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Thread: Best fictional planet

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    I have no trouble finding it, it's sitting on it's shelf.
    Then we three can enjoy it, and keep it to ourselves. There MUST be a few second-hand bookstores where our BAUT brethren can find this spectacular piece of fiction.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelAitch View Post
    I tend not to read military SF very much, other than say, Haldeman or David Drake- and those books are not adventure novels; war is anything but an adventure.
    I've read The Forever War, but not its sequels. I preferred Haldeman's very short novel Mindbridge, which wasn't very military at all, and The Accidental Time Machine, which was entertaining but not good SF IMO.

    I've also read some of Ben Jeapes's novels, pre-publication as he is a friend - I get mentioned in the credits of his debut, His Majesty's Starship, which had enough military stuff to get him praise from David Drake IIRC.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelAitch View Post
    Reviewing Mirror Dance; that can't have been easy (you were being tossed into an ongoing narrative quite a few books downstream from the beginning).
    It wasn't too bad - IIRC, there was a glossary at the back to bring new readers up to speed, and in any case it was sufficiently well written that I didn't feel shut out at all, and there was a real sense that the Other Miles had reached a long-awaited upturn in his development even though I had not read what came before.

    I don't think my review was used in the end, incidentally. There was a mix-up, and four books were sent to both me and another reviewer. They used two from each of us, and still paid us for our efforts.

    Another book SFX sent me to review was Honor Among Enemies by David Weber. This one was late in the series (number 6, I've just checked), but nothing on the British edition gave any clue that it was anything other than a standalone novel or the beginning of a series. It was over 500 pages long, and although the premise was quite interesting, the first 100 pages were tedious beyond belief, with Honor musing about her telepathic tree cat in two near-identical scenes a few pages apart. This was one of the rare occasions when I gave up on a book I was reviewing - a fact I made clear in the review.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelAitch View Post
    Here's another: Egg, from Robert Forward's Dragon's Egg.
    Egg is a neutron star, with complex life living on its surface(derived from a speculative notion of Frank Drake's). Possibly one of the most extreme environments cooked up for a novel- The surface gravity, the intense magnetic field and the radiation from the star's crust. The inhabitants, their 'chemistry' and their psychology are brilliantly imagined and vividly drawn; the human expedition in orbit, less so. But a very good example of old-style Hard SF.
    I heard of this at the time but was put off by reviews which likened the book to a physics text book. As I now like physics text books, I might eventually give it a go.

    I have read Stephen Baxter's Flux, which is set in a neutron star. I didn't find it a very enjoyable read, though. I hate to say it about SB, as he's a great guy and has done me a couple of very big favours, but I think his writing often fails to be as evocative as it needs to be.

    I probably should have called this thread "Best fictional world."

  3. #63
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    A mention for Helliconia - Brian Aldiss.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by agingjb View Post
    A mention for Helliconia - Brian Aldiss.
    Can you say a bit about the planet in your own words?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    I heard of this at the time but was put off by reviews which likened the book to a physics text book. As I now like physics text books, I might eventually give it a go.
    I agree with MichaelAitch, Forward does a great job in realizing a unique environment for life to evolve. The Cheela are composed of degenerate material and experience time at a much accelerated rate compared to the human explorers sent to study the neutron star they live on. Their world is also much more of a 2-D one due to the intense gravity of the "planet" they live on. It's as much about the alien culture as it is about the physics of neutron stars and space travel.

    It's one of my favorites, I don't remember Star Quake, the sequel, as well but I think it was also good.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

  6. #66
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    Helliconia (very briefly, the Wiki article is good, but the books are, of course, the best and essential authority).

    The planet, earthlike, 1g, oceans and continent, breathable atmosphere.

    The system, double star with dimmer component and very bright and more distant star. Planet in "earthlike" orbit round dim star which is in ellipitical orbit about 2000 years - causing large climatic changes over long time scale.

    Planet has two sentient races - one improbably human, the other ("phagors") vaguely oxlike.

    Story, changes in "human" culture over time, conflict between races.

    Comment, considerable effort in planet building, narratives effective, marginally spoilt by side plot of observers from earth which descends into woo.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by agingjb View Post
    the Wiki article is good
    But readers' personal impressions and opinions are much more interesting in a discussion.

    Thank you for your thoughts. I keep thinking about reading them. I do have copies but they are paper...

  8. #68
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    Has no one mentioned Magrathea? The planet where hyperspatial engineers (including Slartibartfast - fjords a specialty!) build custom planets for discerning and very, very rich customers, and so by definition is the best planet of all, as there you can have ANY planet built.
    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJycqfofBhs a pivotal episode if there ever was, introducing not only the question of dolphins and all the fish, but the Mice, as well.

    JOhn
    Last edited by JohnD; 2014-Apr-10 at 11:05 PM.

  9. #69
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    Trantor? Check! Terminus (Foundation)? Check!

    Discworld! Magic. Dwarfs. Trolls. Wizards. Turtles. Luggage. Carrot. Vimes... Need I say more?

    I'm also kind of charmed by Tolkien's world, except for it being created by singing. Somehow I see The Voice judges critique it, and be right.
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  10. #70
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    Technically, Arda is Earth, so it really doesn't count as a fictional planet. Fictionalised, maybe.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Technically, Arda is Earth, so it really doesn't count as a fictional planet. Fictionalised, maybe.
    It's a fictional world. The character Will Wheaton in The Big Bang Theory is a fictional character. The fact that he is supposed to be the real-life Will Wheaton played by Will Wheaton himself doesn't change this.

    Argh, your second sentence has just sunk in. What the hey, I'm going to post anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    It's a fictional world. The character Will Wheaton in The Big Bang Theory is a fictional character. The fact that he is supposed to be the real-life Will Wheaton played by Will Wheaton himself doesn't change this.
    ... with the opposite personality of the real-life Wil, so definitely fictional.
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    The world of the Spiders in A Deepness in the Sky, orbiting the On/Off Star. The star was so named due to its habit of shining brightly for a few decades, then drastically reducing in luminosity for a couple centuries. During the dim period, the planet's atmosphere completely freezes out, the animal life of the world "wintering over" underground until they thaw out again. Said life includes spider-like aliens with a technological civilization that was roughly equivalent to early-mid 1900s Earth at the start of the book.

    Other oddities include sediment layers full of diamond microbial shells and a material with antigravitational properties, and a system where the only other objects are single-crystal diamond asteroids.

  14. #74
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    How about the bowl-shaped "planets" from the 1980s Flash Gordon movie?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Weren't they moons?

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Weren't they moons?
    The dialogue specifically calls them planets.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Can you say a bit about the planet in your own words?
    Highly elliptical orbit, with a very long period (centuries, iirc). Settled by humans; inhabited by intelligent natives.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernDevo View Post
    Larry Niven's Smoke Ring is an oxygen torus surrounding Levoy's Star. The oxygen is provided by a gas giant that orbits just outside its Roche Limit; as a result a ring of zero-gee habitable space exists. Humans live amongst the native flora - most notably the great Intergral Trees; Trees 100kms. long that float within the Smoke Ring.

    Another fun, enjoyable read.
    Just jumping in to note that LeVoy's Star or "Voy" is actually an old, dead neutron star. There's a separate star that provides sunlight.

    And it's free fall, not zero G, as the force of Voy's Roche Tides provides weak pseudogravity in the ends of those long, tether-like Integral Trees. In fact it's how Integral Trees move- if they drift too close to Voy, they get pulled apart by tidal force and only half survives and regrows.

    Footnote: If they drift too far from Voy, they dry out, rot in the middle, and bugs eat the core, causing them to also snap in half.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2014-Apr-13 at 09:11 PM. Reason: added footnote
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    And it's free fall, not zero G, as the force of Voy's Roche Tides provides weak pseudogravity in the ends of those long, tether-like Integral Trees. In fact it's how Integral Trees move- if they drift too close to Voy, they get pulled apart by tidal force and only half survives and regrows.
    Doesn't the tree drying out lead to infestations of pests that eat through the tree at which point the centrifugal force tears the tree apart. The inner half falls even farther out of the Smoke Ring and the inner portion is thrown back into the medial part of the ring.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    Doesn't the tree drying out lead to infestations of pests that eat through the tree at which point the centrifugal force tears the tree apart. The inner half falls even farther out of the Smoke Ring and the inner portion is thrown back into the medial part of the ring.
    See footnote.
    "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
    See footnote.
    I see.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

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    The twin alternate-plane worlds of Phaze/Proton, in Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series. Both worlds contain a powerful energy-generating material, Protonite. It's been nearly mined out on the high-tech Proton, which is essentially an industrial slave-state. "Serfs" bought and sold by Citizens, AI robots with no rights at all, with Citizenship and voting rights literally being determined by wealth, and constant public games to distract the masses. The Serfs are even kept naked to prevent smuggling ore, apparently in imitation of illegal drug operations. Meanwhile, across a dimensional barrier, Phazite provides the energy for magical powers of the ruling Adepts.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  23. #83
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    Not a big fan of Piers Anthony. I think that the reason the slaves were kept naked was to emphasize that they werenot allowed to own anything.
    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.



  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Not a big fan of Piers Anthony.
    I kind of liked his early stuff when I was a teenager. But I grew up and his work got more adolescent.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by redshifter View Post
    And of course no favorite planet thread isn't complete without a mention of Risa: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Risa
    Predating Risa: The Shore Leave planet from TOS. Anything you think of, even a person, automatically gets made and sent to you. Of course it helps to know this before you land on the planet, otherwise random thoughts can result in chaos...
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  26. #86
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    Has anyone read Clifford Simak's Skakespeare's Planet, I vaguely remember that as being interesting, I'm going to have to dig a copy up somewhere and return one of these days.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Just jumping in to note that LeVoy's Star or "Voy" is actually an old, dead neutron star. There's a separate star that provides sunlight.

    And it's free fall, not zero G, as the force of Voy's Roche Tides provides weak pseudogravity in the ends of those long, tether-like Integral Trees. In fact it's how Integral Trees move- if they drift too close to Voy, they get pulled apart by tidal force and only half survives and regrows.

    Footnote: If they drift too far from Voy, they dry out, rot in the middle, and bugs eat the core, causing them to also snap in half.
    True to all; especially the last point. But I would offer that to one living amongst the Trees; with no scientific knowlege; the difference between free-fall and zero-gee would be nonexistant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernDevo View Post
    True to all; especially the last point. But I would offer that to one living amongst the Trees; with no scientific knowlege; the difference between free-fall and zero-gee would be nonexistant.
    The Scientist and the Grad knew. London Tree's slavemasters knew, because they moved the tree regularly, an so had to understand basic orbital mechanics. No doubt the Admiralty of Smoke Ring knew. In fact the loggers from SR had to know it to do their jobs.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    The Ocean Planet from Star Trek Voyager
    "The Thirty Days"

    Last edited by wd40; 2014-Apr-15 at 05:12 PM.

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    The planet Skaro




    home of the Daleks
    Last edited by wd40; 2014-Apr-15 at 05:24 PM.

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