Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Rambling: Science Fiction Landscapes

It struck me a few days ago that the landscapes behind science fiction novels really aren't that varied in a lot of cases. Or, more specifically, I can't think of any that are set underwater aside from Jules Verne's classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Most of the planets, assuming the story is set on or involves another planet, are pretty Earth-like. For some, that even becomes part of their name. For example, Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. The name comes from the initials stamped on the survey, and those stood for "Parallel Earth. Resources Negligible". (The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall.17)

Some of the classic science fiction, circa that of Heinlein had colonies on Venus and Mars etc, but that assumed that the planets were habitable as is, something that's been more or less disproved since those books were written.

There's Dune, the desert planet as written by Frank Herbert for planets with different climates, but for the most part, aside from movies like the Star Wars series, I can't really think of any others. That's not to say that the Earth-type planets don't have their own challenges.

David Weber's written a number of them. Grayson, although it looked like a paradise had quite a few problems that were only discovered on the colonist's arrival, so they more or less ended up living in sealed environments and in orbit of the planet. Sphynx and Gryphon have a more extreme climate - winters that last for years for example? (A Beautiful Friendship) But still, those planets, for all the extreme weather, still have seasons, breathable atmospheres and all the ingredients for humans to thrive.

I'm having a harder time, as I said, of coming up with planets which aren't suited for human life, but where we've managed to set up lives anyway.

Ideas, anyone?


Anonymous said...

Jules Verne set his stories on many difference landscapes (the sea as you mentioned, the moon, under the earth, on an island - just off the top of my head).

Elena said...

He's one of the few that I can think of though.

Thanks for dropping in with a comment.


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