List Of Alternate Universes
Alternate Universe (also known as alternate reality), is commonly abbreviated as AU and it is a descriptor used to characterize fanworks which change one or more elements of the source work’s canon. The term most often refers to fanfiction, but fanart can also depicted the characters in AUs.
Unlike regular fanfiction, which generally remains within the boundaries of the canon set out by the author, alternate universe fiction writers like to explore the possibilities of pivotal changes made to characters’ history, motivations, or environment.
- Alien Invasion AU – In which the story deals with an alien invasion when canonically it does not ever happened.
- All Human AU – In which characters who are canonically non-human are now humans, with corresponding changes to their backstories.
- Alpha/Beta/Omega AU – Often referred to as A/B/O or even Omegaverse. It is a growing trope of AUs originated in kinkmemes in which characters can be Alphas (dominant males or females), Betas (ordinary working class), or Omegas (submissive males or females).
- Android AU – In which the main character or most of the cast are turn into androids that serve different purposes, such as bodyguard, solider, caregiver and so on. In other cases it becomes something similar to Absolute Boyfriend (Zettai Kareshi) where they are mail order androids that can be order online or from a cataloged. If not, they may have originally been human but turn into an android for whatever reason.
- Angel/Demon AU – When angels and demons exist (in the case of canons that don’t have them) or a character is recast as one of them. However, these kind of AUs don’t necessarily have to have both beings in the story as some tend to focus on only one of them.
- Arranged Marriage AU – Similar to the Marriage Law AU, only the difference is that not all the characters are required to be married. It is mostly focused on only one pairing and it is usually a pairing that wouldn’t normally get together such as crack ships or doomed ships. In some stories it is a plausible idea, but in others it is not.
- Bakery AU – When most of the cast of a story works at a bakery while the rest are customers.
- BDSM AU – Is when the entire cast is either a dominant or a submissive and BDSM relationships are considered the norm. Be advised that while a healthy BDSM relationship is consensual and not dangerous, if handled incorrectly it can result in abusive behavior which is offensive and considered bad BDSM etiquette.
- Bookstore AU – When most of the casts works at a bookstore. If not, usually a few of the characters work there, while the rest of them are customers. Another version is the Library AU, in which one or two of the characters are librarians, while the rest of the cast spend their time looking for particular books.
- Business AU – In which the story is set in a building and the characters are employees. Sometimes it is focus on one character who works as a secretary and another character as their boss.
- Circus AU – In which the story is set in a circus and the characters are circus performers or customers.
- Coffee Shop AU – Also known as Barista AU. In most cases, one half of the main pairing is the barista and the other is or becomes their favorite customer; in some stories the whole cast works at a coffee shop.
- Crime AU – In which the characters of a story are various type of criminals, such as
burglars, bank robbers, gangsters, drug dealers, smugglers, hitman/fixer and so on. This AU focuses on their criminal lives. It is similar to the Mafia AU.
- Darkside AU – Is when the canon villain of the story succeeds in their mission and the AU story focuses on the outcome of it.
- Desert island AU – Or an uninhabited island AU, in which a character or most of the characters of a story are trapped on a deserted island, usually from being shipwrecked or their plane crashing.
- Dystopian AU – Is set in a dystopian society that is not the original setting of the canon.
- Fairy Tail AU – In which canon characters are put into situations and/or settings from fairy tales, such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.
- Fantasy AU – In which the story takes place in a fantasy universe where magic or magical abilities is normal, technology is nonexistent and supernatural creatures exist.
- Flower Shop AU – Similar to the Coffee Shop AU and the Bakery AU, but instead the entire cast works in a flower shop. Or one of the characters works there and the rest are customers.
- Genderswap AU – In which one or more characters in the story switch binary sexes, such as depicting a male character as a cis woman.
- Harem AU – Or Reverse Harem AU is when a story that doesn’t contain any polygamous or love triangle relationships turns into one. Usually the main character has something happen to them that attracts the other characters to them, be it from a love potion, experimental perfume, spell gone wrong, and so on.
- Haunted House AU – Or Haunted Castle AU, in which a character moves into a new home or castle and doesn’t know that it is haunted (usually by a ghost, sometimes a demon or some other type of creature) or they are dared by their friends to spend the night in it.
- High School/College AU – In which the characters are shown in high school or in college together. They are often done with characters who canonically meet later in life, altering or entirely overwriting their original backstories. Similar to this AU is the Boarding School AU and the Elementary School AU.
- Hogwarts AU – In which the characters from other stories are placed into the setting of Harry Potter. These can be coexistent with Harry Potter canon, or ignore it entirely. But they are often portrayed as students of Hogwarts instead of teachers that work there.
- Hospital AU – In which the characters of a story are doctors, nurses and patients in a hospital (sometimes it is set in an asylum).
- Hooker AU – Where one or more of the characters is a sex worker. The more common is the Pretty Woman-type fantasy of a hooker with a heart of gold, rescued from life on the streets by a client. Sex work of all kinds is portrayed: brothels, escorts, street prostitution, “call-girls” as well as strippers and go-go boys. Most of the time one character of the pairing is the hooker and the other the client, though some stories have both characters as prostitutes (sometimes along with other canon characters, in either a brothel-type setting or living on the streets).
- Hunger Games AU – In which characters from other stories are competitors in the Hunger Games.
- Ice Cream Shop AU – When the casts works at an ice cream shop. Possibly one of the characters owns it, while the rest are employees or customers.
- Law Enforcement/Military AU – In which the cast are policeman, federal agents, soldiers, marines or whatnot and the story focuses on their lives.
- Mafia AU – In which the characters are in a mafia.
- Magic AU – Incorporate magic in stories where there is no magic present in canon.
- Marriage Law AU – It spawn from the Marriage Law Challenge in the Harry Potter fandom, in which the premise is to forced marriage between a Muggle-born to a Pure-blood (or Half-Blood) due to a new decree passed by the Ministry of Magic to help preserve the magical population.
- Master/Slave AU – In which the cast are place in an universe where slavery is an accepted economic and cultural institution. Some stories treat this as a significant moral problem to be resisted and overthrown if possible; others treat slavery as an unchangeable institution.
- Merpeople AU – Or also known as Undersea AU, in which a story is set in the ocean and the characters are turned into mermaids and merman. Sometimes it’s focus on only one character that becomes a mermaid or merman and another character that is a human. When it’s the latter the AU usually turns into a Little Mermaid type of story.
- Modern AU – In which characters from a historical (or pseudo-historical) canon universe are placed into a modern setting.
- Monster AU – In which the characters are changed into non-human creatures, such as Incubus/Succubus or other kinds of monsters.
- No Human AU – Also known as Animal AU, is the opposite of All Human AU, in which characters that are canonically human are now non-humans.
- Noir Detective AU – In which the characters are put in a typical ‘40s or '50s film noir environment. Or sometimes as a homage towards the style, in which the characters are still their canon selves, but plot or aesthetics are given a noir slant.
- Opposite AU – In which canon personalities and backstories are swapped out with an opposite versions of themselves. Such as a quiet shy character may become loud and outgoing.
- Pacific Rim AU – In which the characters are put into the world of Pacific Rim (most often as Jaeger pilots). This AU gained popularity due to the concept of Drift Compatibility that made for excellent shipping interactions.
- Pen Pal AU – Is when two characters (who have met in canon) have not met each other in this AU. Sometimes they live in the area and other times they don’t live on the same continent. Usually it is their school that sets them up as pen pals. If not, it is because one of the characters writes a letter to the wrong person/wrong address or they accidentally
texts the wrong person.
- Pirate AU – When the whole cast are pirates and it is focus on shipboard life, usually it is set in early nineteenth-century Europe. Sometimes it’s pirates in outer space.
- Prison AU – In which characters meet for the first time in an prison environment where they have to depend on each other.
- Private Detective AU – When one of the characters becomes a professional detective while the rest of the cast are their clients or the detective’s contacts in the police department (sometimes they work in other fields, in which the Detective character calls them in for favors to help solve difficult cases).
- Reincarnation AU – In which stories with historical canon setting have the characters become reincarnated into a modern setting and in doing so they are quite similar to their canon selves.
- Reverse AU – Is when the roles (and sometimes backstories) of the characters are swapped, such as the hero is the villain and the villain is the hero.
- Rockstar AU – In which the main casts is a popular music band or one of them is a solo artists with many groupies which may consist the rest of the characters.
- Roommate AU – In which the characters in a fandom are all living together in an apartment or an house. Usually this kind of story is focused on two characters that become roommates.
- Royalty AU – Where one or more characters (who canonically aren’t) are members of a royal family. This usually goes hand in hand with a historical period, featuring a Medieval AU or Regency AU, although some works are set in Modern times or even the Future.
- Single Parent AU – In which a character has a child or becomes a parent in someway and raises them on their own.
- Soulmates AU – Is when two (or more) characters are fated to be together, sometimes through multiple lives and/or into the afterlife. Sometimes but not always, the pairing might have a characteristic or tell to help them find each other, such as identical or complementary birthmarks, tattoos, scars, or an invisible string that ties to their other half which becomes thicker and shorter the closer they get to them. Some stories only need a character to hear (or just see) their soulmate to know who they are.
- Space AU – Where a fandom that is canonically set on Earth becomes set in outer space.
Spy AU – Also known as Secret Agent AU or Espionage AU. The whole cast is turned into spies, sometimes they work for the same organization, government or they operate independently. Other times the AU is focused on only one or two characters that are the spies.
- Superpowers AU – In which the characters have superpowers and are either heroes and/or villains.
- Steampunk AU – In which a story is turned into a futuristic/sci-fi version of a 19th Century, usually Victorian or Edwardian containing clocks, gears, springs, steam power, analog computers, airships, etc.
- Vampire/Werewolf AU – In which vampires and werewolves exist (in the case of canons that don’t have them) or a character is recast as a vampire or werewolf. However, these kind of AUs don’t necessarily have to have both species as some tend to focus on only one kind.
- Victorian AU – In which characters from a modern or future-set story are relocate to a stereotypical Victorian romanticism era.
- Western AU – In which the characters are transplanted into the “Old West”; or sometimes, especially in science fiction stories a Space Western equivalent, which may involve a western-type plot without horses and cattle ranches.
- Wonderland AU – In which the story and the characters are turned into their own version of “Alice in Wonderland”.
- Zombie Apocalypse AU – Also know as Zombie AU. In which stories that don’t contain an zombie apocalypse have it happen to them.
Note: This isn’t a complete list of AUs, but I will keep updating it whenever I come across something new (or someone lets me know what I’m missing). Also, keep in mind that sometimes an AU story is combine with others elements. For example, instead of the very common story about the characters attending a high school in modern times, it can be a magical school set in an futuristic world.