Subspace is a highway of reality-bending proportions that plays a crucial role in transporting characters to various locations with haste. Subspace in and out ports appear to be marked throughout the Scott Pilgrim universe with a star. The quote-unquote 'subspace highways' are the quick form of transport that Ramona uses to deliver Scott his package, and the highways just so happen to run through Scott's head on several occassions, which causes him to dream of Ramona
Subspace, What is it?Edit
From a scientific standpoint, Subspace is a kind of theoretical alternate reality that sits below and inside our own with a wide variety of uses. There appears to be a wide variety of subspaces, of which, three are most commonly shown throughout the series. Subspace can be found in a variety of places, be it behind a door, in a person's head, or in a purse.
Regular space extends like an elastic sheet throughout the universe (gravity bends elastic space in the presence of mass). Subspace can be thought of as a pocket sewn into regular space with a small opening or openings for entry. These areas of space within space have a variable capacity allowing large things to dwell within a small bag (the subspace suitcase) or stretching between different openings or fast travel (Subspace Highways).
This is the Subspace we are most familiar with, one which transports a person between 2 points with a reduction in travel. For example, the entrance and exit between two Subspace doors in our world may be 10 kilometers, but once entering subspace, the entrance and exit may only be 10 feet apart. In Book 1, when Ramona first tries to explain subspace, Scott asks her if she is referring to the subspace of Super Mario Bros. 2. Despite telling him it isn't, the two show clear similarities. In Super Mario Bros. 2 the player can throw potions that create doors to an alternate space that occasionally could be used for warp purposes. Scientifically, this type of subspace would be pulled out relative to regular space being less dense in terms of space/time.
How one navigates within Transport Subspace is not entirely explained, though references to Subspace Highways suggest a network of travel paths connecting the various portals to each other.
A less familiar form of Subspace in the Scott Pilgrim series is Mind Subspace: the subspace that exists within the subconsciousness of a living person. This type of Subspace often manifests itself in the form of a person's dream or a fantasy - such as Scott's Dream Desert. The person dreaming or fantasizing will usually (and sometimes unknowingly) "project" themselves into his or her own Mind Subspace without actually leaving the real world. However, it is also possible for someone to physically enter their own Mind Subspace, as demonstrated by Ramona in Volume 6.
At least some people's Mind Subspaces - most notably Scott and Ramona's - can be accessed by others via Transport Subspace. For example, in the case of Scott, Ramona makes frequent use of a convenient Subspace Highway running through Scott's head - or more accurately his Mind Subspace. Travelers who enter the real world via a person's mind will physically appear next to him or her. This is seen in Volume 4 when Scott lands in front of Ramona after accidentally intruding upon her head and consequently being thrown out. Another instance of this is shown in Volume 6 when Ramona bursts out of Scott's T-shirt to confront Gideon.
This is the kind of Subspace that is best illustrated by Ramona's Subspace Suitcase. While the dimensions are small, like the size of a purse, the internal structure of the bag is quite large, like say, the size of a football field. It would scientifically require space/time to be compressed, and kept under pressure. This kind of Subspace does have its own flaw, however, as illustrated in Book 6, as if the external structure of the Subspace is ruptured, the internal contents will spill back into our world in a kind of "junk geyser."
There appear to be a number of rules regarding Subspace and what is possible while in it. Since Subspace is essentially another world on top of our own, it would make sense that this reality abides by its own laws and physics and such.
First, the only way out of Subspace is through a door that leads to our reality. "Door" is a loose term since this can include Ramona's Subspace Suitcase which acts as a door at times. It should be noted that to enter subspace a door is not always required, as demonstrated by the effects of The Glow.
Second, Perception is Law. People, items, and Mind Subspace itself are based on the nature of the person's mind, therefore, however, a person imagines Subspace is how it will appear. A good example is Scott's Dream Desert: this location is repeatedly used as a metaphor for Scott's loneliness but also is his projected image of Subspace at that time which Ramona is able to pass through. This also applies to people within Subspace, however a person projects themselves is how they will appear, thus explaining Gideon growing into his monstrous form, Ramona wearing negligee that returns to the form of her regular clothes when she leaves Subspace, and Scott surviving being cut in half by Gideon while inside Ramona's mind.
Third, The "God" Rule. While Mind Subspace allows for others' own projected images of themselves to take on other forms, the individual whom the Subspace resides in retains all power and control within said mind. This is how Ramona is able to expel Gideon despite he being a master of Subspace and able to manipulate it inside anyone's mind.
Fourth, Subspace is Constant. Subspace at no time or interval vanishes from or ceases to be wherever it exists. This includes within minds of people that that Subspace is contained while they are conscious. While conscious, Subspace will continue to allow travelers to pass through undetected as Ramona and Gideon have both demonstrated with Scott's head.
A variety of people exploit Subspace throughout the series:
- Ramona initially rollerblades through the Subspace to deliver packages. She makes frequent use of the Subspace Highway inside Scott's head while on the job. The time she spends in Scott's head causes him to become obsessed with her. Ramona also carries a "subspace speed pass" which allows her to pass through the Subspace doors without having to open them.
- Additionally, Ramona is able to teleport into her own Subspace via "The Glow."
- Though not explicitly stated, "The Glow" most likely works by manipulating the Mind Subspace of those it infects. The connection to Subspace is hinted at when Gideon comments on Ramona using the Glow to escape into Subspace.
- Gideon uses Subspace to spy on Ramona and Scott throughout the series which he reveals in Book 6.
- Gideon also manipulates the Subspace in Scott's head to tamper with his memories, adding himself or his likeness to a number of them.
- Gideon is able to bend reality within Subspace to his own will. This is best illustrated in Book 6 when he transforms into a giant monstrous form to fight Scott, with all of his ex-girlfriends (including Ramona) "falling for him".
- Scott uses Subspace with Ramona a few times, and even a few times on his own, at one point passing into Ramona's mind without realizing it and coming upon an image of her and Gideon.
- Scott uses Subspace to flee from Mr. Chau in Book 4. Mr. Chau and Kim Pine are also successful at passing through Subspace suggesting that anyone can do it.
- Roxie Richter uses subspace to enter Scott's dream in an attempt to kill him. She also boasts that she was the one who taught Ramona how to use it.
In vs. the WorldEdit
Subspace does not play a big role in the movie but is used by Ramona for transportation through Scott's head. Scott first notices Ramona in his desert mind subspace, she travels through it to deliver his package and be invited on a date by Scott. During their first date, Ramona uses Subspace to transport Scott and herself to Ramona's apartment. At the end of the movie, Scott and Ramona are seen starting their relationship anew by walking into a Subspace door, similar to how the book series ends.
In the GameEdit
Subspace also appears in the Game, Subspace is used as a bonus area for earning extra coins and points. It is also used to get to the boss fights with Matthew Patel, Roxie Richter, and is where Gigadeon Graves is fought. Its design is loosely based on the Kill Screen found in most old video games. A kill screen consists of jumbled unreadable text and coding that pollutes a game display when a game has reached or surpassed its programmed capacity (most notably in Pac-Man).a