Created By: WaxingName on April 9, 2013 Last Edited By: WaxingName on April 20, 2013
Troped

Spacetime Eater

A creature that eats time and/or space.

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Page Type:
Trope
For this type of being, sustenance goes well beyond organic matter -- or any kind of matter. More dangerous than those who feed on blood, Life Energy, or planets, what it eats does not even exist tangibly, for it feeds on existence itself. Such individuals often display The Power of the Void.

See also Reality Warper, which is about controlling reality instead of eating it, and Clock Roaches which are guardians of causality that eliminate things that threaten it.

Examples

Film
  • The Neverending Story. The Nothing is consuming the land of Fantasia. If it isn't stopped, Fantasia will be destroyed.

Comics
  • The Anti-Monitor of The DCU destroys and absorbs the energies of many universes to become stronger. The instability of the few universes eventually causes the creation of the pre-New 52 New Earth.
  • Mister Mind almost became this in 52, bringing the 52 alternate universes in existence (their main differences being the parts of the respective realities which he "ate").

Literature
  • The Bigger Bad of The Atrocity Archive is an infovore, an extrauniversal intelligence that feeds on quantum information, causing the Alternate Universe it was summoned into to gradually collapse.
  • "The Space Eaters" by Frank Belknap Long begins with a conversation between the narrator and his friend on such Eldritch Abominations:
    "Suppose there were a greater horror? Suppose evil things from some other universe should decide to invade this one? Suppose we couldn't see them? Suppose we couldn't feel them? Suppose they were of a color unknown on Earth, or rather, of an appearance that was without color?... What could we do? Our hands would be tied. You cannot oppose what you cannot see or feel. You cannot oppose the thousand-dimensional. Suppose they should eat their way to us through space!"
  • Stephen King's The Langoliers had an airliner fly through a "time rip", landing at an airport with all its passengers but ten disappeared. The ten passengers, who were all sleeping during the passage through the rift, were all stuck in time such that time did not move forward (although they could move within that frame). Eventually, they saw mysterious ball-like creatures with sharp gnashing teeth literally "eating" the surrounding existence itself, approaching them....

Tabletop Games
  • The Eldrazi titans from Magic: The Gathering were exactly this before being trapped in a physical form on the plane of Zendikar by three powerful planeswalkers. Now they simply nom Zendikar from the inside, turning everything they meet to dust.
    • Another Magic: The Gathering example: While each variety of atog has its own diet, the chronatog is the most bizarre and is described as feeding on time... somehow. In the card game this is represented by the player skipping his next turn.

Toys
  • Unicron from the Transformers eats universes. In every continuity he's the same individual, at some different point in his existence. Some universes he devours, others are saved from him, and he's shunted to the next one to begin the cycle anew. According to the Transtech Cybertronians, Unicron has succesfully terminated 1,176,325 universes so far (out of 15,962,782 catalogued by them).

Video Games
  • Chrono Cross has the Time Devourer, the main antagonist of the game and the fusion of Lavos and Schala from the previous game.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has two:
    • From Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), there's the god of time and light Solaris, who plans to devour all of existence.
    • Sonic Generations has the Time Eater, a creature that eats holes in space and time and throwing Sonic into places he's been to before. It turns out that it's an Energy Being that Eggman and his past self turned into a cyborg-mech-abomination.
  • Marathon Infinity has W'rkncacnter, who as soon as it escapes from its prison in the sun screws with reality just by existing, and THEN it starts eating.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Alduin the World-Eater, whose raison d'etre is to devour the universe at the end of time to make way for the next world. In the current one, according to some theories he jumped the gun: it wasn't time for the world to end, which was why first the Tongues, then the Dragonborn were able to defeat him.
  • Neo-Exdeath from Final Fantasy V, who says he/she/it will consume all memories, dimensions, and existence. Then he/she/it too will dissapear, forever.

Real Life
  • While black holes aren't living, they do have a gravitational pull that is so strong that time and space bends towards it.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • April 9, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • April 9, 2013
    Gatomon41
    Literature:

    • "The Space Eaters" by Frank Belknap Long begins with a conversation between the narrator and his friend on such Eldirtch Abominations:
      "Suppose there were a greater horror? Suppose evil things from some other universe should decide to invade this one? Suppose we couldn't see them? Suppose we couldn't feel them? Suppose they were of a color unknown on Earth, or rather, of an appearance that was without color?... What could we do? Our hands would be tied. You cannot oppose what you cannot see or feel. You cannot oppose the thousand-dimensional. Suppose they should eat their way to us through space!"
  • April 9, 2013
    Ghilz
    Unicron from the Transformers eats universes. In every continuity he's the same individual, at some different point in his existence. Some universes he devours, others are saved from him, and he's shunted to the next one to begin the cycle anew. According to the Transtech Cybertronians, Unicron has succesfully terminated 1,176,325 universes so far (out of 15,962,782 catalogued by them).
  • April 10, 2013
    Frank75
    See also Clock Roaches.
  • April 10, 2013
    Ekuran
    They often display The Power Of The Void.
  • April 11, 2013
    Koveras
    • Mister Mind almost became this in Fifty Two, bringing the 52 alternate universes in existence (their main differences being the parts of the respective realities which he "ate").
  • April 11, 2013
    Shinr
    • Marathon Infinity has W'rkncacnter, who as soon as it escapes from its prison in the sun screws with reality just by existing, and THEN it starts eating.
  • April 11, 2013
    101
    The Eldrazi titans from Magic:the gathering were exactly this before being trapped in a phisical form on the plane of Zendikar by three powerful planeswalkers. Now they simply nom Zendikar from the inside, turning everything they meet to dust.
  • April 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Oh, can't believe I forgot this guy:

    • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Alduin the World-Eater, whose raison d'etre is to devour the universe at the end of time to make way for the next world. In the current one, according to some theories he jumped the gun: it wasn't time for the world to end, which was why first the Tongues, then the Dragonborn were able to defeat him.
  • April 11, 2013
    WaxingName
    Does anyone have anything that can be added to the description?
  • April 12, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Literature

    Stephen King's The Langoliers had an airliner fly through a "time rip", landing at an airport with all its passengers but ten disappeared. The ten passengers, who were all sleeping during the passage through the rift, were all stuck in time such that time did not move forward (although they could move within that frame). Eventually, they saw mysterious ball-like creatures with sharp gnashing teeth literally "eating" the surrounding existence itself, approaching them....
  • April 12, 2013
    StarSword
    Subtrope of another YKTTW, Eater of the Abstract.
  • April 13, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Edited the page to make a link to the work page for The Langoliers--I didn't think to check that we had a page for it when I submitted the example, thought it was too minor a work, but turns out we do.
  • April 14, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Neverending Story. The Nothing is consuming the land of Fantasia. If it isn't stopped, Fantasia will be destroyed.
  • April 14, 2013
    Tallens
    This trope also counts as a Reality Warper, doesn't it?
  • April 14, 2013
    WaxingName
    ^Controlling reality and eating it are two different things.
  • April 14, 2013
    DunDun
    Would this type of creature be a Time Abyss?
  • April 14, 2013
    WaxingName
    ^Not necessarily. A Spacetime Eater could be born and start eating universes within seconds of its birth.
  • April 15, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Another Magic: The Gathering example: While each variety of atog has its own diet, the chronatog is the most bizarre and is described as feeding on time... somehow. In the card game this is represented by the player skipping his next turn.
  • April 15, 2013
    DunDun
    I thought it was frowned upon to have examples/descriptions refer to something without explaining how it's related. I'm referring to how Clock Roaches and Reality Warper relate to this trope. Like, readers shouldn't have to go to another page to understand the relation.
  • April 15, 2013
    WaxingName
    ^I honestly don't see how Clock Roaches is connected to this, but I did add an explanation for Reality Warper.
  • April 15, 2013
    StarSword
    Clock Roaches seem to basically be nonsentient guardians of causality that eat things threatening it. I think it's a "Compare" situation.
  • April 15, 2013
    rtsstrtrst
    • Neo-Exdeath, who says he/she/it will consume all memories, dimensions, and existence. Then he/she/it too will dissapear, forever.
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
  • April 20, 2013
    WaxingName
    ^No it's not. I want a description that's at least 4 lines (not counting relations) until I launch this.
  • April 20, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    Objection: as evidenced by the examples list, not every Spacetime Eater is an Eldritch Abomination, though there is some overlap.

    Eldritch Abomination is a pain to clean up as it is; please let's not encourage further misuse.
  • April 20, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Here's a rewrite of the first paragraph for your consideration:

    For this type of being, sustenance goes well beyond organic matter -- or any kind of matter. More dangerous than those who feed on blood, Life Energy, or planets, what it eats does not even exist tangibly, for it feeds on existence itself. Such individuals often display The Power Of The Void.

    (Optionally, the first sentence can end "or any kind of matter, for that matter.")
  • April 20, 2013
    WaxingName
    ^Awesome! It may need a little more, though.
  • April 20, 2013
    DunDun
    Probably want to mention that it is not an eater of intangible "things" (as we have Abstract Eater in YKTTW).
  • April 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Well, to be honest, I think those two do overlap.
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Actually, no. Abstract Eater is the supertrope (it's this but less specific).
  • April 20, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    I think Spacetime Eater might be a subtrope of Abstract Eater, given that the spacetime continuum is a mathematical construct and existence is (sort of) a very tangible concept.
  • April 20, 2013
    DunDun
    I don't think they're sub- or super-tropes. They're the most-broad eater of intangible and tangible things.

    Abstract Eater is in the Life Drinker and Emotion Eater family while Spacetime Eater is more physical/tangible and in the Planet Eater family.
  • April 20, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    Hmmm, okay. That's arguable. Sister tropes, then, at least. However, I would maintain that eating 'spacetime' or 'existence' is kind of like eating 'tangibility'. It's a concept, it's just a concept that directly affects the physical world.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=dv0jtq6iktm4f9mwc5wnccw2&trope=SpacetimeEater