Saturn in fiction

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The picturesque planet Saturn is featured in numerous works of science fiction. Early works of science fiction used Saturn itself as a location for stories, but modern science has shown that the planet has no solid surface on which one could land, and that its atmosphere and temperature are hostile to human life. As a result, the Saturnian system as a whole, including its rings and its extensive system of moons, is a commoner setting for science fiction.

On Saturn[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Micromégas (1752) by Voltaire. Micromégas, an extraterrestrial visitor, arrives at Saturn first (Uranus and Neptune had not yet been discovered in 1752[1]). Saturn's citizens are "only a thousand fathoms high", have 72 senses and live for about 15,000 years. Micromégas forms a close friendship with the secretary of the Academy of Saturn, who accompanies him to Earth.
  • Off on a Comet (1877) by Jules Verne. Adventurers pass within 415,000,000 miles of Saturn while riding on a comet. The book describes Saturn as having 8 satellites and 3 rings. It contains a black and white illustration showing what night might look like from the surface of the planet. The rings are brightly illuminated by the sun, and an elliptical shadow is cast on them by the planet. The drawing shows the surface of Saturn as a rocky, desolate, solid surface.
  • A Journey in Other Worlds (1894) by John Jacob Astor IV. Explorers from Earth reach Saturn from Jupiter (which is a tropical jungle world, much like ancient Earth) and find that the planet is a dark, dry, dying planet. The only inhabitants of Saturn are gigantic, ghostlike creatures that communicate telepathically and can predict the future.
  • Cthulhu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft et al. Saturn was known as Cykranosh in the Hyperborean Era, both Tsathoggua and Atlach-Nacha came to Earth from there, and Tsathoggua's paternal uncle Hziulquoigmnzhah still resides there.
  • Operation Saturn (27 Feb. 1953-21 May 1954) by Frank Hampson. A Dan Dare story that ran in the original Eagle comic from Volume 3, Issue 47 to Volume 5, Issue 21.
  • In Captain Marvel Adventures #1 'The Monsters of Saturn' Saturn has been invaded by a race of Dragon-men from another world who have enslaved the humanoid inhabitants of the World, who have a legend of a Thunder God freeing them one day. One of them contacts Earth with a radio, causing Cap to travel to Saturn. Captain Marvel wipes the Dragons out before returning to Earth.
  • Jemm, Son of Saturn (1984). Saturn's atmosphere is home to immense, enclosed floating cities, the homes of the Red and White Saturnians, twin races that began as cloned offshoots of the nearly extinct Martian race. Red Saturnians were cloned from Green Martians; White Saturnians were cloned from White Martians. The two species have a rivalry. Like Martians they have mental powers, allowing them to control or read minds.
  • In Strange Tales #1 (1951) the first story 'The Strange Men' involves beings from the planet Saturn, who, in a subterranean city on an island in the Atlantic ocean, are creating an array of weaponry with which they plan to invade Earth and all the Solar System's other planets. They are humanoid, but require gas masks to protect themselves from our "vile earthly atmosphere". They are so technologically advanced they can walk through walls.
  • In Journey into Mystery #83 (1962) "The Stone Men From Saturn", in which Thor (Marvel Comics) appears for the first time, a race of humanoids made of stone come to Earth with the intention of invading. They are made extra strong by the high oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere.
  • In All-Star Comics #13 the Justice Society of America are sent to different planets after being gassed by Nazis and placed into rockets. Hawkman wakens to find himself in a rocketship and getting ready to crash-land on Saturn. Exiting the ship before then, he sees a man being menaced by a vulture and saves his life. Hearing that the population is being menaced by a tyrant named Hora, Hawkman agrees to lend his services to the populace. He defeats them, is rewarded with a leaden box of radium and rockets back to Earth.
  • There are many references to Saturn in the Superman comics.
    • The sixth planet from the sun. Superman No. 147/3 describes Saturn as a planet “where there has been no crime at all for centuries .. . and where everyone can perform amazing mental feats!” The complete absence of crime on Saturn is caused by the weird “radiations” emanating from the “meteor- fragments that form Saturn’s rings,” radiations which somehow “cancel out Saturn people’s criminal traits!” (Aug 1961: “The Legion of Super-Villains!").
    • Among the particles that make up Saturn’s rings, asserts Superman No. 122/1, are those composed of a so-called “musical mineral,” an exotic substance that emits musical sounds (Jul 1958: “The Secret of the Space Souvenirs”).
    • According to Superman No. 128/1, Saturn’s “smaller moons” are actually “gigantic, porous ‘snowballs,’ “satellites that are literally “composed of frozen snow” (Apr 1959: chs. 1-2—”Superman versus the Futuremen”; “The Secret of the Futuremen”).
    • Saturn Queen, a member of the Legion of Super-Villains, is a native of Saturn (S No. 147/3, Aug 1961: “The Legion of Super-Villains!”).
    • Saturn Girl a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, hails from Titan, the largest, brightest, and most massive of Saturn’s ten satellites (Adv No. 247/1: "The Legion of Super-Heroes!").
    • In February–March 1951, Superman demolishes an unidentified planet that may one day strike Earth, blasting it apart with asteroids diverted from Saturn’s rings (WF No. 50: “Superman, Super Wrecker”).
    • In February 1957, for a twelve-hour period, Superman’s personality is imprisoned in the body of Jimmy Olsen and vice versa, as the result of both men’s having unwittingly exposed themselves to the effects of a Saturnian “mentality exchanger” discovered by Superman while exploring the remnants of a long-dead Saturnian civilization (S No. 111/1: "The Non-Super Superman”).
    • In July 1958, Superman journeys to Saturn to obtain a sample of the exotic “musical mineral” from Saturn’s rings, and later to Rhea, one of Saturn’s moons, to obtain a strange knotted tree. These are but two of a series of eight so-called “space trophies” which the Man of Steel gathers during this period for inclusion in a time capsule which the Metropolis Museum plans to bury in the ground as a gift for the people of the fiftieth century A.D. (S No. 122: “The Secret of the Space Souvenirs”).
    • During a time-journey to the twenty-first century CE, a time when all life on Earth is threatened with imminent extinction as the result of the oceans having been accidentally dissolved “by an atomic experiment,” Superman tows several of Saturn’s “snowball” moons to Earth to alleviate Earth’s catastrophic scarcity of water (S No. 128/1, Apr 1959: chs. 1-2—-”Superman versus the Futuremen”; “The Secret of the Futuremen”).
    • In August 1961, Superman transforms Saturn Queen from an adversary into an ally, and there turns the tables on the Legion of Super-Villains, by exposing her to the radiations of meteor fragments taken from Saturn’s rings and thus curing her of her “villainous tendencies” (S No. 147/3: “The Legion Super-Villains!”). (TGSB)
  • Saturn Rukh (1997), novel by Robert L. Forward. Saturn has native aliens that live within the planet's clouds.
  • The Clouds of Saturn (1998), novel by Michael McCollum. Saturn is a new place for humanity after Earth was heavily boiled by the flaring sun.
  • Accelerando (2005), short story collection by Charles Stross. Humans colonize Saturn's upper atmosphere as the inner planets are dismantled into a Matrioshka Brain.
  • Larklight (2006) by Philip Reeve. The First Ones, who inhabited the Solar System before the planets were formed live in Saturn's rings because of the lighter gravity, which is only a tenth of Earth's. They weave their webs into the rings, and resemble white 12 legged spiders. Saturn has a breathable atmosphere, but it is harder to breathe than Earth's.
  • The Taking of Chelsea 426 (2009) by David Llewellyn. The human colony Chelsea 426 floats on Saturn's gas clouds.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton. The rings of Saturn are used in the reproductive flights of the biological starships of the series' Edenists, the Voidhawks, for their combination of magnetosphere and matter to nourish the eggs.
  • 2312 (2012) by Kim Stanley Robinson. Includes a sequence in which characters fly into Saturn's atmosphere to hunt a missing spacecraft.

Film, television and radio[edit]

  • Betty Boop's Ups and Downs (1932), The planet Saturn buys Earth and pulls its magnet out, eliminating Earth's Gravity.
  • Space Patrol (1962), puppet television series.
    • "The Rings of Saturn" episode. Observing Saturn, Dart and his crew notice a meteor shadowing the Galasphere. On discovering it is actually a Saturnian spacecraft, Dart makes contact and brings a tape of Saturnian language back to Earth for decoding. When contact is finally made with the planet it transpires that Dart has inadvertently offended the Saturnians by picking leaves of their sacred tree.
    • "The Miracle Tree Of Saturn" episode. A fungus is destroying crops at an alarming rate. By chance Professor Heggarty discovers a cutting from the Saturnians' sacred tree on Raeburn's desk destroys the fungus and Dart is dispatched to Saturn to obtain further supplies. However, their plan has been overheard by an unscrupulous technician.
  • Silent Running (1972) is set in a future in which all plant life on Earth is extinct. Only a few specimens have been preserved in a fleet of space freighters, one of which travels to Saturn.
  • Tim Burton's film Beetlejuice (1988) is partly set on a fictional Saturn, populated by giant sandworms.
  • In the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Galactus consumes Saturn while en route to consume Earth. The planet and the rings are seen dissolving as Galactus, depicted as a spherical nebula with appendages, is en route to Earth.
  • In Futurama, Leela fills sugar and potato in Mr Wong's exhaust pipe. This scene took place on Saturn.

Games[edit]

Saturnian system[edit]

This section lists fictional works set in the Saturnian system as a whole, including the rings. For works set on specific Saturnian moons, see Saturn's moons in fiction and Titan in fiction.

Literature[edit]

  • In Isaac Asimov's short story The Martian Way (1952), Martian colonists use a chunk of ice from Saturn's rings to bring water to the dry world.
  • Hugh Walters' juvenile novel Spaceship to Saturn (1967) - the tenth in a series chronicling the exploits of the (fictional) "United Nations Exploration Agency" - features the first mission to Saturn, which features a journey through the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a spacecraft visits the Saturnian system. The film version is set in the Jovian system instead, and the sequel novel 2010: Odyssey Two (1982), follows the film.
  • In the sixth book of the Yoko Tsuno comic book series (Les Trois soleils de Vinéa, 1976), a small part of the action takes place on a Vinean space station in orbit around Saturn. Saturn's moon Titan is also briefly mentioned and depicted. Other Saturnian moons are visible but not named.
  • Ben Bova's novel Saturn (2003) is about a spacecraft traveling toward the planet; Saturn itself does not figure greatly in the story.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series, Saturn is where Mazer Rackham fought and defeated the Formics with a small reserve patrol fleet during the Second Invasion.
  • Several sequences in Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 take place in the Saturnian system. In one scene, characters engage in 'ring surfing' by riding the gravity waves induced in Saturn's F Ring by the moon Prometheus.

Film and television[edit]

  • Star Trek film and television franchise.
    • "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" (1967), Star Trek episode. Sean Jeffrey Christopher is mentioned as having headed the first "Earth-Saturn probe".
    • "The First Duty" (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. The Starfleet Academy Flight Range is located in the vicinity of Saturn, with an emergency evacuation center on Mimas.
    • Star Trek (2009), re-imagined film. The crew of the USS Enterprise hides behind Titan, using Saturn's magnetic field as a shield, while beaming Captain Kirk and Commander Spock aboard the Narada, which is about to attack Earth.
  • The episode "Blitzkrieg" from the science fiction anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982–1983) takes place in Saturn's rings, where the SDF-1 engages the enemy alien Zentraedi forces from a concealed location. The beginning of the movie adaptation Macross: Do You Remember Love? also takes place near the moon Titan and Saturn's rings.
  • Megas XLR (2004), animated TV series. Main character Coop Cooplowski accidentally creates a big gap in Saturn's rings, saying "it looks better that way".
  • In WALL-E, the title character brushes a hand through the ice comprising Saturn's rings while riding on the outside of a spaceship passing the planet.

Games[edit]

  • The Citadel research and mining space station, setting of the computer game System Shock (1994), is in orbit of Saturn for most of the game.
  • One of the Stardroids is based on this planet, in fact it is named Saturn. See this.
  • In the Science-Fiction/Horror game Dead Space 2, the game's setting is a large space station known as 'The Sprawl', which orbits Saturn.

Other[edit]

  • In C. S. Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength (1945), we learn of a prophecy that Ransom "shall be Pendragon in the time when Saturn descends from his sphere". This prophecy is fulfilled when Lurga, the Oyarsa of Saturn, appears in the top floor of the house at St. Anne's along with the Oyéresu of Mercury (Viritrilbia), Venus (Perelandra), Mars (Malacandra), and Jupiter (Glund).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Willy Ley: Die Himmelskunde. Econ, Düsseldorf / Vienna 1965, p. 188
  2. ^ "Sephiroths Super Nova"