In Sliders, Quinn Malory creates an absurdly benign wormhole. On travelling through it the characters wind up at approximately the same location in the other universe. They always seem to land where they want (usually the same spot on Earth), even though Earth is constantly moving very fast, and even though Earth is a tiny speck in an infinitely sprawling universe.

It seems especially odd in multiverse theory, where the parallel universe isn't necessarily layered on another universe in another dimension, but may be a physically separate location somewhere - how do they pin-point the location? Heck, how do they even set coordinates within our own universe?

This video by Isaac Arthur is what inspired me to ask this question. He says:

[Talking about the show Sliders] "I don't remember what specific handwave they were using, if any, for why this always opened up on Earth and a close parallel of our society, rather than randomly dumped into space, or at a Big Bang..."

Is there an explanation for this?

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    Typically, magic. But also, relativity.
    – Adamant
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:06
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    @Dakacha I've edited the question to focus on one franchise as that seems to be the reason it has been closed for now. I've got an answer ready to go it it gets re-opened :)
    – Jontia
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:22
  • @Jontia had that edit come up in review, I would've rejected it as changing the question too much. I agree that restricting the question to a single franchise might make sense, but why pick that one? And more importantly, it may not be what the OP had in mind.
    – SQB
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:26
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    Off topic for asking for a scientific solution? Show me a real-life wormhole and I'll agree with you.
    – SQB
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:27
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    Unfortunately even though Jontia's answer below is the closest thing to the canon technobabble, they never did actually offer an explanation of why they wouldn't land in a new universe where Earth was 50,000km ahead in its orbit and die in space. I always liked to think it was luck. Ironically in The Guardian Arturo says: "Herbert Van Meer was a Dutch astrophysicist who postulated the idea of a parallel earth that was revolving around the sun at the same period of time, but spinning on its axis a little bit faster." Jun 19, 2018 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


In Sliders the technobable is that the geographic spectrum stabilisers ensure that the two ends of the wormhole end up in the same location. In Double Cross (S03:E02) Quinn's female double switches the names part of their two copies of the Timer device, making the gang's timer less stable for the future. Sliders Wika, Double Cross

Quinn discovers that Logan switched the geographic spectrum stabilisers between their timer and her own. From this point on, they'll land anywhere in a 400 mile range between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

More generally and Out of Universe, this is an instance of minimal change. If you've invented a device that crosses dimensions, KISS (Keep it Simple Solution) means that crossing dimensions is all your device does. It doesn't move you in time, it doesn't move you in space, it crosses dimensions.

It is certainly possible for a writer to create a multi-verse where the "next dimension" over is set in a different physical orientation, or time flows at a different speed, but then your story is likely to be about something very different.

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    TBH I always felt it'd be better without the explanation. Quinn invented this thing accidentally in his basement after all. Would've fit much better with the narrative and the chaotic nature of sliding that it's just pure luck they never slide to a universe where Earth is in a different spot. Jun 19, 2018 at 1:22
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    Remember the world where time flows backwards? earthprime.com/travelogue/reverse-world
    – Whacko
    Jun 20, 2018 at 8:43
  • Well, it's certainly a better explanation than the one Quantum Leap used.
    – Spencer
    Aug 13, 2021 at 11:35

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