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Fantastic Radiation Shielding

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Real-life radiation shielding mainly consists of piles of mundane materials that are good at blocking the radiation of concernnote  and the radiation itself is understood as harmful electromagnetic energy emitted by uranium and other radioactive materialsnote . This trope covers all instances where:

  • Realistic radiation is shielded by fantastic means;
  • Fantastic radiation (such as The Government's Mind Control rays) is shielded by mundane means (the classic Tinfoil Hat);
  • Fantastic radiation is shielded by fantastic means.

Compare Hazmat Suit regarding a more mundane means of protection against both radiation and other hazards too.

Compare and contrast Anti-Radiation Drug, which applies specifically to drugs, and includes treatments after exposure to radiation.


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    Comic Books 
  • In past ages of comic books, Kryptonite radiation was stopped by lead, and only lead, even though while lead provides great radiation shielding in real life, it's by far not unique in this property.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Lone Wolf's magical sword, the Sommerswerd, radiates such goodly power that it acts as a beacon to evil beings. On the occasions when Lone Wolf has to sneak into the hometurf of such beings, he has to keep the Sommerswerd sheathed in a Korlinium scabbard. The people who give him the scabbard warn him that the instant he draws the sword his cover will be blown by the sword's aura, so he should only wield it when he's in striking distance of the Big Bad. In the last Grandmaster book, if Lone Wolf does not have the Sommerswerd and takes the magical sword Skarn-Ska the Elder Magi forged for him, Lord Rimoah will give him a Korlinium Scabbard since Skarn-Ska, while not as powerful as the Sommerswerd, also radiates goodly power.
    • Lone Wolf's lieutenant in the New Order series has the same problem with the Moonstone, which he carries in a Korlinium-laced satchel during his travels, as to not attract the attention of Naar's agents. It works quite well.

  • In The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios explains how helmets made of lead or steel really could block attempts at mind reading, provided it's done by trying to pick up electric pulses in the brain.
  • In The Alloy of Law, aluminum and some of its alloys are "allomantically inert", which means, in part that wearing a hat lined with aluminum foil will prevent an Allomancer from using Emotion Control powers on you.
  • In The Beacon to Elsewhere by James H. Schmitz, radiation suits are used which protect the user by means of force fields. The protagonist has an advanced version which generates the force field without the need for a suit.
  • In the To Ride Pegasus trilogy one character wears a metal skullcap, and shaves her head, to prevent telepathic Talents from reading her mind. It doesn't help if they have direct skin contact though.
  • In Worm, Grue's darkness clouds block radiation in addition to light, sound, and powers. It doesn't come up often, but he does use it at one point to protect his team from radioactive material.
  • Tempe O'kun has used gold (actually a fair radiation shield IRL) to block paranormal effects in two of his series:
    • In Sixes Wild a trader keeps mirror ore artifacts carrying Echoes in a gold-lined box, as soon as it's opened the Echo-sensitive Six is overwhelmed with the voices of the dead.
    • In Windfall the town chamber of commerce keeps a solid gold urn for containing/canceling paranormal artifacts. In "An Otter-Body Experience" Max and Kylie borrow it to reverse their "Freaky Friday" Flip.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica: One of the multiple showcases that the Twelve Colonies of Cobol have more advanced tech than modern-day Earth is the existence of anti-radiation drugs that allow people to survive wandering a recently-nuked city (Cylon-occupied Caprica). Of course, the radiologicals still have limits and one of the secondary characters dies in a Heroic Sacrifice in the third season when she stays way past the maximum safe time piloting her Raptor through a hard-radiation area because she needed to help the fleet navigate this hazard.
  • In an episode of The Finder, the Finder wears an aluminum foil hat. The client of the week (Hodgins from Bones) mocks him, but it really does help block the government from interfering with your brain waves so you can move.
  • In the second ever Doctor Who story, "The Daleks", the Doctor and his companions take medicine that not only cure them of radiation sickness encountered while unknowingly exploring an irradiated planet, but also protects them from future radiation.
  • All the friggin' time on Star Trek. Radiation of all kinds (both real and contrived) can be blocked by various means, from Deflector Shields to inoculations. This includes deflector shields or magnetic shielding being capable of blocking transporters.

    Tabletop Games 
  • From Warhammer 40,000 comes the Gellar field, which projects a "bubble of reality" around large-scale objects, making is used as a shield from psychic energy. While it's used in that capacity only a few times, such as to ward off psychic phenomena or daemons, its main use is to allow ships to safely transition from realspace and to exist safely in The Warp, making it essential to most factions' capacity for FTL travel. However, the technology is not totally reliable, and sudden Gellar field failure will mean that the fabric of the ship will... change within hours, although the crew will be long dead by that point, and be wishing for death up to that point.

  • The Tec-Shield Batman action figure wears a golden suit that "'protects' against extreme heat and chemicals".

    Video Games 
  • In the Mass Effect franchise, it's possible to block the mechanism for Reaper indoctrination and Leviathan enthrallment, which is quite similar with sufficient numbers of glowy energy barriers. This is handy for studying fragments of Reapers and other small artifacts, which could otherwise slowly indoctrinate researchers to the Reaper cause. However, it's insufficient for really big things, like active Reapers and capital ship derelicts.
  • Every mainline Fallout game features Rad-X, an oral medication that shields the body from radiation. Relatedly, there is also RadAway, which is an intravenous medication that purges the body of radiation it's already absorbed.
  • Ashes 2063: Purge is a stim with three effects: it blocks radiation absorption, rapidly drains any rads present in the user's body, and negates damage from already-present radiation poisoning. It's so effective that you can wander into the ground zero of a recent nuclear explosion with no ill effects.

    Web Comics 
  • Karl in FreakAngels wears foil under his hat so the other "angels" don't bother him with telepathic messages all the time. It's not clear whether or not it works because their telepathy uses radio waves or the placebo effect, but it seems to make him feel a bit better.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Belkar uses a lead sheet to block Miko's Detect Evil ability. Later in the story, La Résistance of the Azure City use the same to hide from goblins' Detect Good. This is actually taken straight from the game the comic is based on, where (at least up to third edition) varying thicknesses of different materials will in fact block low-level Detect spells.
    • Given an epic Call-Back in the "Girard's Gate" storyline, when it turns out that the eponymous Gate itself is hidden behind lead sheeting, inside a pillar labelled "Your Gate Is In Another Pyramid".

    Web Original 
  • In The Salvation War, demonic mind control and illusion powers can be blocked by foil. The story gets much mileage out of this, including the line "There will always be eccentrics who deny that the tin foil hat is absolutely essential to prevent baldricks taking over your mind." said by a government official. Aluminium foil is far from the only method of achieving this effect, however; it's just the most lightweight and convenient material available for the task on short notice.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama movie Into the Wild Green Yonder, Fry and the Legion of Madfellows wear foil hats which prevent their thoughts being read by "The Dark One". And to keep themselves fairly sane as it blocks their own uncontrollable telepathy.