"Stand still, you ever moving spheres of heaven,
That time may cease, and midnight never come."
Time freezes (or seems to) for everyone and everything in the entire universe, except for the main cast of the story. The characters find themselves in an eerie, calm, silent world where the people and objects around them have become motionless statues. In some stories, this phenomenon happens by accident; in others, the heroes can stop time by using magic, a super power
or Applied Phlebotinum
In some cases, a world frozen in time is depicted in deliberate monochrome
, perhaps evoking a visual analogy of a still photograph. When time starts moving again, expect colour to gently flood back into the world. Another color pattern often used is color reversal—whites become blacks, greens become reds, and so on.
Can be a source of Fridge Logic
for those who have a mild grasp of physics. If the formula for power is work divided by time, what happens if the value for time is zero
Occasionally Hand Waved
by saying that the characters aren't really stopping time, they're just speeding themselves (and their minds) up
to a point where everything else seems stopped. To emphasize this, sometimes you'll get a shot of something that should move really fast, like the wings of a hummingbird, moving very slowly. This means that the illusion of time standing still can be achieved with enough raw Super Speed
. And sometimes it goes the other way, with time manipulation being the explanation for a character's Super Speed
. Of course, if they're really going that much faster than everything else, they would need lots of Required Secondary Powers
to move normally.
More rarely Hand Waved
if the character's power behaves like a personal alcubierre drive
, allowing time to progress normally within a set radius around the character while it has stopped or slowed for the rest of the world. This also gives an excuse to have projectiles fired or thrown by a character stop in midflight
at the edge of the zone of normal time.
Tends to require (often contrived) reasons for the character not being able to win every fight they ever participate in
... which, depending on how Super his Speed really is, could be every single fight in a city, country, or planet. Usually doesn't offer any reason whatsoever for the character being able to move through and breathe time-frozen air
, see despite the time-frozen light and such.
Compare Super Reflexes
and Year Inside, Hour Outside
. Can be a result of Caffeine Bullet Time
. Not to be confused with Frozen in Time
. Also not to be confused with the Degrassi
episode. Sometimes may be visually represented
as a Colour Coded Timestop
. Can be used to justify an extreme Speed Blitz
. Often ends with Un Paused
. The Air Not There
is a related trope. Many believe this is how Santa delivers his gifts
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Anime and Manga
- Dio Brando's Stand, The World, from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure can do this. An interesting example, in that this is played up as every bit as devastating a power as it seems (especially since, unlike many of the other examples, Dio is perfectly capable of damaging objects or people in the time-frozen world). Most of the cast is terrified of him, good and bad. Only Jotaro comes out of the fight with him still able to stand on his own, and that's only because his own Stand, Star Platinum, is the same type as Dio's. And the only reason anyone survived at all, as Joseph realized, is because Dio hasn't yet properly synchronized with The World to be able to keep time continuously stopped (he can only keep time stopped for a few seconds from his perspective before he has to let it flow again for a while).
ZA WARUDO! Toki yo tomare. (Time has stopped.)
- Through expert use of the time-travel device in Mahou Sensei Negima! to repeatedly jump to the same time and space at super high speed, it is possible to obtain a very brief "pseudo time stop" effect.
- Sally Yumeno from Sally the Witch can use this.
- As you might expect from the Guardian of Time, Setsuna Meiou/Sailor Pluto in the Sailor Moon canon has this ability. However, she is not allowed to actually use it: if she does, then she forfeits her life. (She does it anyway- multiple times, if you count the manga, anime and musicals — and always gets reincarnated in the end. In the SNES RPG Sailor Moon: Another Story, this is a costly (taking all 12 of her EP) but not fatal special ability that prevents the enemy from doing anything for three rounds. Given that the cost can be trivially recovered in one round, and the fact that no enemy has any defense against it, it quickly becomes a Game Breaker. The Fighting games also have it as well which if it hits freezes the opponent long enough to land a few extra hits in.
- This was what the villain did in The Movie of Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star to get the magical girls after him.
- Shakugan no Shana's Phantom Zone (fuzetsu) freezes everything in place (except non-muggles) and turns everything gray. Time doesn't ''really'' stop, and events proceed normally outside the barrier, but it certainly makes a good imitation.
- Joe Shimamura/009 of Cyborg 009 accessed this ability by pushing his tongue down on one of his molars. In one episode, he temporarily lost the ability to switch it off, so he had to stop the Monster of the Week without being able to interact with it.
- In said episode of the 2001 version of the anime, 009's accelerator got stuck in a far higher speed than he had ever reached before (or since), causing him to initially think time has actually stopped. There was no monster in that episode, but he did save a bunch of people from an explosion that had begun just as his accelerator got stuck. The trick was that he couldn't simply carry them to safety, because if he touched anything while super-accelerated, the friction he generated would have caused it to catch fire. And as he couldn't turn it off and continued stuck in that sort-of loophole, his Heroic BSOD continued escalating and 009 almost went insane, until the effect wore off by itself.
- It is implied in that episode that 009 was stuck in that state for years, even though it were seconds in real-time. He made a big fuss of seeing 003 close her eyes for over a week (he remembered them being open when time "stopped"), then start thinking he was mad when he looked again weeks later and her eyes were open, without realizing she blinked.
- Gully Foyle from The Stars My Destination activated a similar ability the same way (by pressing down on one of his teeth), and briefly wound up in a similar position of being unable to turn it off.
- Rolo Lamperouge's Geass ability from Code Geass doesn't stop time per se but affects others' perception of it. The effect is about the same (to the subjects) but it isn't the target of usual contradictions with physics. Instead of stopping time and space indefinitely, Rolo affects only living beings (save himself) within a certain radius from him for a few seconds: the subjects are paralyzed and lose consciousness until the effect wears off, which Rolo uses to kill them. It also has the unfortunate side effect of stopping his heart for the duration, which is why he cannot and does not use his Geass back-to-back. In the end, it's what actually killed him, when he voluntarily overused it to save Lelouch's life.
- Strangely, the show is rather inconsistent about depicting this. When shown from Rolo's point of view, they tend to get it right. People stop moving but everything else keeps going. For example, some flight-capable Knightmares drop out of the sky when the pilots suddenly stop flying them. From an outside perspective, however, things that should have kept moving in the interim don't, making it look like teleportation. The biggest offender is the first episode, where he fights other Knightmares at high speeds, which never go crashing into walls when suddenly deprived of a pilot.
- In Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally, his Geass, "The Ice," allows him to slow time to the point where it's infinitely close to stopping within a certain area. Alice manages to defeat him by achieving infinite speed.
- Cardcaptor Sakura has the Time card, which can perform this function. The downside is that it requires lots of magic energy to use, as demonstrated by Syaoran using it when Sakura is under the effects of The Dream. Once he releases the Time, he's extremely weakened.
- Joshua Christopher of Chrono Crusade gains this ability when Chrono's enemy, Aion, bequeaths Chrono's demon horns to Joshua in order to "grant him perfect health." In actuality, in addition to the ability to freeze time, the horns gradually drive Joshua insane since they were never meant to be infused with a human. Thankfully, by the end of the manga, at least, he gets better. In the anime, on the other hand...
- Used as a Nightmare Fuel-tastic weapon in Bleach, where Mad Scientist Mayuri inflicts this on his opponent Szayel via being Crazy-Prepared- he hid a vial of super-serum in his daughter Nemu, in case of chestbursting- and incapacitates the victim of the time slowdown. It is then explained that the serum speeds the senses up to the point time seems to be frozen, but ability to move remains the same. Cue stabbing the guy through the heart for what feels to him like millennia . One second realtime on this "super-serum" was said to be perceived as over a century, and the aforementioned Mayuri spends a couple of minutes explaining this to the nearly paralyzed victim, before slowly stabbing him with his sword.
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and her love interest find themselves in such a frozen moment near the end of the movie.
- It is implied that this is the fate of any time traveler who cannot or does not return to their own time. In order to preclude any possibility of the traveler surviving to meet themselves, the universe simply removes them from the time stream altogether.
- Erika from Himechan No Ribon does this to prevent the secret from being discovered, with disastrous consequences.
- Himeko also freezes time in several instances.
- Hanyuu from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has this power, although it's not really useful for anything other than talking.
- In Umineko no Naku Koro ni it is said to happen that every time a Voyager enters a kakera.
- Anime adaptation also presents meta-world in a similiar fashion.
- Yuki Nagato, the Sufficiently Advanced Alien / Artificial Human from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise, is also capable of freezing time. And if she wishes so she can hold time and everything within a defined place in the space-time continuum, yet the time not in this area is still flowing (as she did in Season 2, Episode 1, "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" or in the same-titled Light Novel Chapter in book 3).
- Robotics;Notes plays with this trope: Kaito suffers from a condition where, under significant physical or psychological duress, his perception of time slows to a crawl. During these episodes, his reflexes, while still slowed down, move significantly more quickly to outside observers. Each time his perception of time slows down, however, he is left physically exhausted.
- Foxy the Silver Fox from One Piece can fire beams that slow down whatever they hit for 30 seconds, allowing him to get some free hits in. Once they return to normal pace whatever momentum they were subjected to hits all at once.
- The Dragon Ball Z villain, Guldo, could do this, but only while holding his breath. Makes sense, since the oxygen is frozen and all.
- In Bakugan Battle Brawlers, this happens whenever anyone starts a Bakugan battle. The players are transported to another realm whilst this happens, whilst everything outside the playing field is frozen.
- The Adventures of Mini-Goddess: on Gan-chan's birthday, the goddesses got him a robot able to grant three wishes before midnight. The first two were wasted when the other goddesses spoke too loudly, and the time drew ever and ever closer to the deadline. Finally, in a fit of panic, he wished the day would never end.
- From Trigun, Dominique pretends to be able to do this. In fact, she uses hypnosis to suspend the awareness of anyone in her line of sight and make them freeze in place.
- In one of the myriad different Tenchi Muyo! comic continuities, the driving force behind one story is a pair of headbands Washu has invented which she says slow time down to the point of nearly stopping it for the wearers, but in practice really acts more like heavily-enforced privacy; it works by "slowing the synapses" of everyone within a certain radius, forcing them to perceive time as moving at a highly accelerated rate while they move imperceptibly slowly to the people wearing the headbands. So, naturally, they end up on a toddler-shaped Ryo-Oh-Ki, and an actual toddler the gang is babysitting.
- Yggdrasill does this in the Tales of Symphonia OVA when the party battle him in the Toize Valley Mines.
- In Darker Than Black, Amber can stop time (among other things) and allow anyone she chooses to move through it with her, at the "price" of her aging backwards.
- Akemi Homura of Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the ability to do this, to the point that people have begun applying the ZA WARUDO meme usually reserved for people like Sakuya Izayoi to her. Demonstrated here
- Aun Freya in Photon can do this in a wide area, but isn't immune to it herself. Fortunately, Photon himself is immune to it, and the effect ends if he knocks her unconscious.
- There is also Kyousuke from Kimagure Orange Road and his family's heirloom pocket watch that can freeze time for 60 seconds. Cue in Kyousuke accidentally winding the watch backwards and freezing himself instead of the world around him and making everyone else think that he's dead (no pulse).
- Mashiro has this as her main ability in the manga version of Mai-HiME, in which she is a Hime.
- Oracion Seis member Racer from Fairy Tail fakes Super Speed by using magic similar to Rolo's Geass from Code Geass. His victims' warped perception of time makes them see him as an insanely fast blur when he's really moving at normal speed.
- [C] - Control: Asset Q's "Economic Blockade" does the color shift and paralyzes Yoga and Msyu, but they still talk somehow... despite their bodies not moving at all.
- In Noein, one of the first things that happens to an unstable dimension is a time stop, wherein everything turns red/blue and translucent. Only quantum existences (and Haruka) are able to detect this and move around while it's in effect.
- Spoofed in one the Tachikomatic Days shorts at the end of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. One of the Tachikoma claims to have gained superpowers from communing with their dead ancestors, including the ability to stop time. When demonstrated, time indeed does stop... for everyone. Including the Tachikoma using the ability.
- In Gintama, a minor story arc has everything save for the Yorozuya trio affected by this, as a result of Gintoki accidentally breaking a device that regulates the universe's flow of time (Which a dying alien entrusted him with while he was drunk). They soon realize they can still progress time forwards and backwards by manipulating the hands of the device, which they take advantage of to try and fix it, only to have their efforts hindered by the fact that people they know keep dying for various reasons whenever they turn time forwards. It turns out that the device was actually out of batteries, though that just presents a whole new problem...
- In WizardBarristers, Moyo Tento does this when a wizard shoots Cecil with a gun. Time stands still just before the bullet hits Cecil and Moyo appears out of nowhere and picks a the bullet, changes the direction it is heading and then restarts time, causing the bullet to head to the direction she pointed the bullet at prior to restarting time.
- In Akumetsu, the final novel that Katsuragi writes has a plot of future people in space disaster with a last survivor falling in time to find a frozen world until he notices that after a while, the statues of events he walks past has moved ever so slightly and begins affecting the world by doing subtle things like slightly moving bullets so that they miss their targets.
- ''Doraemon has a number of gadgets that slow or stop the normal flow of time.
- In Onegai My Melody, Kuromi granted Uta's dad's wish for more time by locking him in a state of super speed, where a minute of normal time felt like an hour to him. Trying to communicate was difficult, because things would break or go flying unless he touched them very gently. By the time the others were able to turn him back to normal, he had been in that world where everything was frozen or in slow motion for over two days from his perspective, and was exhausted.
- It is eventually revealed the Esdese of Akame ga Kiru! has this ability as the logical extreme of her abilities: she can literally freeze time and space around her.
- Tomoyo Kanzaki of Inou Battle Wa Nichijoukei No Naka De has a power that lets her do just that.
- The Flash uses the "moving really fast" version of this trope, and has since the origin of the Silver Age Flash in 1956. In a Swamp Thing appearance by the Justice League, Alan Moore poetically described Barry Allen as "a man who moves so fast, his life is an endless gallery of statues."
- Barry's grandson Bart Allen takes this to the logical extreme as Impulse; this is a kid who, in the words of his guardian "gets bored waiting for the light to come on after he hits the switch."
- "The Ballad of Barry Allen", related to above, waxes melancholic about how The Flash perceives time.
- The Flash villain Zoom has the ability to alter time relative to himself, effectively giving him superspeed.
- In one issue, Wally West uses a fellow speedster's mental speed-formula to get an extra boost and save people in a copter. Time comes to a near-dead stop. Wally freaks out until Max Mercury somehow correlates his speed with Wally's (but...Wally is going so much faster than him...Fridge Logic ahoy!) and gives him an Aesop. Wally needs to learn he can't save everyone. But he saves the copter.
- An earlier issue has him boosting himself fast enough so bullets fired seem to stand still. Problem is, it's in a dark theatre and he can't -see- all of them.
- Early on in The Books of Magic comic, Tim Hunter accidentally freezes time in shock at discovering he has a girlfriend. Much later the comic takes a brief look at an alternate timeline in which he never worked out how to unfreeze everybody, and has gone completely insane.
- The Marvel Comics speedster Quicksilver once explained his angry personality by asking his psychologist to imagine living in a world consisting entirely of the slowest queue at the checkout.
- The "speed yourself up so fast time seems to stand still" variant is briefly deconstructed in a scene of Neil Gaiman's Eternals mini-series. A character with newfound Super Speed accelerates himself to that point in response to terrorists firing on a party. When he disarms the terrorists, he recognizes that he has to do it as carefully as he can, or he'll kill them by touching them at the speeds he's moving (he still ends up breaking their arms). And when he plucks the bullets out of the air, he makes sure to put them in a safe place because he recognizes that they'll still have their momentum and kinetic energy when time goes back to normal from his perspective.
- Similarly, in The Ultimates vol. 2, Quicksilver interrupts another speedster, Hurricane, who's been smacking Hawkeye around, and time stands still around them while they duke it out. Hurricane comments that if they so much as bump into Hawkeye, they'll practically disintegrate him. Quicksilver then pushes Hurricane as fast as he can, which turns out to be more than she can handle; it's rather messy. All this happens in between Hurricane knocking Hawkeye down and Hawkeye hitting the ground. Then Hawkeye tells Quicksilver, hunched over and sweating, to stop goofing off and help him out...
- In X-Statix, a girl named Lacuna with this ability tries to join the team. While trying to prove her usefulness by playing pranks on the team while they're frozen in time, she gets the attention of a TV producer and she ends up rejecting the team's offer in order to host her own talk show, in which she uses her power to spy on celebrities. She still helps the team every now and then, such as when she killed Reality Warper Arnie Lundberg.
- In Ultimate X-Men, a slightly different continuity than regular X-Men comics, Professor X uses the perception of slowed time to punish his students. In short, a six hour detention takes six minutes.
- In Alan Moore's Miracleman there was a pair of aliens that moved so fast they were never seen moving and as a result seemed to be perpetually frozen in time.
- Happened during Chris Claremont's run on Fantastic Four; the team travels to an alternate Earth which is covered in an endless ocean that seems to have frozen time.
- A backup story in Omega Men have the evil Spider Aliens send a team to conquer an out of the way planet populated by giants who perceive the world flashing by. To them, the sky is grey because of the 'effect' of the sun rising and leaving so fast. The Spider Aliens all go mad because they can't find a way to affect the time-slowed giants.
- Played with in one Donald Duck comic story, "Super Snooper Strikes Back". Donald gains temporary superpowers, and tries to prove it to his nephews by running around the world super fast. But he soon realizes that his super-speed manifests itself by making everything else seem to stand still—so, even though the trip might seem fast to his nephews, it will still be incredibly long and boring to him! He decides to come up with a different test.
- In another story (both are from Don Rosa by the way), "On Stolen Time", Gyro has invented a stopwatch. A literal stopwatch. It freezes time for everyone who's not standing within about thirty feet/ten meters of the watch when it's activated. While others see the user teleporting from place to place and things disappearing and appearing, the user sees world frozen around him. At one point, Donald and his nephews manage to get into stopped time with the Beagle Boys, and a chase ensues, with such tricks as the ducks cutting across a pond to catch up with the Beagle Boys, Donald crashing against a butterfly and the Beagle Boys using flying pigeons as a ladder to escape. Rosa later lamented that he didn't simply make the device stop movement instead of time within a certain radius, pointing out all the practical problems of stopped time, like solid air.
- Marvel character Kiden Nixon, main character of NYX, can slow down time to an almost complete stop. She can return to a normal state by touching someone. She has to be extremely careful: the first time she did this, she broke someone's arm by simply poking it.
- The Billy & Mandy story "Time Waits For No Mandy" (Cartoon Network Block Party #56) has Mandy sending Father Time on a permanent vacation so time will stand still and, ageist as she claims to be, she won't have to go through another birthday.
- One of the 2000 AD "Future Shocks" stories has a female student build a machine that can, according to her claims, stop time. Her professor finds the idea ludicrous and decides to show her that it's impossible by starting the half-finished machine, against her protests. The result? All time, frozen forever.
- The Homestuck fanfic "Scratch". It features Dave, as described below in Homestuck's entry in the webcomic section, who accidentally damages the magical turntables that give him time powers, thus freezing time permanently unless he keeps moving the turntables by hand.
- It's a Dead Fic, unfortunately. It kinda became frozen in time after the third chapter.
- Homura of Puella Magi Madoka Magica tries this on Doctor Who's Dalek Sec in the crossover story A Hero. Because he's linked up to her temporal abilities, it doesn't work.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has the Time Pauser, an invention of Calvin's that invokes this effect. Only its tendency to run out of batteries keeps it from breaking the plot, though other times nobody thinks of it. A later invention, the Time Discs, are held by a person in order to survive the effect without having to touch the person using the Time Pauser (along with some awesome-looking effects for the hell of it).
- In Adam R. Brown's Alterien series, whenever the Alteriens enter 4-dimensional space, all time around them appears to stand still.
- In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, the Incarnations of Death and Time are able to freeze time - the former with his Deathwatch, the latter with his Hourglass. Mars/War can also freeze time. Chronos is the one who actually gave Death the Deathwatch.
- Nicholson Baker's Fermata the main character and first-person narrator possesses this ability, which he uses to undress various women.
- In Jorge Luis Borges's story The Secret Miracle, the protagonist -an unsuccessful Jewish playwright who was been sentenced to death by the Nazis- is granted by God the gift of a whole year of subjective time passing for him in the moment that the firing squad shoots. He cannot move or escape, but he can think, and thus finish in his mind the last and greatest play he was working on.
- The Arthur C. Clarke story All The Time In The World is about a criminal who is given a device that freezes time in order to steal some works of art. It turns out that his Mysterious Benefactor is a time traveling alien, who wanted to save the most precious relics of Earth before it's destroyed in a nuclear fireball. This has already started, and he's left in the frozen seconds before the end, with all the time in the world... This twist is similar to the end of the Twilight Zone episode "A Little Peace and Quiet", listed below.
- There is a handwave that a sphere around device is affected by normal (or superfast?) time flow. So the hero is instructed to avoid coming too close to passer-bys.
- In Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series, agents of both The Light and The Dark have the ability to suspend time for muggles in their immediate surroundings.
- Although it doesn't actually happen (And it's implied they'd fail at it), newly created robotic magicians from Diane Duane's High Wizardry consider doing a time stop on the entire universe in order to "fix" entropy.
- This is seen as a very bad thing for all the reasons listed above. Utter darkness, no thought, no real life. One second of living every one hundred thousand years. Part of the idea is exaggerated such that all these processes wouldn't be continuing so much as having to start all over again during the points when time was flowing again...
- The second Molly Moon book has the title character being able to stop time thanks to a Call Back from the first book.
- In David Eddings's Elenium and Tamuli, one of the special abilities of the Troll Gods is to go into "No-Time", the space in between seconds, to traverse distances near-instantaneously. The characters, however, cannot affect the real world in this state. In the words of the Bhelliom, in order to move so much as a pebble in No-Time, you'd have to move the entire universe. Which ends up having horrific repercussions for several of characters.
- Lampshaded in the same series. In the Tamuli, one character who has "No-Time" described to him says something along the lines of "That's logically impossible. It can't work." To which a goddess replies "I know it's logically impossible, but Ghnomb (one of the Troll Gods) believes that it works, and Ghnomb's belief is strong enough to override logic."
- At a later point, the same Troll God makes some of the characters "invisible" by breaking each second into two pieces, with the invisible guys only present for the smaller piece...again, he believes it works, so it does.
- The final showdown between the titular heroine of Michael Ende's Momo and the Men in Grey happens after the local God stops time in the whole world, leaving only Momo (because she is carrying a certain MacGuffin), the Men in Grey, and a magical turtle (who is a fully-functional MacGuffin of her own right) able to move.
- In the David Farland novel trilogy The Runelords, where The Hero and Big Bad each received a large number of metabolism endowments, effectively causing time to slow down for them. Moving in this state was depicted relatively realistically, with a "thickening" of the air and some care required in movement to prevent injury, particularly when they weren't endowed with proportionate strength.
- Thursday Next's father has "a face that could stop a clock," meaning he can stop time for himself and whoever else he wants.
- Allies of her father freeze pockets of time, in time. A villain is stuck in the same minute or so it takes to get to the front of a checkout line. Only she realizes it.
- Roger Zelazny's Chronomaster has pocket universes (all manmade) that have had their time frozen from the inside. The main character (and several other people) use devices called "bottled time" to be able to move around. Everything within meters gets normal speed.
- The fairies in Artemis Fowl can stop time within an area by surrounding it with a pentagram (and warlocks, originally, though they developed Magitek generators since there is a limit to how long a warlock can hold up his arms). They often use this in combination with a bio-bomb to contain its effect. Escape from a time-stop is possible, but the method is unusual: the time-stop preserves all beings in the state they were in when time stopped - people who are awake stay awake, while people who are asleep go on with the normal flow of the world. When an awake person uses something like sleeping pills to artificially change their state, the stop shunts them into normal time, making them disappear from inside the stop.
- In Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune, one of the protagonists (Miles Teg) gets Super Speed as a power, and his subjective time slows to a crawl as a result. He is not Made of Iron, however, so he has to be careful to avoid hurting himself, and he uses energy at a rate commensurate with his increased activity level.
- Dean Koontz's Dragon Tears features an antagonist whose "Greatest and Most Secret Power" is time-stopping. He can control who is and is not affected; late in the book, the two protagonists find themselves in a frozen world being stalked by a Golem. It's unusual in that Koontz actually Lampshades all the Required Secondary Powers that would be needed for this to work. Doesn't explain them, and it's pretty out of character given that the protagonists didn't have any background in physics, but still.
- In the John D. MacDonald story The Girl The Gold Watch And Everything, the main character inherits a golden watch with this ability.
- Spider Robinson wrote the same watch (with a nod to MacDonald) into his book Lady Slings The Booze.
- MacDonald's novel tries to address some of the physics problems noted: Although the watch seems to freeze time completely, it actually slows it to a crawl, as a fired bullet still has a perceptible movement. Due to the slowdown, the air is thick and hinders movement, and everything appears to be red (presumably due to photon speed alterations).
- Larry Niven's Known Space series features several time-stopping force fields, e.g. the Slaver stasis field technology.
- The History Monks from Discworld have a version of this ability — the Stance of the Coyote, for example, freezes time when in midfall (a Shout-Out to the Road Runner cartoons). This may or may not be distinct from their ability to slow time to a near-standstill through "time-slicing".
- Slicing may be a Deconstruction, since it has a number of requirements to avoid the "solid air" problem. At deeper levels, you see red/blue shift and have to keep moving so the air in your personal Bullet Time pocket won't all get used up.
- They also have "the wall", the point at which time is sliced so thin that not even the most experienced of History Monks can take it; one named Zimmerman discovered what's now known as "Zimmerman's valley", a level of time-slicing which is relatively easy to maintain in spite of being so deep that hummingbird wings have all but frozen, and figured there was a second valley even closer to the limit, but never found it. Not if the way he exploded was any indication.
- Thief of Time had as its major plot point a clock being constructed that could perfectly measure time... and in doing so, completely halt it.
- In the same series, characters such as Death, his fellow Horsemen, and his granddaughter Susan, can move around "outside time" (time stops but duration continues). Milkman Ronnie Soak, the Horseman Formerly Known As Kaos, uses this talent to get milk delivered on time every morning. That is to say he delivers the milk at 7 am every morning, to everyone in the city at the same time.
- Soak's use of his ability could be a Call Back to the fact that the Hogfather moves through a special flow of time, allowing him to deliver presents to everyone on Discworld in one night.
- Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos features "The Shrike", a creature that may or may not have been sent back in time by a computer god; it can move so fast it's like Time Stands Still. In fact, one character is given a power suit that increases his speed to the point that dodging laser beams becomes practical, and he can barely see the Shrike.
- H. G. Wells' story The New Accelerator is about a drug that causes anyone who takes it to move at Super Speed, making the rest of the world seem to be moving extremely slowly. In the story, the characters move so fast that the friction of their movements through the air nearly causes their clothing to ignite before they figure out what's going on.
- In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series, people who are born at midnight experience the "blue time", an extra hour where everything else is frozen.
- The Ellimist will sometimes use this to speak to the Animorphs privately.
- In the Rod Albright Alien Adventures series of books, the villain BKR plans to freeze the entire universe in time because, as an ultra-sadist, he loves the idea that anyone suffering at the moment he freezes time will be stuck with that suffering forever, and especially the fact that the heroes will be frozen at the moment of their failure, while he will be frozen in the moment of his victory. The plan actually involves creating a Ground Hog Day Loop that ripples out across the universe, but the loop will become shorter and shorter each time it happens, until it's just a single moment in time.
- Keystothe Kingdom: In Superior Saturday, Arthur uses the Fifth Key to stop time to keep it from passing to the next day, to keep Leaf and the rest of his hometown from being nuked at 12:01 Saturday morning. It wears off after a while, and stops affecting Leaf, giving her a chance to try and get people to safety.
- In Robert Rankin's Raiders of the Lost Car Park, the main characters get trapped like this, and one of them points out the various scientific issues that would arise from such a scenario. She concludes that it's the effect of a spell: in fact the spell that allows Santa Claus to do his yearly round.
- In the Principia Discordia, time is said to have stood still in the all night bowling alley in which the Erisian Movement was born.
- In Robert L. Forward's novels Dragon's Egg and Starquake, humans exploring a neutron star discover that it is inhabited by life forms based on nuclear rather than chemical bonds. As a result, they live about a million times faster than humans — they are relatively primitive when the visitors enter orbit around their world and incredibly advanced a month later.
- C. S. Lewis based The Great Divorce on a half-remembered story in which everything but the main characters are temporally frozen — since they cannot change or affect anything in this frozen time, blades of grass and drops of rain cut right through them.
- In There and Back Again by Pat Murphy, Bailey finds a metal Mobius strip with the ability to alter the flow of time in a bubble around it, and frequently uses it to speed himself up to the point where everyone else is effectively stopped.
- This is a focal point of Stephen King's short story "The Jaunt" - the titular teleporation system appears to send things through it instantaneously, but sentient minds perceive the transit as an "eternity", to quote the first human test subject, with corresponding physical aging.
- The Alloy of Law contains Wayne, who can generate a speed bubble where time goes much faster than outside, and Marasi, who can make one where time goes much slower. The second one is considered useless. Until they need to stall for time
- Sean Williams' Astropolis series features both this trope and its inversion, of a sort, with the advent of Overclocking. Most individuals have the ability to alter their relative perception of time, meaning that their relative movement etc will increase as well. This means that a person perceiving time normally would see only blurs moving around them as people overclocked in the same room. (The inversion is that the overcloking can run the opposite way- a person who reduces their "tempo", or a normal "tempo" from the perspective of an overclocking person, will be perceived to be moving incredibly slowly, if not at all, although they are in fact simply operating at a much lower relative speed. However, moving when overclocking is extremely damaging to the body- bones can be broken by bumping into a wall, or landing badly, and the friction of movement can ignite clothes and materials. Light becomes red- or blue-shifted, too, so this one is actually pretty realistic, relatively speaking.
- Windcrafters in Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series can 'borrow speed' from their wind furies to invoke this. Interestingly, it alters their perceptions much more than their physical actions. Their minds process much more, seeing the world through Bullet Time (and they do move faster), but their muscles and reactions cannot bypass the body's limits.
- From the same author, in the ninth book of The Dresden Files Harry and co. are all paralyzed by a 'psychic bullet'. Lash intervenes in Harry's case, and speeds up his thought processes so much that they have a long conversation and a touching goodbye in about six seconds. However, it is mentioned that she can't do it for long because it would cause brain damage.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, time is stopped when the girls are in Fairyland.
- In the world of Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, when two gods get close enough, they're able to create a pocket "outside time" around themselves. It's said to be unstable to the point where any violence will rupture it, but it's useful for having a conversation.
- In Pact, the Behaim Circle, a family of chronomancers, give people the impression that they're using this effect, but it is in fact a bluff-while they can manipulate time directly, to do so they must Cast from Lifespan, so in combat they instead manipulate the perception of time, which is almost as useful and not nearly as expensive.
- In Orson Scott Card's A Planet Called Treason, the Ku Kuei can manipulate the flow of time around them. Depending on which way they manipulate it, Time Stands Still for them, or for those around them.
Live Action TV
- The Angel episode "Happy Anniversary" revolves around a scientist's efforts to create one of these so that he and his girlfriend won't break up, but will stay frozen forever. In the midst of having the break-up sex. At the moment of climax, in fact. There are worse moments to be stuck at.
- Skip also manages an apparently localized version of this when introducing Cordelia to the idea of becoming a higher power. Considering it happens on an LA freeway during a rush hour, the resulting otherworldly effect is subtle but stunning.
- Before the loss of her powers, Illyria is able to perform a version of this trope, selectively slowing down or stopping time while she movies freely amid the resulting slow-motion. It's so slowed, when she throws Angel out of a window near the top of the building they are at, at a walking pace, when she and her mook reach the street, Angel was now 8 feet from the ground and she walked under him. Afterward, the heroes view the building's security camera footage, making it clear that Illyria literally slows time down, not just their perception of it, as the footage shows her leaving the building at Flash-like speeds. So either she slows down time for the entire universe except for herself and anyone she sees fit to exempt from it, or she speeds up time for herself and whoever she sees fit to include. Which basically amounts to the same thing.
- This was the central plot device of the children's television programme Bernard's Watch.
- Used frequently on Bewitched. Samantha or another witch or warlock would freeze time when things were getting out of hand in order to give themselves a chance to figure out what to do.
- In Charmed, Piper could freeze opponents (or Muggles that the Masquerade needed to be kept around) temporarily. The Cleaners also had the power to stop time, and it was a much more grand effect then Piper's; also angels of fate could do it, the demon of time can do it for a quick burst, in the comic book Wyatt can perform a version of slow-time which only makes things appear to stop at first.
- In the Doctor Who Season 4 finale, Gwen and Ianto are saved from a Dalek invading the Torchwood Hub by a "time lock", freezing everything outside the door. There's also a moment in the second episode of Season 1 when the Doctor appears to slow down time to solve a pendulum-of-death puzzle. However, this is probably a Flash-type scenario where he's actually speeding up his mental perceptions so that time seems to slow around him. And then there's the Key to Time from the classic series, which briefly stopped time for the entire rest of the universe.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures - When the Doctor crashes Sarah-Jane's wedding, the Trickster yanks the church out of time and splits up the main cast by trapping them in two separate seconds.
- Something similar to the Sarah-Jane example happens in the DW 2011 finale, only it happens to all of history instead of just a few people. The result: Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill, pterodactyls in public parks, and cars being carried across London by hot-air balloon. People are still aware and moving, but all the clocks have stopped and the date is always the same. Only a few people notice anything wrong with this.
- In "The Day of the Doctor", the part where the Two Doctors and his other regeneration go into the "Time Lord Art" probably counts. And, after a little thought, the "Time Lord Art" itself as well.
- In the Mexican superhero comedy El Chapulín Colorado the hero occasionally had a gadget that allowed him to do this. He mostly used it to arrange embarrassing accidents for the bad guys.
- In the Friday the 13th: The Series episode "13 O'Clock," the cursed item is a stopwatch that can stop time and allow the villains of that episode to commit crimes. The moment the heroes get the watch back, the villains freeze in time, becoming black and white statues.
- Hiro from Heroes uses this ability often, as part of his more general ability to manipulate time.
- Season 3 revealed that he doesn't actually stop time, he just slows it down. Daphne, a speedster, is able to notice when using her powers and can speed herself up to compensate. It's also revealed that Hiro doesn't know if his ability is localized, or not. However, since he later carries a frozen Ando a considerable distance in a wheelbarrow with time staying frozen all around him, it seems likely that he's actually speeding himself up relative to the universe as a whole rather than freezing time in a localized area around him. The best example is when he proves his ability to Charlie by blinking and then showing her hundreds of origami cranes that suddenly appear around her. This scene is shown from Charlie's point of view, as showing Hiro make these would take awhile.
- Happens almost once an episode on Hustle although it is merely a visual device as the previous planning of the characters for the current situation is revealed.
- Also used in the BBC previews, to the extent that the technique is one of the best-known things about the show, and inevitably mocked on Dead Ringers.
- In Life on Mars (2008), Sam walks through the precinct as Hunt and then Annie freeze. It is eventually revealed that this and everything odd Sam experiences throughout the series is caused by a malfunctioning virtual reality machine.
- In The Lost Room, the ability of the Comb is to stop time for everyone except the user. The effect only lasts about 10 seconds (from the comb user's perspective), and the user isn't able to physically affect anything that's still frozen.
- The user can affect things that aren't being affected by some force other than gravity. For example, the user can pick up a shovel leaning against a wall, but can't take a wallet someone is holding in their hand.
- Also, the constant jerks back and forth have a negative long-term effect on the user. Then again all Objects are Artifacts Of Doom.
- The Magic Boomerang. As long as the boomerang of the title was in flight (which usually lasted a few minutes) time would stand still for everyone except the person who threw it.
- The Outer Limits (original):
- "Controlled Experiment." Two comical Martians use a device that can pause, rewind, and fast forward time to study the human "custom" of murder.
- "The Premonition." After they simultaneously crash in a jet and a car, a test pilot and his wife find themselves out of sync with time, with everything outside of their vehicles immovably stuck. At first, time seems to be frozen, but it's actually moving imperceptibly slowly.
- The new series also had an episode with a performance enhancer that gave the user Super Speed. The guy uses it so much that he goes into this trope.
- In Out of This World, Evie could freeze time by touching her index fingers together, and release any individual person from the spell by touching him/her. Pressing her palms together would cancel the effect. It was her most-used trick.
- Inverted at the end of every episode of Police Squad!. The actors would all freeze at the end, mimicking the film pausing while the credits rolled. There would always be one thing that still moved though, such as coffee continuing to pour until it overflowed, and an arrested villain noticing all the police had frozen and trying to use the opportunity to escape (the doors froze too).
- In Red Dwarf, the episode "Pete", the main characters obtain a device that can store and manipulate time. Besides freezing time for everyone else, it can also rewind time (so no one else will know they have it), change people's age, change people's clothes (so they dress in 60's style instead), and un-evolve living things. The target of the last one is a small bird. Now think about what you learned from Hollywood science...
- In Saved by the Bell, Zack could stop time by saying "Time out." This would allow him to address the audience or merely play pranks on the cast. He'd say "Time in" to return things to normal.
- Stargate SG-1
- In "The Quest", the protagonists must navigate a maze that will dilate time for anyone who strays off the path, thus effectively trapping them. Thus time stood still for all the people stuck in the field, but the protagonists could still (very cautiously) navigate the maze unimpeded.
- SG-1 also had the Asgard use a time-dilation field as a trap for the Replicators, drawing them all to one planet with the intention of freezing time there until they could find a more permanent solution. Unfortunately in the time before the device activated the Reps were able to reverse it's operation, speeding up time massively inside the field and giving them subjective centuries to evolve the Humanform design and convert the entire mass of the planet to replicator blocks. At this point Thor called in SG-1 to help fix the problem, Carter reset the device to work properly and reactivated it and the episode ended with a frozen tableau of replicators inches from the device controls, which they wouldn't reach until a season later.
- The technology mentioned above returns in the Grand Finale: the Odessey is seconds from destruction and Carter needs more time to find a solution, but they were just given the specs for all Asgard technology, including the Time Dilation device. As a result, the seconds to destruction become decades, with the incoming energy beam slowly creeping toward them as Carter tries to find a way to stop it.
- There was also the early episode "A Matter of Time", wherein an SG team had been sent to a planet that was close to a newly formed black hole; they tried to gate back home, but by then the time dilation effects were too strong, and the gate deactivated at Earth's end...the other end would be open until the end of time.
- SGC blew the connection to keep the Earth from being pulled through the gate into the black hole. A case of time dilation was used also since everyone in the mountain was a few months behind the rest of the world.
Hammond: By my reckoning, I was gone 20 minutes.
Carter: Well, sir, accounting for time spent coming and going, I would guess that time within the SGC facility has slowed to an average of about 600 percent below normal. When you ordered Colonel O'Neill to wait 5 minutes, you were really telling him to wait 6 hours, maybe more.
Hammond: Captain, relativity gives me a headache!
- Star Trek has dealt with this several times:
- Star Trek: The Original Series: "Wink of an Eye" features aliens who move so fast that they're invisible to the naked eye and everyone else appears frozen to them. (Interestingly enough, so long as none of the aliens or the people they abducted into their 'timeframe' by means of a drug are actually around to watch, both they and the crew seem to function in parallel and on the same timescale just fine. This point is never addressed.)
- Kirk receives the drug when it's slipped into his coffee, inadvertently making it look like he's on Caffeine Bullet Time.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Timescape", several crew members return to the Enterprise to find it and a Romulan warbird frozen in time. It's actually very slowly progressing, but this is only noticed by an android while looking at an explosion that would destroy the ship in seconds.
- Star Trek: Voyager: "Blink of an Eye" (Unrelated to the above "Wink of an Eye", mostly) features a planet where time passes very quickly. They eventually send a pair of astronauts up to Voyager, who spend several minutes walking among the seemingly frozen crew until they begin to synchronize with Voyager's time-rate (the transition is fatal for one of them).
- The Twilight Zone (original):
- "Still Valley." During The American Civil War, a Confederate warlock uses a magic spell to freeze Union soldiers in time.
- "A Kind of a Stopwatch". A comically obnoxious Jerkass is given a magical stopwatch that stops time. He uses it to his own advantage until he receives an ironic comeuppance.
- The Twilight Zone (1980s): "A Little Peace and Quiet." A woman finds a pendant in her garden that can stop time. When she says "Shut Up" out loud, time stops for everyone but her. Saying "Start talking" out loud causes time to start again. She's free to move around, but everything else is frozen in place. A henpecked housewife who is constantly harassed by her demanding husband and bratty children, she's happy to use it to get some "me-time," to do her shopping, and other mundane chores. Meanwhile, as told through a series of news reports, an increasingly desperate political crisis develops between the United States and the Soviet Union. One night, the woman is taking a relaxing bath and doesn't have a care in the world ... until air raid sirens begin sounding, and she and her husband hear a panicked news reporter revealing "this is the end," as the Soviet Union has just declared war on the United States and has launched its nuclear missiles. She uses the pendant one last time, a split second before an ICBM detonates over their town. The final shot shows the frozen town, people fleeing and frantically seeking shelter, several looking up at the sky in frozen terror as they are about to be incinerated.
- In the UFO episode "Timelash", the main character finds everything stilled in the base, but can pick up any item that wasn't moving when time stopped.
- The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Burning Diamond". A criminal scientist develops a formula (based on diamond dust) which gives anyone who drinks it Super Speed so fast that it appears to them that the rest of the world is standing still.
- Smallville uses the Super Speed variation. In the early seasons, everything except Clark would be in slow motion. Then, as he grew more powerful, people would be frozen while bullets and other fast objects would be in slow motion. In one season eight episode, Clark seems to kick it into overdrive as even a bullet was frozen.
- In The Adventures of Superboy TV series episode "Test of Time", two alien beings speed up Clark Kent/Superboy, who they think is a normal human being, to the point where time appears to have stopped for everyone but him. The aliens refer to this as "acceleration mode", and they use it to test Superboy to determine if they can win a war against the Earth's inhabitants.
- In Tracker, Cole (AKA Daggon), as well as every other Cirronian, has an ability that allows them to step into "hypertime" for several seconds, which slows time down to a crawl. He uses it once to trick a mobster into thinking that he has killed him by going into hypertime and moving his head away from the bullet until it has passed him and then back. When normal time is restored, he makes sure to fall into water after the gunshot. There was also an episode where he and another Cirronian use this ability simultaneously to save a falling human. The Big Bad later invents a device that is a better version of this ability, as it takes only minutes to recharge, while Cirronians need a day.
- In an episode of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids series, Wayne invents a device that speeds him up. He keeps a fancy model for himself while his boss stumbles upon the prototype. However, they then set the dial to 10, at which point everything around them slows down to extreme crawl. They attempt to turn off the devices or take them off, but the use of the untested setting results in Phlebotinum Breakdown, and they are stuck that way until Wayne thinks to use a freezer-like device to slow down their molecules to normal speed.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto has the speed-up version in the form of the Clock-Up ability, which anyone of any importance in the series has access to in one fashion or another: . Later on, he gains access to a even faster version called Hyper Clock Up, which also enables him to travel back through time when the plot needs him to. The Freeze ability of Cassisworm Dimidius, one of the more powerful monsters in the series, is even more powerful to the point where time seems to stop entirely.
- The earlier Kamen Rider Faiz came close to the same effect with the eponymous Rider's Axel Form. When Decade uses Faiz Accel Form, however, it's portrayed as a match for Clock-Up, despite the former canonically being described as the speed of sound and the latter as the speed of light.
- Hyper Clock Up may be speed of light (which might be why it can be used for Time Travel) but regular Clock Up can't be that fast. At least one episode in the series has shown Clock Up to be slow enough that you can still make out the movement of flying bullets.
- Frank Gorshin stars as Clockwise in an episode of Roger Corman's Black Scorpion TV series. However, he can only stop time for 3 second periods.
- In an episode of Eureka, Henry messes with the bridge device under the influence of NPL-infused music and causes it to create a time-dilation field that keeps expanding. Everything trapped in the field appears to be standing still, even though it actually moves imperceptibly slowly. When the time is sped back up, one of the characters actually manages to outrun a bullet.
- The Collector: It's used by the Devil sometimes to talk in privacy. Or to offer a deal to someone who is seconds away from death.
- One client asked for the power to make time stop around him. The result was somewhat closer to actual time stoppage than the usual frozen world, and he did not like it.
- Supernatural. Fate is shown to have this power, and uses it to set up elaborate accidents to kill people.
- In the Dutch childrens series Ti-ta-tovenaar, the character Tika has the power to do this. It's the only true magic power she has, but it proves quite usefull to help keep The Masquerade around her wizarding Bumbling Dad.
- In the first episode of Andromeda the Andromeda gets caught in the event horizon of a black hole which makes time stand still fro Dylan Hunt. A salvage crew pulling the ship out 300 years later kicks off the plot.
- The episode "Revenge of the Goblins" in Deadtime Stories involves a magic ball that freezes and unfreezes time, while having the reverse effect on goblins. When time is frozen, the goblins can move again. When it's moving, the goblins are frozen. This is a major plot point of the episode. The heroes also use the magic time freezing ball to get revenge on some bullies.
- Brandon Heath's Music video for Give Me Your Eyes had this.
- Mused upon metaphorically in the appropriately titled Rush song "Time Stand Still". Notably, it's "Time Stand Still", as in asking for time to stand still. As opposed to the song by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (at the end of which, said lead singer does a spot-on imitation of his father).
- The Ready Set has an app for that in the video for "Young Forever".
- The XTC side project The Dukes Of Stratosphear did a song called "25 O'Clock," about causing this (or perhaps a Time Crash) in order to capture the object of the singer's desires: "Each timer that I break will halt the flowing sands." It was later covered on their Cover Album by They Might Be Giants.
- Todd Rundgren (credited as TR-i), "Time Stood Still" from his No World Order album.
"...And nobody knew, but me and you..."
- From Lonely Island:
''The check out counter and I saw a face / My heart stood still so did time and space"
- In The Bible God stopped the rotation of the earth so that the Israelites could finish off the Amorites.
- Chinese astronomers have described supernovae similarly.
- The Koran has a bit where Allah causes a man to die, then revives him 100 years later, and the man doesn't believe more than a day has passed (the food and drink he carried with him, and the donkey he was riding, are similarly preserved/restored).
- It shows up as Time Stop, one of the highest-level spells available in Tabletop Games Dungeons & Dragons. In the 1st and 2nd editions, the spell actually caused time to halt within a certain radius of the caster. Since third edition, however, the spell description has changed and the caster himself speeds up, merely creating the impression that time has stopped and altering the way actions play out while the spell is in effect. Either way, it was one of the most Game Breaker powers, essentially granting the caster several entire rounds to do whatever they liked unopposed. It got a serious nerfing in 4th edition, where it became an epic tier (it had been a level 9 spell before) Utility spell that could only be cast once per day and simply the caster a few extra actions for that turn, which could not be used to attack... though there were still some shenanigans which could be pulled off with it.
- The expansion book Book Of Nine Swords: Tome Of Battle introduced a high-level ability that was actually called Time Stands Still. It allows the user to make two full-round attacks in one turn instead of one. With a certain build from that book, this makes it possible to make up to fourteen attacks in a single round (six seconds). And don't even think about how many you get with a Thri-kreen (four arms).
- Psionic characters can learn the Temporal Acceleration power, which is similar to Time Stop, except available six levels earlier but not lasting as long.
- The psionic prestige class Elocater gains the "Accelerated Action" ability at tenth level, which gives them five extra rounds each day that they can make use of whenever they want. It is perfectly possible to use them all at the same time, getting six rounds of actions in one shot.
- The Cuprilach is a creature that can use a "complete attack" in a single action... and possibly inflict sneak attack damage on each hit. They are able to do this at will, but it has a "tiredness" cooldown.
- In Yugioh, Arcana Force XXI - The World's heads effect allows it to sacrifice two monsters to skip the opponent's next turn. In the anime, this was represented by a time stop, a likely Shout-Out to Dio Brando. Furthermore, there are loops you can exploit to continue doing this indefinitely, effectively freezing your opponent in time.
- In GURPS players can pay a few character pointsnote to freeze time for a moment. The spells Accelerate Time and Time Out are also similar to this.
- The stasis fields exactly like the ones in Known Space are available with superscience technology.
- The Magic: The Gathering card Time Stop.
- A few other time-related cards (e.g. Time Warp and the famous Time Walk) achieve mostly the same general effect with a slightly different mechanic.
- Spells with the "Split-second" ability work a bit like this as well. Until they resolve no other spells or abilities can be put on the stack, meaning that nothing can be done until the spell's effect has already happened.
- This quote from Nobilis shows the dark potential of this sort of power:
As the sky catches fire, Octavia will reach out and stop the world. For the first time since the bombs began to fall, there will be silence.
"It's no good," the djinn will say. "The missiles are launched. The world is dead. It just doesn't know it yet. It doesn't matter what you do- once you start time going again, everybody dies."
"I don't plan to start time going again," Octavia will answer.
And that is how the universe will end
- The obscure True Brujah vampire clan from the Old World of Darkness could do this as a matter of routine.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons are capable of doing this via technological means, though not to any great tactical or strategic effect. Yet...
- In Exalted, the Lunars can use Charms to achieve this effect using the Charm Blinking Eye of Chaos.
- A pair of BIONICLE masks have powers like this. The most obvious being the Mask of Time, which can slow down or speed up time around a target. The Mask of Speed overlaps this trope with Super Speed (and perhaps Super Reflexes), in that for the user, everything else almost stops to a halt. This way, the user can deliver blows without the target even having the chance to react.
- In Blur the Lines, Rick accidentally stops time while imitating Hiro from Heroes and uses the opportunity to get... intimate with a friend of his. 
- In Endstone, Cole has this power.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote has the power to freeze time in order to carry on side conversations. Also, earlier in the comic, Antimony mentioned that she would talk with the Guides for hours "while time stood still", but it's possible she was just being metaphorical.
- Several characters in Homestuck have this power. Interesting enough, it IS ordinarily a Game Breaker, but their game is so broken that it ends up being one of the only ways they can even damage their enemies, let alone defeat them.
- Inverted during the "Oceans Unmoving" arc from Sluggy Freelance. Rather than freezing the rest of the world in time, the characters are trapped inside Timeless Space, a world where time naturally stands still, and it takes immense effort to keep themselves from being frozen in time as well.
- Played straight during the "Holiday Wars" arc where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are revealed to have Super Speed that makes everyone else seem like they're standing still. This is how they're able to deliver millions of presents/eggs in a single night.
- Gained in a super-speed version by Doc in The Whiteboard at one point due to too many caffeinated energy drinks. We first see the world from everyone else's perspective involving multiple things (that Doc had touched) exploding and Doc suddenly being found several buildings over with multiple broken walls between his origin and destination. Then we see Doc's side of the story. While he doesn't have to deal with light shifting and air friction isn't much of a problem, he does have to deal with lack of friction between his legs and the floor and with inertia, both that of other objects and his own.
- The Whistle Of Time storyline in Bruno the Bandit
- Played fairly realistically in Mindmistress with Messenger in the Gift storyline, who has a device that lets him enter into a personal time reference faster than that of others as well as other devices to help protect him. The initial researcher who came upon the effect, Iris, was found without nearly every bone in her body broken from attempting to interact with her environment and aged by 30 years over 6 months.
- Early on in Angel Moxie, Tristan is tricked into breaking the statue seals that keep the demon Vashi imprisoned. Breaking the second seal causes time to slow down for all non-magical entities. This - along with the fact that Tristan was capable of breaking the seals - leads to a bit of Foreshadowing that Riley and Tristan have powers of their own, as they weren't affected by the slowdown.
- The Order of the Stick: The Archfiends stop time because they don't like to be rushed when they're making Faustian bargains - though they're perfectly willing to rush the other party. After accepting the deal, V uses the normal Time Stop spell in his battle with the Ancient Black Dragon, to get off seven defensive spells and a Delayed Blast Fireball.
- Sara Waite does this once in the Whateley Universe, speeding up fast enough to save someone who is currently being shot in the head. She does have superpowers: she's actually a Great Old One. Still, her superspeed means she has no light to see with, the friction from the air molecules burns her clothes and skin off, her speed causes her to punch through several walls before she finally stops, she ends up embedded in a bank vault wall, and it takes time for her body to grow back afterward. Ick. At which point she's naked.
- Dan from Trinton Chronicles has this power. He also has a few Required Secondary Powers which act as a fail-safe to this ability and prevents him from creating holes or friction burns on objects and people, allows him to see as if everything was at normal pace (this could also be explained by the fact that he isn't moving faster than light), and gives him the ability to breathe even if the air seems to become slightly more like water. This time-stopping power is his most power gift but he rarely uses it, instead relying on the ability to decelerate or accelerate people and objects in time.
- In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Dr. H. wants to create a "freeze ray" that will stop time, so he can conquer the world and think of something to say to Penny, the girl of his dreams.
- YouTube TV show PoPs has a character with this as her superpower.
- In Red vs. Blue, the Meta uses Wyoming's time-distortion unit to create this effect. It is, however, horribly inefficient when used this way, so he more often than not fails to get a kill before it shuts off. At one point, it malfunctions and causes the Meta to move in slow-motion. Unfortunately for Doc, the Meta still carries the same amount of force, so when his fist finally reaches Doc, it knocks him through a wall.
- Before his burn out in series one of Phaeton, Tom's time freeze seemed to have unlimited range.
- Nox from Wakfu is a Xelor, a race of beings with the power to manipulate time. So far, he hasn't stopped time per se, but he has slowed it down to the point where everything appears to have stopped. Furthermore, anyone who manages to break his spell suffers from Rapid Aging and other debilitating side-effects.
- DuckTales: "Time Teasers," another time-freezing comedy. The Beagle Boys get their hands on a device invented by Gyro Gearloose that lets the user stop time, and attempt to use it to rob Scrooge's money bin. However, a Phlebotinum Breakdown ends up transporting them back to the days of pirates. Earlier in the same episode, Huey, Dewey, and Louie also use this watch to put their favorite baseball team ahead 32 to 16. They still lose. This episode presumably inspired Don Rosa's Donald Duck comics story "On Stolen Time."
- SilverHawks: "Stop Timestopper" and "Gold Shield" both feature a juvenile delinquent villain named Timestopper; no prizes for guessing what his power is. Whenever he uses it, the picture changes from color to black and white.
- Spoofed in the Johnny Bravo episode "The Day The Earth Didn't Move Around Too Much", where a series of coincidences falsely convinces Johnny that time has frozen for everyone but him.
- The best part of that episode is that after committing a few crimes because "no time means no rules", the judge of his case lets Johnny off the hook because he also experienced a time where the thought he was in the middle of a time freeze as well.
- In the Justice League episode "Only A Dream", the Flash suffers a nightmare where he winds up locked in super-speed, effectively freezing him in time. Again, the color is black-and-white. (He mentions that he used to have a similar dream often when he first got his powers)
- Used for comedy one of The Simpsons' Halloween episodes (based on the Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch", listed above). In the skit "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off", after breaking a magic watch and stranding themselves in stopped time, Bart and Milhouse raid a bookstore and spend ten years teaching themselves watch repair, finally returning to normal time as adults.
- Dexter's Laboratory did this with the "main character is way faster than everyone else" version in the short "Morning Stretch". Dexter tries to use a "time-compression helmet" to get his morning routine done and finish his homework in under a minute, but preparing breakfast and taking a shower when everything else is moving in exaggerated slow motion is problematic, and he finds that writing with a pencil at normal (to him) speed while using his Applied Phlebotinum causes so much friction that the paper catches fire. To top it all off, at the end of the cartoon, Dee-Dee informs him that it's a snow-day, so Dexter went through all that fuss for nothing.
- Futurama: Fry does this in Caffeine Bullet Time.
- This happens again with Fry and Leela in the Series Finale when an invention of The Professor's breaks. Fry and Leela spend their entire lives together frozen in that same point in time, happily married into old age.
- Raven of Teen Titans manages this in the episode "Birthmark." Unfortunately for her, the person she was trying to stop was immune to the time freeze because he had been given powers by her father.
- Not Speculative Fiction, but take one hyperactive squirrel, add enough caffeine, and presto: Hammie from the film version of Over the Hedge uses this trope to illustrate the effects. For the first time in the movie, Hammie seems to be going at a normal speed. In the background, the only thing that shows any appreciable motion is ... a bunch of lasers. Which he's able to walk faster than.
- In the Animalia episode "The Mist of Time", time in present day Animalia gradually slows down, then stops entirely, because of G'Bubu's accidental time trip to the prehistoric past while carrying a time spore.
- When Kim Possible and Rufus entered hyper speed by overusing her Super Speed shoes the time stopped for her, while time ran as normal for everyone else. Fridge Logic like to mention that by the time the plot had resolved in normal speed, it would have taken an eternity in hyper speed, which it didn't. Time just moved as fast as the plot demanded.
- A villain in Static Shock had this as his main power, and can control it as well. The villain is naturally stopped when Gear makes a similar device for Static, which the villain confiscates and tries to use, with the result that he slows down to the point of almost being a statue.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Time Out of Joint", the Clock King steals a device that allows him to slow time to a crawl. In addition to committing the usual super-fast crimes, he puts the device to one particularly unique application. By attaching another one to the Batmobile, he slows down its time-frame so that the world around it seems to be moving at a large fraction of light-speed; the first vehicle to even cherry-tap the Batmobile will trigger a massive explosion. Batman and Robin disarm the device, and find that several days have passed during the minute or so they were in the field.
- One episode of The Mask includes a poorly made time machine that is looping an ever-decreasing period of time. If not stopped, it will eventually lock all existence in a single instant eternally.
- Naturally, the time traveling episode of Danny Phantom has the TimeMaster easily doing this.
- One of the super-powered MacGuffins on Xiaolin Showdown had this ability (extended to ANYONE touching it when it was activated).
- Key to the plot in Twice Upon a Time, a comedy about a conflict between the good and evil sides of a Dream Land. Villain Synonamess Botch tricks the innocent fool heroes into stealing the spring of the (Deliberately Monochrome, live-action) land of Din's Cosmic Clock. With the clock stopped, time in Din stops as well, at a moment when its resident Rushers are awake. He intends to start the clock back up once nightmares have been dropped everywhere — then detonate them and trap the Rushers in waking nightmares.
- Happens in the Donkey Kong Country episode 'The Day the Island Stood Still'. DK wishes that he could sleep forever, forgetting to Be Careful What You Wish For. The result is that the sun, clocks, and blooming flowers freeze in motion. Oddly enough, all of the characters are still able to move. The problem is fixed when they wake DK up, but that required some Prophecy Twist.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "It's About Time", when all other attempts to prevent a Bad Future fails, Twilight Sparkle decides that the only option left is to stop time forever. She fails, but fortunately the Bad Future never happens.
- In The Smurfs episode "No Time For Smurfs", Handy, Brainy, and Clumsy accidentally cause time to stand still when they break Father Time's Sands Of Time hourglass.
- Danger Mouse's evil alter ego ("two percent of me," in his words) makes time stand still with Penfold frozen in it and challenges DM to a fight in "The Good, The Bad and the Motionless."
- Elita One from The Transformers can completely stop time within a certain radius of herself, however using the ability is very draining and prolonged use is fatal.
- The Garfield Show episode "Time Master" where Garfield discovers a stop watch that has the power to temporarily stop time.
- Prock from The Awesomes can stop time by saying "Stop" and restart it by saying "Start." It does come with a very bad Blessed with Suck condition however - he's been warned that continued use of it could kill him, and he does get a Psychic Nosebleed at one point.
- In the Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch episode "No Time", Sabrina accidentally sends a magical hourglass through a portal into Witch World, causing "The Fog of Infinity" to freeze time in the human world. Time will stay frozen forever unless Sabrina and her friends retrieve the glass within an hour, so a literal Race Against the Clock ensues.
- Rick and Morty - Rick uses a time-stopping gizmo of his to freeze the world so he, Morty and Summer can clean house after a Wild Teen Party just before the parents get home - but they're not too keen on cleaning up so they play around, pants random people, watch movies and generally have a good time together, and haven't gotten around to unfreezing time at shows' end.
- In one episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julien gums up one of Kowalski's inventions, freezing time for everyone except the two of them. They basically goof around in New York until Kowalski figures out how to fix the watch.
- In an episode of Adventure Time, Magic Man steals Jake's sandwich and creates a molasses-based time bubble around himself to prevent Jake from retrieving it. Unusually, it slows down Magic Man and leaves Finn and Jake free to move at normal time- unless they enter the bubble. Jake is able to move at regular speed through the bubble when he's sad (but not judgmental or angry.)
- The Little Prince: On the Planet of Time, each town's time is self-contained and is controlled by the town's clock. Stopping that clock leaves its inhabitants frozen in time.