War is hell. But an ultimate weapon is hella cool.
Seriously, there's nothing more awesome than a weapon that can devastate anyone who gets in its way. After all, everybody loves destruction porn and apocalyptic movies like 2012. And there's nothing cooler than all-out warfare in space — the most popular science fiction movie series is not called Star Peace, after all. What do you get when you put space battles and destruction porn together? The ultimate weapon.
Here are the 10 greatest ultimate weapons in any galaxy.
Top image: Reign of Fire by Inga Nielsen.
Note: These are weapons, but the list doesn't really include super-beings that were apparently not designed as weapons in the first place. So no Unicron and no Galactus. Sorry!
10) Nova-Bombs (Andromeda, Halo, tons of other things)
The idea of a "Nova Bomb," that turns a sun supernova, is ridiculously common in science fiction, and it pretty much never gets old. Even the Hand of Omega, the ballyhooed weapon in Doctor Who, seems to be a form of Nova Bomb. In Andromeda, a Glorious Heritage class Systems Commonwealth ship carries 40 Nova Bombs, which use anti-gravity to make a sun explode. In Halo, the Nova Bomb is nine fusion warheads encased in lithium triteride armor. There are also Nova Bombs in several novels, including Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Haldeman's The Forever War.
9) The Lexx (Lexx)
As the Lexx explains in an introductory speech, "I am the most powerful weapon of destruction in the two universes. I was grown on The Cluster which is ruled by His Shadow. The food was good there. My captain is Stanley Tweedle. I blow up planets for him." So yeah, the Lexx is sentient, but is still basically a weapon — and it sort of eats planets. The Lexx was originally developed as the ultimate deterrent for His Divine Shadow to keep the "Heretic" worlds in line.
8) The Dakara Superweapon (Stargate SG-1)
Built by the Ancients, this weapon has the ability to destroy all life on hundreds of worlds at one time, and can penetrate almost any ship's shields. It reduces all matter to its basic structure, and the wave can propagate through an active stargate to reach everything on the other side. And that's before Ba'al modified the device so it could pass through every stargate in the galaxy simultaneously, potentially wiping out every inhabited world in the Milky Way at once. (There's also the wormhole weapon which John Crichton builds in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, which has a similar sort of reach.)
7) The Little Doctor, aka Molecular Disruption Device (Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card)
The M.D. Device, nicknamed "Little Doctor," makes it impossible for any two atoms to coexist in a molecule. The weapon creates a spherical field within which this is the physical property, causing total destruction of the target. This device can penetrate the aliens' shields, making it the perfect weapon in our war against the aliens — and indeed, Ender manages to use it to destroy the aliens' homeworld. Image by Ziwu on DeviantArt
6) Obliterators (Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert)
Also known as The Weapon. The Honored Matres wield these powerful missiles, launched from a starship — they combust the atmosphere of a planet and then scorch the surface. When the Matres use the weapon against Arrakis, it fuses the planet's sand into glass, and kills all life on the surface, humans and sandworms alike. Some speculate that the planet killers of the Shadows from Babylon 5 work similarly to the Obliterators.
5) Warworld (DC Comics)
Pretty much does what it says on the label — it's a whole planet-sized planet-killer, piloted by the maniacal Mongul. In original continuity, it was created by the Warzoons, a race so warlike they had "war" in their name. And it's powerful enough to make whoever controls it the ruler of an empire — unless they tangle with Superman, in which case it's not all that powerful. Brainac and the Cyborg Superman also got into the Warworld-piloting game, and at one point Brainy turned Pluto into a new Warworld.
4) Wave Motion Gun (Space Battleship Yamato, aka Star Blazers)
It's the weapon so devastating, it can only be represented using breakdancing. The space battleship Yamato has the ability to channel all the power of its wave motion engine into a single super-powerful blast, strong enough to wipe out a whole enemy fleet. It's so powerful, it leaves the ship powerless and adrift for a while after firing.
3) The Sphere-O-Boom (Futurama)
Say what you like about Hubert Farnsworth, he does love his super doomsday weapons. He's got a whole slew of them, but the Sphere-O-Boom (also spelled spheroboom in some places) is his favorite. It causes a spectacular blast, destroying the ship of the Scammers, who had tried to steal it. It warps space and time, and destroys anyone not wearing a "doom-proof platinum vest."
2) The Doomsday Machine (Star Trek)
I don't think we ever learned who built this machine or what powers it, exactly — the mystery is part of what makes it so menacing and awful. It's just a giant inexplicable space carrot that goes around pulverizing planets and using them as fuel. The Enterprise crew entertains the theory that it was built for some long-ago interstellar war and then got away, but we'll never know for sure. One thing we do know: It takes a whole starship, exploding inside the thing, to knock it out of operation.
1) The Death Star (Star Wars)
You kind of knew we had to include this. The fully operational battle station that takes out the defenseless world of Alderaan in a heartbeat. According to estimates, the upper range of the Death Star's power is 10^38 joules, or as much energy as our own sun generates in 8,000 years. Plus it just looks fucking scary, it's like a perfectly round cyclops skull in space. And it's no moon!
Sources: Mostly I just made this up on my own. But Wikipedia was somewhat helpful, and so was TVTropes. Also, after I'd already finished the article and was looking for pictures, I stumbled on these somewhat overlapping lists at DVice. and Wired.