seawasp (seawasp) wrote,
seawasp
seawasp

LUDICROUS POWER in SF/F!

While I love to imagine being the hero, at this time of year I think about being THANKFUL that I'm not. And one thing to give thanks for is that we are NOT in any of the universes that I'll be discussing here, or having to deal with the things I talk about!

This post will contain spoilers about books, TV shows, etc., from the early days of SF through very recent time, so if you fear spoilers, .....

.... this is not the post for you!


In the recent season finale of Doctor Who, we see what may well be the single most powerful weapon EVER in the history of all speculative fiction: Davros' "Reality Bomb":

"... every atom in existence is bound by an electrical field. The Reality Bomb cancels it out -- structure falls apart. ... People, planets, and stars will become dust, and the dust will become atoms, and the atoms will become... nothing. And the wavelength will continue, breaking through the rift at the heart of the Medusa Cascade into every dimension, every parallel, every single corner of creation. THIS is my ultimate triumph, Doctor! The destruction of REALITY ITSELF!


Thinking on this prompted me to muse upon all the other Ludicrously Overpowered devices and characters in SF/F, including -- but not limited to:

  • The Ultimate Machine from John W. Campbell's Arcot, Wade, and Morey series (specifically Invaders from the Infinite). Campbell did indeed know how to scale his super-technobabble science up as well as anyone, and this final product of his heroes' genius gives them the power to control all the energy of the universe with a thought. Arcot's final demonstration, showing just how hideous a power that is, was one of the most effective pieces of writing Campbell ever did (even though as stories these are pure power fantasy with minimal characters even by the standards of the Pulp Age).

  • 15-c Intrinsic Planets from the latter part of the Lensman series by E.E. "Doc" Smith. The early parts of the saga don't QUITE reach that level, but in the latter books there's actually quite a number of superweapons to choose from; the "nutcracker" that destroys the Eich homeworld, the Negasphere that is used to destroy Jarnevon, and the Sunbeam that channels all the output of the Earth's sun into a single unstoppable beam of force.

  • Buster Machine 3 from the classic Gainax production Gunbuster. Until relatively recently, the Gunbuster and attendant machines were the most powerful mecha ever seen in anime; Buster Machine 3 destroyed the core of our galaxy.

  • The Skylark of Valeron. Second entry from the pen of the inimitable Doc Smith, seen in both its eponymous novel and allowed to really cut loose in Skylark DuQuesne,(Vintage Pyramid X-1539) the Skylark of Valeron is used at one point to destroy two galaxies by the expedient of overlaying one star atop another instantaneously -- causing the entire pair of galaxies to become one huge supernova. At the same time it does this, it's also rescuing every single planet inhabited by humanoid lifeforms and placing those planets in safe, stable orbits around appropriate suns. Maybe not as powerful as some of the other entries, although it's damn impressive, but what it may lack in Completely Ludicrous Power the Skylark of Valeron makes up for in control.

  • The Z-warriors from Dragonball Z. No discussion of Ludicrous Power could be complete without mention of what may be the most powerful individual warriors EVER in the history of fiction. For those unfamiliar with DBZ, you can get a quick understanding by watching the double bill of the Cooler and Metal Cooler movies (movies 5 and 6, which can be gotten in a 3-pack with the weaker movie 4
    ), or by viewing The Three Super Saiyajin (AKA "Super Android 13" in the USA) if you want something with even less plot and more explosions. The movies aren't strictly canon but the characters and powers are accurate. For those not inclined to view any at all, suffice it to say that these are people who have been known to destroy PLANETS as collateral damage during a personal bout of fisticuffs. Their attacks can destroy worlds and even rip holes through the fabric of spacetime itself.

  • Bleeding on the Pattern. From Roger Zelazny's amazing Chronicles of Amber (of which the first five are the strongest and form a complete arc), the Amberites are people who have the ability to "walk through Shadow", where "Shadow" is what they call all realities other than the one THEY come from. Some of them believe Shadows aren't even completely real. However it may be, an Amberite's blood on the Pattern of Amber causes tremendous destruction throughout all realities; bleed enough to destroy the Pattern, you destroy ALL realities.

  • The Bijuu from the long-running series Naruto/Naruto Shippuden. (no link because I don't know well enough to choose the right parts of this epic series). The Bijuu, or tailed demons, are monstrously powerful; apparently a single "tail" is enough to destroy a continent. Naruto, the title character, has the Kyuubi "Nine-Tails Demon Fox" sealed within him.

  • Gurren Lagann. Remember how I said the Gunbuster USED to be the most powerful mecha? Well, this show ends with the hero controlling a mecha that is about 10 MILLION lightyears high, using galaxies like shiruken. Ouchie.


So, that's my little list. There's lots more. Anyone else have a favorite Ludicrous Power example from F/SF?



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