A Displacer is a space teleportation device. They were used to transport matter - lifeforms, cargo, and ordnance - from one point in real or hyperspace to another for practically any purpose.

Displacements were also called dislocs within the Gizilt civlization.[1]


Displacer units are available in a range of sizes and capabilities.

In the 22nd century CE, a unit capable of moving a microscopic object 14 metres could be fitted into a Chelgrian Soulkeeper.[2]

Units aboard a Culture GSV in the 19th century could move small spacecraft within a star system.[3]

"Heavy-duty" units, as carried on Culture spacecraft, were better able to handle emergency snap-Displacements.[4][5]

Very large units could move Culture Gangster-class Offensive Unit-sized objects a short distance.[6]

Generally, the capability of a unit increased with its size or mass.[3]


The volume - and its contents - to be Displaced was encapsulated within a containment field.[7] The field could be intercepted and it contents separated and redirected; this was not a widely known Culture capability even within the Culture in c. 29th century CE.[7]

The arrival of a Displaced volume appeared initially as a tiny point of blinking light, which rapidly expanded into a grey or silvery sphere that subsequently disappeared to leave the volume behind.[3][8] The intensity of sound caused by the departure and arrival of a volume depended on the speed of the Displacement.[9][10][8]

Displacers could accurately deliver chemicals and other substances into a biological body for medicinal or recreational purposes.[11][10]

The power needed for a Displacement increased as distance and mass increased.[2]


The uncertainty principle applied to Displacement singularities in hyperspace, creating a non-zero probability of catastrophic Displacement failure, invariably leading to the death of a Displaced lifeform.[4]

The catastrophic failure rate of Culture Displacements was put as 1 in 80 million in the 19th century CE,[3] 1 in 83 million in the 21st century CE,[4] and 1 in 61 million in the 22nd century CE.[12] Some Culture machine sapients regarded Displacers as too dangerous to move sapients.[4][13][7]

The probability of a catastrophic failure increased as the rate of Displacements increased.[3]


A snap-Displacement was a dangerous manoeuvre where a Displacer unit moving at very high superluminal speeds - relative to the target - executed a Displacement with extremely limited time-on-target,[4][14] perhaps as little as less than a millisecond.[15]

A typical snap-Displace could only handle a small volume.[4][15] The Culture Emergency Displacement required a pan-human to scrunch into a fetal posture.[4][16] Injury and damage would result if the targeting was not perfectly accurate.[13][16]


Displacing could be blocked by 4D shielding.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. The Hydrogen Sonata, chapter 12
  2. 2.0 2.1 Look to Windward, chapter 14
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Excession, chapter 7.2
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 The Player of Games, chapter 2
  5. Surface Detail, chapter 16
  6. Excession, chapter 4.5
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Surface Detail, chapter 12
  8. 8.0 8.1 Surface Detail, chapter 9
  9. Excession, chapter 1.2
  10. 10.0 10.1 Excession, chapter 10.12
  11. Excession, chapter 5.4
  12. Look to Windward, chapter 15
  13. 13.0 13.1 Look to Windward, chapter 16
  14. Surface Detail, chapter 26
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Hydrogen Sonata, chapter 16
  16. 16.0 16.1 Surface Detail, chapter 17
  17. The Hydrogen Sonata, chapter 22
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