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Thread: Best fictional planet

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Your Mum took you to Soho in the 70s ...
    Did she put a bag over your head until you got to DTWAGE?


    Soho is a very different place during the day! I bought a big round badge of the shop (whose name is also a story by Ray Bradbury) and some years later attached it to my scarf Ghanima (named after Paul Atreides daughter in the Dune books). No idea where the badge is now; I lost Ghanima at a Gary Numan concert in 1983, but I don't think the badge was attached at the time.

  2. #122
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    I just read "Deathworld" by Harry Harrison and I can't understand why Jim Cameron didn't just adapt that instead of making Avatar.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I just read "Deathworld" by Harry Harrison and I can't understand why Jim Cameron didn't just adapt that instead of making Avatar.
    No non-mammalian mammary endowed female humanoids for the protagonist to fall in lust with.
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  4. #124
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    Not true; there was a sexy lady colonist the lead tried to canoodle; she just turned out not to be that nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Not true; there was a sexy lady colonist the lead tried to canoodle; she just turned out not to be that nice.
    No non-mammalian mammary endowed humanoids for the protagonist to fall in lust with and therefore switch to their side.

    There, I fixed it.
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    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    I just read "Deathworld" by Harry Harrison and I can't understand why Jim Cameron didn't just adapt that instead of making Avatar.
    In the first book, there is a romantic interest, although she'd probably look more like a female weightlifter than like the pencil-with-boobs that's the current ideal of beauty. In the second, there's also somebody who tries to be a romantic interest, but she's foisted off with his Javert, possibly because DinAlt would rather not have his arm ripped off and be beaten to death with it by romantic interest from the first book.

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  7. #127
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    What was the name of the Overlords' home planet in the novel Childhood's End? That's my nomination anyways...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood's_End

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tee View Post
    What was the name of the Overlords' home planet in the novel Childhood's End? That's my nomination anyways...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood's_End
    What did the book say about their planet? I don't remember it, and the Wikipedia article on the book doesn't describe the planet.

    * * *

    I was recently reminded of a general concept that I love in fictional planets, by Game Of Thrones. And that general theme is immensity. The map of the known world in GOT is a rectangle with no indication of what lies beyond the rectangle, two of its three continents run right to the edges so whatever is beyond the map's edges definitely includes more land, and one of the books has a reference to someone flying south over the southern continent on a dragon for a year and a half without ever finding another shore, during which she also observed unfamiliar animals & plants & cities, including something that must have been related to dragons but different from them. There's no telling where on this planet humans came from, how far they've expanded since then, how long that took, or how much is left that they haven't gotten to yet. The complete story could include any number of smaller stories within it, with different groups of people discovering different lands at different times and interacting with them & each other in different ways.

    On a rocky-watery planet the size of a gas giant, there could be hundreds of continents & oceans as big as they are on Earth... enough to supply a whole new fictional "universe" of settings for different civilizations & colonies & stories & leftover uncharted openness, all without needing to violate light-speed by putting them on different planets... except that gravity would be a bit silly, not only pretty much eliminating life that gets up & moves around like us so the kinds of stories we're after couldn't happen there anyway, but even preventing the development of geological formations as we know them. So, how to get an immense surface without that problem?

    A lower density would work, but would mean a weird overall composition other than rock or gas, which would also eliminate life as we know it for other reasons, even if such an object could exist.

    In the episode of ST:TNG in which the Enterprise briefly ends up inside a Dyson sphere, I was fascinated by the fact that we could see clouds floating above the inside surface, showing that we were looking down from high altitude on a surface that millions of Earths' worth of people/aliens could live on, which is more planets than are generally implied to be inhabitable in the whole Star Trek galaxy. That and Ringworld certainly would give the kind of landscape I'm thinking of, but they have their own problems with physics (not to mention the lack of a night cycle, which I'd struggle with the ramifications of). A smaller cylindrical version, with something other than a natural star at the core, would make more physical sense, but then we need to create that engine thingy for the core.

    What I've finally decided on as the best solution is my own, which I've never heard of anyone else suggesting (although from what I've gathered Riverworld might come close). I actually came up with it in a completely different conversation, talking to someone who said the universe was fine-tuned for us to inhabit it, to which my response was that in that case most of it shouldn't be so uninhabitable. The idea is to embrace the physical impossibility and just suppose an entirely different kind of universe that really was created for life-forms like us to inhabit, where there's no such thing as empty space or planets or stars, and everything is just one seemingly endless non-curved surface. How far does it go, with how many continents? I don't know; it's just the whole fictional universe, whatever that might be. What are the edges like? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody finding one. How deep is the ground and what's below it? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody ever digging deep enough to find out (although I actually did think of several other solutions for that). What makes the light(s) in the sky? I don't know; I just wouldn't dwell on those details or have anybody do anything that would require any specific answer. And that all ends up being essentially what the Game Of Thrones world could be, as far as we can tell, since we're given no sign that it's meant to be a curved planet in a universe of round planets & stars (because "seasons" lasting multiple years with no consistency or cycle in their duration means the usual real-world cosmology can't apply)...

  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    What did the book say about their planet? I don't remember it, and the Wikipedia article on the book doesn't describe the planet.

    * * *

    I was recently reminded of a general concept that I love in fictional planets, by Game Of Thrones. And that general theme is immensity. The map of the known world in GOT is a rectangle with no indication of what lies beyond the rectangle, two of its three continents run right to the edges so whatever is beyond the map's edges definitely includes more land, and one of the books has a reference to someone flying south over the southern continent on a dragon for a year and a half without ever finding another shore, during which she also observed unfamiliar animals & plants & cities, including something that must have been related to dragons but different from them. There's no telling where on this planet humans came from, how far they've expanded since then, how long that took, or how much is left that they haven't gotten to yet. The complete story could include any number of smaller stories within it, with different groups of people discovering different lands at different times and interacting with them & each other in different ways.

    On a rocky-watery planet the size of a gas giant, there could be hundreds of continents & oceans as big as they are on Earth... enough to supply a whole new fictional "universe" of settings for different civilizations & colonies & stories & leftover uncharted openness, all without needing to violate light-speed by putting them on different planets... except that gravity would be a bit silly, not only pretty much eliminating life that gets up & moves around like us so the kinds of stories we're after couldn't happen there anyway, but even preventing the development of geological formations as we know them. So, how to get an immense surface without that problem?

    A lower density would work, but would mean a weird overall composition other than rock or gas, which would also eliminate life as we know it for other reasons, even if such an object could exist.

    In the episode of ST:TNG in which the Enterprise briefly ends up inside a Dyson sphere, I was fascinated by the fact that we could see clouds floating above the inside surface, showing that we were looking down from high altitude on a surface that millions of Earths' worth of people/aliens could live on, which is more planets than are generally implied to be inhabitable in the whole Star Trek galaxy. That and Ringworld certainly would give the kind of landscape I'm thinking of, but they have their own problems with physics (not to mention the lack of a night cycle, which I'd struggle with the ramifications of). A smaller cylindrical version, with something other than a natural star at the core, would make more physical sense, but then we need to create that engine thingy for the core.

    What I've finally decided on as the best solution is my own, which I've never heard of anyone else suggesting (although from what I've gathered Riverworld might come close). I actually came up with it in a completely different conversation, talking to someone who said the universe was fine-tuned for us to inhabit it, to which my response was that in that case most of it shouldn't be so uninhabitable. The idea is to embrace the physical impossibility and just suppose an entirely different kind of universe that really was created for life-forms like us to inhabit, where there's no such thing as empty space or planets or stars, and everything is just one seemingly endless non-curved surface. How far does it go, with how many continents? I don't know; it's just the whole fictional universe, whatever that might be. What are the edges like? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody finding one. How deep is the ground and what's below it? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody ever digging deep enough to find out (although I actually did think of several other solutions for that). What makes the light(s) in the sky? I don't know; I just wouldn't dwell on those details or have anybody do anything that would require any specific answer. And that all ends up being essentially what the Game Of Thrones world could be, as far as we can tell, since we're given no sign that it's meant to be a curved planet in a universe of round planets & stars (because "seasons" lasting multiple years with no consistency or cycle in their duration means the usual real-world cosmology can't apply)...
    Clever! I like it. I suppose Minecraft could be such a world as well, as more and more of it always appears as you travel farther and farther from where you started and biomes are scattered willy-nilly without following anything like Terrestrial climate zones.
    Last edited by KaiYeves; 2017-Apr-12 at 02:44 AM.

  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post

    Contenders:

    Dune.
    Gethen.
    I've read both those books. I think the ecology in Dune -- which was sort of the point of the book -- was so unbelievable, I kept having to reboot my sense of disbelief.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post


    Solaris.
    Skaro.

    Pern.
    I never had a chance to read Solaris. I don't think anything in Doctor Who is intended to be well-fleshed out except the interactions between the Doctor and his companion: he's a superhero and the companion is a sidekick. I started one of the Pern books and gave up. (I don't do that too often; there are other books by McCaffery that I did like, but I just did not find the Pern books worth my time)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post

    Gor. Planet 93,000,000 miles from the Sun, but on the other side from Earth. I haven't read any of them, and don't know anybody else who has either except for a friend who died young. Pluses: They offend the more obnoxious, foaming-at-the-mouth feminists. Minuses: they offend everybody else too, including the reasonable feminists. I probably shouldn't have mentioned the books at all.
    The comments I've read about Gor is that the later books will offend everybody who considers "woman" to be a subset of "human being," as opposed to some non-human thing good only for sex (especially BDSM) and reproduction.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post

    Any other contenders?
    Annares and Urras, from Ursula K LeGuin's The Dispossessed, Niven & Cooper's Selene, for Building Harlequin's Moon, and Robert Reed's Marrow. Of course, two of these are artificial....
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Apr-12 at 05:27 PM.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    And that general theme is immensity.
    Google 'Paul Birch supraself': a space habitat with 2 x 10^23 times the surface area of Earth. It would take a number of galaxies worth of mass just to make the thing.

  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Google 'Paul Birch supraself': a space habitat with 2 x 10^23 times the surface area of Earth. It would take a number of galaxies worth of mass just to make the thing.
    Ah, an extension to Birch's supramundane and suprastellar habitats.
    Birch wrote some interesting stuff in the 1990s, before he fell out cataclysmically with the British Interplanetary Society and devoted himself to his own particular brand of politics.
    There's a useful archive of his material here.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #133
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    Can't beat the Well of Souls. 1560 different races, each with their own environment. Beats the hex out of Arrakis.

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    And that general theme is immensity.
    If one likes immensity, and is not particular about traditional definitions of the planets, there is The Way, from Greg Bear's set of books: Eon, Eternity, and Legacy. I would most succinctly describe it as an artificial universe, with openings into other universes/realities.
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  15. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    If one likes immensity, and is not particular about traditional definitions of the planets, there is The Way, from Greg Bear's set of books: Eon, Eternity, and Legacy.
    A friend of mine insists that Eon, the title of the first book, is correctly pronounced Yawn. He didn't enjoy it.

    Grant Hutchison

  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    A friend of mine insists that Eon, the title of the first book, is correctly pronounced Yawn. He didn't enjoy it.

    Grant Hutchison
    I liked the first one, the second one was not nearly as good, and I never read the third. But, to each their own.
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  17. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    What did the book say about their planet? I don't remember it, and the Wikipedia article on the book doesn't describe the planet.

    * * *

    I was recently reminded of a general concept that I love in fictional planets, by Game Of Thrones. And that general theme is immensity. The map of the known world in GOT is a rectangle with no indication of what lies beyond the rectangle, two of its three continents run right to the edges so whatever is beyond the map's edges definitely includes more land, and one of the books has a reference to someone flying south over the southern continent on a dragon for a year and a half without ever finding another shore, during which she also observed unfamiliar animals & plants & cities, including something that must have been related to dragons but different from them. There's no telling where on this planet humans came from, how far they've expanded since then, how long that took, or how much is left that they haven't gotten to yet. The complete story could include any number of smaller stories within it, with different groups of people discovering different lands at different times and interacting with them & each other in different ways.

    On a rocky-watery planet the size of a gas giant, there could be hundreds of continents & oceans as big as they are on Earth... enough to supply a whole new fictional "universe" of settings for different civilizations & colonies & stories & leftover uncharted openness, all without needing to violate light-speed by putting them on different planets... except that gravity would be a bit silly, not only pretty much eliminating life that gets up & moves around like us so the kinds of stories we're after couldn't happen there anyway, but even preventing the development of geological formations as we know them. So, how to get an immense surface without that problem?

    A lower density would work, but would mean a weird overall composition other than rock or gas, which would also eliminate life as we know it for other reasons, even if such an object could exist.

    In the episode of ST:TNG in which the Enterprise briefly ends up inside a Dyson sphere, I was fascinated by the fact that we could see clouds floating above the inside surface, showing that we were looking down from high altitude on a surface that millions of Earths' worth of people/aliens could live on, which is more planets than are generally implied to be inhabitable in the whole Star Trek galaxy. That and Ringworld certainly would give the kind of landscape I'm thinking of, but they have their own problems with physics (not to mention the lack of a night cycle, which I'd struggle with the ramifications of). A smaller cylindrical version, with something other than a natural star at the core, would make more physical sense, but then we need to create that engine thingy for the core.

    What I've finally decided on as the best solution is my own, which I've never heard of anyone else suggesting (although from what I've gathered Riverworld might come close). I actually came up with it in a completely different conversation, talking to someone who said the universe was fine-tuned for us to inhabit it, to which my response was that in that case most of it shouldn't be so uninhabitable. The idea is to embrace the physical impossibility and just suppose an entirely different kind of universe that really was created for life-forms like us to inhabit, where there's no such thing as empty space or planets or stars, and everything is just one seemingly endless non-curved surface. How far does it go, with how many continents? I don't know; it's just the whole fictional universe, whatever that might be. What are the edges like? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody finding one. How deep is the ground and what's below it? I don't know; I just wouldn't have anybody ever digging deep enough to find out (although I actually did think of several other solutions for that). What makes the light(s) in the sky? I don't know; I just wouldn't dwell on those details or have anybody do anything that would require any specific answer. And that all ends up being essentially what the Game Of Thrones world could be, as far as we can tell, since we're given no sign that it's meant to be a curved planet in a universe of round planets & stars (because "seasons" lasting multiple years with no consistency or cycle in their duration means the usual real-world cosmology can't apply)...
    Tolkien's Middle Earth has a similar, undefined immensity to it also.

    I can't remember what the book said about the Overlord's planet, other than the human (whose name I also forget) witnessed them communicating with the Overmind.

  18. #138
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    Best fictional planet? Earth, in the future.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Best fictional planet? Earth, in the future.
    Is this a veiled "haha real Earth has no future" joke or a sincere comment that there are a lot of cool future Earths in fiction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Best fictional planet? Earth, in the future.
    I thought Earth was doomed! Do you know something we don't?

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    Reading Steven Pinkers' The Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined completely ruined dystopian fiction for me.

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    Don't worry, there's more to misery than just violence.

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    Trends don't have to continue.

    In the 1920s, who'd have thought that Germany or Russia would be capable of stooping to murdering millions and millions of people and slave labor?

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    That is the history class I am taking. It is ugly.

    Anyway, I really liked Eon. It might be the only book of his I have read.

    Another good series is MYST. Fantasy cloaked in Sci-fi which wanders back to fantasy. It is a bit odd, but they have this debate if they are creating worlds when they write books or if the written books actually only provide access to them. The other interesting bit is they tend to link to other worlds underground. I am not sure if that was a design feature, limitation or plot device.

    The first time they link to a world, they go in a super massive space suit. If something goes wrong, the pilot's hand falls back on the book and they link back home. Interestingly, they mention that instant death is a good possibility when going to other worlds, but it never happens in the three books.
    Solfe, Dominus Maris Pavos.

  25. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesabrown View Post
    Reading Steven Pinkers' The Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined completely ruined dystopian fiction for me.
    I've read excerpts and I found it fascinating.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Trends don't have to continue.

    In the 1920s, who'd have thought that Germany or Russia would be capable of stooping to murdering millions and millions of people and slave labor?
    And even if overall trends (measured over the centuries and longer) continue, there will be "bumps in the road" (so to speak).
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