The Science of Fiction: Dark Matter

I am writing a story and find myself up against how dark matter actually works. I want the story to be as accurate as possible especially being the nature of science fiction nowadays seems to be coming from a place of real not fantasy. So when I think about dark matter I think about physics and space and though I got C’s in science I know these things work with rules

Dark matter is defined as almost undetectable ‘hypothetical matter’ that is found by the radiation it omits, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter.

So basically what this means is I don’t understand what it is or how it works.

And judging by its many varied uses in SF literature neither do a bunch of speculative authors that use it as fodder in their fiction.

Sci-fi tends to repurpose the idea of Dark Matter as a usable thing, liberally.

The game Final Fantasy uses Dark Matter as a method to reduce damage while in combat.

Quake casts it as a weapon and the best weapon game at that. This weapon fires balls of Dark Matter that can kill most enemies in one hit. When fired, the dark matter ball slowly travels through the air and causes most enemies to be sucked into a resulting small black hole  On contact with a wall, the Dark Matter will explode dealing damage to nearby enemy caught in the blast radius.

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “In Theory,” the Enterprise encounters a dark matter nebula which temporarily disrupts the matter of any energy fields it comes in contact with. The only place one can find a dark matter nebula in the entire universe? A star trek episode or on a star trek wiki.

So basically I learned looking to science fiction for an explanation on dark matter is not going to help me any more than going to the experts did, but I did glean one thing.

It doesn’t matter.

With that it’s back to my story about a dark matter monster that gets spit to Earth from the sun.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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