Wormholes in fiction

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A wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, is a postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between. Wormholes are a popular feature of science fiction as they allow interstellar travel within human timescales.[citation needed]

Literature[edit]

Title Author Year
The Forever War Joe Haldeman 1974
Contact Carl Sagan 1985
Vorkosigan Saga Lois McMaster Bujold 1986
Xeelee series Stephen Baxter 1989
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman 1995
Einstein's Bridge John G. Cramer 1997
Diaspora Greg Egan 1997
Timeline' Michael Crichton 1999
The Light of Other Days Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter 2000
Commonwealth Saga Peter F. Hamilton 2002
The Algebraist Iain M. Banks 2004
The Power of Five series Anthony Horowitz 2005
House of Suns Alastair Reynolds 2008
"Palimpsest" Charles Stross 2009

In television and film fiction[edit]

There is an episode of Invader Zim where Zim, in order to get rid of Dib and his horrible classmates once and for all, utilizes a wormhole to send Dib and the other Skoolkids on a one-way busride to an alternate dimension containing a room with a moose. However, Dib discovers Zim's plan, and taking advantage of a fork in the wormhole, is able to transport the bus back to Earth.

In the movie Event Horizon, the titular ship is designed to create an artificial wormhole. However, the wormhole doesn't lead to anywhere in the known universe, but to an alternate, horrific reality.

In the upcoming movie Railhead, based on a novel by Philip Reeve scheduled for released in 2015, humans live in a future where trains run through space via portals.[1]

In the television series Fringe, the main storyline is the investigation of an unusual series of events and scientific experiments called the Pattern. In the second season episode "Peter" it's revealed that the root cause of the Pattern was an incident in 1985 where Dr. Walter Bishop opened a wormhole into an alternate universe so that he may cure the alternate version of his terminally ill son, Peter (who had died in our universe). By crossing the wormhole, Dr. Bishop disrupted the fundamental laws of nature and weakened the fabric of space-time, causing incalculable destruction in the alternate universe and forcing them to seek a way to repair the damage caused and save their existence.

In Power Rangers Time Force, artificial Temporal Wormholes were used extensively for the delivery of the Time Fliers to travel to the past to aid the Rangers and was also used by Wes, Eric and Commandocon to travel to prehistoric times to recover the Quantasaurus Rex. In Power Rangers SPD, in the episode Wormhole, Gruumm and later the SPD Rangers used a "Temporal Wormole" to travel from 2025 to 2004 to battle with the Dino Thunder Rangers in early 21st century Reefside.

The 21st episode Vanishing Act of the second season of the 1995 Canadian science fiction TV series The Outer Limits tells the story of a man who is abducted by an alien race through wormholes and later returned to his family every ten years.

In the FOX/Sci-Fi series Sliders, a method is found to create a wormhole that allows travel not between distant points but between different parallel universes; objects or people that travel through the wormhole begin and end in the same location geographically (e.g. if one leaves San Francisco, one will arrive in an alternate San Francisco) and chronologically (if it is 1999 at the origin point, so it is at the destination, at least by the currently accepted calendar on our Earth.) Early in the series, the wormhole is referred to by the name "Einstein–Rosen–Podolsky bridge," apparently a merging of the concepts of an Einstein–Rosen bridge and the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox, a thought-experiment in quantum mechanics. This series presumes that we exist as part of a multiverse and asks what might have resulted had major or minor events in history occurred differently; the wormholes in the series allow access to the alternate universes in which the series is set. The same premise is used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Parallels" and the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Alternative Factor" which premiered in 1967.

The 2006 film Déjà Vu is based on a phenomenon caused by a wormhole, specifically referred to as an Einstein–Rosen Bridge.

The Lost Room is a science fiction television miniseries that aired on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States. The main character is allowed to travel around the planet when using a special key together with any kind of door, leading him to random locations. The key is part of a series of different artifacts, coming from an alternate reality.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a 1989 American science fiction–comedy buddy film and the first film in the Bill & Ted franchise in which two metalhead slackers travel through a temporal wormhole in order to assemble a menagerie of historical figures for their high school history presentation.

In the Primeval spin-off series Primeval: New World, Lt. Kenneth Leeds theorizes that the anomalies, the central plot point of the series which allow dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures into the present day, are Einstein-Rosen Bridges after discovering the Spaghetti Junction in the Season 1 finale. However, this seems unlikely since they do not exist within black holes and do not allow travel across distances beyond the Earth yet, only through time.

Babylon 5 and Crusade[edit]

In television series Babylon 5 and its spin-off series Crusade, jump points are artificial wormholes that serve as entrances and exits to hyperspace, allowing for faster-than-light travel. Jump points can either be created by larger ships (battleships, destroyers, etc.) or by standalone jumpgates. The more energy used to create the wormhole, the larger the opening will be, so the stand-alone gates are used for heavily trafficked, predetermined interstellar routes, while engines on ships serve as a means of travel primarily for that ship and its support vessels, allowing them to enter and exit hyperspace where a jumpgate is not conveniently close by in normal space.

Three distinct types of wormhole are characterized in the series and its sequel stories.

The jump points created by both the jumpgates and large vessels characterize a Lorentzian traversable wormhole with intra-universal endpoints. In the series, however, rather than the exiting endpoint being defined at the time of entry, the ship enters non-Euclidean hyperspace within which tachyon beacons mark possible endpoint destinations in real space. A ship may enter hyperspace with no particular destination, linger or hide there before returning to normal space, even be lost irretrievably should it become unable to exit into normal space.

The second type of wormhole depicted in the series is temporal in nature, as when the Great Machine buried miles below the surface of Epsilon Eridani III, a massive alien complex for the generation and control of power on a solar scale, displaces Babylon 4 1000 years into the past, 24 hours after it becomes fully functional, taking Commander Sinclair with it into the past to begin preparations a millennium in advance for the coming war with the Shadows, creating a temporal paradox.

The third type of wormhole appears in the series sequel Babylon 5: Thirdspace, as an ancient Vorlon artifact is found drifting in hyperspace and is recovered and brought back into normal space. The device is revealed to be a jumpgate for the creation of an extra-universal Lorentzian wormhole, which opens into a universe dominated by an incredibly powerful and ruthlessly violent alien race.

Farscape[edit]

The television series Farscape features an American astronaut who accidentally gets shot through a wormhole and ends up in a distant part of the universe, and also features the use of wormholes to reach other universes (or "unrealized realities") and as weapons of mass destruction.

Wormholes are the cause of John Crichton's presence in the far reaches of our galaxy and the focus of an arms race of different alien species attempting to obtain Crichton's perceived ability to control them. Crichton's brain was secretly implanted with knowledge of wormhole technology by one of the last members of an ancient alien species. Later, an alien interrogator discovers the existence of the hidden information and thus Crichton becomes embroiled in interstellar politics and warfare while being pursued by all sides (as they want the ability to use wormholes as weapons). Unable to directly access the information, Crichton is able to subconsciously foretell when and where wormholes will form and is able to safely travel through them (while all attempts by others are fatal). By the end of the series, he eventually works out some of the science and is able to create his own wormholes (and shows his pursuers the consequences of a wormhole weapon).

Marvel Cinematic Universe[edit]

  • In the 2011 film Thor, based on the Marvel Comics character, reimagines the mythical Bifrost Bridge as a wormhole, also in this case specifically referred to as an Einstein–Rosen Bridge, which is opened and closed by the gatekeeper, Heimdall, to enable travel between the Nine Realms.
  • Also, in the 2013 film Thor: The Dark World based on the same character above, the mythical Bifrost, among another secret passage, reappears referring the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, which allows the main character of the movie and his friends the ability to travel between the different realms of Yggdrasil.

Star Trek[edit]

  • Objects with the features similar to wormholes were featured in episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, although the word wormhole was not used. The gateway featured in the episode The City on the Edge of Forever, for example, was a gateway through time that operates somewhat similar to a wormhole.
  • Early in the storyline of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, an antimatter imbalance in the refitted Enterprise starship's warp drive power systems creates an unstable ship-generated wormhole directly ahead of the vessel, threatening to rip the starship apart partially through its increasingly severe time dilation effects, until Commander Pavel Chekov fires a photon torpedo to blast apart a sizable asteroid that was pulled in with the starship (and directly ahead of it), destabilizing the wormhole effect and throwing the Enterprise clear as it slowed to sub-light velocities. Near the end of the film, Willard Decker recalls that "Voyager 6" (aka V'ger) disappeared into what they used to call a "black hole". At one time, black holes in science fiction were often endowed with the traits of wormholes. This has for the most part disappeared as a black hole isn't necessarily a hole in space but a dense mass and the visible vortex effect often associated with black holes is merely the accretion disk of visible matter being drawn toward it. Decker's line is most likely to inform that it was probably a wormhole that Voyager 6 entered. Although the intense gravity of a black hole does warp the fabric of spacetime.
  • The setting of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a space station, Deep Space 9, located near the Bajoran wormhole. This wormhole is unique in the Star Trek universe because of its stability. In an earlier episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation it was established that wormholes are generally unstable on one or both ends – either the end(s) move erratically or they do not open reliably.[2] The Bajoran wormhole is stationary on both ends and opens consistently. It provides passage to the distant Gamma Quadrant, opening a gate to starships that extends far beyond the reach normally attainable, is the source of a severe threat to the Alpha Quadrant from an empire called the Dominion, and is home to a group of non-physical life forms which make contact with Commander Benjamin Sisko and have also interacted with the Bajorans in the past. Discovered at the start of the series, the existence of the wormhole and the various consequences of its discovery elevate the strategic importance of the space station and is a major factor in most of the overarching plots over the course of the series.
  • In the 2009 Star Trek film, red matter is used to create artificial black holes. A large one acts a conduit between spacetime and sends Spock and Nero back in time.

Stargate franchise[edit]

Wormholes are also the principal means of space travel in the Stargate movie and the spin-off television series, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. The central plot device of the programs is an ancient transportation network consisting of the ring-shaped devices known as Stargates, which generate artificial wormholes that allow one-way matter transmission and two-way radio communication between gates when the correct spatial coordinates are "dialed". However, for some reason not yet explained, the water-like event horizon breaks down the matter and converts it into energy for transport through the wormhole, restoring it into its original state at the destination. This would explain why electromagnetic energy can travel both ways — it doesn't have to be converted. The one-way rule may be caused by the Stargates themselves: as a Gate may only be capable of creating an event-horizon that either breaks down or reconstitutes matter, but not both. It does serve as a very useful plot device: When one wants to return to the other end one must close the original wormhole and "redial", which means one needs access to the dialing device. The one-way nature of the Stargates helps to defend the gate from unwanted incursions. Also, Stargates can sustain an artificial wormhole for only 38 minutes. It's possible to keep it active for a longer period, but it would take immense amounts of energy. The wormholes generated by the Stargates are based on the misconception that wormholes in 3D space have 2D (circular) event horizons, but a proper visualization of a wormhole in 3D space would be a spherical event horizon.[citation needed]

Doctor Who[edit]

  • The Rift which appears in the long-running British science-fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood is a wormhole. One of its mouths is located in Cardiff Bay, Wales and the other floating freely throughout space-time, it is the central plot device in the latter show.
  • In "Planet of the Dead", a wormhole transports a London double-decker bus to a barren, desert-like planet. The wormhole could only be navigated safely through by a metal object, and human tissue is not meant for inter-space travel, as demonstrated by the bus driver, who is burnt to the bones on attempting to get back to Earth.
  • Some may infer that the Time Vortex, which the Doctor uses to travel between points in spacetime, is indeed a temporal wormhole. However, wormholes rarely connect more than two points of spacetime, whereas the time vortex seems to connect all points (or at least an extremely large fraction). In this manner, the time vortex resembles Hyperspace more than a wormhole.

Star Wars[edit]

In the book Handbook 3: Dark Empire, and in other books, wormholes appear created by Palpatine, using a force power called "Force Storm". Using the Force is the only way to make (or see) a wormhole.

Interstellar[edit]

In the film Interstellar, scientists at NASA discover a wormhole orbiting the planet Saturn, and send a team to travel through it to a distant galaxy in order to find a new home for the human race before Earth is unfit for life. The wormhole takes them halfway across the observable universe to another star system, containing a huge black hole named Gargantua. This new system has three candidate planets for re-seeding the human race, two of which orbit the black hole. In the movie, the wormhole is implied to have been placed there by future humans for the present humans to find a new home. The wormhole is described as the surface of a ball.

The Flash[edit]

In the CW Network Superhero sci-fic Wormhole plays a vital role in the complete serial.

In music[edit]

In Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator, an album by Ayreon, a soul is sucked into a black hole in the song "Into the Black Hole", goes through a wormhole in the song "Through the Wormhole" and leaves from a white hole in the song "Out of the White Hole". In addition, Mastodon's concept album Crack the Skye deals with a paraplegic child sucked into a wormhole (among other concepts). Wormholes seem to be popular in progressive metal.

In games[edit]

  • The games Portal and Portal 2 are centered around the "Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device" AKA. "Portal Gun", a gun-shaped device that can create a temporary wormhole between two flat surfaces that have been coated in moondust.
  • Wormholes are a common feature in the computer game Elite in which they are short-lived constructs created on-demand by the hyper-drive as a means of interstellar transport.
  • The science fiction computer game Space Rogue featured the use of technologically harnessed wormholes called "Malir gates" as mechanisms for interstellar travel. Navigation through the space within wormholes was a part of gameplay and had its own perils.
  • In Freespace and Freespace 2, space-faring races use subspace nodes to travel between star systems. They resemble wormholes in almost every aspect.
  • Artificially created wormholes are the main method of interstellar travel in the PlayStation video game series Colony Wars.
  • Wormholes are also seen in the computer game Freelancer, commonly referred as "jump holes". They are supposed to be black hole-like formations with ultra-high gravity amounts, that work like 'portals' for players to travel instantly between different star systems. The game also features "jump gates", which are described as devices capable of generating an artificial jump hole.
  • In the PC Computer game EVE Online, a science fiction MMORPG set in outer space, humans arrive at the game's setting through a natural wormhole. The humans expand and colonize in all directions, until the wormhole collapses destructively for unknown reasons, stranding all colonists. In 2009, the game expanded the usage of wormholes to act as temporary gates between solar systems that exist for under 24 hours and can be collapsed by exceeding the mass limit.
  • In the Massively Multiplayer Online Game Darkspace, a player-versus-player starship combat game, players can create short-term stable wormholes to traverse the game's universe instantly, rather than use the game's concept of FTL travel to move from point A to point B. Wormhole Generation Devices are only available on ships with higher rank requirements, usually Vice Admiral or above, and are most common on Space Stations.
  • In the on-line fictional collaborative world-building project "Orion's Arm", wormholes are used for communication and transport between the millions of colonies in the local part of the Milky way Galaxy. In an attempt to make the physics of the wormhole travel at least semi-plausible, large amounts of ANEC-violating exotic energy are required to maintain the holes, which are nevertheless large objects which must be maintained on the outermost reaches of the planetary systems concerned.
  • In the X computer game series by Egosoft, wormholes were established using Jump Gates, created by the Old Ones. These Jump Gates connected to many systems but not the Solar System. Humanity advanced to the technological level to create Jump Gate technology and discovered the already established gate network. Hundreds of years after cutting themselves off from the network to escape the Xenon, they created a Jumpdrive, allowing for travel between systems not connected directly via a gate. Different versions of Jumpdrives emerged with some being limited but stable, others being dangerously random.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Phazon-based organic meteors called Leviathans create wormholes to travel from Phaaze (the living planet they are "born" in) to other planets. They do this to "corrupt" the planet and any beings able to survive the Phazon into Phazon-based creatures. The planet would then progress into changing its environment until it becomes another planet like Phaaze. The Galactic Federation took control of one with Samus Aran's assistance, and used it to travel to and destroy Phaaze.
  • In Spore, the "Wormhole Key" item allows the player's spacecraft to travel between pairs of black holes, through a wormhole effect that resembles that seen in the Stargate movie and TV series.
  • In Final Doom, the fourth level of the Evilution episode is called Wormhole. Halfway through the level, the player encounters a curious-looking teleporter (the wormhole itself) which when stepped through, warps the player into another section of the level which is identical to the first, but with re-spawned enemies.
  • In Primal, Jen and Scree used so called rift gates to travel which show wormhole properties and appear as wormholes.
  • Wormholes are used frequently in Far Gate as a means of transporting spacecraft across interstellar distances.
  • The MMORPG Everquest 2 has devices called wormhole generators that can be created using a type of crafting called tinkering, these allow you to travel to different zones from anywhere within the game.
  • In World of Warcraft, there is a device called "Wormhole Generator: Northrend" that allows the player to travel throughout Northrend that can be constructed by those who have the Engineering skill.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, there are wormholes that can be used to traverse either between two wormholes or a wormhole and a planet.
  • In Crysis 3, the Alpha Ceph combines its energy with the energy of a C.E.L.L. orbital strike to create an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, thus allowing a Stage Three Ceph Invasion Force to be rapidly transported from Messier 33 to Earth in a matter of minutes.
  • Resistance 2 and Resistance 3 feature a wormhole that is opened by the Chimera, the wormhole is never explained in any detail.
  • LittleBigPlanet Karting features an "angry ripple in the very ether of LittleBigPlanet" called the Funkhole. It leads to the Garage at the End of the Universe, and destroys the Space Bass at the end of the sixth world.
  • In the text adventure game "The Multi-Dimensional Thief", a crucial object to game completion, is a "portable hole". It is a rubber-ish circle which can be placed on surfaces to allow passage through them. At one point, if the player uses the hole to pass through the floor to Hell, the hole will be left "hanging in mid air, about five feet off the ground.". If the player takes the hole from its position (a normal practice in other parts of the game), the player briefly sees the "wormhole" which the Portable Hole had created, disappear and become unavailable. The player is then apparently trapped in Hell.

White holes in fiction[edit]

In fiction, White holes are sometimes considered to provide an exit for matter which enters Black holes. In this way, they may function similarly to Wormholes. There are several competing theories about White hole formation, persistence, and properties (See White hole for further explanations and references to the physics papers on the subject), many of which have been employed in fiction.

White holes in written fiction[edit]

  • In the Marvel Universe, the character Carol Danvers (introduced 1968, augmented thus in 1982) is linked to a white hole, becoming the super-powered heroine called Binary.[3]
  • In the novel The Children Star by Joan Slonczewski (serialized in Analog, 1998), a corporation intends to use a White Hole to burn off the existing life on a planet, so that they may then terraform the planet for human colonists.

White holes in television and film fiction[edit]

  • In The Black Hole, a 1979 film, the spacecraft carrying the main characters is sucked into a black hole and then ejected from a white hole in another part of the universe.
  • In The Masters of the Universe, episode "The Taking of Grayskull", Skeletor uses a white hole to transport Castle Grayskull into an alternate dimension where he has access to the secrets of the castle, and the Sorceress is unable to stop him because her powers work in reverse. He-Man is able to send Castle Grayskull back through the white hole to its proper location on Eternia. Once Castle Grayskull is back in its proper location, the white hole disappears.
  • In the sci-fi comedy series, Red Dwarf, there's an episode called "White Hole" which involves one in the plot. The crew had two problems in their hands. The ship's computer, Holly, had her intelligence increased at an exponential cost to her lifespan, leaving her only minutes before expiring, and the white hole nearby was distorting space and time. The solution to both problems, ending with time returning to before Holly's enhancement, was to block the white hole with a nearby planet, which Lister equates to playing a game of interstellar pool.

Other[edit]

Notes[edit]