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The Best Fictional Doomsday Devices 340

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the doom-proof dept.
Ostracus writes to tell us that Wired has an interesting summary of some of the best fictional doomsday devices. These devices have featured heavily in movies, television, and fiction; their list includes favorites from Dr. Strangelove to Futurama. What devices have they missed? "By the time Futurama's sci-fi satire hit the scene, creator Matt Groening had the doomsday-device shtick down. Case in point: the Spheroboom. This highly explosive space/time-bending device isn't just the prized jewel of the show's mad scientist, Professor Farnsworth. It also destroys anyone/anything not wearing a 'Doom-proof Platinum Vest.'"
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The Best Fictional Doomsday Devices

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  • Wired slideshow (Score:5, Informative)

    by WK2 (1072560) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:47AM (#25745825) Homepage

    It's a Wired slideshow, on 8 separate pages. If you value your time, don't even bother to RTFA. If you don't value your time, please try to find an "all on one page" version for the rest of us.

    • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:56AM (#25745905) Homepage

      If you value your time, don't even bother to RTFA

      What an odd thing to post to Slashdot

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Poltras (680608)

        If you value your time, don't even bother to RTFA

        What an odd thing to post to Slashdot

        Some people are just NOT connected to reality anymore...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by windsurfer619 (958212)

      Maybe we should get a "Stupid (useful) things to do with fictional doomsday devices" discussion. You know, condense it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lysergic.acid (845423)

      to be fair, there's a thumbnail gallery that lets you jump to any page you want. also, since each device description comes with a large image or a YouTube video, it's probably better that they are put on separate pages for users with older powerful computers or netbooks/smartphones/PSPs/etc., which do not have a lot of memory.

      besides, it's not really a slide show as it doesn't have a JavaScript timer that automatically flips to the next slide. it's just a paginated list. and it isn't presented in a tiny pop

    • Not only that but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by denzacar (181829) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:59AM (#25747531) Journal

      It is a thinly veiled Quantum of Solace promo. Because, there are not enough of those already.

      From TFA:

      America's love affair with the doomsday device is a turbulent one. First popularized in comic books and James Bond movies, then lampooned by Austin Powers, we love them because their ridiculousness makes us feel safe -- like the exhilarating false danger of a roller coaster.

      Now heightened audience cynicism has forced world-ending devices into the realm of camp, and except for a new breed of superhero movies, they've largely been replaced by natural disasters or apocalyptic sci-fi scenarios in Hollywood films.

      The opening of Quantum of Solace on Friday is making us nostalgic for the junk science and catastrophic fear that make fictional doomsday devices fun. From earth-shattering fusion reactors to catastrophic earthquake machines to planet-destroying space stations, here's a list of some of our favorite extinction-bringing devices from film, television and videogames. Be sure to share your own favorites in the comments.

      Love affair-turbulent-popular-James Bond-love-feel safe-exhilarating.
      PAUSE
      The opening of Quantum of Solace on Friday-nostalgic-fun.

       
      Subliminal much?

      • Funny, I read it as:

        doomsday turbulent danger cynicism world-ending disasters apocalyptic

        opening of Quantum of Solace on Friday catastrophic fear doomsday extinction-bringing
  • ICE-9 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:47AM (#25745827)

    ice-9 [wikipedia.org]: Maybe not intended to be a doomsday device, but it sure turned out to be one!

  • MEGA MAID! (Score:4, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:51AM (#25745861) Homepage Journal

    mega maid/spaceball one has to be the single most potent weapon in the universe.

    it is literally breathtaking.

  • by jimbo3123 (320148) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:52AM (#25745877) Homepage

    The History Eraser Button from Ren and Stimpy, Hands Down.

    Don't Touch It!!
    You Fool.

    • Also Ozymandias' psychic brain monster from The Watchmen. Making everybody go crazy and kill each other is a cool idea but the monster is one of the stupidest-looking doomsday devices I've ever seen.

      Getting back to Ren and Stimpy, The Watchmen's brain monster looks a lot like the brain monsters from the Ren and Stimpy episode "Marooned" [tripod.com].
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        You can't link to tripod images offsite, if your referral header is missing or not from the site, you get their logo instead.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          You can't link to tripod images offsite, if your referral header is missing or not from the site, you get their logo instead.

          Holy shit, what year is it?! I think I accidentally stepped through a time portal or something...

  • Or the original T-101, if you wanna get technical. Kind of a chicken and egg thing going on there though . . .
  • by ACK!! (10229) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:56AM (#25745907) Journal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doomsday_Machine_(TOS_episode) [wikipedia.org] Overview: The starship Enterprise plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with an alien planet-killing machine. Come on if you cannot list a Star Trek episode where is the geek cred?
    • by David Off (101038)

      Yes, for me that is the grand daddy of SciFi doomsday machines (apart from Pandora's box) Scared me silly at 8 years old to think that thing might be out there somewhere

      Doomsday machine clip [youtube.com]

  • by lambent (234167) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:59AM (#25745935)

    /. had for long been one of the last holdouts against this type of "journalistic" garbage.

    glad to see you lasted so long, guys. sad to see you give in and publicize this useless junk.

    articles like this with absolutely no substance at all don't belong here. i may as well just go look at reddit or fark for this type of stuff.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:14AM (#25746085)
      I half-expected to see a "Digg this" button in the summary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by soliptic (665417)

      You make it sound like reddit is way worse than here. I don't really see it. Anything that makes it on slashdot, I usually saw on reddit two days before. Of the other stuff on reddit that doesn't make it on slashdot, sure, some of it is drivel, but some of it is interesting and frankly should make it on slashdot. And you should be able to skim over the drivel easily enough, no? I like the idea of editors for quality control in theory, but let's face it: the editors here don't do even the most rudimenta

  • Monty Phyton (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andr T. (1006215) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ffaterdna)> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:01AM (#25745953)
    You missed the funniest joke in the world [wikipedia.org]!!!!
    • *sigh* you beat me to it. It's sad how pretty much all of them were "the big huge nuclear laser device". Why not just include Dr Evil's "Giant Laser"? Dark Reign had the desiccator - a catalyst that destroyed all water on the planet. The Reality Dysfuntion had so many doomsday devices (the amok humans, the device, swarms of nukes, Lanton's stunts) I lost count (and I've only read the first book in the series). The Neverending Story had the Blight - that was cool. Jurassic Park had raptors (not strictly a do
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:07AM (#25746015)
    P-36 Explosive Space Modulator.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:12AM (#25746059)
    3 Taco Bell burritos and a six-pack of Old Milwaukee. Devastation on a cosmological scale.
  • Mass Driver (Score:4, Interesting)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:14AM (#25746083)

    In Babylon-5 Harlan Ellison came up with mass drivers [wikia.com] as an immoral weapon of mass-destruction on a planet-wide scale. The idea is that you grab nearby asteroids and bombard a habitated planet with them at very high speed. Not only does it indiscriminately kill the population, but the dust kicked up prevents proper plant growth over the entire planet for years, perhaps decades.

  • Am I the only one to read that subject line as, The Best Functional Doomsday Devices?

  • by ClayJar (126217)

    The best doomsday device has to be the Shadow planet killer. Why? Because jms forecast cloud computing could destroy the world *years* before RMS came out with the idea. ;)

  • by tangent3 (449222) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:14AM (#25746095)

    ...behind Dr Fred Edison's mansion.

    "I feel like I could... like I could... 'Take on the world!'"

  • Skynet? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:18AM (#25746145)
    If you're going to post these silly lists, at least point out the glaring omission of Skynet.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      Skynet was basically the the (Strangelove) Doomsday Device. And even more similar to Colossus: The Forbin Project [youtube.com] (1970).

      Too bad no mention of Doctor Who. They had a universe-destroying threat at least once every season. This year, in "Journey's End" Davros has created a "reality bomb" which cancels out the electrical field binding atoms, reducing the whole of creation to nothingness.

      • In Genesis of the Daleks, Davros's introduction, the Daleks themselves were a Doomsday machine, which is why the Timelords sent the Doctor to destroy them.
  • HHGTTG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:19AM (#25746163) Homepage Journal

    The Ultimate Weapon, designed by Hactar, the computer built by the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax.

    How could you forget the Krikkit Wars [wikipedia.org]?

  • Global Warming.
  • Oh, sorry, I thought this was a /. poll.

    Didn't we have one just like this a couple of weeks ago? I'll just have to settle for Dupe! then.

  • Vista (Score:2, Funny)

    by sister bliss (1234142)
    Wasn't Vista engineered to be a doomsday device ?
  • Not fictional in and of itself, but as a doomsday device it is.

  • If you ever watched Hellraiser, certainly the best doomsday device would be the puzzle box [wikipedia.org]
  • The Amarr Titan unleashes JUDGEMENT [youtube.com]

  • What? (Score:3, Funny)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:21AM (#25746187) Homepage Journal

    No Happy Fun Ball?

  • by JonTurner (178845) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:28AM (#25746253) Journal

    In his novel, Rainbow Six, eco-terrorists design a virus which will wipe out all of humanity and plan to release it by spreading it at the Olympics. The athletes will take it back home to the host country, where it will multiply and kill everyone (except for the ecoterrorists, of course, who will live in a biosphere).

    It's a nasty concept, made all the worse because it's not unachievable.

    • Forget the olympics, just spread it at JFK airport around noon in a high-traffic waiting flight transit area. The spreading scenario is an easy one to achieve, what will be hard to do is the virus to get the job done. What you would need is something that is powerful enough to be 100% deadly in adult healthy people, impossible to detect until the patient has less than 24 hours left to live, a long incubation and contagion period, an airborne contagion vector for maximum spread AND be impossible to cure or g
      • No, you're overdesigning.
        "powerful enough to be 100% deadly in adult healthy people"
        Causing infertility would be enough, and killing only a fraction of healthy people would cause society to collapse and allow any other disease to help finishing the job. Just remember that you don't need to kill everyone in the first year.
        "impossible to detect until the patient has less than 24 hours left to live"
        You don't care how long they last after the detection, what you want is a long period between the start of contag

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        what will be hard to do is the virus to get the job done

        If you'll remember from "Rainbow Six", the bad guys solution to that was to drop their little "improved Ebola" off at the Olympics, then when people started dying from it all over the world, to announce that they'd been working on a vaccine for Ebola, and offer said vaccine to the world.

        Alas, the "vaccine" was really just an Ebola virus culture intended to ensure that everyone got the disease....

  • Exterminate! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:30AM (#25746287) Homepage Journal

    Has everyone forgottten the Dalek Reality Bomb [wikia.com] which was designed to destroy the entire Universe?

    • by Burb (620144)

      Ah, the threefold man is coming!
      (giggle, giggle)
      Davros is locked in the basement.
      It's the DoctorDonna.
      Am I bovvered, though?

  • Osterhagen Key (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phreakiture (547094) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:39AM (#25746413) Homepage

    From the end of the fourth season of the revived Doctor Who . . . The Osterhagen keys, when enough are presented at disparate sites, unlock the detonator to a set of nuclear devices implanted in the Earth's crust. Its purpose is to terminate the entire planet if the suffering of humankind is a fate worse than death.

  • Any device that failed to work.

    Maybe the headline should have been "the worst"?

    In any event, nature will take care of things sooner or later.
  • Good news, everyone! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:43AM (#25746465)
    Don't forget the professor's Universe-in-a-box, which ended up containing our own universe at the conclusion of the episode. Imagine that - a simple cardboard box that could destroy reality as we know it, simply by being tossed into the recycling bin. Seems like the practice meant to save the environment is going to doom us all in the end!
  • As a geek in his late thirties, I can't hear the words "Doomsday Device" without thinking of "Doomsday is Tomorrow" and the ultimately fictional doomsday device created by Dr. Elijah Cooper, and managed by our favorite old supercomputer, ALEX 7000. And I know that I'm not alone.

    (For you rugrats out there, read what I'm talking about here on imdb [imdb.com] and then check out this amazing fan trailer [youtube.com] created years later.)
  • From the mouse that roared.
  • by Zymergy (803632) * on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:02AM (#25746725)
    Anyone actually watch the Extended Director's Cut (DVD) of James Cameron's "The Abyss"?
    (Mental Note: Do not piss off the deep sea dwelling aliens... Check!)
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:04AM (#25746761)
    Re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corbomite_Maneuver [wikipedia.org]

    The best doomsday device, is not necessarily the one you have, but the one your enemy THINKS you have.

  • Be afraid (Score:4, Funny)

    by roggg (1184871) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:05AM (#25746767)

    http://home.jps.net/~lsnyder/12_tick.html [jps.net]

    Infinity Ball, The: The Infinity Ball is a fearsome device used by the Hey Empire. It resembles a sideways 8 ball and doesn't look menacing at all. It is powerful though. The ball has telekinetic powers, is extremely fast, and squeaks when it moves. It even has hyperspace technology built in. The Whats are extremely afraid of the Infinity Ball. They were chased across the universe by the little engine of destruction. When The Tick destroyed the Hey's attempts of bringing forth a universe ending cataclysm, he was attacked by the Infinity Ball. The ball crashed into the heroes chest, falling to the ground after impact. The most devastating weapon in the Hey's arsenal proved to be less devastating then it was once believed to be. In fact, it was pretty lame.

  • Lincoln Child (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741)
    in the book Deep Storm. the weapon is not named per-say, but the idea is, you have two black holes. one composed entirely of anti mater, and the other, of its opposite normal mater. these two black holes. through means not understood by humans in the book, are locked in orbit around one another. it is learned by the end of the book, that these black holes are weapons, and whatever it is that keeps them orbiting each other can be turned off, allowing them to merge. the results of this of course, are on the
  • Slashdot (Score:4, Funny)

    by Errtu76 (776778) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:15AM (#25746891) Journal

    Period. Best doomsday device ... if you're a webmaster who's website contains a page that's featured on /.

  • This is the War-Room!"
  • Anyone remember the godawful movie "Star Crash"? The doomsday device was called "The DOOM Machine". No, really, I'm serious. The bad guy pronounced it with caps and all.

  • Unicron? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linebackn (131821) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:29AM (#25747073)
    What about Unicron [wikipedia.org]? He would eat the death star for breakfast. And shit it out by lunch.

    I like planet eaters!
  • In the novel Manifold, Time it's discovered that Venus once supported life, but the planet was encircled in superconducting electromagnets and its molten core "spun down", causing the loss of its magnetic field and hence its oxygen atmosphere.

    Not really a device, but the photino birds weren't very good for the universe either.

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar.gmail@com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:33AM (#25747133) Homepage Journal

    Peak Oil, Global Warming, New World Order, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. :)

  • Galactus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OshMan (1246516)
    Maybe this is the wrong crowd for this, but in the Marvel Comics universe there is a character who is an elemental force of death who calmly goes through the universe devouring planets. His name is Galactus, and the Silver Surfer is one of his "heralds". Both characters of epic amounts of cool. Osh
  • mcdonalds (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by fermion (181285)
    Although it is unlikely to destroy the universe, it might come close to destroying the world. Children raised on process food so they have an allergic real any real foods(I am amazed to see mac and fake cheese replace peanut butter). Children so used to conditioned air and antiseptic living that any hint of the outside causing immediate near fatal conditions. We are mere years away from becoming unable to survive in our own world.
  • no enders saga? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by farkus888 (1103903) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:43AM (#25747277)
    what about the descolada from Enders Saga?
  • Ice Nine [wikipedia.org] always struck me as the ultimate doomsday device ...

    ... one that didn't kill everybody all at once, that people could counteract on a small scale but they couldn't fix all at once. If everybody dies in two miliseconds, where's the terror in that?

  • Corbomite [wikipedia.org] is the best fictional doomsday device EVER!

    It was a fictional device x 2. It was even fictional in the fictional story.

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:03PM (#25747587)
    The ever more potent weapons of Doc Smith's Lensmen. First the Sunbeam, where the entire solar system is turned into a vacuum tube and the suns output is focused into a single beam. Then we have the Negasphere, a planetary sized chunk of anti-matter you toss at an enemy planet (with a tractor beam, because it's antimatter, see). The Nutcracker, two planets from another dimension, travelling in opposite directions, both exceeding the speed of light and then collided with the enemy planet in between. His ultimate weapon is so cool, I won't give it away, just in case you haven't read the books. You should read the books, if only to see who was playing with these ideas about 50 years before Lucas did Star Wars.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The ever more potent weapons of Doc Smith's Lensmen

      Actually, the planetary negamatter bomb was first. They used it on Jalte's world, on the way to the Second Galaxy. Then the nutcracker - two normal planets with intrinsic velocities in opposite directions to crunch Jarnevon. Then the Sunbeam. Then the nutcracker with FTL planets to use on Ploor and it's sun.

      That said, the best weapon Smith ever invented wasn't in the Lensman series. It was the one used by Doctors Seaton and Duquesne to destroy the Chl

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      The ever more potent weapons of Doc Smith's Lensmen. First the Sunbeam, where the entire solar system is turned into a vacuum tube and the suns output is focused into a single beam. Then we have the Negasphere, a planetary sized chunk of anti-matter you toss at an enemy planet (with a tractor beam, because it's antimatter, see). The Nutcracker, two planets from another dimension, travelling in opposite directions, both exceeding the speed of light and then collided with the enemy planet in between. His ultimate weapon is so cool, I won't give it away, just in case you haven't read the books. You should read the books, if only to see who was playing with these ideas about 50 years before Lucas did Star Wars.

      Look, if you're going to do a post about Lensman, you gotta do it right. You need more exclamation marks, you've got to gush constantly about how amazing it all is - and if you can work in a few words in all caps, all the better. Be sure to reiterate at every opportunity:

      1. How awesome and universally loved the galactic patrol is
      2. How mighty Kimball Kinnison is, in his own, non-Velarian way
      3. How freaky Worsel is
      4. How crazy-fast the ships can go, and how awesome the undetectable speedsters are
  • Toss one planet into another. Or, if you *really* need Force, grab a planet from a parallel universe where the *slowest* you can go is the speed of light, and toss it back into our universe at the planet of the Evil Ploor and its sun.

    It go boom....

    mark

    "My name is Kimball Kinnison
    I lead the Lensman band
    Although we're few in numbers,
    Our abilities are grand.
    We play with stars and comets,
    Catch pl

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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