, and collapsing universe, aided, and abetted by his companion Moonglum, and alternately empowered and betrayed by the rune sword Stormbringer.   


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The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

By Carlos Castaneda

Book cover of The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Why this book?

Well, this book totally changed my view on the world and how reality is perceived! Whether you choose to believe that Castaneda met and was initiated by a Yaqui sorcerer, or whether you believe it is just a very convincing piece of writing by a college student studying anthropology is up to you. What shouldn’t be ignored are the underlying psychological truths and messages that make this a powerful story about seeing the world in which we live through new eyes. This book started my interest in shamanism and led to nearly 25 years of study and practice that has definitely influenced my life and writing.   


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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams

Book cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Why this book?

A crazy, and strangely, very British science fiction adventure. Our hapless hero, Arthur Dent becomes the last human being after the Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Wonderfully surreal and inventive, this book showed me that the genre doesn’t have to take itself seriously all the time. When the main character goes off on an intergalactic adventure armed only with a towel you just know things are going to be a bit different!  


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The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

By Brian Greene

Book cover of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Why this book?

If you are going to get all nerdy and interested in alternative universes, parallel realities, etc. then you might as well look at the science behind it all. In no way am I saying that I fully understand superstring theory, but after reading this book I possibly understand it a little better than I did! Written in a non-mathematical way for the complete layman by a physicist who knows his stuff. This book demonstrates that some things are stranger than fiction, and that just maybe there are other versions of you out there who are reading this right now…


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Circe

By Madeline Miller

Book cover of Circe

Why this book?

I have a bit of a thing for ancient Greek myths so it was a no-brainer that I would read this retelling of the story of Circe. Written with an achingly poetic beauty that captures a different side of a character who is usually portrayed as a witch and the doom of men. This book leads you through the associated hero tales and finds those heroes wanting and fallible, and always viewed through the immortal eyes of Circe, fated to live out her life alone on her island. Her existence is a parallel and alternative universe to that of mankind that surrounds her and shows that the pride and ego of men, and the vanity and immortality of the gods are no road to happiness.     


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