The Metaverse FAQs

Q: "What genre is The Metaverse series?"

It is best classified as 'Science Fantasy' - a branch of speculative fiction that occupies the middle ground between Fantasy and SciFi. Some stories will include magic, others technology, depending on where in the Metaverse they are set. Later works (including a planned trilogy of books) will include both as the separate threads in The Metaverse series pull together.

  • Note to book sellers. The planned trilogy of books (80-100k words each) will include both magic and technology and are best summarised as Science Fantasy. They will sit just fine in a combined 'Fantasy & SciFi' book-stand. If you have separate stands for these genres, then perhaps the SciFi stand will be the better fit.

Q: "How does The Metaverse compare to other fiction?"

It involves a fictional universe, so in that respect it has a bit in common with:

  • Brandon Sanderson's 'Cosmere' (tm) universe

  • Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' (tm) universe

  • Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' (tm).

It involves both magic and science, so in that respect it has a bit in common with:

  • George Lucas' 'Star Wars' (tm), where the 'force' is a kind of magic

  • The superhero universes of Marvel Comics (tm) and DC Comics (tm)

  • Jack Vance's 'The Dying Earth' (tm).

However, The Metaverse series is unique and not knowingly based on any other work of fiction.

"tm" indicates that this work is trademarked.

Q: "What is the intended audience of The Metaverse series?"

  • "Adult" as in "grown-up" - mature readers (male and female) with some experience of real life.

  • Those who like stories that are gritty and real.

  • Those who enjoy reading a character-centred, absorbing story.

  • Lovers of Science Fiction and Fantasy, who also enjoy doses of mystery and adventure.

  • Those who like trying to solve a mystery before the main character does.

  • Those who are tired of a 'fantasy' or 'scifi' veneer laid over a foundation of eroticism. Attraction, romance and even love will crop up at times in the series, but these are not the focus of the story-line.

Q: "What will The Metaverse series comprise?"

The series is growing with short stories and novellas first, then it will conclude with books. While every story in the series occurs in the same setting (the various worlds of 'The Metaverse'), the shorter stories generally take place at an earlier time to the events in the books.

The books will cover the adventures and discoveries of a single group of people in three volumes of about 80-100,000 words each.

The shorter works will cover aspects of The Metaverse, inviting the reader to explore its settings, history and back stories of important characters. These stories are intended to be largely self-contained and enjoyable on their own. They are not required reading before anyone buys the trilogy; their purpose is to:

  1. to enthuse readers of this website to anticipate the books and

  2. to reward readers of the books who want to know more.

For an example of this in action, see the official website of the 'The Expanse' (tm).

"tm" indicates that this work is trademarked.

Q: "Is The Metaverse series set anywhere familiar?"

Short answer : No.

The universe of The Metaverse series is entirely separate from our own; it is not even a parallel universe. While it looks like ours in several respects, it is based on different physical laws. Just how different it is will become apparent as the series develops.

Astute readers should spot some phenomena that are contradictory with each other (intentionally so). The shorter stories will not explain these puzzles in detail because they will be presented from the point of view of the characters who live in that universe. For these characters, it 'just is'. The books will feature an 'outsider' character who asks questions and seeks answers.

Q: "Will the books explain all the puzzles?"

Yes, that is the plan ... well ... for all but one, and it would be a massive spoiler to explain why. Just accept it is not logically possible for any character in the story to solve this final puzzle. If a way can be found round this, at least a fourth book in the trilogy (Douglas Adam style) is possible to wrap it all up.

Q: "What will The Metaverse trilogy be about?"

Though only three weeks old, a fully grown man named 'Five' must lead a mass escape when he and his fellow human 'lab rats' are faced with extermination. Pursued by killers with unknown motives, hampered by hidden players manipulating events, running when they can, fighting when they must, they try to survive in an unfamiliar world. Meanwhile, Five struggles to learn some magic to keep them all safe. Their journey takes them across an immense flat landscape, then across the vastness of space, bringing them into conflict with alien cultures and gods. Five learns that to truly master magic, he must seek its origin. The astounding and terrifying answer, when he finds it, discovery will send shock-waves throughout The Metaverse.

Q: "Where did the idea for The Metaverse come from?"

DW Brownlaw played Dungeons and Dragons (tm) in the 1970s. Like many players, he started to design his own fantasy world setting for a series of games (a 'campaign'): a fantastical world named 'The Planes of Sheol'. He never ran that campaign, but over succeeding decades that strange world refused to let go of him, and he wrote reams of notes about it.

Over time, these notes widened out to consider what sort of universe is realistically needed to make such strange worlds and a unique magic system possible. The Metaverse, its cosmology and its slightly-odd physics slowly took shape.

From 2015, characters started coming into DW Brownlaw's mind, at which point he realised this was no longer an RPG campaign but a series of books - a trilogy. Retired since mid-2017, he is now excited and impatient to share with readers how similar and yet so puzzlingly different The Metaverse is compared to our own universe.

Q: "How & when will The Metaverse series be published?"

Short stories and novellas

These are available for anyone to read for free, here on this website. Some have even appeared in various anthologies of fantasy and science fiction. They will always appear on this website, though, ...

... so bookmark this web address now:

  • Note: A few stories & novellas will be reserved exclusively for newsletter subscribers. So make sure you sign up (it's free) to receive this exclusive benefit (see Q:"How can I find out more?" below).


When there are enough stories on this website, Five's story will then be written as a "trilogy" of books (3 books, but maybe 4). There are no plans yet as to how these will be published. Having them printed through a traditional print-publisher is preferred, of course. However, the publishing landscape is changing rapidly, and may be unrecognisable by the time the final manuscripts are completed. At that time, self-publishing may be the only option.

Q: "How can I find out more?"

Subscribe to the free Metaverse Newsletter to follow developments. This will announce everything as it happens, and will occasionally include an exclusive story for subscribers only.