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Negative Space Wedgie

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Not even the Enterprise crew ever encountered space tornadoes.note 

"Plot complication showing up on ship's sensors now, Captain. I am switching to visual... Computer data coming in now, Captain. It's just what we need: a colossal negative space wedgie of great power coming right at us at warp speed."
Mr. Schlock, Stardrek

The outer space equivalent of the Monster of the Week, except it isn't necessarily a creature — it can be the nebula that conveniently zaps your stardrive, or the planet with the radiation that makes you age too fast, or, well, any of a hundred similar things from Star Trek. It's unexpected, unexplainable, and puts the cast in an artificially-heightened state of crisis for 25-45 minutes plus commercials — until they find or invent the necessary cure, solution, fix, and/or repellent spray.

Except for the superficial details, one Negative Space Wedgie is very much like another — it's just a random threat, the third this month. It's a bit absurd to call them "an anomaly" (the usual term used on Star Trek) when they happen on a very regular basis, come to think of it.

Common varieties include:

Not necessarily this trope — or at least justified — is where the phenomenon is the premise of the movie or series. In the case of a series, it must be the same phenomenon at the beginning of each episode rather than same-but-different variations. For stand-alone works, they can occur once to set the plot in motion, and perhaps a second time to conclude the story; additional appearances to create additional plot points are more a manifestation of this trope.

Not to be confused with Wedgie, nor is it an exaggerated version of the prank.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • During the penultimate battle in the Super Spiral Universe, Team Dai-Gurren of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann encounter the Death Spiral Machine, a device that absorbed Spiral Energy and used it to convert space around it into an ultra-dense state (read: space ocean). Bad news? Our heroes are overloaded with and run on Spiral Energy. They manage to destroy it, at the cost of Kittan's life.
  • GaoGaiGar's second half features THE POWER, which is basically a Positive Space Wedgie that's hidden in the planet Jupiter.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has Imaginary Space, empty dimension spaces created by dimension faults that appeared during the finale of the first season. They will cease all magic when you enter them then suck you in with their strong gravitational pull. No one knows what will happen after that, but Precia believed that falling into it would lead to the lost civilization of Al Hazred, kinda like drowning in the Atlantic Ocean would lead you to Atlantis.
  • Getter Robo Armageddon has the infamous "space vagina" near the end of the show.
  • Stellvia of the Universe: Practically the entire enemy. Consists of the first wave, second wave, and cosmic fracture.
  • Transformers: Cybertron: The Unicron Singularity is a slowly expanding hole in reality that threatens to consume the entire multiverse if it isn't stopped. Its space- and time-altering properties are used to explain away continuity errors between the English dub of Cybertron and the dubs of the preceding two series. Later, the Cybertron comic series uses it to explain away every plot hole in every continuity of the franchise, which includes any other properties that crossed over with it — Star Wars, G.I. Joe, even the entire Marvel multiverse. It's possibly the most extreme example of the trope ever.
  • Space Battleship Yamato 2199 has an episode where the Yamato falls into a dimensional rift that slowly drains power from the ship's otherwise unlimited Wave Motion Engine. They are able to escape with the aid of a Garmilan ship towing them out after blasting an exit with their Wave-Motion Gun. Even in that universe's own science, it doesn't make sense. The Wave-Motion Gun is the Wave Motion Engine fired in reverse. The Techno Babble describing the firing sequence of the cannon is a process of the engine diverting power backwards. If using the Yamoto's Warp Drive didn't work, using the Weaponized Exhaust shouldn't have either.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side features a strip where the crew of the Enterprise encounters the floating head of Zsa Zsa Gabor. Kirk immediately orders Sulu to raise shields, natch.

    Comic Books 
  • Gold Digger: The final boss: a giant multidimensional rock, composed of the big-crunch singularity from the Ancients' Universe when they escaped into Gina's. Her goal as the protagonist is to use the ancients' tools to synch the giant mass or something before everyone in her universe is stoned to death.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Crunch is a giant tear at one edge of the universe (just on the edge of Andromeda, as a matter of fact), next to which sits the Kyln, an ancient cosmic prison of unknown origins. It's a surprisingly pleasant pale blue colour. Annihilation begins with something coming out of it — a large, unstoppable army.
    • Fantastic Four: Almost all modern versions of the Four's origin story have them getting their superpowers from one during their mission into space. Oddly enough, a Negative Space Wedgie is used because it's a more "plausible" alternative to their original origin, which simply had them getting their powers from ordinary cosmic radiation, which really exists (but, admittedly, has never given any real astronauts super-powers, so far as we know).
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: A rash of these kicks off the plot of vol 2., where due to two very nasty wars space has been pretty badly messed up, and the team has to prevent things from outside of reality getting in. Or worse... However, other things start taking place, meaning the team is unable to prevent the creation of The Fault, a NSW several light-years across. It also happens to mess up physics and time, meaning things that are blatantly impossible can happen inside it. It also causes any Kree who enters it to be turned into a hideous writhing blob of flesh. And that's before getting into what's on the other side of it...

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 3 the pilots fight Leliel, a being that apparently is a floating, white-and-black-striped sphere. It turns out that the sphere is a shadow, and its "shadow" is Leliel's real body: an impossibly thin body that stores a whole alternate dimension of blank nothingness. Asuka falls inside it and spends twelve hours trapped inside Leliel as the alien monster tries to Mind Rape her. She gets saved when her mecha goes berserker at the same time that Shinji's did.
  • Avengers: Infinite Wars has the Guardians of the Galaxy observe that the Star Wars universe is surrounded by a strange anomaly that prevents anyone entering it using conventional faster-than-light travel, requiring them to resort to extreme methods to enter the galaxy to track down one of Peter Quill’s half-siblings. Later on, Thor elaborates on this by describing this galaxy as having "a litany of black holes and a strange barrier", which make it uniquely cut off from the rest of the universe for reasons even Heimdall cannot explain.
  • The Child of Love: In chapter 3 the main characters fought an Angel that resembled a kind of enormous feather with a sphere on top of it, impossibly thin and yet incredibly heavy.
  • Last Child of Krypton: The Dirac Sea, an impossibly thin inky-black shadow that in reality is a vast alternate universe. Asuka falls into it and gets Mind Raped by Leliel. Shinji flies into it to save her, and a mysterious trio of aliens takes advantage of it to communicate with Shinji as he is inside.
  • Lost in the Woods: Q actually has to combine his own powers with the latest spatial anomaly the Enterprise is tracking to send them into the parallel universe the crew will come to refer to as ‘Alliance space’, as part of his latest 'test' of the crew.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Chapter 10 features an artificial Angel which is described as something akin to a black hole. It looks like a floating, massive blot of ink.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: In Season 2 Episode 7, an accident with some cosmic energy during a fight between the three teams punches open a hole in reality called a Smarkle Rift. Specifically compared to a smaller scale Florpus Hole, it acts as a one-way portal to a Mirror Universe.
  • The Next Frontier: Mentioned by name, although it's actually useful; it turns out to contain the key to a working Alcubierre Drive.
  • Origins: This is the result of certain types of Faster-Than-Light Travel being used too frequently — mainly that such FTL engines are causing breaches between parallel universes. This ends up letting in the Flood, who have mixed with the Reapers, which for obvious reasons poses problems.
  • Pathways sees SG-1 meet the crew of Moya meet and learn that their wormholes are actually part of the same NSW. Sam Carter and John Crichton speculate that the Stargate network basically controls the wormholes and keeps the travellers on a fixed route in the same time and universe, whereas the 'wild' wormholes encountered by Crichton require more careful navigation to prevent time travel or universal displacement.
  • The Second Try: Leliel, a black-and-white-striped floating sphere whose shadow is an alternate dimension and its true body, shows up in the first episode fittingly named after it. Shinji intentionally falls inside it and tries ripping it apart from within like his mother did the first time around, but he has no idea of how she did it, so he has to wait till Yui decides to go berserker.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: When black-and-white-striped sphere-shaped Leliel invades Tokyo-3 Asuka nearly falls into its shadow (a Sea of Dirac), but she gets rescued by Shinji. To kill him the three Eva pilots surround it with their energy barriers while the army drops almost a thousand nukes on it.
  • Through the Looking Glass features Battlestar Galactica — both the original and reimagined series versions — finding one that causes two characters to essentially 'swap' universes; a Number Eight Cylon ends up in the original series, while Athena Adama is displaced into the reimagined universe and is subsequently enlisted into the fleet (interestingly, although Commander Adama and Lee Adama don't look like their counterparts in Athena's world, their DNA still matches up enough for Doc Cottle to confirm that Athena should be considered another Adama).
  • White: Barragan Luisenbarn's Segunda Etapa allows him to manifest black holes through his upgraded battle-axe, which he proceeds to use on Gremmy Thoumeaux to fatal effect when the Vandenreich launch their initial invasion into Hueco Mundo.
  • With Strings Attached: Played with. Jeft insists that the four go after the third piece of the Vasyn right away, even though Paul is asleep and will be for several hours, because a “dimensional static storm” will prevent them from going for several days if they don't go now. Later, when Varx mentions that he's never heard of such a thing, Jeft says “There are a lotta things you never heard of.” It becomes clear later that he simply lied to the four and whisked them away while Shag and Varx were conveniently out of the room.

    Film — Animated 

  • Immortal has one appear right on Earth's surface, in Central Park, New York. This phenomenon called the Intrusion causes arctic atmosphere around the area, kills any human trying to enter, and brought some aliens, at least Jill and John from outer space, acting as a some kind of wormhole. Though John didn't create the Intrusion, it's implied that he brought it to Earth.
  • Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus has the titular Florpus, a tear in the universe created by Zim teleporting Earth across the universe. It looks like a swirling black hole, sucking in everything nearby, except it also causes everything it sucks in to collide and merge with other realities until they're torn apart.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Fantastic Four (2005) has a radioactive cosmic cloud give the four and Victor Von Doom their powers.
  • Fantastic Four 2 zigzags this trope. Dr. Richards is asked to investigate an anomalous spatial phenomenon altering terrestrial weather but it turns out that it’s actually caused by an extraterrestrial life form called The Silver Surfer but then Dr. Richards discovers that eight days after the Surfer arrives on a planet, the planet is destroyed by an unexplained spatial phenomenon but then the Surfer reveals that it’s actually Galactus the Devourer but then the climax reveals Galactus is a planet eating space cloud.
  • The Final Countdown: An anomaly teleports the USS Nimitz back to World War II, and then returns the carrier to its present-day just as its air group is about to engage the Japanese fleet and prevent Pearl Harbor.
  • The Neverending Story: The Nothing is basically a Negative Space Wedgie that devours Fantasia. This is pretty much the basis of the movie and the first half of the novel.

  • Animorphs dealt with these occasionally, though the technical explanation always comes from Ax, who referred to it as a "Sario Rip", which tended to cause time travel of either a day or millions of years. There are several instances where Ax postulated a Sario Rip that didn't pan out due to more mundane explanations, but these didn't usually seem to involve time travel, thus probably meaning translated from the original Andalite, 'Sario Rip' means space wedgie.
  • Antares has the Antares Nebula, a highly radioactive supernova remnant. After two years of research (not to mention a lot of money), the good guys develop a radiation shield that can handle it, enabling them to transit the nebula.
  • Aurora Cycle:
    • FoldStorms are a hazard of travelling the Fold. At the beginning, one is destroying the derelict Hadfield as Tyler is trying to rescue Human Popsicle Auri from the ship.
    • "Temporal storms" are mentioned as one reason for placing sectors under Interdiction.
  • The Culture: The excession in Excession. A mysterious, massive, featureless black sphere that demonstrates a variety of impossible or thought-to-be-impossible characteristics, the possibilities implied by which (like access to other universes) almost leads to an interstellar war for control of the thing. It turns out to be a Sufficiently Advanced Alien probe from another universe sent to evaluate the lifeforms found in this one. And, given the "almost leads to an interstellar war" thing, found them lacking, and departed so they wouldn't fight over it.
  • Death Zone: The premise of the setting is the sudden formation of a negative space wedgie in five cities of the former USSR (three in Russia and two in Ukraine) that obliterate the cities (including Saint Petersburg) and create anomalous zones full of bio-mechanical monsters, gravity anomalies, toxic atmosphere, ever-present nanites that infect any exposed body part, and an enormous tornado at the center of each zone that links all five with another dimension. If you survive several days in the Zones, you're already elite. If not, then you're likely walking around as a mechanical zombie. One of the novels reveals that the cause of all this is the reactivation of an old Soviet wormhole generator prototype, the original test of which resulted in the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986. The other culprits are escaped terraforming nanobots and a pissed-off AI.
  • Destroyermen has an Earth-based variant in the form of a strange-looking squall that sends the USS Walker and the USS Mahan to a parallel Earth where evolution took a drastically different turn. They later find out that other ships were transported centuries earlier and a few show up later.
  • Loyal Enemies: The witch rings form naturally in random places and are usually dormant power sources. If the proper rite is made, though, they become portals into another world, and most of those other worlds they connect to are filled up to brim with darklings. They can be opened from both sides, which is why people prefer to stay away from them.
  • Nebula Alert: A nebula turns out to be one of these having both the effect of increasing hostility among the crew and passengers as well turning out to be a portal into the author's other series. Chandler's work had many NS Ws explained by space "breaking down" on the rim of the galaxy.
  • In The Neverending Story, the Nothing is a force of pure Nothingness beyond the possibility of description threatening to consume Fantastica.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda made heavy use of temporal anomalies and the like, even incorporating them into the eponymous starship's construction.
    • In one episode, Harper (after having an entire library downloaded into his head), is running away from an agent of the Abyss, somehow modifies the Eureka Maru's slipstream core to "solidify" the entrance. Beka's reaction:
      Beka Valentine: Um... Weirdness incoming.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie Babylon 5: Thirdspace features an ancient artifact that opens a gate to a dimension inhabited by a race of ancient evil aliens.
  • Blake's 7 had a black hole in "Dawn of the Gods", a Swirly Energy Thingy in "Breakdown", a giant fungal web in "The Web", and in "Terminal" a cloud of corrosive matter that eats away at the hull, leaving the interior Covered in Gunge and causing the Liberator to break apart and explode when the Big Bad orders "Maximum Power!" after finally capturing it.
  • Doctor Who occasionally has these mixed in with the Monsters of the Week. Sometimes they can be negative time wedgies as well.
    • The first use of this was "The Edge of Destruction", the third story in the very first season, back in 1963 — the TARDIS begins to open and close its doors, show cryptic images on the monitors, electrocute anyone touching the console, and make everyone aboard feel intense fear and despair. This turns out to be the TARDIS attempting to warn the Doctor that it's going to blow up in only a few minutes, because the "fast return switch" got stuck.
    • "Planet of Giants" concerns a TARDIS glitch that causes it to shrink instead of dematerialise.
    • "The Space Museum" has the characters arriving intangible due to a TARDIS glitch that has sent them onto a different "time track". In this state, they come across their own corpses before time catches up to them and they are bumped into the normal universe.
    • "The Mind Robber": In order to escape from a lava flow caused by the titular Dominators in the previous episode, "The Dominators", the Doctor activates the TARDIS' emergency drive unit, which "sends the TARDIS out of the time-space dimension" or, as he wryly comments, "We're's as simple as that."
    • "The Horns of Nimon" has a gravity vortex that sends the TARDIS out of control and alters the flow of time, causing one scene to be slowed down weirdly.
    • "Army of Ghosts" has one found by the Torchwood organisation, who actually build their London headquarters around it. The plot kicks off when they decided to try and use it as an energy source, not remotely considering this might be a bad idea. Cue several million Cybermen from an alternate universe invading Earth through the crack.
    • Pretty much the entire original premise of Torchwood. A permanent NSW (the "Rift") runs through the city of Cardiff in Wales, which is the trope namer for Aliens in Cardiff. The local population seems largely oblivious to it, despite all the paranormal phenomena it causes, the random disappearances of people (either sucked into the Rift or eaten by displaced aliens) and the Torchwood team racing around the streets chasing said aliens. Still, if you are a Time Lord, then the Rift does have its uses. The Doctor employs it as a petrol station for his TARDIS, and in one instance to also tow the entire planet Earth through space and time after it had been stolen so as to put it back where it belonged.
    • One memorable subversion occurs in the Eleventh Doctor episode "Amy's Choice": they encounter a "cold star", which radiates cold instead of heat. It turns out that cold stars are too ridiculous even for the Whoniverse: the Doctor (correctly) says they're completely impossible and the only reason they encountered one was that they were in a dream.
    • The 2010 series as a whole had the cracks in time, which could Ret-Gone anyone or anything (up to and including reality itself) out of existence.
    • "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" is about the TARDIS interfering with the crew as revenge for being vandalised.
    • "The Name of the Doctor": It turns out that this is what the Doctor's corpse will be, just a swirling vortex of his entire timeline.
      The Doctor: Were you expecting a body? Bodies are boring. I've had loads of them.
    • "Flatline" features the inner dimensions of the TARDIS getting leeched out, causing it to shrink.
  • Farscape had a couple of these, including a time-stopping cloud that was hardening to encase the ship in permanent stasis, and an entire section of space, even more remote than the Uncharted Territories, called "Tormented Space", which the crew of fugitives resorted to hiding in. Of course, you could also count that wormhole John went through in the first episode to get the series rolling.
    • And, of course, the episode in which Moya gave herself a Negative Space Wedgie. During her pregnancy, she attempted to Starburst too quickly after her last trip and ended up stuck.
  • Often parodied in Red Dwarf due to the characters' limited real scientific knowledge;
    Cat: I hate to go all technical on you, but: All hands on deck, Swirly Thing Alert!

    Cat: Is that what I think it is?
    Lister: What do you think it is?
    Cat: An orange swirly thing in space!

    Kryten: Is it a wibbly thing or a swirly thing?
    Cat: At this early stage I'd hate to commit myself and wind up looking a fool.
    • That said, certain scenarios allowed them to get more technical; in "White Hole", the titular object was described as the opposite of a black hole, spewing time into the universe and causing various temporal anomalies until the crew sealed it and erased these events.
  • SeaQuest DSV, being essentially Star Trek: The Next Generation on a submarine, occasionally resorted to a Negative Sea Wedgie. At least in the first season, they were real-life Negative Sea Wedgies (fresh-water sinkholes, black smokers, etc). Then they started finding alien spaceships and psychic energy vortices on the ocean floor.
    • On one occasion, they manage to create a Negative Sea Wedgie on their own, by accident at first, and then successfully repeat it. This particular Wedgie results from their nuclear reactor instability and can lead to Time Travel.
  • Stargate SG-1 had episodes like this early on, though they were more like "negative planet wedgies" since they weren't capable of space travel. Later seasons moved more toward the original stories created for the setting as well as extended plot arcs.
    • The SGC was unusual among fictional spacefaring organizations in that they took extensive measures to avoid letting any of these dangerous discoveries come back with them. Of course, something new invariably happened that their defenses were useless against.
    • In "A Matter of Time" they open the Stargate into a black hole. The gate won't shut off either because, as Carter correctly points out, the effect of gravity means time is slower closer to the gate's wormhole. Weeks pass outside the base in the time it takes for them to even realize how serious the problem is.
    • In "Grace", the Prometheus is chased into a nebula by a huge alien ship that makes no attempt to reply to its communications other than agreeing to Sam's deal when she offers them a way to get out of the nebula, as the ship has become trapped there as well.
    • In season 2 the gate sends them into the past. They initially think this was caused by a very weird negative space wedge but it turns out the gate connection was established through a star. It's later revealed that the gate is probably supposed to prevent this issue automatically, flaws in their dialing system allowed it to happen.
  • EVERY Star Trek show has featured Negative Space Wedgies when they were not featuring a new Monster of the Week or Planet of Hats.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series started the tradition with several:
      • "Where No Man Has Gone Before": an energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy gives humans godlike powers at the cost of driving them insane.
      • "The Immunity Syndrome": a zone of darkness and negative energy, created by the energy-devouring giant space amoeba at its center.
      • "The Tholian Web": an area of space only partly in phase with our universe drives people insane, and later swallows a starship (with Captain Kirk still aboard).
      • "The Galileo Seven": a quasar (a real-life N-S-W noted for being galaxy-sized) in the outskirts of our galaxy without anyone noticing until Kirk and co stumbled across it.
      • "The Squire of Gothos": Trelane, who uses his Reality Warper powers to bedevil the Enterprise crew, including causing the titular planet to appear in their path again and again.
      • "Tomorrow is Yesterday": a "black star", a highly massive burned-out star that almost sucks the Enterprise in, and the escape maneuver causes the Enterprise to travel back in time.
      • "Who Mourns For Adonais?": The alien who was the Greek god Apollo tries to force the Enterprise crew to worship him by grabbing the ship with a giant glowing green hand.
    • TNG ended its TV run with an extra special one, in fact: an anti-time disruption that threatens to completely undo the entire universe, necessitating three different Captain Picards from three different periods in time to try and fix it.
    • Even the crew of Deep Space Nine, a stationary space station (which moved in any significant way exactly once during the show, and in the first episode for that matter), encountered a surprisingly large share of Negative Space Wedgies. This was lampshaded in the DS9 Technical Manual, musing about how the high density of space anomalies in the sector may suggest that such phenomena are more common than usually believed. Then again, it was situated near a not-quite-so-negative Space Wedgie.
    • The frequency with which the protagonists encounter them is lampshaded and justified in a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel dealing with the Department of Temporal Investigations; apparently exposure to a Negative Space Wedgie alters probability around you due to Technobabble, making future encounters dramatically more likely (retroactively if need be). The DTI is understandably miffed, given that every time this happens their workload increases.
    • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel, "Q-Squared", Q is the mentor of Trelane, the aforementioned Squire of Gothos (who is in actuality a fledgling Q himself). It turns out many of the anomalies encountered by Kirk, Picard, and Co. are just creations of Trelane for 'fun'. The scientist assigned to the central plot-complicating N-S-W is understandably miffed since it throws her entire theory into the garbage. This eventually leads to discovery of THE Negative Space Wedgie, the Heart of the Storm, wherein parallel-timeline hilarity ensues.
    • Star Trek: Voyager tended to run into a lot of them too, although this was slightly more justified than DS9. Trapped 70 years from home in the Delta Quadrant as they were, Voyager's crew were well aware that a wormhole or other case of spatial weirdness was their most likely ticket home, meaning that when anomalies didn't jump out and ambush them during normal procedures, they tended to seek them out and poke them to see what would happen.
    • In one TNG episode it's suggested that most if not all the ones not created by various godlike aliens are actually a form of pollution caused by warp travel. Sadly this is rarely followed up on. In Voyager, at least, the variable geometry of the warp nacelles is specifically to avoid this kind of damage according to the design documents.
    • Season 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise takes place in a region filled with anomalies that rewrite the laws of physics. It turns out that a network of spheres is responsible, the season concluding with Enterprise destroying the spheres and restoring this area of space to normality.
    • Season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery deals with a mysterious anomaly that is unleashing gravimetric distortions that can rip apart planets, like Book's homeworld Kwejian.


  • The first radio drama episode of Space Patrol (US) (same franchise, different media from the TV show) dealt with a portal to another dimension surrounded by magnetic flux, which dragged any unlucky space ships into itself. It's stopped by catching it with a ring of superconductive metal, then applying a "like" charge to crush it back to quantum size.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The game Rifts is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the entire Earth and surrounding space has basically become this. The game is further subdivided into various other sub-settings, one of which, Phase World and the Three Galaxies, employs this trope in its purest form.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Warp storms are tears in spacetime through which the Warp can enter realspace, exposing anything inside or in close proximity to them to the raw stuff of Chaos. Their presence invariably results in temporal and spatial anomalies, complete shutdowns of interstellar and psychic communications, isolation of whatever is caught in them from FTL travel, and, at worst, hordes of daemon spilling into realspace through the weakened and thinning fabric of reality. Warp storms, alongside a menagerie of stellar remnants, black holes, and sundry unexplained anomalies, provide the "terrain" of the setting by filling the galaxy with a complex topography of no-go zones, areas of possible by dangerous traversal, sudden storms, and narrow and perilous safe routes that constrain and direct interstellar travel, channeling it through reliable safe Hyperspace Lanes while rendering other chunks of the galaxy isolated and difficult to reach.
    • The Eye of Terror is a Warp rift the width of a galactic arm, centered around the former Eldar homeworlds and created as a side effect of the birth of Slaanesh during the Fall of the Eldar. It serves as the home for several Chaos Space Marine forces, and many of the Imperium's most horrific battles have been fought near its borders as massive Chaos armies periodically pour forth from it to assault the galaxy. The Eldar Craftworld of Ulthwe is trapped in the Eye's gravity, locked in its outermost fringes, and the Imperial planet Cadia is located inside a relatively calm area called the Cadian Gate. Oddly enough, the creation of the Eye of Terror had the positive side effect of clearing out the rest of the Warp storms plaguing the galaxy at the time, making FTL travel possible for humanity again.
    • The combination of the destruction of Cadia at the end of the 13th Black Crusade and the elimination of several other Necron Pylonsnote  across the galaxy around the same time by forces of Chaos resulted in a Warp rift that's essentially bisected the entire galaxy called the Cicatrix Maledictum. Its creation caused the Astronomican, the Warp beacon powered by the Emperor from Earth, to completely die out for a time, and several important Imperial worlds, including the Blood Angels' homeworld of Baal, have been cut off from contact with the rest of the Imperium, leaving them with little to no hope of reinforcements in their efforts to fight off the Orks, Tyranids, and other enemies isolated with them.
    • Numerous minor examples of this exist around the galaxy, including the Storm of the Emperor's Wrath; the Maelstrom, which was incorporated as a spur of the Cicatrix; the Damocles Rift; the Hadex Anomaly, aka the Red Hole, thought to somehow leak time from other dimensions and surrounded by ghost ships trapped in its field; and the goings-on in Sub-Sector Aurelia Dawn of War 2.
  • Vor The Maelstrom takes place entirely inside the titular Maelstrom. Earth has been swallowed by a hole in the fabric of the universe and trapped in a faux solar system orbiting a black hole... or something like that. Over the course of the next few decades or so it will tumble to its center, where it will be destroyed. Luckily, there are plenty of other planets plunging to their doom, many in orbits that will take centuries or even millennia to decay. Catch is there are LOTS of other lifeforms trapped in the Maelstrom as well, all fighting for possession of the safest worlds — and more are appearing all the time. If there's a way out, none of those who have escaped have been able (or willing) to return to share the secret. Enjoy your Last Stand.
  • In CthulhuTech there is the Zone, which is what happens when you try to compress infinite dimensions into just three. As it turns out, it doesn't work out well at all.
  • In GURPS Banestorm, the eponymous Banestorm is a probably-magical tear in time and space that kidnaps individuals, groups, and entire chunks of terrain from the history of Earth (and other dimensions) and scatters them all over Yrth.
  • In BattleTech this can happen to Jumpships if something bad happens during their jump, at which point they either disappear for and jump hundreds of years to the future, or create a mini black hole sucking in both them and anything nearby.
  • In The Captain Is Dead, several of the Alert cards are Anomalies, which cause various effects until someone on the crew researches them in the science lab.
  • In Termination Shock the Solar system turns out to be one. In most of the universe a phenomenon called "subwaves" make Subspace Ansibles easy to develop, but Earth is in the middle of a region where they're instead useful in Brain Computer Interfaces and AI. Fortunately a probe stumbled upon humanity and alerted the galactic community in time to save them from hostile robots.

    Video Games 
  • EVE Online:
    • Deadspace Complexes, areas of space where warp drives don't work properly. They function as the game's version of dungeons. There are also several unusual phenomena mentioned in the background, ranging from superdense gas clouds to areas of complete void from which no ship has returned.
    • W-Space (the systems found beyond unstable wormholes) fits the trope too. Normal in-system communications monitoring doesn't work, forcing pilots to rely on limited-range directional sensors, more than a third of the W-Space systems have other effects that mess with other ship systems. These effects are always a mix of positive and negative (a pulsar boosts shields but weakens armor, for example), and exploiting these environments is a major part of W-Space strategy.
    • Abyssal Deadspace, a region that can only be accessed by using an item to rip a temporary hole in reality. All abyssal space has an effect that significantly improves one aspect of a ship, and weakens another. And unlike the W-Space effects, abyssal effects also apply to non-player character ships. Also, the pocket of abyssal space is of limited size, destroying ships that try to leave, and will collapse 20 minutes after being entered, obliterating the ships inside. Somehow, this space is still consistently inhabited by a faction of (non-player character) humans, indicating that the region's instability is probably self-inflicted by pilots, ya know, ripping holes in reality to get in.
  • Final Fantasy V had the Interdimensional Rift and the Void as central plot points.
  • Asteroid fields or nebulae in Freelancer may have some environmental hazard that can really mess you up or be used as a tactical advantage. Some fields reduce your sensor range to a few meters, some are full of lethal radiation that erodes your ship's hull and some may have minefields or volatile gas pockets that explode when you fly too close.
  • FreeSpace 2 introduces a new nebula environment that is plagued with intense electromagnetic storms. On most missions, the lightning only obscures your vision, but there's one mission where it is so strong that it scrambles your HUD and messes with communications and targeting.
  • In Master of Orion 2, some of the one-time random events screw with hyperspace to impair or outright denynote  space travel.
  • The main antagonistic force of Marathon Infinity is the living embodiment of chaos, the W'rkncacnter, which had been trapped by the ancient Jjaro in the sun of the solar system that you fight through in Marathon 2. Without the Jjaro, the chaos is able to consume all of the known universe, and your only hope is to travel through various timelines in the hopes that you can find some way to contain it.
    • The total conversion Marathon: EVIL begins with the Cyborg Space Marine's ship being sucked into a spatiotemporal rift. The final act involves stopping the Pfhor Mystics from generating a wedgie.
  • Rift is an MMO entirely based around this concept. The world is a dangerous place with an especially fragile space-time continuum and dimensional portals can open anywhere, letting in all kinds of elemental Eldritch Abomination from the planes of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Life and Death. Everything pouring out of the portals wants to inhabit the world with the kind of result you'd see from an ocean trying to warm itself around a candle. The two player factions have differing opinions on what to do about the portals: one wants to simply seal them, the other wants to use them to gain powers and knowledge to defend the world even more effectively from portal incursions.
  • Parodied in Space Quest VI with the Super Double Reverse Anti-Anomaly.
  • Kerbal Space Program has the Deep-Space Kraken, an Ascended Glitch of sorts that occasionally makes spacecraft spontaneously explode or go shooting off faster than the speed of light.
  • Namco × Capcom has "Quakes", interdimensional abnormalities that pull monsters and people from one dimensional plane to another.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has almost exactly the same plot as Death Zone in literature. The (apparently) nuclear accident at Chernobyl was followed by a definitely-not-nuclear emission that resulted in lots of little negative space wedgies appearing all over The Zone, making living there and travelling across it extremely dangerous. All three games feature the PC trying to find their way past the little space wedgies to figure out the cause of the big one at the centre that caused it all.
  • Robot Alchemic Drive has Nectar Radiance, a form of cosmic radiation that is fatal to all organic life. Any and all attempts at travelling into space fail when the Radiance kills the crew of the space shuttles, and humanity is only safe from it thanks to the Earth's atmosphere. The Volgara are able to come to Earth because they aren't organic at all: they are completely artificial mechanical life forms.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has an encounter with a Zoltan mystic who worships a Swirly Energy Thingy. If you lose the encounter, a crewmate gets Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence. If you win, the mystic freaks out and dies.
  • Star Trek Online has a large number, as expected from the franchise. They're so common that players actually summon various ones to use as weapons.
  • Implied in Dark Fall Lights Out. An AI-controlled space probe called Malakai, equipped with the ability to manipulate dark matter, had encountered an anomaly in space that crashed his Keeper software. Knowing he was damaged, he attempted to teleport back home without his creator's consent, but the anomaly had changed the return coordinates to 2090 BC instead of 2090 AD, thus starting the events of the game.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: There is something weird going on around the planet Mira. People keep crashing on the planet for no adequately explained reason, those that repair their tech enough to try to go off-planet always have something mysteriously go wrong, everyone can understand each other's speech despite speaking different languages, and the planet itself is not on any known star charts... even those made by civilizations that have mapped out entire galaxies. One highly advanced scientist confirms the existence of some kind of space-time anomaly around the planet but is unable to explain anything about it.
  • Sunless Skies has Wefts or Unravelling Time, which are temporal anomalies that send the ships careening through different times and futures. Sometimes, people get out of the weft months before they went in. Another side effect of these things is reuniting dead bodies with their minds, resulting in some sort of Revenant Zombie. The crew of the Boatman learned that the hard way. Eleutheria also has Extinguishments, which are spots of what could be adequately called anti-light that boil over and erode anything remotely sane or logical that crosses them, including locomotives (with literal breaches of the laws of reality given semi-humanoid form being unaffected, and even spawning them rarely).
  • Though Super Robot Wars V takes place on Earth, a vaguely described storm mysteriously zaps the ZZ-era Londo Bell, Mithril, and Hathaway Noa into the Anno Domini universe. We eventually get an answer to this. One of the Singularities that the DRAGONs generated to cross from the UC dimension to the AD dimension pulled the aforementioned parties along for the ride.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda has The Scourge. It messes up ships that come into contact with it, it disrupts the orbits and weather of planets it comes near ("near" in this case being within a few AUs), it kills anything that touches it, it reacts to any Remnant tech that comes near it. Worst of all, it completely destroyed what was to become the new turian homeworld, leaving them with no place to settle, and it is implied that the Asteroid Thickets found throughout the cluster are the debris left behind by Scourge's destruction of other planets. It's spread across the entire Heleus cluster with no obvious spawn point and no means of getting rid of it (not that anyone seems to be trying), screws up basic physics, and is just generally bad news. It's a weapon released and aimed at the jaardan for an as yet unknown reason.
  • In Riven, the eponymous Age is literally falling apart at the seams due to Gehn's shoddy writing, only barely held together by Atrus's corrections. The biggest violation of nature is the Star Fissure - a crack in the ground opening into what looks like space, but has breathable air where there should be vacuum and even some kind of weather patterns. Gehn sealed it up with steel plates for safety, but once the player cracks through the observation window, the entire Age completely unravels.
  • Warframe features Void fissures, disturbances across space which beam-in corrupted units from Orokin towers hidden in the Void and turn any unfortunate passersby (except the Tenno and their companions) into other corrupted troops. These fissures are of special interest for the Tenno as they can collect reactant dropped by the corrupted to open Void relics, containing parts necessary to build Prime gear. There are also electromagnetic anomalies or radiation hazards that can make sortie missions extra difficult.
  • The Persistence: Wandering into the orbit of a massive black hole caused the Persistence's systems to go haywire and create a whole bunch of monsters.

  • Extremely literal example in this Irregular Webcomic!: a thin, triangular rent in space-time that's pulling dimensions together. It comes complete with Swirly Energy Thingy.
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship has a Freaking Vortex.
  • Captain Ufo. While setting off to conquer Ambrosia, the Widowpunisher's engines break down and trap Ufo's fleet in a temporal bubble.
  • Don't Look in that Bucket has "some form of spatial anomaly" in this strip.
    This later strip has "strange energy readings", and finds the crew of the USS Hat trapped in a "Time Flip"

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama has had its share of Negative Space Wedgies:
  • Given a Shout-Out on Rocko's Modern Life in the episode "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic". A pink Enterprise is vacuumed up.
    "Captain, we're being sucked into some kind of cosmic void..."
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer at the Bat", there is the "Springfield Mystery Spot", a shack attraction ("Where logic takes a holiday and all laws of nature are meaningless"). Ozzie Smith goes into it and...
      Smithers:...And Ozzie Smith seems to have vanished off the face of the earth...
      * Cut to Ozzie Smith in a red void* "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH- *Sees a floating E=MC2* Cool! *Takes picture* AHHHHHHHHHH-"
    • Then there was the Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer stumbled into the Third Dimension through an invisible rift in his living room wall.
  • An episode of Transformers: Animated has Sentinel Prime fly his ship through an "energy cloud" while rushing from Earth to Cybertron. While it does not hurt the ship or the crew, it does wind up freeing the ship's dangerous prisoners.
  • Captain Star had the edge of the universe which slowly encroached on the planet in one episode. All there was on the other side was a stage and an audience to perform for, and anyone who entered would not only become addicted to performing but would also slowly fade away and become another audience member. The titular Captain convinces it to back off by sitting down and telling the audience all of his heroic stories and then asking if they'd rather he stayed or left to go on new adventures. Eager for more stories in the future, they agree to let him go.
  • 3-2-1 Penguins!: The Doom Funnels of Space Colony Double-Wide.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "Where Pleasant Fountains Lie": A "gravimetric shear" disables Boimler and Mariner's shuttle and sends it crashing into a barren planet.
    • The propensity for Star Trek to use this is lampshaded in "Hear All, Trust Nothing". When Freeman learns that a captain has been pulled away from diplomatic duties to investigate something called a brown hole, she protests, "That's not even a thing!" The admiral who notified Freeman of the situation, Les Buenamigo, later turns out to have been an Insane Admiral who was sabotaging Freeman's career to get his pet project off the ground. This suggests that brown holes legitimately aren't a thing and were just some bullshit Buenamigo came up with to justify diverting the Vancouver, but Starfleet Command is too used to Negative Space Wedgies for anybody to question it.

    Real Life 
  • Here's a few real ones and here's a few more, including diamond planets, arcs of space lightning longer than galaxies, unidentified residue of the Big Bang, hypervelocity stars, and gamma-ray bursts.
  • According to some scientists, the extreme conditions that took place just after the Big Bang could have created some objects worthy of this trope — note that evidence of their existence is weak at best and nonexistent at worst — Enter:
    • Magnetic monopoles — subatomic particles with just one magnetic pole thought to be way more massive than any other.
    • Cosmic strings — Long filaments very dense thus massive, as in having been thought to have formed the scaffolding of the present web-like structure of the Universe before fading away in the form of gravitational waves.
    • Domain walls - basically a cosmic string in two dimensions, not just one, that would divide the Universe in a sort of cells.
    • Micro black holes - unlike those formed later from collapsed stars, which are at least several times more massive than the Sun, micro black holes could have been less massive than even Earth. Emission of Hawking radiation would have destroyed most of them.
  • Black holes in general could be seen as a case of this.
  • Another weird object that might exist in the universe are naked singularities, which basically is a core of a black hole, but without the "black" around it. If such an object is possible, physicists would be very interested in finding them because they could answer questions about how the universe works since they would be easier to study than a black hole.
  • The possibility of a "vacuum decay" event is this. The Higgs field that permeates the universe is at a state of stability referred to as a "vacuum", but if it is a false vacuum — meaning that it can still potentially lose energy — then a sufficiently high amount of energy could create a bubble of energy that expands at the speed of light, causes the rest of the Higgs field to turn into energy as well, and completely changes the laws of the universe as it travels.note 


Video Example(s):


Magnetized Ionic Plasma

The effect of the radioactive Asteroid Thicket is described as this in Layman's Terms, since it completely drains the power from any ship it interacts with.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / EMP

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