Peter F Hamilton

The Void is a strange, artificial universe created by the aliens known as the Firstlifes billions of years ago. It is located in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and was once thought to be a supermassive black hole; in reality, the event horizon separates the Void within from the normal universe outside. In order to function, it is gradually consuming the mass of the galaxy. Watched over by its ancient enemies, the Raiel, the Void's expansion is barely contained. The two planets inside the Void known to humans are called Querencia and Bienvenido, and are inhabited by humans who arrived there thousands of years ago as counted by Void-time.

The Void inhibits and eventually prohibits the use of advanced technology, particularly electronics (or even electricity). For this reason, human societies within the Void resemble those of 18th or 19th century Europe, i.e. the most advanced technology are semi-automatic firearms.

On the other hand, the Void responds to the thoughts of its inhabitants, giving them psychic powers, including perception at a distance (farsight, ex-sight), communication at a distance (longtalk) and telekinesis (the third hand, teekay). Inhabitants have these abilities at varying strengths, i.e. some people are stronger than other with each ability. There appears to be a genetic component involved with psychic abilities, as centuries of selective breeding among the elites of Makkathran on Querencia resulted in individuals with exceptionally powerful abilities.

The Void is inhabited by an alien species called the Skylords, who fly between the stars and are the size of mountains. They can speak to humans, and their avowed purpose is to guide humans who have reached "fulfillment" to The Heart, where the will find eternal bliss. Another alien species, the Fallers, are found on the planet Bienvenido. Both of these species are revealed to be related in The Abyss Beyond Dreams.

Near the end of The Temporal Void it is revealed that the Void has another startling ability in addition to the gift of psychic powers to its inhabitants: it stores memories of events, essentially the entire configuration of the physical contents of the void at each moment in time (i.e. the state of the Void) and can, guided by the wishes of a strong psychic, reset itself to a past state, giving the appearance of travelling back in time. In this way, dwellers within the void are able (though only one knows of this ability, Edeard) to live a "perfect" life, by going back to when things went wrong and talking action to prevent the course of events that one does not like. But doing this requires enormous energy, which is why the void devours stars and planets: to provide the energy for this pathway to bliss.

The Void was originally constructed by the Firstlifes as a means of enabling their own evolution into a higher form of life. However, their approach was eventually surpassed by those of other races such as the Anomine, who found a way to transcend the physical universe entirely and become postphysical. Upon learning of this technique in the midst of a crisis in which the Void threatened to devour the galaxy, the Firstlifes decided to become postphysical rather than continue on within the Void, and the Void disappeared as a result.