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Hyperspace is a plot device sometimes used in science fiction. It is typically described as an alternate region of space co-existing with our own universe which may be entered using an energy field or other device. Travel in hyperspace is frequently depicted as faster-than-light travel in normal space.
Hyperspace is sometimes used to enable and explain faster than light (FTL) travel in science fiction stories where FTL is necessary for interstellar travel or intergalactic travel. Spacecraft able to use hyperspace for FTL travel are sometimes said to have a hyperdrive.
Detailed descriptions of the mechanisms of hyperspace travel are often provided in stories using the plot device, sometimes incorporating some actual physics such as relativity or string theory in order to create the illusion of a seemingly plausible explanation. Hyperspace travel is nevertheless a fictional technology.
Authors may develop alternative names for hyperspace in their works, such as the Immaterium (used in Warhammer 40,000), slip space in the Halo universe, Z space in Animorphs, or "Underspace", commonly referred to in the works of Neal Asher.
It is common in fiction that when ships exit hyperspace, they normally have to power up shields and weapons, due to them being offline during the transit. This can leave attacking vessels temporarily vulnerable to attack.
This also means that while a ship is travelling through Hyperspace, they are vulnerable to attacks from Pathspace as they have no means of fighting back or defending (with some exceptions—see Hacker).