Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Let's Go To Venus

Venus gets less fictional coverage than Mars but more than any other planet. The fiction of Venus is probably adequately covered or summarized in Farewell, Fantastic Venus.

(i) Venus and Mars are the nearest planets apart from the Moon.

(ii) Mythologically, Venus and Mars are linked as opposites: goddess of love; god of war.

(iii) CS Lewis wrote a Mars-Venus-Earth Trilogy whereas SM Stirling wrote a Venus-Mars diptych.

(iv) HG Wells' Martians attacked Venus after Earth but Wells does not show us events on the Venerian surface.

(v) Olaf Stapledon's Terrestrials colonized Venus, exterminated the Venerians (after being attacked by them), adapted to Venus and became Venerians.

(vi) Otis Adelbert Kline competed with ERB's Mars books by writing both Mars and Venus books so ERB retaliated with Venus books.

(vii) Ray Bradbury, famous for his Mars, has a rainy Venus in one story in The Illustrated Man.

(viii) Robert Heinlein has a swampy Venus with frog-like natives both in a Future History short story and in a Scribner juvenile novel.

(ix) Poul Anderson has a desert Venus in a Psychotechnic History story, an oceanic Venus in an independent story and an incompletely terraformed Venus off-stage in his Technic History.

(x) Larry Niven's Known Space future history opens with short stories about exploration of Solar planets, including Venus.

(xi) Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr juvenile novels are set on successive Solar planets, including Venus.

(xii) Dan Dare's first interplanetary voyage was to Venus where he encountered his recurring enemy, the Mekon.


  1. An amusing note about Otis Adelbert Kline, relative to Burroughs, is that in L. Sprague de Camp's *The Hostage of Zir*, the main character has heard of some of their fiction, but conflates the two authors.

    At the end, after experiencing a more realistic version of a "planetary romance" such as they wrote, he wishes he could go back in time to tell this "Otis Burroughs" "a thing or two!"

    1. Greetings to Paul and Mr. Birr!

      Paul: what I particularly recall about the incompletely terraformed Venus of the Technic History series is Admiral Kheraskov saying in THE REBEL WORLDS that Aaron Snelunds origings lay in the "sub-Lucifer" quarter or region of Venus. Apparently it was a really bad slum area where you only survived by learning ruthlessness early.

      Mr. Birr, I've actually have read L. Spargue de Camp's novel THE HOSTAGE OF ZIR. Long ago, but I remember it being fun reading.