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"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Parallel Universe  
  An entirely separate realm or universe that exists along with our own; it may be wildly different or vary from ours by only a tiny degree.  

This is a very early instance of this term in sf; possibly a first reference.

We conceive ourselves to be living in a parallel universe to yours, on a planet the very brother of your own.
Technovelgy from Men Like Gods, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Macmillan in 1923
Additional resources -

The notion of a separate world, or plane of existence, or realm, has existed in the human imagination from time immemorial. The classical Greeks used the ideas of Mount Olympus and Hades' underworld as different realms that existed along with our own; the ancient Hindus used the idea of a multiplicity of realms called "lokas".

Wells also described this idea in 1896 in The Plattner Story:

To put the thing in technical language, the curious inversion of Plattner's right and left sides is proof that he has moved out of our space into what is called the Fourth Dimension, and that he has returned again to our world.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Men Like Gods
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
  Tech news articles related to Men Like Gods
  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

Parallel Universe-related news articles:
  - Have Scientists Found A Parallel Universe Leaking Into Ours

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Science Fiction in the News

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'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

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'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

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'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

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'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

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'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'

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