Fantasy and Sci-Fi heroes get thirsty, too! Here’s a breakdown of some of the strangest beverages, mind-altering substances and phenomena found throughout the universe.
Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
The “best drink in existence,” straight up! In his uniquely whimsical style, Douglas Adams describes his absurd creation as “like having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.” The Gargle Blaster was invented by none other than Zaphod Beeblebrox, the universe’s infamous idiot ex-President and limelight superstar. Literary and Sci-Fi enthusiasts love this drink, but because it requires ingredients found scattered around the universe, most will only ever try an imitation. If you’re not left screaming and wanting a second, you aren’t drinking the real thing.
Recipes differ, but are typically complex and excessively alcoholic.
The Transporter Malfunction (Star Trek)
Star Trek’s transporter accidents don’t provide visual fun on the level of a pig-lizard turning inside-out and then exploding, but they do get interesting. Transport isn’t as simple as telling Scotty to beam you up. Transporters are supposed to Cut-Paste, which is scary enough, but sometimes they Copy-Paste, creating a duplicate, Copy-Merge, combining a group into one, or just Cut—and the record gets stranger! During “Mirror, Mirror,” Star Trek first explores a parallel anti-universe where the Enterprise crew lusts for violent domination, and Spock sports a villainous goatee! Thanks, but I’ll take the bus!
The Spice Melange (Dune)
PNW-native Frank Herbert’s desert world of Arrakis is the single planet capable of producing the crucial resource, spice. Upon ingesting spice, the doors of perception are slammed open: limitations of space and time melt away, telepathic potential blossoms, and an electric blue stains the eyes forever. Good luck sleeping that one off. Herbert’s classic universe, filled with drama and violence, revolves around the spice planet. On Arrakis, spice bubbles up in unstable sand pits protected by giant worms longer than a skyscraper and many times thicker. Peril and intrigue surround this king of all ingestible substances, the key to humanity’s next evolution.
Soma (Brave New World)
Love or freedom. Make a choice. Freedom seems important, but love feels really, really good. In this future, society has chosen soma, the versatile, hangover-less, habit-forming control drug. Soma floats its users into a bliss made sublime by music, group sex and dance. A larger dose paralyzes the body, turning the user into a spectator of wild lights and mirages. The heaviest doses inspire the most heavenly rests. In the future, salary workers don’t go home—they pop one, two, or three hangover-less soma! Its supporters say that a happy and active society reliant on soma beats a sad and passive society with time that is free.
Butterbeer (Harry Potter)
Readers of the book series remember pining with Harry as we were both denied this most-tasty beverage, then celebrating with genuine satisfaction as one of us finally snuck into the pub and stole a magic drink. Butterbeer is a warm alcoholic beverage known for its foamy top, nectar-like consistency, and lip-smacking butterscotch taste. This is what beer is supposed to be, and my sweet tooth is having a conniption. Popular options for procuring Butterbeer include Disney’s Harry Potter Land, Starbucks’ Secret Menu, or mugglenet.com for DIY recipes. Butterbeer is best enjoyed with friends up to no good.
Slurm is a zany soda pop that glows nuclear green. Slurm is “Highly Addicting,” according to its slogan, but doesn’t taste very good—and there’s a good reason. The Willy Wonka-esque tour of Slurm’s production facility on planet Wormulon reveals that a gorged queen slug is excreting radioactive concentrate into Slurm bottles on a conveyor belt. Unfazed, Phillip Fry slams special edition Slurm Loco until he turns green and his temperature rises by several hundred degrees, prompting his friends to call him a “million-watt idiot.” Slurm is featured prominently in two episodes of Futurama, “The Bots and the Bees” and “Fry & the Slurm Factory,” respectively.