In the TV series, there is a blue sphere the rings are placed on, and things entering the blue don't come back and are assumed to be destroyed.

But there is not such thing in the books, instead, the area between the rings is only described as being black, without stars, and void.

Does that mean it's just vacuum ? If so, can you travel beyond ? Sure, there's nowhere to visit outside the ring space, but for example could you hide behind a ring for tactical purposes before or during a fight ?

I know big things happen in the latter half of the series, I didn't read that yet. Feel free to include elements from that if it answers the question, but if the landscape of the ring space gets radically changed let's assume this question applies to things as they stand at the start of Cibola Burn.

  • What is "outside the rings" is complicated to answer, but is more or less answered with increasing depth across the last four books.
    – Lexible
    Jan 23, 2023 at 2:54

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in a comment to your question, the answer to this is fairly complicated and heavily tied into the plot of the final books of the series. That being said, the short answer is that...

our universe is bordered by another universe. When the Ring Builders created the ring space, they essentially pushed into that other universe to create the space. So 'outside' the ring space is an entirely different universe. As far as traveling through it, the universe is occupied by unknown lifeforms who hate the ring space and anyone that uses it. These entities caused the extinction of the Ring Builders and in the latter part of the series become a major antagonist to humanity as well. So it would be a incredibly bad decision to go to their territory intentionally.

  • I hope the book doesn't have a plot hole about humans not sending probes between the rings after all that time... :D guess I'll see for myself. Though it's surprising, given the war-tactics course about the ring space during season 5, that nobody thought or tried to hide behind rings. Jan 23, 2023 at 3:30

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