What is the correct term for a book that sits alongside another book in time and universe, sharing some characters and events? Not after (a sequel) or before (a prequel), but parallel.

Example: I've just read "Ender's Shadow". It's a [something] of "Ender's Game".

  • Maybe there would be different terms depending on whether it is written by the same author or not ... "Ender's Shadow is a .... of Ender's Game" but "Wicked is a .... of The Wizard of Oz"
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 13:37

12 Answers 12


I would call them concurrent stories:

1: operating or occurring at the same time
2: running parallel

Regarding filling your blank, I humbly offer:

I've just read "Ender's Shadow". It's a [concurrent narrative] of "Ender's Game".
I've just read "Ender's Shadow". Its narrative is concurrent to "Ender's Game".

  • 2
    The only flaw with concurrent, I think, is that it makes no implication either way about the stories being related, merely happening chronologically at the same time.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 16:54

Ender's Shadow is a parallel or mirror of Ender's Game, just as Desperation is a parallel or mirror of The Regulators.

  • 1
    I believe the term "parallel novel" is even included in some of Card's commentary regarding Ender's Shadow and Ender's Game.
    – Iszi
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 14:13


Paraquel seems to already have a level of acceptance. I found a few different links that talk about it. A Google search will reveal even more.

Funny how a word seems to be everywhere when one knows what to look for. My first thought was to use the prefix ~syn, as in synthesis to form synquel. I Then looked online and discovered some troll has trademarked the term. Which is lame. So I abandoned that idea and then considered one of the words suggested in a different answer, paralleloquel.

While in my opinion it seemed to have more potential than other suggestions, the problem is that the word parallel means two things alongside that don't ever touch, which isn't appropriate for two stories that intertwine. However, if we strip down to just the prefix ~para, we find that it means "alongside, beyond, altered, contrary", which is suitable enough. Especially the "alongside" and "altered" bits.

~para is Greek, and ~quel is Latin, but I don't think anyone is too bothered about that kind of thing anymore.

So, my vote now is definitely for paraquel.

I've just read Ender's Shadow. It's a paraquel of Ender's Game.

Just for fun, also note in those links above some other interesting words such as circumquel, interquel, and inquel. One I don't see suggested, but could be, is intraquel, which would be a story within a story.

  • 1
    Based on the edit I have converted my vote to +1. Your links are good. The word is organic and people are using it. I also think that other single-word suggestions congeal on the tongue. Furthermore, I like the more fundamental root of "para" vs. the more specific "parallel." After all, one could debate the "parallelism" of two stories that are entirely unrelated but cross at a discrete point, and continue in different directions; this is not a problem for the root "para." Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 16:28
  • @Tolerance72: Sorry I got snarky. Glad we could get to a happier consensus. :)
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 16:34
  • Likewise, on all accounts. Best regards! Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 17:53

I've referred to those exact books as being coincident.


In another channel I've had paralleloquel as a suggestion. I quite like that.


If they share some of the same characters AND events wouldn't they cross or touch at some point? i.e wouldn't be parallel.

Maybe tangential might describe that better.

  • I see them as parallel and partially overlapping, as opposed to occasionally intersecting.
    – Roy
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 7:28
  • @Roy how is partially overlapping different to occasionally intersecting? Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 7:46
  • 1
    I like "tangential" and I've seen it used. Sometimes it means something more akin to "branching" but often it means exactly what we have here. Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 8:23
  • 2
    @Matt: I failed to think of a way to describe the concept concisely with words, so if a plotline had a graphical representation, lh5.googleusercontent.com/-T1ZJv21Iu0s/UAaB3Sj5m2I/AAAAAAAAAXY/…
    – Roy
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 9:30
  • @Roy Oh! Very good, then. :) Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 9:43

Sometimes isochronous is used that way


I would say that "Ender's Shadow is contemporary with Ender's Game."

  • 2
    Also: contemporaneous, depending on how one wants to phrase the statement.
    – horatio
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 16:49
  • Contemporary, with respect to works, might imply they were written at similar times, and in this case, they are not.
    – McKay
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 22:30
  • @McKay Technically correct. Which, of course, is the best type of correct to be. The word is still a good one, however, and to disambiguate, one might instead say that "The plot of Ender's Shadow is contemporary with that of Ender's Game."
    – Kaz Dragon
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 6:55
  • @KazDragon Yeah, it might help to be more specific when using this word in this fashion, but it can work.
    – McKay
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 13:53

Contemporaneous, contemporary.

Example: I've just read "Ender's Shadow". It's contemporaneous to "Ender's Game".


If we're considering synquel (mentioned by Dave M G), then another option is conquel. The only "official" reference for this that I know of is the ever-so-reputable Urban Dictionary, but that may be good enough for this purpose.

If we're coining our own and throwing scraps of Latin together, we might try coquel (basically same as conquel) or juxtaquel.

  • Changed my suggestion from synquel to paraquel. Putting aside trademark problems, paraquel seems to already be more established.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 10:25

Simultaneous adjective 1. existing, occurring, or operating at the same time; concurrent


"same setting" is a (probably colloquial) term that I've seen used to represent stories that occur concurrently and (mostly) separately.

I've just read "Ender's Shadow". It has the same setting as "Ender's Game".

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