"Beyond the Aquila rift" is a short film in the Netflix series "Love, Death and Robots".

The obvious question after you watch the film is "what the heck is going on". We know there is this spider that is feeding a simulated reality to the crew of the ship. Why is she doing this?

The most common explanation you'll see is that she isn't a malevolent creature and the ship ended up there due to some error and she is now trying to ease the people's pain before they die.

This explanation is hard to digest for me in the context of the show in specific. Here is my case for this - first, we clearly see that the creature is a spider and the ship is trapped in a web. When you see a fly trapped in a spiders web, do you consider it got there "by accident"? The symbolism is similarly clear here. We see the ships trapped in a web. The whole relationship would seem to be quite clearly malevolent.

Is there any further information from outside the film to explain the relationship between the Spider and those caught in the web?


2 Answers 2


The short story is much more clear. She is not malevolent at all and in fact cares for thousands of refugees from different species and feels extremely maternal to them all. It is implied she is something like a queen of a eusocial species and sees the lost as her children now and honestly loves them.

The sex scene was actually pivotal in the story. In it the main character was married back home. She didn't think he could mentally handle the fact his wife was already dead, so didn't let him in on the truth until he slept with her, showing that he could get over the loss of his wife.

Suzie was dead all along, he was the only survivor, waking up the others was always a simulation, by having him repeatedly attempt to wake up the others and them not being able to handle it the idea was to soften the blow when the truth was eventually revealed to him, as he would have experienced it from the other side. This didn't really translate well to the animation however.

Note that everyone there is lost against their will. No one was trapped on purpose, the creature just decided it was its calling to help and comfort all that came later as best she could.

  • Thanks for the background. Haven't read the novel, but is it possible this was the creature simply manipulating them and the reader simply seeing the story it is selling them. In the film, we clearly see the ships caught in a web. If there was a routing error bringing everyone there, why are they stuck in a web? How clear is the novel about this? Apr 14, 2019 at 7:16
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    In the novel (short story really) Suzie never said anything about Greta not being who she was. Because Suzie and the other guy had both died due to the paint on the inside of their sleep Chambers poisoning them (they kept the detail in the show that only theirs were painted). The fake Suzie kept being able to not take it psychologically and have A breakdown as he tried different ways to wake her up. This was Greta trying to prepare him for hearing the news himself, Suzie was having the type of breakdown Greta expected him to have. Apr 14, 2019 at 8:33
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    Note that Zima Blue was another story by the same author, Alastair Reynolds. If you enjoyed those I can very highly recommend him. Apr 14, 2019 at 8:41
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    What novel are you speaking about? Is it a novel from Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant magazine (which was the inspiration of the Heavy Metal movie, of which Love, Death and Robots is a reboot)?
    – Taladris
    Aug 25, 2019 at 12:54
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    @RohitPandey in the novel a web was just how the FTL mechanism worked. Humanity did not build or even really understand how the system works, they found lots of asteroids that they could use for FTL and brute forced the routing protocol without fully understanding it. They would be ejected out the other side uncontrolled so they needed to catch the ships bleeding off their momentum to make sure they didn't run into anything. Sep 11, 2022 at 22:59

Someone asked the creator on Twitter:

When asked if they could confirm the spider in the episode is a 'benevolent caretaker' (as it was in the original story), they said the alien is

"benevolent & horrible at the same time".

enter image description here

To me, it seems highly unlikely that the creator of the film would simply re-create the story of the book and not put their own spin on it.

  • The Reddit thread is for my own reference. Takes me a while to find it otherwise. I'd like it to be somewhere on the page. Should I move it to the question? Or perhaps a comment here? May 23, 2021 at 21:09
  • Sure, put it in as a comment. Hope no one deletes it. May 23, 2021 at 21:11
  • I've taken the liberty of editing slightly, The comment on twitter appears to confirm what's going on in the show (as well as the original story).
    – Valorum
    May 23, 2021 at 21:15
  • That's up for interpretation. I take the "horrible" part as meaning they're leaving the interpretation vague on purpose. May 23, 2021 at 21:17
  • My interpretation is that its intentions are benevolent, but that the implementation may seem horrible to its unwilling beneficiaries. Apr 17, 2023 at 14:11

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