Lincoln Crisler‘s body of work consists of over thirty short stories, two novellas and editorship of two anthologies, most recently Corrupts Absolutely?, an anthology of dark superhero fiction. His work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, to include HUB Magazine, Shroud Publishing’s Abominations anthology and IDW’s Robots vs. Zombies anthology. Lincoln’s first full-length short story collection is Queen and Other Stories and it is available now wherever you buy books. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association. A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children. Contact him at lincoln@lincolncrisler.info.

Other Worlds Than These

by Lincoln Crisler

“Go then, there are other worlds than these.”
- Stephen King, The Gunslinger

I’m so in love with the idea of time-travel and alternate realities I can barely understand why everyone isn’t. I’ve been a serious Star Trek buff since before I could shave-even more telling, my favorite episodes are the Mirror Universe ones, from the original series, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. Doctor Who is a bit more intimidating, but still enjoyable. I’ve watched the first three seasons of Sliders more than I can remember throughout the years, in a variety of formats (let’s just pretend the last two seasons, especially the very last, didn’t happen at all). As a lifelong comic-book (and X-Men in particular) aficionado, I firmly hold up the Age of Apocalypse cross-over as some of the best X-Men work ever, twenty years old or not. Some of my favorite reading growing up was The Talisman (Stephen King and Peter Straub) and the Mode series of novels by Piers Anthony.

Who wouldn’t want a do-over or two, if it were possible? For my part, I was an awkward kid in middle school and the beginning of high school, who turned down the occasional flirtations of a few different girls because I thought for sure they were just screwing with me. Maybe they were. I’ll never know. I met my wife of nearly nine years while engaged to my ex-wife-that is, I met the right one first, went through five years of Hell and then made the choice I probably should have made in the first place. I think everything turned out alright in the end (I totally think my wife would have ditched my younger self had we gotten together five years earlier!), but I wouldn’t mind a glimpse into the life of a Lincoln who made a different choice, just for fun.

Now, since I’m a fan of horror as well as science fiction, I’m intrigued by the darker possibilities time travel and alternate universe stories offer. The world of the rebooted Star Trek is grimmer and grittier than its predecessor, for sure. Of course, there’s room for hope, as evidenced by the most recent addition to the X-Men movie franchise. While I enjoy straight-up science fiction no less than the darker tinged version, my writing tends to be more “Langoliers,” and less “Days of Future Past,” in terms of resolution, if you get my meaning (possibly as a result of some of those experiences I wouldn’t mind re-doing!).

Four of the fourteen stories in my most recent release, Queen & Other Stories, deal with this sort of subject matter. In one, a robot learns to be a serial killer after travel to an alternate world messes with his circuits (a tribute to Asimov that I’m sure would have provoked an interesting reaction). In another, a well-meaning child sets off a bizarre string of time-travel events in an effort to save his sister from their abusive father. Another, which originally appeared in IDW Publishing’s first Zombies vs. Robots prose anthology, finds a scientist going back to a time before the zombie outbreak to save his wife from dying at the hands of the undead. The most hopeful piece in the book is an urban fantasy piece, originally featured in Angelic Knight’s Manifesto UF, about a guy who uses his ability to cross over into a magical version of Earth to save a girl from death at the hands of a group of dark ritualists.

As much as I’ve already dealt with the idea of time travel and alternate worlds in my fiction, I’m still not bored with it. In fact, I have some new ideas brewing already. After all, it’s subject matter dear to my heart and there are other worlds than the ones I’ve already explored. And like I said, who doesn’t want a do-over once in a while?

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