Moe: What are you telling us, we're trapped like rats?A town enclosed under a dome. Features seem to include letting everyone on the outside go to hell, being a paranoid City in a Bottle, and ending up as a doomed domed hometown. Fairly traditional for underwater cities or space colonies in SF. An Underground City may or may not have one holding up the roof and/or simulating a sky. Subtrope of Wall Around the World. Not to be confused with a Doomed Hometown.
Russ Cargill: No, rats can't be trapped this easily, you're trapped like... carrots.
Russ Cargill: No, rats can't be trapped this easily, you're trapped like... carrots.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Paradigm City, setting of The Big O, isn't completely domed, but the domes are where the rich people live. Later on, when the dramatic revelations start piling up, it is strongly implied that the rest of the city is under a dome too, just a dome so large that they don't know it's there.
- It's also implied that the larger dome is in fact the edge of reality for Paradigm, since the final episode indicates that the city exists as some sort of Matrix-esque program that can be deleted or rebooted. This makes Paradigm perhaps the only example of an entire reality existing entirely under a dome.
- Domed and apparently doomed: most (if not all) of the cities of Ergo Proxy.
- Likewise those of Wolfs Rain.
- Tokyo Jupiter in RahXephon.
- The Regios of Chrome Shelled Regios. Serves as this in order to protect the inhabitants from the toxic external environment.
- The "Innocent" of Combat Mecha Xabungle live in domes because they're baseline humans who can't survive in the radioactive wasteland outside like their genetically engineered creations the "Civilians".
- In One Piece, Doflamingo uses his String-String power to in case the entirety of Dressrosa in a a cage of string called the Birdcage.
- Eden in Mother Keeper is surrounded by a dome in order to make Eden perfect and doom everyone outside of it.
- The city Anvard in Carla Speed McNeil's Finder.
- Recently Sonic the Hedgehog is given this in New Mobotropolis. A friendly AI controlled city with a retractable dome that is quite good at keeping people out. (Except when it isn't)
- Supergirl: Two versions of Argo City, one on either side of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The second one turned out to be overrun by Aliens when Superman found it, and wasn't really from Krypton after all. Both end up as Doomed Hometowns too, for that matter.
- In pre-Crisis Superman comics, Lori Lemaris's Atlantis survived its sinking with a giant dome. They later removed the dome after biologically changing themselves into merpeople to survive underwater.
Films — Animation
- The City in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Films — Live-Action
- The film version of Battlefield Earth has a flattened and angular "dome" over the Psychlos' Denver base, which is used to maintain a breathable atmosphere for the Psychlos.
- The city in the movie version of Logan's Run. The book version had people (and cities, etc) all over the Earth, with no domes.
- The Mars colony in the original Total Recall (1990).
- The town where most of the action takes place in The Truman Show, though the main character doesn't realize it.
- The enclave in Zardoz.
- In Impostor, the cities are covered by defensive shields to protect them from Alpha Centauri attacks.
- The 3D cult classic The Bubble, also known as Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth, features a young couple landing their plane in a remote town only to find that they are now trapped there by the eponymous "bubble'' which surrounds the place and prevents anyone from leaving.
- In Night's Dawn, all the cities on Earth are under giant domes, to protect them from the hurricane-on-steroids armada storms that rage across the planet. Before the domes were built, a farmer's pickup truck was found in New York City after a storm - in floor seventy of the Sears Tower.
- Isaac Asimov had two planets with the populations living in sealed cities: Trantor in The Psychohistorians and Earth in The Caves of Steel. In both cases, the inhabitants developed a neurosis about the open air. The underground cities of Earth were built to be armored against nuclear bombs. Trantor's evolvement into a planet-wide city took a thousand years as the center of a galactic empire.
- David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series provides an example of this, with seven enormous domed cities housing 36 billion people.
- Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
- The books features two fairly important planets whose entire population is contained by these due to in-progress terraforming; Beta Colony (the homeworld of Miles Vorkosigan's mother), and Komarr (annexed by Barrayar a generation ago lest it gets bribed or strongarmed into permitting another invasion). The technological and social implications are rather well discussed.
- The Cetagandans in the novels also use "force domes", but they can be switched on and off, and are used for temporary containment (prison camp) or just as security perimeters (the Celestial Garden). It's also possible to control the weather within the dome, which ensures the Emperor in the Celestial Garden doesn't get rained on.
- Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars.
- Featured in the teen dystopian novel Devil on My Back by Monica Hughes.
- Some cities in Red Mars are in tents (some of which are dome-shaped), supported by the higher air pressure inside.
- The city of New London in the second book of the Spaceforce series is entirely enclosed under a dome, as are other separate facilities such as the nearby spaceport.
- A dome covers the public eating area in the Kim Newman short story "Tomorrow Town". Like everything else in the Zeerust "community of the future", it is somewhat impractical.
- Much of the action in William Gibson's Sprawl novels and short-stories takes place in the wholly or partially domed Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis mega-city.
- In John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar the island of Manhattan has been enclosed in a "Fuller Dome" (See Real Life section below). It went into some detail about the negative effects of doming a city.
- Stephen King's novel Under the Dome deals with a small town in Maine that is quite suddenly, and unexpectedly, placed... well, guess.
- In Gone, a dome appears over Perdido Beach (actually, in a 10-mile radius around the nearby nuclear power plant) at the same time everyone older than 14 disappears.
- The idea is Older Than Radio, appearing in the 1881 socialist and white supremacist fantasy Three Hundred Years Hence by British author William Delisle Hay. Hay's book describes a future civilization where most of humanity lives in glass-domed cities beneath the sea, allowing the surface to be used primarily for agriculture.
- Steven Millhauser has an odd little short story called "The Dome" where he describes a world where first domes were built over individual houses, to protect them from weather, burglars, etc, then neighborhoods became domed, then entire cities, and finally the entire world was encased in a giant dome.
- Grayson, in the Honor Harrington series, developed these as a means of controlling the planet's high concentration of heavy metals. Given their limited tech base, these domes weren't all that large until allying with Manticore introduced them to crystoplast and other modern super-strong materials.
- In Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships, London (and most surviving cities) are domed with concrete as protection against the bombs of an artificially-prolonged World War I. The dome gets broken while we watch.
- In the Apprentice Adept novels by Piers Anthony, the inhabitants of Proton live in domed communities because the mining of protonite has ravaged the planet's ecology, rendering its atmosphere toxic.
- The alien Masters in The Tripods use domes to recreate their home planet's atmosphere.
- A domed city within a city appears in Perdido Street Station, as the cactacea of New Crobuzon built themselves a gigantic greenhouse to live in.
- James Blish created not only domed cities out of familiar earth cities like Pittsburgh and New York but they travelled through space looking for work in his Cities in Flight series. The domes and the motive force for traversing the stars were created by enormously powerful machines he called "spindizzies"
- The island of the Skeezers in Glinda of Oz is covered by a glass dome, and can be magically lowered beneath the surface of the lake so that it becomes an Underwater City.
- Deconstructed in Donald E. Westlake's "The Risk Profession", in which the asteroid-belt outpost of Atronics City is protected by a dome ... of solid iron, because a transparent one would be too fragile and would get so scratched up by dust particles that you couldn't see in or out anyway.
- The Cthulhu Mythos Alternate History short story, "A Colder War", by Charles Stross. The last survivors of the human race eke out their existence in XK-Masada, a city on an alien planet built beneath a mile-high dome designed by Buckminster Fuller.
- Most of the large cities in the Revelation Space universe are enclosed under pressurized domes, as most planets are Death Worlds. Chasm City is the most notable, with a 60 kilometer wide dome covering the city and the volcano-like rupture in the center of the city that produces the breathable air.
- The Fours' Cities (of which there are only three for some reason) in Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun are under domes that keep a breathable atmosphere in, since the oxygen concentration outside the domes is so low that humanity can't survive without oxygen pills.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress most of the Lunar settlements are underground caves and warrens, though one section of Luna City is referred to as "Old Dome," and is implied to be a large dome at or near the Moon's surface which the city outgrew.
- Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged by Chris Cymri start off in a religious community enclosed in a force field dome, one of the few pockets of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world.
- In The Heritage of Shannara the Elven capital of Arborlon is protected by a magical dome known as the Keel, which is meant to keep out the "demons" (read as: failed magical experiments) that haunt the island of Morrowindl.
- New Chicago in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series.
- Doctor Who:
- The Citadel of the Time Lords on Gallifrey. Notable in that it seems the dome is just there to look pretty.
- Played straight, however, with the Thal Dome and the Kaled Dome in "Genesis of the Daleks".
- Power Rangers:
- Corinth in Power Rangers RPM, as befitting of a "last bastion of humanity in a world ruled by robots" setting.
- Honorable mention goes to Terra Venture of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, which was of course covered by a dome because it was a colony ship designed to take a city of people to another planet.
- Stargate Verse:
- Star Trek: The Original Series. In the first pilot ("The Cage"), when the Talosians give Captain Pike the illusion of being back on Earth, a matte-painted domed city (Mojave, California) is seen in the background.
- Blake's 7 sets most of its first episode in one.
- Babylon 5: a love affair with Domed Hometown if there ever was one. Earthdome, capital of the Earth Alliance, is Geneva under a dome or series of domes. Marsdome and other Mars cities are under domes. The science base studying the Shadow vessel on Ganymede featured a large dome under which the ship was kept and which shattered when it took off. The "capital city" of the Shadows on Z'Ha'Dum was underground and featured a large dome. By extension, several human starship designs are fundamentally spherical, with the Babylon stations being a collection of spherical and cylindrical sections.
- Troy in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica was this according to a deleted scene. The mining accident on Troy was a massive explosion that caused the dome to collapse.
- The Silver Millennium is reimagined as one of these in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, while the rest of the Moon at that time had the barren surface we know.
- One Saturday Night Live sketch opens with a fake advertisement touting putting a dome over your house as the next big thing in home security... only for Eddie Murphy to interrupt and run down every disadvantage of such a practice.
- Under the Dome: Inspired by the novel of the same name, and once again features an impenetrable energy field coming down and trapping the town of Chester's Mill. Despite being continually referred to as a dome, it's actually a massive sphere.
- The Church's song "Dome":
I saw this film about some people who lived in a dome
in a beautiful field next to a river of foam
I fell asleep before it was over...
in a beautiful field next to a river of foam
I fell asleep before it was over...
- Alpha Complex in Paranoia. Unless it's actually an Elaborate Underground Base; the Game Master is invited to play fast and loose with even setting basics like this to keep players off guard.
- Aquas, an undersea version, is one of the quirkier outposts of the Alphatian Empire in the Mystara D&D setting. After the Alphatian mainland sinks in the Wrath of the Immortals Adventure Path, Aquas becomes the new capital of what's left of the Empire. At least, what's left on the outer world.
- In BattleTech background material there's mention of worlds where at least some of the population lives in underwater dome cities.
- Most major planetary or lunar surface colonies in Eclipse Phase. The exceptions being those on the few inhabitable exosolar worlds that have been discovered and some cities and towns on Mars designed for Rusters, who can breathe the semi-terraformed atmosphere.
- In the Planescape campaign, there's the City of Glass on the Elemental Plane of Water. The name is kind of a misnomer. Most of it is actually made of a rare substance called Eternal Ice (which is ice that does not melt) with a glass dome over it. It is populated by a variety of races, both native to the Plane and immigrants from elsewhere.
- Many settlements across the solar system in Rocket Age.
- The future of A.D. 2300 in Chrono Trigger features the ruins of domed cities from before the apocalypse.
- Parts of Midgar in Final Fantasy VII; Sector 7 is the "Domed and Doomed" variant, as the baddies try to drop that part on the heroes. While they miss the PCs, in the process they kill everyone there, including three members of La Résistance.
- The guild of glass makers in the adventure game Loom live in one of these. Made of glass, natch.
- All bases (cities) in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. Justified because Planet's atmosphere is toxic to humans. A particularly dome-happy faction are the pirates, but they build floating bases on oceans. Another point is that sea bases come with a specific structure for free, the Pressure Dome, which is meant to protect against possible submersion (and also works as a Recycling Tanks facility).
- In Spore if you place a colony on a planet with poor atmosphere then it'll generate a domed shield to protect its inhabitants.
- In Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2, humans who don't want to get turned to stone by the corrupted data coming from the Sun have two choices: live in these, or become man-eating demons.
- Major plot twist in Custom Robo (for the Nintendo Gamecube, not the original Japanese game). The main cast is revealed to have been living in a blissful artificial town surrounded by and protected from the devastation and decay of the real world. Even nature as we know it no longer exists, and grass and trees are manmade.
- Atlantis in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is an Underwater Base that happens to be an Advanced Ancient Acropolis which sank into the ocean, protected by machines powered by stone-age orichalcum. It's thoroughly Ragnarok-proofed despite sitting on a volcano.
- Ciel Shelter, the first town in Wild ARMs 4, fits this to a tee. The generator keeping the town floating in the sky is damaged, however, and the entire dome falls into the sea.
- In G-Police the various sections of Earth's colony on the Jovian moon Calliso are contained within domes to contain a breathable atmosphere. The domes appear to be made of a mesh of laser beams but they make a metalic clanging sound if they are rammed. In one mission some terrorists hijack a train-load of bombs and attempt to detonate them in one of the tunnels that connect these domes in an attempt to fracture them.
- All of the major cities in Opoona are like this, and are even generally referred to as "domes." They're there to keep out the horrible monsters roaming the wilderness. At one point, you even get to explore an old dome that didn't keep them out well enough.
- Sections of Rapture in BioShock feature somewhat of a variation on this, though not the whole city but only sections of open plazas being encased under glass barrel arches, it's a barrel arched town.
- The Oasis of Mra Jolios in Torment: Tides of Numenera is a giant dome of water in the middle of a desert. Doubles as an Underwater City.
- Broken Space begins in the domed city of Hentune.
- In Heartcore, humans live in cities encased in domes to protect them from an enviornment too hostile for them to survive in.
- In Sinfest, Slick promises -- or threatens -- domed cities while running for president.
- Being created by two guys who really like to Show Their Work, A Miracle of Science averts this trope, and a detailed explanation of why it's an Averted Trope appears in The Rant under one of the strips.note
- Familiar Territory takes place in Southland, a quarantined city surrounded by a dome.
- The city of Amity Park in the Twenty Minutes into the Future Danny Phantom Movie "The Ultimate Enemy", where it has been domed to protect it from ghosts attacks. (Specifically from Dark Danny). There's also the implication that the rest of the world has been razed by Dark Danny.
- The dome over Springfield in the quote from The Simpsons Movie is a slight reversal. After Springfield has a major environmental disaster involving pig crap, it's there to let the town go to hell and spare the outside world.
Homer Simpson: D'OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHME!!!
- Rocky and Bullwinkle once visited Submerbia, an underwater domed city that was menaced by Maybe Dick, the Wailing Whale.
- Cyberchase: The town of Happily Ever After builds an enormous glass dome to keep the Hacker out. Hacker schemes to break through by having Wicked break through the dome with her glass shattering voice.
- Brainy in The Smurfs cast the entire village inside a soundproof dome, and the only way the Smurflings (who are trapped outside) can break the dome is with the sound of a pin drop.
- Kiev in Generator Rex has been encased in a dome to stop the huge number of dangerous E.V.O.s populating it escaping.
- Megas XLR features a domed city in the Episode "Ultra Chicks."
- Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: All that is left of "civilization" on the Wretched Hive planet of Tortuna is a handful of domed cities. The rest is a desert wasteland after The Queen of the Crowns bombed most of the planet.
- In 1979-80 the town planners of Winooski, Vermont seriously proposed building a dome over 850 acres of the downtown (the whole town is 1 square mile in area), getting to the point where Buckminster Fuller visited the area and headlined a conference at nearby St. Michael's College. Years later, the long-forgotten proposal showed up, described as having been built, in a Chinese Middle School textbook.
- Buckminster Fuller famously advocated that large areas, including cities, should be enclosed in the geodesic "Fuller" domes with which his name is always associated, although he did not in fact invent them. He pointed out that the hot air rising from a typical city would be sufficient to support the dome like an inflated balloon.
- Frédéric Bastiat, a 19th century Deadpan Snarker economist, in his satirical "Candlemakers Petition", suggested that the government should build domes around cities, to protect candlemakers (and industries that are involved in candlemaking) from "harmful" competition from the Sun. This was a Take That against protectionists who argued that importation of foreign goods ought to be restricted.
- The Habitat and Biosphere 2 projects, in which researchers were attempting to live in a self-contained environment (to see what sort of problems they might run into if they built similar structures in, say, outer space). Results were rather poor. This was unfortunate for prospects of space travel, naturally. They did successfully discover a lot of things not to do....
- Walt Disney's original 1966 plan for EPCOT as a "community of tomorrow" was said to have featured something like this, but that rumor stemmed from confusion as to what exactly Disney's plans were. The city/apartment/hotel portion of EPCOT (aka the center) was to be entirely enclosed, but more in the "shopping mall" sense of a massive building housing everything as opposed to a (rather unfeasible) clear dome over the whole thing. The other two portions of EPCOT (the "green belt" entertainment complex and the housing developments) were to be completely outdoors. This rumor led to the even more ridiculous rumor that Disney has an invisible dome over their entire Disney World property in Florida, that somehow keeps the rain out (which as anyone who's visited there during hurricane season can attest isn't true at all).
- An idea to build a domed city in Alaska, to be called "Seward's Success", was (unsurprisingly) never built.
- Similar ideas were presented to protect major city centers in the US as a response to climate change.