Friday, 18 October 2013


The Moon is the only planet visited by any of HG Wells' characters. Some view Mars. Others are attacked by Martians and, later, know that the Martians have also invaded Venus.

ER Burroughs, writing not speculative fiction but "sword and science," gives us the Moon, Mars, Venus, a Martian moon, Jupiter and one extrasolar planet. CS Lewis, replying to Wells, gives us the Moon, Mars and Venus.

Olaf Stapledon, Robert Heinlein and Poul Anderson all describe human colonists of Venus. This is a strong conceptual link between these three authors' future histories. In Anderson's second future history, the unpleasant character, Snelund, comes from an inadequately terraformed Venus. The Venerians of Heinlein's Future History also appear in Space Cadet, one of five of his Scribner Juveniles that I think can be described as the author's "Juvenile Future History."

Larry Niven, writing after the Venus probes, describes the exploration but not the colonization of that planet. The Venus that either is or can be made to become habitable remains a part of sf mythology but has ceased to be a setting for hard sf.

However, we think of Earth as our mother and our descendants will probably think likewise of any other planet that they come to inhabit. Thus, one of Anderson's Martian colonists applies the feminine pronoun to his adopted planet, obviously entirely forgetting Mars' original masculine persona.

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