10 Awesome Uses For A Stasis Field

Click to viewThe stasis field generator is the Swiss Army knife of technological devices. But people haven't given these awesome time-stopping zones their props — until recently, when they started turning up as weapons in a ton of video games, from Dead Space's stasis module to Destroy All Humans: Path Of The Furon's "Temporal Fist." Maybe now people will appreciate just how versatile the lowly stasis field can be — and here's a list of 10 great uses from science fiction stories, to help start the campaign.

10 Awesome Uses For A Stasis Field

If you think about it, a stasis field is basically like a time machine. Except that instead of traveling through time you're just stopping time. Turns out a stasis field is actually scientifically plausible (well, according to one guy, anyway) and would really be impervious to outside attack. Nobody's actually built one yet, but science fiction is full of handy (and in some cases portable) devices that can generate an area where no time (or almost no time) passes. (There's also the occasional non-tech stasis field generator, like Violet in The Incredibles, but it's almost always a device, with some kind of massive power generator behind it.)

Who needs a safe when you've got a stasis field? In Larry Niven's There Is A Tide, the Slavers put all their valuables into stasis fields. (Usually, in a stasis field, people can't see what's inside unless they have the means to turn the stasis off, and nobody outside the field can touch what's inside or even affect it in any way.) Weapons, gadgets, your mom's favorite necklace — it's all safe in there.

Better than a refrigerator. As this guy points out, you can get a meal at the best restaurant in the universe and put it into stasis. Whenever you take it out, it's still hot and perfectly fresh. A great chef (and stasis field expert) uses stasis fields to stock his kitchen with fresh ingredients in John Varley's Rolling Thunder. Also in Frank Herbert's Dune novels, "null-entropy bins" keep the precious spice completely fresh and spicy.

Keeping dead people revivable. There are tons of examples of this. Like in the Doctor Who spinoff comic Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer, Daak's girlfriend Princess Taiyan gets blasted with a raygun and dies. But Daak knows that if he gets her to a medical center, she can still be revived, so he puts her corpse into a stasis field, and carries her around with him for years. It's also possible to put a terminally ill person into stasis until you can find a cure, but it's especially awesome for people who are actually dead already.

Setting traps No matter how clever your enemies are, they'll never see a trap in a stasis field coming. You can put a rattlesnake, or a bomb that's one second away from detonation, inside a stasis field. And then deactivate the stasis field when your enemy comes up to it. In Joe Haldeman's Forever War, a nuclear bomb in stasis becomes the ultimate trap.

Disarming your foes. In Vernor Vinge's duology Across Realtime, a group of scientists form the Peace Authority and put a stop to all fighting thanks to the use of "bobbles," which basically freeze time within a particular area. Each "bobble" can be set to last for a set number of years, and they also vary in size. The Peace Authority bobbles all of the nuclear weapons and other high technology, as well as any attempt to organize resistance against them.

10 Awesome Uses For A Stasis Field

Crash survival. None other than the clever Decepticons came up with this scheme in Transformers, when their ship was about to crash into a raging volcano in the cartoon and comic book versions. If your ship is about to be consumed in a raging inferno or nuclear blast, just activate your emergency stasis field to envelope you and your friends. When the stasis field wears off, you'll be without a scratch. Larry Niven has a similar use for stasis fields in World Of Ptavvs.

Crazy pranks. In the Robert Heinlein novel Beyond This Horizon, a drunk guy named J. Darlington Smith gets tricked into a stasis machine in 1926, and the next thing he knows it's the distant future and nobody remembers football. It's up to Darlington to teach them all about it, a task he approaches with gusto.

10 Awesome Uses For A Stasis Field

10 Awesome Uses For A Stasis Field

Punishment. In the British TV show Red Dwarf, Lister has an illegal pet, so he's put into stasis for 18 months — and of course millions of years pass instead. This is the "Zero Time Jail" from Larry Niven's A World Out Of Time.

Also, if you have a super-powerful psychic monstrosity like Marvel Comics' Mentallo on your hands, a stasis field is a good way to keep him on ice.

Better than cryosleep. Forget those annoying cryo-headaches, and the risk that you won't be able to revive people. If you're going on a million-year journey across space, just put yourself into stasis instead, like the people in Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy or the movie Pitch Black.

And yes, weapons. You can use a stasis field to whack someone into shape in a variety of games, including Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, where the stasis field freezes opponents for four rounds. In Mass Effect, you can put a stasis field on your enemies, and they're basically stuck. In Dead Space, Isaac has access to a similar deal, which also negates gravity. My favorite video game use, though, is the "Temporal Fist" which you can wield in the new Destroy All Humans game, Path Of The Furon. There's also Larry Niven's variable sword, which is just a wire wrapped in a stasis field — which can cut through almost anything, thanks to the stasis field's imperviousness.