List of fictional elements, materials, isotopes and atomic particles

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This list contains chemical elements, materials, isotopes or (sub)atomic particles that exist primarily in works of fiction (usually fantasy or science fiction). No actual periodic elements end in "-ite", though many minerals have names with this suffix. Some of the materials listed as elements below may indeed be minerals, alloys, or other such combinations, but fictional works are often vague on such distinctions.

Fictional elements and materials[edit]

Name Source Uses
Byzanium Raise the Titanic![1] Byzanium is a fictional element within the book Raise the Titanic! and its film adaptation, which serves as a main focus of the story arc. It is a powerful radioactive material sought after by both the Americans and Russians for use as either an energy source for a missile defense system or atomic super bomb. The largest known natural source of Byzanium was on the island of Novaya Zemlya, which was mined in the early 20th Century and supposedly taken aboard the ill fated RMS Titanic during her first and only voyage.
Cobalt Thorium G[2][3] Dr. Strangelove, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot In Dr. Strangelove it is an element used in the Russians' doomsday device. Both (real) elements Cobalt and Thorium can be used in atomic weapons to increase the amount of dangerous nuclear fallout, which agrees with the sense in which "Cobalt Thorium G" is used in the movie.

In the "Wages of Fire" episode of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, it is revealed that the BGY-11 is powered by a Cobalt Thorium G power core.

Collapsium The Terro-Human Future History, The Collapsium Collapsium was first mentioned by H. Beam Piper in his Terro-Human Future History series. Piper describes it as "the electron shells of the atoms collapsed upon the nuclei, the atoms in actual contact."[4] Collapsium can only be worked by abrasion with cosmic rays. It is resistant to both ordinary matter projectiles and all forms of radiation, and can be plated on to ordinary steel to form a protective layer. The main use for collapsium is as armor for spacecraft.

A different version of collapsium appeared in Wil McCarthy's novel The Collapsium. McCarthy's collapsium is composed of black holes and can be used to warp space and time in accordance with the wishes of its inventor.[5]

Kryptonite DC Comics A crystalline material, originally in various colors with separate effects, harmful to Kryptonians and created during the destruction of Superman's home planet Krypton; synthesis is also possible. John Byrne's retcon of the DC Comics universe established green kryptonite as a compound and later issues had experiments by Batman and Luthor reestablish the Pre-Crisis versions of red, blue, and gold. Kryptonite has been found in the real world (according to its chemical composition) and has none of the properties or color variations of fictional kryptonite. However, DC Comics had previously described kryptonite as an alien element with a higher atomic number than known Earth elements.
Mithril Middle-earth, Dungeons & Dragons,The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, RuneScape, Golden Sun, Terraria, World of Warcraft, Clash of Kingdoms, MapleStory, Guild Wars 2 Originally described in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy,[6] mithril is a durable silvery metal that is very light and extremely strong. Mithril means "grey gleam", but is translated as "true silver".[7] It was mined in native form in Moria. It can also be worked into other forms with unusual properties such as reflecting only the light of the Moon.The fictional metal has expanded to be included in various other fantasy universes, games, and books. "Mythril" appears in the video game series Final Fantasy. Also, "Mithral" is used in D&D books and "Milrith" in Simon the Sorcerer. In the Warhammer world, the High Elven metal "Ithilmar" has similar properties and usage. In RuneScape it is a lightweight blue metal stronger than steel. In World of Warcraft, Mithril is a silvery-white mid level mineral, that can be mined as an ore and smelted into a bar using the mining profession. [8]"Mithral" is also featured in the Dungeon Master series. It appears in armor form in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It also appears as a cyan metal used to make armor and weapons in MapleStory.
Octiron Discworld A strange, iridescent metal that is highly valued. It radiates dangerous amounts of raw enchantment and is so unstable it can only exist in a universe saturated with raw magic.[9]
Orichalcum Mythology (Atlantis), Fate of Atlantis, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Exalted, Irregular Webcomic!, Star Ocean, Final Fantasy (various), Poseidon: Master of Atlantis, Age of Mythology: The Titans, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, MapleStory, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, Guild Wars 2, Terraria, Kingdom Hearts A metallic pink or red colored metal mined in Atlantis; another name for it is mountain copper.[10] May be based on Auricupride. Used to power machinery in Atlantis in the Indiana Jones adventure game. In the Exalted setting Orichalcum is the strongest of the five magical materials and can be made by distilling ordinary gold using Gaia's blood (Magma) and concentrating sunlight using large occult mirrors. Found in Final Fantasy as a rare material with varying properties. In the Soul Calibur series, Sophitia has a sword and shield set named Orichalcum. Used in smithing to craft Orcish weapons and armor in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In Maplestory it is a fuchsia metal used to craft armors and items. In Shadowrun, orichalcum is a magical alloy of gold, silver, mercury, and copper. Also named "Orichalcon" in some games.
Polydenum OtherSpace A metallic, radioactive, explosive element found in some planetary cores that is mined and refined to become the main fuel for starship sub-light engines in the OtherSpace multiverse, as well as a potent explosive.[11] Never to be mistaken for Molybdenum.
Radium X The Invisible Ray Radium X was an intensively radioactive extraterrestrial element discovered by Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) in the 1936 film the The Invisible Ray. In the film, Dr. Rukh creates a death beam projector which harnesses the incredible power of Radium X for use as a destructive weapon of mass terror. Interestingly, Radium X also had healing powers. In a memorable scene, Rukh restores the sight of his blind mother (Violet Kemble Cooper) with the Radium X projector after developing a filter to curb its destructive effects. According to legend, this scene inspired John Lawrence (the younger brother of physicist Ernest Lawrence) to use radiation on his mother—who had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the uterus.[12] Not to be confused of the real life Radium.
Strongium 90 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Used by gym owner Wally Airhead and his men in the episode "Leonardo Cuts Loose". Provides the user with strength.[13] Not to be confused with real element Strontium, which has a radioactive isotope called Strontium-90.
Theor+ Bertil Mårtensson's Jungfrulig planet A superheavy element, number 183, stable, "eerily unscientific properties". Necessary for protecting the crew of faster-than-light spaceships from high-energy graviton radiation associated with powering up (or powering down) the engines.[14]
Timonium Stardust series,[15] Liaden universe, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends In the Liaden universe, the planet Surebleak[clarification needed] was at one time a mining center for timonium before large amounts were discovered in another nearby star system. Timonium is a radioactive element used as an internal powersource for high tech devices.[16]
Unobtanium Aerospace term [17] A substance having the exact properties required for a piece of hardware or other item of use, but not obtainable either because it theoretically cannot exist, geopolitical events preclude access to it,[18] or because current technological limitations prevent its manufacture.
Wishalloy Aerospace term [19] An alternative to unobtainium, possibly indicating that the substance in question is theoretically impossible according to known scientific theory. Historically Scramjets have been described[by whom?] as being made from unobtainium reinforced wishalloy.
Xirdalium The Chase of the Golden Meteor An element which is, in the French first edition of the novel, about a hundred thousand times more radioactive than radium.[20] In the English first edition this has been reduced to a hundred times.[21] Xirdalium was invented by Jules Verne's son Michel, who introduced it to the novel, together with the character Zephyrin Xirdal,[22] a 'private genius' who synthesized the new element. In the story Xirdal then uses Xirdalium in a contraption emitting a strong tractor beam able to alter the trajectory of the meteor mentioned in the novel's title.
Xithricite Vendetta Online A bright green mineral used to produce incredibly strong alloys originally discovered by explorers from the Neutral Territories.[23] References to it are found throughout the game's item descriptions and is used in everything from spaceship hulls to railgun ammunition. Ore containing Xithricite can be mined from asteroids by players.

Fictional isotopes of real elements[edit]

Name Isotope of Source Uses Reality
80Ir Iridium Riptide According to the book, one second of direct exposure is equivalent to a lethal dose, with a reading of 3217.89 Rads/hr from 15 metres away. The blade of St. Michael's sword was forged from it.[24] 80Ir does not exist; the lightest known isotope is 164Ir.
186Pu Plutonium The Gods Themselves An isotope of plutonium which is too unstable to exist in our universe but which exists naturally in fictional parallel universes whose strong nuclear forces are more intense. This is utilised as a source of energy where it is turned into 186W, releasing electrons in the process.[citation needed] The description of this isotope is entirely correct; the lightest known isotope of plutonium is 228Pu.
Quantium any element, but most commonly potassium Babylon 5 This rare and expensive substance used in jumpgates is formed when ordinary matter is subjected to the stresses of a supernova, pushing some of its electron pair-bonds into hyperspace. The most commonly found form is derived from 40K, giving quantium-40. The name was coined by David Strauss in response to a request from the show's creator.[25] 40K is a naturally occurring isotope of potassium which is used to date rocks. However, the method of obtaining quantium as described has not been demonstrated in real life.

Fictional Subatomic Particles[edit]

Name Source Properties
Inspiration Particle Discworld A fundamental particle of the Discworld universe, in which millions travel, sleeting through the universe and time in a tachyon like manner. When one passes a human brain an inspiration particle receptor in the brain creates an idea in that humans mind.[26]
Reson Discworld The constitute particle of the Thaum. Its name literally means "thing-ies". It comes in 5 "flavors" or types: Up, Down, Sideways, Sex-Appeal and Peppermint.[27]
Thaum Discworld The basic unit of magical strength, it is the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls. The Thaum has been shown to be made up of Resons in the Unseen Universities High Energy Magic Building.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Program Notes: Raise the Titanic! (1980)". Kansas City Public Library. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  2. ^ continuity screenplay
  3. ^ shooting draft
  4. ^ Piper, H. Beam (2007). "Junkyard Planet". Wildside Press. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  5. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Collapsium by Wil McCarthy". Publishers Weekly. 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. (1954). The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-08254-4. 
  8. ^ Lummis, Michael (2006). World of Warcraft Master Guide Second Edition. Bradygames. p. 248. ISBN 0-7440-0819-0. 
  9. ^ Pratchett, Terry; Briggs, Stephen (2012). Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion...So Far. Victor Gollancz Ltd. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-575-09120-7. 
  10. ^ Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path Adyar, Madras, India: 1925—Theosophical Publishing House
  11. ^ Wes Platt (2002). Otherspace: The 2001 Yearbook. iUniverse. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-595-22157-8. ISBN 0-595-22157-2. ..."It will generate a controlled fusion reaction within its interior until it reaches the proper temperature, using a carefully calculated amount of polydenum for a starter." 
  12. ^ Lynn Yarris (June 29, 2005). "Breast Cancer Research at Berkeley Lab: Part 1: An Era of Hope for Breast Cancer Patients". Berkeley Lab News Center. 
  13. ^ "Leonardo Cuts Loose". TV Com. 1991. Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Stephen Tall. The Stardust Voyages. Berkley Medallion. ISBN 0-425-02972-7. 
  16. ^ Sharon Lee (writer); Steve Miller (writer) (1982). I Dare. Meisha Merlin. ISBN 1-892065-12-6. 
  17. ^ Hansen, James R. (1987) "Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917–1958." The NASA History Series, sp-4305. Chapter 12, recounting an October 1957 meeting, mentions the problems caused by "the lack of a superior high-temperature material (which the Langley structures people dubbed 'unobtainium')" This paragraph in turn cites Becker, John V. "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles, 1952–1963," unpublished, dated 23 May 1983.
  18. ^ Jones, Richard (2010-01-10). "EXCLUSIVE: Inside China's secret toxic unobtainium mine". Mail Online. Retrieved 2010-06-04. The rare-earths blasted out of rocks here [ Baiyun Obo ] feed more than 77 per cent of global demand... 'Dysprosium, for instance, allows systems to work under extreme conditions,' he explained. 'The US military doesn't want to buy it on the open market. They need a guaranteed supply and it's becoming a problem. 
  19. ^ Heppenheimer, T. A. (2004) "The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA's Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle" The NASA History Series, sp-4221 Chapter 8, discussing Lockheed Martin's decision to specify silica tiles for thermal protection during reentry, states that a design using non-mass-producible materials "had no more intrinsic credibility than one that proposed to use the miracle metals Unobtanium and Wishalloy."
  20. ^ Jules Verne; Michel Verne (1908). La Chasse au météore. Collection Hetzel. p. chpt. X. «Ceci, Messieurs, disait-il, c’est du Xirdalium, corps cent mille fois plus radioactif que le radium. J’avouerai, entre nous, que, si j’utilise ce corps, c’est un peu pour la galerie. Ce n’est pas qu’il soit nuisible, mais la terre rayonne assez d’énergie pour qu’il soit superflu de lui en ajouter. C’est un grain de sel dans la mer. Toutefois, une légère mise en scène ne messied pas, à mon sens, dans une expérience de cette nature.» 
  21. ^ Jules Verne; Michel Verne (1909). The Chase of the Golden Meteor. Grant Richards. p. 125. „This, gentlemen.“ he said, „is Xirdalium, a body a hundred times more radio-active than radium. I am willing to own you that, if I utilize this body, it is more for show. Not that it is deleterious; but the earth radiates enough energy for me to do without adding more. It is a grain of salt thrown into the sea. Still, a little display is not unbecoming, methinks, in an experiment of this nature.“ 
  22. ^ Jules Verne; Frederick Paul Walter (2006). The meteor hunt. University of Nebraska Press. p. xi. To Verne’s seventeen chapters Michel added four more. He created a dominant new character, Zephyrin Xirdal, who in effect takes over the action and the outcome. 
  23. ^ Vendetta Online – The Chronicles of Exile Section 08
  24. ^ Preston, Douglas (1999). Riptide. New York: Warner Books. p. 446. ISBN 0-446-60717-7. 
  25. ^ Unofficial Babylon 5 Technical Manual
  26. ^ Pratchett, Terry; Briggs, Stephen (2012). Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion...So Far. Victor Gollancz Ltd. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-575-09120-7. 
  27. ^ Pratchett, Terry; Briggs, Stephen (2012). Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion...So Far. Victor Gollancz Ltd. p. 351. ISBN 978-0-575-09120-7. 
  28. ^ Pratchett, Terry; Briggs, Stephen (2012). Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion...So Far. Victor Gollancz Ltd. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-575-09120-7. 

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