Stars and planetary systems in fiction
||This article may contain minor, trivial or unrelated fictional references. (August 2012)|
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (July 2011)|
The notion that there might be inhabited extrasolar planets can be traced at least as far back as Giordano Bruno who, in his De l'infinito, universo e mondi (On the Infinite Universe and Worlds, 1584), declared that "There are then innumerable suns, and an infinite number of earths revolve around those suns, ... [These worlds are inhabited] if not exactly as our own, and if not more nobly, at least no less inhabited and no less nobly." Allusions to inhabitants of other stars' planetary systems remained rare in literature for some centuries thereafter. One of these is found in Voltaire's Micromégas (1752), which features a traveller from Sirius.
As science fiction became established in the early 20th century, destinations such as the Moon, Mars, Venus, and other bodies within the Solar System began to seem stale. Authors invoked a variety of mechanisms for superluminal travel and placed their stories on worlds in planetary systems around other stars, an innovation that gave them the freedom to construct exotic fictional planets and themes. This tendency became predominant once the exploration of the Solar System was complete enough to conclusively demonstrate the unlikelihood of any highly developed form of extraterrestrial life here.
Although some of the stars named in works of science fiction are purely imaginary, many authors and artists have preferred to use the names of real stars that are well known to astronomers, and indeed the lay public, either because they are notably bright in the sky or because they are relatively close to Earth.
The fictional genres that appear in the list below include films, television serials, interactive games, and print (among others). Of all these, the print genre, and specifically novels and novellas, are of note because they are very often planetary romances. Any science fiction tale whose primary venue is a planet, and whose plot turns on the nature of the planet, can be described as a planetary romance. It is not enough that the story simply be set on a world. For example, James Blish's A Case of Conscience is set on the planet Lithia, but it is not a planetary romance because the nature or description of this world has little bearing on the story being told. In the hard science fiction novels by Hal Clement (see 61 Cygni: A Mission of Gravity below) and Robert L. Forward (see Barnard's Star: Rocheworld below), the worlds on which they are set amount to little more than the sum of the physical and logical problems that they illustrate, and that their protagonists solve. In the true planetary romance, the world itself encompasses—and survives—the tale that temporarily illuminates it. One seminal practitioner of the planetary romance was Edgar Rice Burroughs, as for example in his Barsoom (Mars) series (1912–1943). However, as with most writers of his era, his imagination did not extend beyond our own Solar System, so that his work is not found in this article.
General uses of star names
Stars may be referred to in fictional works for their metaphorical (meta) or mythological (myth) associations, or else as points of light in the sky of Earth (sky), but not as locations in space or centers of planetary systems:
- The Iliad (c. eighth cent BCE), epic poem attributed to Homer. The Greek poet describes the final approach of the Greeks' shining warrior, Achilles, toward Troy by comparing him to the dazzling star Sirius. (sky, myth)
- Oedipus Rex (c. 429 BCE), play by Sophocles. In Scene IV the Corinthian shepherd describes keeping his flocks alongside those of the Theban shepherd all during three distant summers, from spring / Till rose Arcturus. He is trying to stimulate the Theban's memory about their long acquaintance prior to a fateful event: the Theban's entrusting the infant Oedipus to him, to be raised in Corinth, rather than killing the child as instructed by King Laius of Thebes. (sky)
- Metamorphoses (8 CE), Latin narrative poem by Ovid. The Roman poet describes the apotheosis of the murdered Julius Caesar as Caesar's Comet (C/-43 K1), possibly the brightest daylight comet in recorded history: Kindly Venus, although seen by none, stood in the middle of the Senate-house, and caught from the dying limbs and trunk of her own Caesar his departing soul. She did not give it time so that it could dissolve in air, but bore it quickly up, toward all the stars of heaven; and on the way, she saw it gleam and blaze and set it free. Above the moon it mounted into heaven, leaving behind a long and fiery trail, and as a star it glittered in the sky. (myth)
- Julius Caesar (1599), play written by William Shakespeare. In Act III, Scene I, Cassius petitions Caesar to reverse a banishment, but Caesar proclaims his steadfastness, comparing himself to the star Polaris: But I am constant as the northern star, / Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality / There is no fellow in the firmament.[note 1] (sky, meta)
- "Polaris" (1920), short story by H. P. Lovecraft. The narrator of the story experiences a series of increasingly substantial dreams about Olathoë, a city of marble lying on a plateau between two peaks, with the "malign presence" of Polaris ever watching in the night sky. At the end of the story, he is convinced that his waking life is not real but a dream from which he cannot awaken. (sky)
- Mary Poppins (1934), novel by P. L. Travers. One of Mary Poppins' unusual acquaintances, a personified Maia, arrives in London to do some Christmas shopping for the "other stars in the Pleiades." (meta)
- Justine (1957), Alexandria Quartet novel by Lawrence Durrell. The fourth paragraph of this first novel in the quartet describes the effect of Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern sky, on the narrator's somber ruminations. (sky)
- The Truelove (1993), Aubrey-Maturin novel (titled Clarissa Oakes in the UK) written by Patrick O'Brian. Jack Aubrey establishes his ship's longitude in the Pacific Ocean without the aid of a marine chronometer by taking "two beautiful lunar [distance]s (angle readings), the one on Mars, the other on Fomalhaut." (sky)
- "Dream—The Heart of a Star" (2003), Chapter 3 of the graphic novel The Sandman: Endless Nights written by Neil Gaiman. Mizar appears as a female of blue flame. She is the hostess of an assembly of various cosmic entities, and the creator of the palace where they meet. (meta)
List of planetary systems in fiction
Planetary systems (mostly hypothetical or imaginary) of real stars appearing in fiction are:
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. 36 Ophiuchi B is orbited by the planet Giedi Prime, the homeworld of House Harkonnen. (For a perspective on the constellation Ophiuchus, the ophidian Harkonnens, and their use of the poisons chaumas and chaumurky compare Phi Ophiuchi: The Palace of Love below.)
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. 36 Ophiuchi is a mining system whose population of mineworkers is concentrated on an earthlike moon in orbit around a gas giant.
- Deep Space Star Carrier Peace On Earth(2013) by Ian Douglas. 36 Ophiuchi A is orbited by a planet Arianrhod at orbital position three on which is a research station Silverwheel.
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. "Eridani A" is orbited by the planet Richese (the fourth planet in orbit). Richese and Ix (qv) are "supreme in machine culture"; their devices are commonplace and considered essential throughout the Dune universe, though they sometimes test the limits of the anti-technology proscriptions of the Butlerian Jihad.
- Star Trek (1966–). Film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The planet Vulcan, homeworld of the Vulcan species, orbits 40 Eridani A. Although it is not explicitly stated in any TV show or film, both the authorized Star Trek book Star Trek: Star Charts and Roddenberry himself give this location. In addition, Commander Tucker's statement in Star Trek: Enterprise that Vulcan is 16 light years from Earth supports this location, as 40 Eridani A is 16.39 ly from the Sun.
- 2300 AD (1986), role-playing game designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. Montana (Spanish: Montaña) a habitable garden world, is the second planet of o2 Eridani (omicron two), and it houses the joint Argentinan-Mexican colony of Montana. While Argentina and Mexico originally placed two separate colonies within cooperating distance of each other, the distinctions have long since vanished. The Argentines first settled the continent of Chimborazo, while the Mexicans settled West Island, the largest of the three main islands of the planet. o2 Eridani is part of the Latin systems.
- Silicon Dreams trilogy (1986), interactive fiction games published by Firebird in the US and Rainbird in Europe. The first installment takes place within the system, as the colony ship Snowball 9 is on a collision course with one of the suns, possibly 40 Eridani A. The other two installments take place on the fictional planet Eden, also located in this star system.
- Coyote (2002), trilogy by Allen Steele. Much of the action of the series takes place on Coyote, a fictional habitable moon of 47 Ursae Majoris b, a planet given the name Bear. Altogether, Bear has six fictional satellites—Dog, Hawk, Eagle, Coyote, Snake and Goat—although only Coyote is habitable. 47 Ursae Majoris c is known as Wolf,and there are two fictional terrestrial planets, Fox and Raven, which orbit inward from Bear and Wolf.
- Foundation series (1951–), novels by Isaac Asimov. The star system 61 Cygni, in the Sirius Sector, is advanced by Lord Dorwin as a potential site for the planet of origin of the human species.
- Time and Again (1951), novel by Clifford D. Simak. 61 Cygni is a mysterious system whose planets are impossible to approach.
- Mission of Gravity (1953), novel by Hal Clement. The binary 61 Cygni star system is home to the supermassive planet Mesklin, which rotates rapidly and is highly oblate, with a gravity of 3 g at the equator and 700 g at the poles. A human explorer lands at the equator and engages a crew of the intelligent, centipede-like Mesklinites to retrieve a vital component from a space probe that has crashed at one of the poles. Although the 61 Cygni binary is known to be the home system of Mesklin, and is often seen in the sky, it is never actually named in the book: 61 Cygni A is always called simply "the sun," while 61 Cygni B, fainter by a full apparent magnitude, bears the Mesklinite name Esstes.
- Andromeda: A Space Age Tale (1959), English translation by George Hanna of the Russian language novel by Ivan Efremov. The Earth of the far future is a communist utopia, nonetheless able to send no more than a few infrequent space ships to the nearest star systems, since interstellar travel is limited by the speed of light. One of these near neighbors is 61 Cygni, the planet and also the 16th-closest star to the Sun. Longer range scientific and cultural communication between the great galactic civilizations is maintained by the enormously expensive radio links of the Great Circle. 61 Cygni, under Director of External Relations Zaph Phthet, is the Earth's main correspondent in this hierarchy of contacts.
- Danny Dunn and the Voice from Space (1967), children's book written by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams. A modulated radio signal coming from 61 Cygni turns out to be an encoded pictogram sent by extraterrestrials.
- Star Fleet Technical Manual (1975), fiction reference book by Franz Joseph Schnaubelt. The technical manual depicts the flag and seal of the "United Planets of 61 Cygni," which is identified by secondary Star Trek materials as the location of Tellar, home of the Tellarite species.
- Tricentennial (1977), Hugo award-winning short story by Joe Haldeman. A radio message from 61 Cygni compels scientists to head for the star system on board the Daedalus, a nuclear fusion-propelled spaceship. See also: Project Daedalus, a British study of interstellar spacecraft design.
- Traveller (1977–), suite of role-playing games designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. 61 Cygni is the home star of Nusku, a major colony world of strategic importance during the interstellar wars of the 22nd century.
- Blake's 7 (1978–), television program created by Terry Nation. The region around 61 Cygni, known as the Darkling Zone, is the only volume of space near Earth that has never been surveyed, since it is home to an alien race which is hostile to mankind and has even released a virus at a Terran Federation base, using a piece of space debris as a vector.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. 61 Cygni is the site of Bryant's Star Station, one of the stations on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- Portal (1986), interactive novel by Brad Fregger. In this novel the player, assuming the role of the unnamed astronaut protagonist, returns from a failed 100 year voyage to 61 Cygni to find the Earth devoid of humans.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The terraformed Cygnan planet Scott is notorious for its harsh, icy environment. Nonetheless, its sustaining planetwide fishing industry is well supplemented by a thriving ecotourism industry—visitors from nearby mining systems would never otherwise experience an outdoor environment. 61 Cygni is a member of the Federation.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. 61 Cygni is the home star of the planet Sky's Edge, an earthlike planet in a perpetual state of war between settler families.
- Earth & Beyond (2002), online role-playing game published by Electronic Arts. 61 Cygni is a system in the outskirts of the game universe.
- 61 Sygni was the title of an ABC (Australia) SF radio drama from the 1950s. It described the adventures of a human crew who traveled to a planet around 61 Sygni. They encountered a race of beings similar to humans but with four arms.
- "The Warriors" (1966), Known Space short story by Larry Niven published in the collection The Shape of Space (1969). 61 Ursae Majoris is the star system of the planet Kzin, homeworld of the Kzinti (singular Kzin), a warlike and bloodthirsty race of cat-like aliens in Niven's Known Space series.
- Star Trek (1966–). Film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. 61 Ursae Majoris is orbited by the class M planet Archer IV.
- 2300 AD (1986), role-playing game designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. Home system of Joi, a habitable garden world that has four ethnic colonies (Azanian, British, German, and Japanese), as well as the free nation of Elysia, a former French colony.
- Mass Effect (2007), videogame published by Microsoft Game Studios. Birth system of the character of Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams.
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. Sikun is the third planet from 70 Ophiuchi.
- "Miri" (1966), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Adrian Spies, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. In the James Blish treatment of this episode, the events take place on a planet in the 70 Ophiuchi star system. This planet is an exact duplicate of the Earth in every detail.
- Starforce: Alpha Centauri (1974), science fiction board game published by Simulation Publications based on a concept by Redmond Simonsen. In this game as well as in the spin-off game StarSoldier, 70 Ophiuchi is the home of the Rame, an advanced, space-faring race.
- The Ophiuchi Hotline (1977), novel by John Varley. Humanity survives with the aid of a technology derived from information in the Ophiuchi Hotline, a radio signal apparently beamed from the star 70 Ophiuchi.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The 70 Ophiuchi system has an economy based on mining and heavy industry, which makes its population (in the hundreds of thousands) uncharacteristically large.
- Rise: The Vieneo Province (2006–), online virtual world developed and published by Unistellar Industries. This MMORPG takes place on a moon of the 70 Ophiuchi system.
- Orbit Unlimited (1961), fix-up novel by Poul Anderson. The novel recounts the colonisation of the planet Rustum, a fictional terrestrial world orbiting 82 Eridani, by a group of refugees from an authoritarian planet Earth. Although habitable, Rustum's atmospheric pressure is so great that only its mountains and high plateaus are suitable for human settlement (compare UV Ceti: A Gift from Earth below, in which the planet Plateau has similar topography and habitability constraints). There is confusion about the distinction between 82 Eridani and Epsilon Eridani, which is addressed in the science background section of the Wikpedia article about this novel.
- "He Fell into a Dark Hole" (1973), short story by Jerry Pournelle originally published in Analog science fiction magazine. Ships are mysteriously disappearing on the direct "Alderson" (hyperspace) path from the planet Meiji in the 82 Eridani system to the Earth. In Pournelle's future history, the CoDominium authority discourages scientific research; only renegade physicist Marie Ward remembers the old idea of black holes, and she theorizes that a stellar black hole is causing passing vessels to drop out of hyperspace and trapping them in its gravity well. Captain Bartholomew Ramsey commands a likely to be suicidal mission along the fateful trajectory to test the theory, and finds it all too true and himself with his own craft trapped right alongside the missing—and grotesquely damaged—ships. Following a hunch of Ward, a heroic officer (and Ramsey's romantic rival) volunteers to pilot the most spaceworthy of the hulks straight into the hole, to unleash a torrent of powerful gravity waves. By turning on its short-lived Alderson drive at the precisely calculated moment of impact, Ramsey's ship is able to surf out of the well and return to 82 Eridani[note 2] with all the black hole's previous survivors on board.
- Enigma (1986), second installment of The Trigon Disunity series of novels by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. The 82 Eridani system is home to a small, primitive human colony called Muschynka.
- Ark (2009), novel by Stephen Baxter. 82 Eridani is the home sun of an earthlike planet, Earth II, whose significant axial tilt and eccentric orbit produce seasonal variations extreme enough to discourage colonization.
- Latency (2010), short story by Simon Petrie originally published in Aurealis magazine. A small team of xenobiologists and geochemists seeks to understand the mysterious, self-regulating algae that is the sole lifeform native to Charis, a terrestrial planet orbiting 82 Eridani.
- Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual states that the corps' second Marine Space Force that of Eridanus is stationed at Happy Days, Helene 215, (82 Eridani II)
- "Unexpected" (2001), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The episode makes reference to the Fellebian civilization. The fictional reference book Star Trek: Star Charts (2002) depicts 94 Aquarii as a trinary star with two class G components and a class K component. The trinary is orbited by the planet Fellebia.
- Absolution Gap (2003), novel by Alastair Reynolds. 107 Piscium is orbited by the gas giant Haldora which is in turn orbited by the habitable moon Hela, colonized in the 27th century.
- The Wounded Sky (1983), Star Trek novel by Diane Duane, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise sets a course for Acamar before it is overtaken by several Klingon battle-cruisers.
- "The Vengeance Factor" (1989), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Sam Rolfe, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise, after finding traces of Acamarian blood at a looted Federation outpost, goes to Acamar III. There they learn of a group of Acamarian nomadic pirates known as the Gatherers.
- Tékumel (~1940– ), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Achernar is the home sun of the Ahoggyá, or Knobbed Ones.
- The Killing Machine (1964), "Demon Princes" novel by Jack Vance. The location of the semi-mythical world Thamber is hinted at by a traditional bit of school-yard doggerel: Set a course from the old Dog Star / A point to the north of Achernar; / Sleight your ship to the verge extreme / And dead ahead shines Thamber's gleam—but only after some lines missing from this verse are uncovered!
- The Eyes of the Overworld (1966), "Dying Earth" novel (retitled Cugel the Clever in the Vance Integral Edition) by Jack Vance. Firx, "a small white creature, all claws, prongs, barbs, and hooks," from the star Achernar, is affixed to Cugel's liver by a sleight of Iucounu the Laughing Magician, in order to encourage his "unremitting loyalty, zeal and singleness of purpose."
- "Wolf in the Fold" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Robert Bloch, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The episode has Jack the Ripper-style murders occurring on Achernar in 2156.
- Star Wolf (~1970), trilogy by Edmond Hamilton. The plot of the third novel in the trilogy concerns an attempt to retrieve a treasure stolen from Achernar. The series was adapted as a Japanese science fiction TV series by Tsuburaya Productions in 1978.
- Mindbridge (1976), novel by Joe Haldeman. First contact with an aggressive alien race occurs at Achernar, the most distant star system accessible from Earth (144 light-years away), using the instantaneous space transport mechanism called the Levant-Meyer Translation.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Achernar (spelled Achenar) is the capital system of the Empire and seat of the Emperor.
- Primortals (1995–1997), comic book series concept created by Leonard Nimoy with Isaac Asimov. Achernar III is the home planet of the renegade Zeerus.
- Star Trek Nemesis (2002), novel by J. M. Dillard, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Achernar is the capital system of the Imperial Romulan State.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Algenubi is the home sun of the Hlutrgú, or Swamp Frogs.
- "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" (1919), short story by H. P. Lovecraft. Algol is the location of the final battle between the "light being" and its interstellar nemesis, a vague "cosmic oppressor." The battle is marked by the appearance of a nova in the night sky near Algol.
- Algol (1920), silent film written by Hans Brennert and Fridel Köhne, and directed by Hans Werckmeister. Known for its futuristic scenography by Walter Reimann, it features Emil Jannings as Robert Herne, a coal miner who encounters an alien from Algol.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Algol is the home sun of the Tinalíya, or Gnomes.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979), novel by Douglas Adams. Algol is a subject of the ditty: Aldebaran's great, okay, / Algol's pretty neat, / Betelgeuse's pretty girls / Will knock you off your feet. / They'll do anything you like / Real fast and then real slow, ...
- Mekton (1984–1994), role-playing game designed by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games. The Algol system is one setting for the game, which features Japanese-style mecha.
- Phantasy Star original series (1987–1993), role-playing video games and other supplementary media created by Sega. The games are set in the planetary system of Algol, home of the primary antagonist, Dark Force.
- "Ménage à Troi" (1990), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Fred Bronson and Susan Sackett, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The episode features a civilized alien race called the Algolians.
- "Qpid" (1991), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Randee Russell and Ira Steven Behr, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The episode features a civilized alien race called the Algolians.
- Stargonauts (1994) and Bikini Planet (2000), novels by David S. Garnett. Algol is a world ruled by a matriarchal monarchy of intelligent cats.
- "Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian" (2009), short story included in the collection Halo: Evolutions and "Prototype" (2010), episode of Halo Legends, both parts of the Halo fictional universe. Algolis is a planet of Algol, attacked by the Covenant Empire and defended by United Nation Space Command marines from the UNSC Destroyer Heart of Midlothian in the Battle of Algolis. All Covenant forces perished in the attack.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Alhena is the home sun of the Nyaggá, or Dwellers Below.
- Star Trek: Bridge Commander (2002), combat simulation game developed by Totally Games and published by Activision. The "Alioth system" and the "Maelstrom" are the location of the Vesuvi star, whose induced supernova destroys the planet Vesuvi III, leading to interstellar war.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. In Elite II Alioth is a lawless anarchy contested by the game's major powers. In First Encounters the population of Alioth has risen against both powers and formed the Alliance, governed from Alioth.
Alkalurops (Mu Boötis)
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. Ix is the ninth planet (hence its name) from the star Alkalurops (named Rodale in the Legends of Dune prequel novels) and is a pre-eminent source of high technology in the Dune universe. The devices manufactured on Ix and Richese (qv) are commonplace and considered essential, though they sometimes test the limits of the anti-technology proscriptions of the Butlerian Jihad.
- Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), film written by John C. Higgins and Ib Melchior based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe; directed by Byron Haskin. Alnilam is the home star of the aliens in this movie.
- "The City on the Edge of Forever" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Harlan Ellison, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Captain Kirk struggles to recall a book written around 2030 by a famous novelist from "a planet circling that far left star in Orion's Belt".
- Infinity Beach (2000), novel by Jack McDevitt. Alnitak is the location of the first contact between human and alien civilizations.
Alpha Centauri (Rigil Kentaurus/Toliman)
Alpha Ceti (Menkab)
- "Space Seed" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, and the second Star Trek film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), film written by Jack B. Sowards and directed by Nicholas Meyer, with both works being part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Ceti Alpha V (note twisted Bayer designation) is the planet on which Khan and his crew are exiled in "Space Seed," and from which they escape in The Wrath of Khan after it is rendered uninhabitable.
- "Starvin' Marvin in Space" (1999), episode 13 of season 3 of South Park. Alpha Ceti VI is the planet Marklar, whose inhabitants speak a language identical to English except that every noun is replaced with the word Marklar. The planet is subjected to a controversy when Christian missionaries attempt to proselytize the Marklar.
- "Twilight" (2003), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Mike Sussman, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Ceti Alpha V (note twisted Bayer designation) is the home of Humanity after the Xindi destroy the Earth in an alternate timeline.
Alpha Draconis (Thuban)
- "That Darn Katz!" (2010), episode of the animated science fiction comedy series Futurama created by Matt Groening. In this episode, it is revealed that the domestic house cat is originally from the planet Thuban IX.
- Mass Effect 2 (2010), role playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. In this game, players can explore the Thuban planetary system.
- Serpent's Reach (1980), novel by C. J. Cherryh. Alpha Hydri III (Cerdin) is the home planet of the Majat, an insectoid race whose inter-hive conflicts drive the novel. The article on Serpent's Reach addresses the difficulty of ascertaining the actual home planet of the Majat based on conflicting evidence found in various parts of the Alliance-Union universe corpus.
- Saint Seiya (1986) manga by Masami Kurumada. In the popular Japanese manga Saint Seiya, Antares is the ultimate attack of Milo, Gold Saint of the Scorpio constellation.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Antares is the home sun of the Shén, or Demon Warriors.
- The Stars My Destination (1956), classic science fiction novel (titled Tiger! Tiger! in the UK) written by Alfred Bester. After his apotheosis in the burning cathedral, the legendary Gully Foyle teleports stark naked to the vicinity of several stars, including Antares: "encircled by two hundred and fifty planetoids of the size of Mercury, of the climate of Eden..."
- "The Conscience of the King" (1966) et al., episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, written by Barry Trivers et al., as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. In several episodes, Lt. Uhura sings the romantic song "Beyond Antares," including the stanza The skies are green and glowing/ Where my heart is/ Where my heart is/ Where....the scented lunar flower is blooming/ Somewhere, beyond the stars/ Beyond Antares /..., lyrics by Gene L. Coon.
- Dray Prescot series (1972–1998), novels by Kenneth Bulmer. A planet called Kregen orbiting Antares is the setting for this series.
- Alpha Scorpio (1974), children's television series produced by Janes Davern for ABC Television in Victoria, Australia (total of 6 episodes). Two university students are camping at Aireys Inlet near Victoria where they witness an inexplicable series of events. The two soon discover that their pal Mirny, in disguise, is one of a cadre of extraterrestrials that has arrived on the Earth from Antares V. The series' title is a twisted Bayer designation with the genitive scorpii of the constellation name replaced by the zodiacal scorpio, possibly for reasons of familiarity or euphony.
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton (1978), novel written by Elliot S. Maggin. In this treatment of the Superman mythos, the planet Krypton revolves around Antares.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978–), novels and other media by Douglas Adams. The Antares system is the source of the deplorable traffic in the Antarean parakeet gland, a notably unpleasant analog of an olive in a martini.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), film written by Jack B. Sowards and directed by Nicholas Meyer, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Khan says that he will chase Admiral Kirk "around the [...] Antares Maelstrom."
- Antares Dawn (1986), first of the Antares Series of novels by Michael McCollum. A future human society, built on interstellar travel via "foldspace lines," is threatened when Antares goes supernova.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Hundreds of light-years away from populated space, the Antares system will remain unpopulated for the foreseeable future since it has no planets.
- The Scorpius Equation (1993), novel written by Larry Townsend. Human beings are captured and forced into slavery by aliens from the Scorpius Empire, centered on the star Antares (the alpha star of the constellation Scorpio).
- Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares (1996), computer based strategy game designed by Steve Barcia and Ken Burd. A conflict occurs between the Orions and the Antarans, who come from a planet called Antares.
- Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War (1998), computer game developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Interplay Entertainment. Antares is the primary star of a planetary system that may be visited in the universe of this game.
- Antares (2007—2011), series of graphic novels by Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira (Léo). The series, comprising four volumes, is set on the planet Antares. After the failure of the Betelgeuse colonisation mission, series heroine Kim is back on Earth. Meanwhile, advance scouts in the Antares system have witnessed some distressingly strange events. Worried about the future of this new mission, the sponsors of the Antares project call upon Kim to accompany the first colonists, offering legal amnesty for Alexa and Mark in exchange.
- Analogue: A Hate Story (2012), visual novel/interactive game by Christine Love, set in the far future (compare her near-future prequel Digital: A Love Story). The player character has the task of investigating the logs of the lost generation colony ship Mugunghwa, which has been found drifting lifelessly around Antares' secondary companion star, Antares B. In doing so, the player communicates with and is helped by two artificial intelligences, Hyun-ae and Mute.
- A Voyage to Arcturus (1920), novel by David Lindsay. The story narrates a mystical inner passage through a sequence of fantastic landscapes, set on Tormance, an imaginary planet orbiting Arcturus—which in the novel (but not in reality) is a double star system, consisting of the stars Branchspell and Alppain. Ethical precepts and trials of the soul are embodied in the extraordinary Tormance lifeforms. Voyage is thought to have inspired C. S. Lewis' Cosmic Trilogy novels. This landmark novel provides an outstanding example of the use of imaginary but hauntingly familiar mythologies on another planet.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Arcturus is the home sun of the Páchi Léi, or Forest Dwellers.
- What Mad Universe (1949), novel written by Fredric Brown. In a parallel universe, human beings are engaged in total war with the Arcturians, who seek to conquer the Solar System and exterminate all beings other than themselves.
- Foundation series (1951–), novels by Isaac Asimov. Arcturus, (the planet) is a capital of the Sirius Sector in the Galactic Empire.
- Alien From Arcturus (1956), expanded as Arcturus Landing (1978), novel written by Gordon R. Dickson describing an attempt to build a ship with a faster-than-light propulsion system. The aliens in this novel, sublimated sex-objects, are decidedly cuddly, with shiny black noses, and a striking resemblance to the Ewoks of the Star Wars franchise.
- "The Curse of Peladon" (1972), serial written by Brian Hayles for the television series Doctor Who. Mars and Arcturus are depicted as old enemies. The Arcturian in the show is quite grotesque - a tentacled head in a glass dome mounted on a mechanized life support box that allows it to breathe in Peladon's atmosphere.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979–1981), television series developed by Glen A. Larson. Arcturus is the home system of a race of telepaths.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978–), novels and other media by Douglas Adams. Arcturus is the home of the enormous transport Arcturan Megafreighters, and also home to a staggering array of oversized and often deadly megafauna, from the Arcturan Megaleech to the Arcturan Megacamel, well known by the turn of phrase "one's soul moves at the speed of an Arcturan Megacamel."
- Return from the Stars (1980), English translation of the 1961 Polish language novel by Stanislaw Lem. The novel tells the story of the astronaut Hal Bregg, who returns to Earth after a 127 year mission to Arcturus (Fomalhaut in the Polish original).
- The Book of Dreams (1981), novel by Jack Vance. Arcturus is the home sun of the planet Arcturus IV, where master criminal Howard Alan Treesong is accosted in a back street of Bugtown by a petty thief. The mugger, it turns out, is not registered with the Organization. He receives a tongue lashing, but not one cent from Howard, who turns him in for a fink.
- Aliens (1986), film written and directed by James Cameron. Arcturus is a planet visited on furlough by the unit of Colonial Marines now accompanying protagonist Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).
- 2300 AD (1986), role-playing game designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. The Arcturus system is the location of Station Arcture, a human research station invaded by the alien race of Kafers. In the game module "Mission Arcturus," players are required to retake the station from the Kafers.
- Spaced Invaders (1990), satirical film written by Patrick Read Johnson and Scott Lawrence Alexander, and directed by Patrick Read Johnson. The Martians are fighting a war with the "Arcturians," from the Arcturus system (compare Arcturus: "The Curse of Peladon" above).
- Star Control II (1992), computer game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade. The Arcturus system contains the homeworld of a now-extinct race called the Burvixese. In this game, Alpha Boötis is represented (contrafactually) as a separate system in another part of the galaxy as well as an orange dwarf instead of the orange giant actually is.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Arcturus system's sole habitable planet Discovery is a member of the Federation that was colonized in 2304. Arcturus is infamous for being the home system of the deadly (and exceedingly popular) narcotic known as Arcturan Megaweed (compare Arcturus: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy above).
- A Million Open Doors (1993), first in the series of four Thousand Cultures novels by John Barnes. In this novel Wilson, the home planet of protagonist Giraut Leones, orbits Arcturus. In the series, Wilson is home to a single culture, Nou Occitan, based on Occitan literature. The four novels in the series examine the effects of globalization on isolated societies.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. The Arcturus system is a remote but well-travelled Federation system whose main income derives from mining on the planet Fermia.
- Mass Effect (2007), videogame developed by BioWare and published by Microsoft Game Studios. According to the game story information, the Solar System's only mass relay, once the core of the moon Charon of the dwarf planet Pluto, is linked to a relay orbiting Arcturus, which is a hub of several other relays. Arcturus Station, the capital of the human Systems Alliance, was founded and built in this advantageous location.
Barnard's Star is a red dwarf of apparent magnitude 9 and is thus too dim to be seen with the unaided eye. However, at approximately 6 light-years away it is the second closest stellar system to the Sun; only the Alpha Centauri system is known to be closer. For this reason, even though it is suspected to be a flare star, it has attracted the attention of science fiction authors, filmmakers, and game developers. A claim has been made for the discovery by astrometry of one or more extrasolar planets in the Barnard's system, but it has been refuted as an artifact of telescope maintenance and upgrade work.
- The Legion of Space (1934), magazine series and later (1947) a fix-up written by Jack Williamson. Barnard's Star is host to a gigantic planet that is populated by ferocious animals, and that is home to the single city of the ancient and dreadful race of the Medusae.
- The Black Corridor (1969), novel by Michael Moorcock. The planet Munich 15040 orbiting Barnard's Star is the destination for a band of refugees fleeing social breakdown on the Earth.
- Blindpassasjer (1978), Norwegian television series by Jon Bing and Tor Åge Bringsværd. Barnard's Star is orbited by Rossum, a planet inhabited by robots that, inexplicably, have the semblance of pre-industrial European agricultural laborers.
- Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD (1978), a Terran Trade Authority book by Stewart Cowley. A planet in the Barnard's Star system is haunted by a peculiar apparition that takes the form of a mysterious spacecraft.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978–), novels and other media by Douglas Adams. Barnard's Star is a way station for interstellar travelers.
- The Alien Encounters (1979), film written and directed by James T. Flocker. It is an American B movie which follows the story of an investigator who is sent to locate an alien probe which has landed on Earth. Aliens from Barnard's Star have created a machine known as a betaron which has remarkable rejuvenating effects.
- "Galactica Discovers Earth" (1980), triple episode and novelization by Michael Resnick from the television series Galactica 1980. Dr. Zee conjectures that the Cylons are located at Barnard's Star, awaiting the Galacticans' arrival at the Earth, before making their final strike.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Barnard's Star is the site of Alpha Station, the first station out from the Earth on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- Rocheworld (1985), novel by Robert L. Forward. Barnard's star is orbited by the double planet Rocheworld, comprising Roche (rock) and Eau (water). The first human settlers travel to Barnard's Star using a laser-pumped light sail, on a journey lasting 40 years.
- Hyperion (1989–1997), novels by Dan Simmons. Barnard's Star is the sun of the agricultural planet Barnard's World, where it hangs above the leafy streets "like a great, tethered, red balloon." It is the homeworld of Rachel and Sol Weintraub.
- The Garden of Rama (1991), novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. There is a way station at Barnard's Star for the arrival and departure of massive cylindrical world ships.
- Timemaster (1992), novel by Robert L. Forward. A billionaire makes a six-year journey to the Barnard's Star system to open a wormhole in 2049.
- Marooned on Eden (1993), novel by Robert L. Forward with Margaret Dodson Forward. The starship Prometheus takes a crew on a 40-year mission to Zuni, an inhabitable moon orbiting the planet Gargantua of Barnard's Star.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Barnard's Star is an important Federation industrial system, close to Earth and the other Core Systems, and possessing thriving mining and refining industries. In the games, it is a good place for beginners to start their trading activities—there are no pirates in the system, and profits are lucrative.
- Terminal Velocity (1995), video game developed by Terminal Reality and published by 3D Realms. The game has three episodes, the first of which is distributed as shareware. Each episode features three different worlds, making a total of nine levels. In the first level of the first episode, game play takes place on Ymir, a planet orbiting Barnard's Star.
- GURPS Traveller (1998), role-playing game designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. Barnard's Star is the first interstellar destination for jump ships from the Earth. The Barnard's Star system supports a colony of humans from the Vilani Imperium.
- DarkSpace (2001), MMORPG developed by Palestar and published by Got Game Entertainment. Barnard's Star and its planetary system are a gaming location in DarkSpace.
- Life on Another Planet (2007), graphic novel written and drawn by Will Eisner. The storyline concerns the reaction of humans on Earth after a signal is detected from intelligent beings on a planet orbiting Barnard's Star.
Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud)
- Rhialto the Marvellous (1984), "Dying Earth" novel by Jack Vance. Beta Aquarii controls a planet of the same name, Sadal Suud (two words). In this novel, set in the last days of the Earth, the witches battle the wizards (including Rhialto himself). Llorio the Murthe is a witch; her home is on Sadal Suud. But the planet is "a steaming quagmire infested by owls, gnats and rodents: quite unsuitable for one of [her] delicacy."
Beta Aquilae (Alshain)
- SpaceWreck: Ghost Ships and Derelicts of Space (1979), a Terran Trade Authority book by Stewart Cowley. The story "The Warworld of Alshain" is set on Alshain IV, a dying world inhabitaged by a race once technologically advanced, but now reduced to cannibalistic savagery who haunt the ruins of their once great civilization.
- "Eye of the Beholder" (1994), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by René Echevarria (teleplay) and Brannon Braga (story), as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. This episode establishes Beta Aquilae II as Federation territory in the 24th century, home to a human population and a Starfleet training installation.
- FreeSpace 2 (1999), combat simulation computer game designed by Dave Baranec et al, and published by Volition, Inc.. In 2358 a constitution was signed at the Beta Aquilae system later to be known as the Beta Aquilae Convention (BETAC). BETAC consolidated power in the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance as the supreme authority in all of Terran-Vasudan space.
Beta Aurigae (Menkalinan)
- "Turnabout Intruder" (1969), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Arthur H. Singer, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The mission of the USS Enterprise to rendezvous with the USS Potemkin at Beta Aurigae is undermined by a body-switching struggle between Captain Kirk and his onetime intimate, Dr. Janice Lester.
- Wheelworld (1981), novel by Harry Harrison. Beta Aurigae has a system of six planets; the third planet Halvmörk is the only habitable one. The novel's protagonist must lead colonists on a hazardous journey after re-supply ships from Earth fail to appear on schedule. Contrary to fact, Beta Aurigae is a white dwarf in this novel.
- Alien Legacy (1994), video strategy game developed by Joe Ybarra and published by Sierra Entertainment. The game includes elements of city construction, research, resource management, industrial production and combat, all starting with the arrival of the colony ship UNS Calypso together with its player/captain at the planet Gaea in the Beta Caeli star system. Another ship, the UNS Tantalus, was dispatched to Beta Caeli after Calypso, but because of intervening advances in technology it arrived first.
Beta Canum Venaticorum (Chara)
- 2300 AD (1986), role-playing game designed by the Game Designers' Workshop. Beta Canum is a garden planet orbiting Beta Canum Venaticorum, and it houses three colonies (British, German and French), as well as the alien enclave of the Pentapods.
Beta Corvi (Kraz)
- Starman Jones (1953), novel written by Robert A. Heinlein. Beta Corvi III is a planet with humanoid inhabitants.
- The Ship Who Sang (1969), fixup of short stories by Anne McCaffrey. In the fourth tale, "Dramatic Mission," the main character, Helva, travels to the gas giant Beta Corvi IV, meeting the "Beta Corviki," a sentient race who live on the planet.
- Star Control II (1992), computer game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade. The gas giant Beta Corvi IV, or Source, is home to a sentient species of incandescent gas bags called the Slylandro. Star Control II used names of real constellations and stars for fictional stars: In the game, Beta Corvi is a green dwarf instead of a bright yellow giant. The game's optional side quest to this planet is an "obvious homage" to Anne McCaffrey's short story.
Beta Eridani (Cursa)
- The Waters of Andros (2007), novel by Madsen Pirie. Pirie writes, "Andros is a beautiful and perfectly formed blue jewel of a planet, sparkling in the blackness of space. It is far away, circling the distant [89 ly] star Beta Eridani."
- Uller Uprising, (1952), novel by H. Beam Piper. Uller, a colonized planet with silicon-based life forms, is in the Beta Hydri system.
- Time for the Stars (1956), novel by Robert Heinlein. This novel explores the twin paradox as one of a pair of twins linked by instantaneous telepathy sets out on a space voyage on the interstallar torchship Lewis and Clark. Among the stars visited is Beta Hydri.
- "Daughters of Earth" (1968), short story by Judith Merril. In 2091 the star's second planet Uller is colonized by the 500 crew members of the starship Newhope after a 43-year voyage (compare Beta Hydri: Uller Uprising above).
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Beta Hydri is controlled by the Federation. It has two earthlike planets with a population of several billions.
- Calculating God (2000), novel written by Robert J. Sawyer. The character Hollus, an alien whose species calls themselves the Forhilnor, is from the fictional third planet in the Beta Hydri system, Beta Hydri III.
- Stellvia (2003), anime television series written by Ichirō Ōkouchi et al. The Earth of year 2167 AD is devastated by a powerful electromagnetic pulse caused when a nearby star, "Hydrus Beta," goes supernova. This fictional star is loosely based on Beta Hydri; it is 20 light-years away from the Earth, compared to 24.4 light-years for the real star.
- Old Twentieth (2005), novel by Joe Haldeman. The novel is set in a generation ship which is destined for Beta Hydri.
- Seed (2006), MMORPG developed by Runestone Game Development. The first of five intestellar seed ships that will terraform and then colonize extrasolar planets is dispatched to a planet of Beta Hydri that has an atmosphere, water and living microorganisms. But when the colonists awake from suspension, they find that the planet has not been terraformed, and they can't contact Earth.
Beta Librae (Zubeneschamali)
- The Golden Helix (1979), collection of short stories by Theodore Sturgeon. The title story "The Golden Helix" is set on a planet circling Beta Librae.
Beta Tauri (El Nath)
- "The Galileo Seven" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Oliver Crawford and S. Bar-David, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Mr. Spock and other crew members of the USS Enterprise are exploring the Murasaki 312 phenomenon in the #7 shuttlecraft. Soon after launch, the shuttle is pulled off course and out of the Enterprise's sensor range. Spock makes an emergency landing on the planet Taurus II, a rocky, fog-shrouded world that is the second planet of Beta Tauri.
- Tau Zero (1970), novel by Poul Anderson. The novel follows the crew of the starship Leonora Christine, a colonization vessel crewed by 25 men and 25 women aiming to reach Beta Virginis III, which an instrumented probe has pronounced habitable. Powered by a Bussard ramjet, the ship malfunctions and ends up going faster and faster, ever approaching the speed of light. Presently the crew must face the fact that, due to relativistic time contraction, they have long outlived the rest of humanity.
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)
- The Star Kings (1947), novel by Edmond Hamilton. Canopus is a capital of the Middle Galactic Empire.
- Star Bridge (1955), novel by James Gunn and Jack Williamson. The scattered planets are held together by the Eron Company, holder—at least apparently—of the secret of faster-than-light travel through the Tubes. The Tubes are powered by drawing energy from the star Canopus.
- The Stars My Destination (1956), classic science fiction novel (titled Tiger! Tiger! in the UK) written by Alfred Bester. After his apotheosis in the burning cathedral, the legendary Gully Foyle teleports stark naked to the vicinity of several stars, including Canopus.
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. The third planet from Canopus is the desert planet Arrakis (Dune), the only source of the "melange spice," the most important and valuable substance in the universe. As Dune it is the eponymous planet of the franchise. Arrakis, with its giant sandworms, its Bedouin-like human inhabitants (the Fremen) clinging to the most precarious of ecological niches through fanatical scrupulousness in water conservation, and its overall concern with ecological themes, is possibly the most convincing planetary romance environment created by any science fiction author. Herbert may have been influenced in his choice of Canopus as Arrakis' primary by one of the common etymologial derivations of the star’s name, as a Latinization (through Greek Kanobos) from the Coptic Kahi Nub ("Golden Earth"), which refers to how Canopus would have appeared over the southern desert horizon in ancient Egypt, reddened by atmospheric absorption.
- "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (1966), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Samuel A. Peeples, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The fictional sonnet Nightingale Woman is ascribed as written by "Tarbolde of Canopus" in the year 1996.
- "The Kidnappers" (1967), episode 28 of the television series The Time Tunnel created by Irwin Allen. The time travelers are transported to a planet orbiting Canopus to rescue Dr. Ann MacGregor, whose abductor left behind a metallic computer card providing the coordinates. In the episode, the distance from the Earth to Canopus is given as 98 light-years, a value within the broad range of distances considered possible by astronomers in 1967. With data provided by the Hipparcos satellite telescope (1989–1993) this distance is now known to be 310 light-years.
- "The Ultimate Computer" (1968), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by D. C. Fontana, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The USS Enterprise visits the planet Alpha Carinae II. In the remastered version of the series (2008), the planet was refurbished and given a more realistic appearance.
- "The Eye of the Beholder" (1974), episode 15 of Star Trek: The Animated Series written by David P. Harmon, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise crew beams down to the planet Lactra VII to discover a series of unusual environments, including one constructed as a copy of the desert planet Canopus III (compare Canopus: Dune above). While exploring, the crew meets the Lactrans, a group of twenty foot slugs with intellectual capacities far beyond their own. The team is captured by the Lactrans to be made part of a zoo collection.
- Shikasta (1979), first novel in the Canopus in Argos series by literature Nobelist Doris Lessing. The series fictionally reinterprets the past history of the planet Shikasta (Earth) as playing out under the influence of three galactic empires: Canopus, Sirius, and their mutual enemy, Puttiora. The novel Shikasta is presented in the form of a series of reports by Canopean emissaries to Shikasta—but at a deeper level, it is a record of their struggle to come to terms with human sexuality, politics, and mortality, all through the lens of Sufi mysticism.
- BattleTech (1984), wargame and related products launched by The FASA Corporation. The Magistracy of Canopus is an interstellar nation in the fictional setting of BattleTech. The magistracy was formed by defectors and soldiers from forces attached to the defense forces of Andurien.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Canopus has colonies dedicated to mining, including two dwarf planets that share the name Camp Lawrence.
- The Exiles of Capella (1949), spiritualist Portuguese language novel (Os Exilados da Capela) by the Brazilian author Edgard Armond. In this novel, some of the natives of a Capellan planet are reborn in a pre-historical age on Earth due to their own misfortune and moral fall, and they help primitive humans' evolution. In the book, these fallen spirits are also responsible for the rise of early real or mythical human civilizations, such as those of Egypt, China, India and even Atlantis.
- Lone Star Planet (1958), novel by H. Beam Piper. The planet of New Texas is Capella IV. The tongue-in-cheek tale, based on a satirical 1924 essay by H. L. Mencken, features a planet of Texans whose dinosaur-sized cattle have to be herded with tanks, and where assault or murder upon government employees is considered altogether justifiable.
- Starship Troopers (1959), novel by Robert A. Heinlein. The troop transport Tours is one big ship. She has the speed and the lift to deliver a double load of starship troopers to just about anywhere in fighting trim: "Under Cherenkov drive she cranks Mike 400 or better—say Sol to Capella, forty-six light-years, in under six weeks." From the numbers given by Heinlein it is evident that Mike 1 is intended to be equal to the speed of light in the vacuum of space[note 3]—just as Mach 1 equals the speed of sound in the atmosphere of the Earth (at STP).
- "Friday's Child" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by D.C. Fontana, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Action takes place on Capella IV.
- Marvel comic books (1968), created by Stan Lee and John Buscema. The Sisterhood moiety of the alien Badoon are natives of Lotiara, or Capella II.
- Emphyrio (1969), novel by Jack Vance. Capella is the home star of the planet Maastricht (Capella V), where protagonist Ghyl Tarvoke is marooned in a remote region by space pirates. Making his way to the glittering white city Daille, he learns that his late father's carved screen REMEMBER ME is treasured as a priceless artifact in the Museum of Glory. The sky of Maastricht is a rich, soft blue with the sun, Capella, surrounded by a zone of pale glimmer. Vance draws Maastricht, its landscape, and its people with an exotic palette and flashing actinic brightness: he is an influential creator of imaginary worlds. "The first full-fleged modern planetary romance is therefore probably Jack Vance's ... [he] supplied sf writers with a model to exploit." Vancian worlds provide a rich environment together with off-world protagonists (In the case of Maastricht: Ghyl Tarvoke) whose need to travel across the planet provides a quest plot and a rationale for the lessons in anthropology and sociology so common to the form. Emphyrio is one of three novels showing Jack Vance's planet-building talents at their fullest stretch.
- The Listeners (1972), novel by James Gunn. The novel revolves around a radio message received from Capella.
- Time's Last Gift (1972), Tarzan novel by Philip José Farmer. The revised edition adds an epilogue in which an immortal Tarzan leaves a tamed and civilized Earth for the wild worlds that orbit Capella.
- Capella's Golden Eyes (1980), first novel by Welsh author Christopher Evans. Human colonists deal with mysterious indigenous aliens.
- BattleTech (1984), wargame and related products launched by The FASA Corporation. Capella is the former governing system of the Capellan Confederation Successor State.
- The Rowan et seq. (1990), novels by Anne McCaffrey. This is the lead-off novel of the second series of "Talent" books, which feature an inhabited world in the Capella system. Major character Afra Lyon hails from there.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Capella has many moon-based colonies and space stations orbiting the brown dwarf nearest to the primary star. Despite having several starports, this system has a population of less than 10,000 people.
- Escape Velocity (1996), computer game by Ambrosia Software. The Capella system is a fairly major trade hub in the Northeastern Confederation.
- FreeSpace 2 (1999), combat simulation computer game designed by Dave Baranec et al, and published by Volition, Inc.. Capella is one of the core systems of the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance and is home to over 300 million Terrans. It is invaded by Shivan forces, and the star itself is destroyed.
- The Face (1979), "Demon Princes" novel by Jack Vance. At Serjeuz on Dar Sai, Kirth Gersen is entertaining Daswell Tippin, a receptionist at the Traveler's Inn who might be enlisted as his agent for certain business transactions. Gersen observes that Tippin is not a native of Dar Sai. Tippin replies, "Certainly not. I was born at Svengay, on Caph IV. A lively little world; have you ever visited there?" Gersen has not.
Chi Draconis (Batentaban Borealis)
- Babylon 5 (1993–1998), television series developed and written by J. Michael Straczynski. Chi Draconis VII, or Minbar, is the home of the Minbari race. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series.
- "Grendel" (1968),[note 4] Known Space short story by Larry Niven published in the collection Neutron Star (1968). Sometime hero and space pilot Beowulf Schaeffer witnesses the kidnapping for ransom of the famous Kdatlyno touch-sculptor Lloobee. The crime takes place on the packet Argos out of Down, bound for Gummidgy, a planet of the SX Phoenicis-type variable star CY Aquarii. The star's strong ultraviolet light has driven the evolution of a teeming variety of life on the planet, from whose surface its pulsing sun looks like an "actinic pinpoint," and "a tiny bright point of agony." Schaeffer and his Jinxian companion pursue the kidnappers into the riotous jungles of Gummidgy, hoping to rescue the Kdatlyno.
- Dune (1965) and other novels in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. Caladan, the third planet of Delta Pavonis, is the ancestral fiefdom of House Atreides, who have ruled it for twenty-six generations from the ancient Castle Caladan. An ocean planet, Caladan's surface is predominantly covered with water.
- The Right Hand of Dextra (1977) and The Wildings of Westron (1977), novels by David Lake. The novels are set on the planet Dextra of the Delta Pavonis system, where the first human settlers arrive after a subluminal flight from a post-holocaust Earth. Upon arrival they find that the genetic chemistry of their new home is enantiomorphic to their own, so that the abundant plants and animals can provide them no nourishment.[note 5]
- "The Big Broadcast of 2006" (1984–1988), episode of the television series The Transformers directed by John Gibbs. Delta Pavonis IV is the home of a race of humanoid cats. A malfunctioning hypnotic Quintesson signal drives the cats to attack a neighbouring planet of humanoid dogs.
- On My Way to Paradise (1989), novel by Dave Wolverton. Protagonist Angelo Osic, on the run from a frightening world of war and politics, enlists as a legionnaire with the multistellar Motoki corporation. Motoki has a military operation underway on the planet Baker of the Delta Pavonis system. The war grows complicated, with the legionnaires rebelling and seizing the Motoki city on Baker, then setting off across vast deserts to attack the rival Yabajin settlement.
- Delta Pavonis (1990), novel by John Maddox Roberts and Eric Kotani. The novel is set in the Delta Pavonis system.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Delta Pavonis system is home to a Federation world, a planet that, while it is habitable, is no Garden of Eden: its surface is completely covered by a harsh desert.
- The Voices of Heaven (1994), novel by Frederik Pohl. The protagonist Barry Di Hoa is frozen and sent aboard a colony ship to the planet Pava in the Delta Pavonis star system.
- O Pioneer! (1998), novel by Frederik Pohl. The Delts, a sentient race, inhabit the planet Tupelo in orbit around Delta Pavonis in this novel.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. The planet Resurgam and the neutron star Hades are part of the Delta Pavonis system.
- Calculating God (2000), novel written by Robert J. Sawyer. The alien race called the Wreeds are from a fictional planet in the Delta Pavonis system.
- Star Trek: Star Charts (2002), fictional reference book by Geoffrey Mandel. Delta Pavonis is orbited by the Federation planet Benzar, homeworld of the Benzites, a pisciform humanoid species. Benzites are highly resistant to poisons and other noxious substances. They can digest and derive nutrition from almost any organic compound.
- "Sundowner Sheila" (2006), novelette by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre. Terra Nova is a planet orbiting Delta Pavonis in tidally locked rotation, so that one hemisphere of the planet is in perpetual darkness, and the other, Nevernight, is in perpetual daylight.
- The Serene Invasion (2013), novel by Eric Brown, has an alien race, calling themselves the S'rene (or Serene), which hail from Delta Pavonis V and benevolently appear on Earth in 2025 to end all war and end all need.
Delta Sagittarii (Kaus Media)
- Into the Sea of Stars (1969), novel written by William R. Forstchen. Colonial Unit 122, crewed entirely by women and sustained with a supply of sperm purged of the Y chromosome, begins a voyage to the Delta Sagittarii system in 2053 and is still en route a thousand years later.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Dorsum is the home sun of the Mihálli, or Shape-Shifters.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Ensis is the home sun of the Hláka, or Furred Flyers.
- "And the Children Shall Lead" (1966), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Edward J. Lakso, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Epsilon Indi is the home system of an evil energy being known as Gorgan.
- Protector (1973), Known Space novel written by Larry Niven. Home is one of Earth's most distant colonies, the second planet of the star Epsilon Indi. The planet was so named by the colonists due to its remarkable similarity to Earth. Its day is nearly 24 hours long, its surface gravity is 1.08 g, and so on.
- Star Fleet Technical Manual (1975), fiction reference book by Franz Joseph Schnaubelt. Epsilon Indi's "Star Empire" is one of the five founding signatories of the United Federation of Planets' original Articles of Federation. The same book also places Andoria, homeworld to the Andorians, in this star system.
- "The Child" (1988), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Jon Povill et al, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Wesley Crusher describes Epsilon Indi while wistfully looking out the window of the show's recreational area, Ten-Forward.
- Full Thrust (1991–), miniatures war game written by Jon Tuffley and published by Ground Zero Games. Epsilon Indi is one of the three star systems of New Israel.
- Worldwar (1994–1996), series of four novels by Harry Turtledove. "The Race" is an alien reptilian species that already controls two subject worlds, and that initiates a poorly-conceived invasion of the Earth during the years of our own second World War. The Race's subject worlds, populated by similar reptilians, are Epsilon Eridani II (qv) and Epsilon Indi I, known as Rabotev 2 and Halless 1 to The Race.
- Space: Above and Beyond (1995–1996), television series created by Glen Morgan and James Wong. In early 2063, The Chigs declare war on humanity, launching what appears to be an unprovoked first-strike against the budding interstellar colonies of Vespa and Tellus. The colonies are destroyed and their few survivors taken prisoner. The Epsilon Indi system is the site of the Tellus colony.
- Starplex (1996), novel by Robert Sawyer. "It had been like a gift from the gods: the discovery that the Milky Way galaxy was permeated by a vast network of artificial shortcuts that allowed for instantaneous journeys between star systems." The closest shortcut portals to the Earth are at Tau Ceti, and at New New York on Epsilon Indi III, a mere 11.2 light-years out.
- The Armies of Memory (2006), fourth in the series of four Thousand Cultures novels by John Barnes. In this novel Epsilon Indi is orbited by the planet Roosevelt, home to 92 cultures, including the francophone Trois-Orléans.
- Halo: Contact Harvest (2007), novel set in the Halo universe and written by Joseph Staten. Humanity has spread across the galaxy, and the outer colony planet Harvest in the Epsilon Indi system is one of the most remote. Although Harvest itself is only one-third the size of Earth, its fertile surface serves as the breadbasket for other colonies. Harvest is the first human world attacked by the theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenant—which sets the basic conflict of the entire Halo series in motion.
Epsilon Pegasi (Enif)
- FreeSpace 2 (1999), combat simulation computer game designed by Dave Baranec et al, and published by Volition, Inc.. Epsilon Pegasi is the site of a major outpost of the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance and the location of Enif Station. The Rebellion of the Neo-Terran Front threatens the Epsilon Pegasi system, and requires that Enif Station be reinforced.
Eta Boötis (Mufrid)
- Star Carrier: Earth Strike (2010), novel by William H. Keith, Jr. writing as Ian Douglas. The star has at least four planets, the fourth of which was colonized by an Islamic faction from Earth. It comes under attack by an alien race called the Turusch and an Earth Confederation battle group led by the eponymous carrier America is sent to evacuate the Marine base and as many colonists as possible. The battle group initially drives off the Turusch, but they return and destroy the colony with long-range mass driver strikes.
Eta Cassiopeiae (Achird)
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Eta Cassiopeiae system includes three trojan planets on one orbit. The Federation has its main naval base and fleet academies in this system.
- "Terra Nova" (2001), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The first extra-solar human colony was on the planet Terra Nova, located in the Eta Cassiopeiae system (referred to in the episode as Eta Cassiopeia III, with the Latin nominative instead of genitive case).
- The Merchants of Souls (2002), third in the series of four Thousand Cultures novels by John Barnes. In this novel Hedon, a pleasure planet where the protagonist Giraut Leones goes on vacation, orbits Eta Cassiopeiae.
- "The Trail of Cthulhu" (1944), short story (also published as "The House on Curwen Street") by August Derleth, and other stories of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Fomalhaut is the home of the god Cthugha, who resembles a giant ball of fire.
- Pebble in the Sky (1950), novel by Isaac Asimov. Joseph Schwartz of Chicago is transported by a stray beam of radiation to the Earth of the far future, which is part of a galactic empire ruled from the planet Trantor. Finding himself in a wild countryside, he searches far and wide for help until he stumbles upon a cottage—only he can't understand the dwellers, nor they him. One of them theorizes, "He must come from some far-off corner of the Galaxy ... They say the men of Fomalhaut have to learn practically a new language to be understood at the Emperor's court on Trantor." Asimov would later substantially abandon using any real star names at all in the empire.
- Dorsai! (1960), first novel (also published as The Genetic General) in the unfinished Childe Cycle by Gordon R. Dickson. Dorsai (Fomalhaut III) is the homeworld of the Dorsai who, inhabiting a resource-poor world, hire themselves out as mercenaries to other planetary governments. The novel follows the meteoric military career of the Dorsai protagonist and warrior extraordinaire, Donal Graeme.
- Return from the Stars (1961), Polish language novel (Powrót z gwiazd) by Stanislaw Lem. The novel tells the story of the astronaut Hal Bregg, who returns to Earth after a 127 year mission to Fomalhaut. Due to time dilation the mission has lasted only 10 years for him, but on Earth he faces culture shock as he finds human society transformed into a utopia free of wars or violence, or even accidents.
- Star King (1964), "Demon Princes" novel by Jack Vance. Over drinks, protagonist Kirth Gersen is explaining to lovely Pallis Atwrode the origin of the humanoid race of Star Kings. One theory has it that the same vanished race who "left ruins on the Fomalhaut planets" kidnapped a tribe of Neanderthals long ago and removed them to the Star Kings' homeworld Ghnarumen, there to serve as an experimental evolutionary template for the highly adaptable but still rudimentary native life forms.
- "The Dead Lady of Clown Town" (1964), short story by Cordwainer Smith. The planet Fomalhaut III is the site of the martyrdom of D'Joan (D' indicating an underperson derived from Dog stock, while simultaneously alluding to Jeanne D'Arc [Joan of Arc] ), an event that "makes the worlds reel": It sparks an interstellar civil rights movement across the planets governed by the Instrumentality of Mankind. The tale's exotic planetary setting glows with an air of complexity and antiquity, enhanced by Smith's own Chinese-influenced use of a fabulist's voice, that together lend an unforgettably haunting mood to its theme of sacrifice and redemption. Although broadly right-wing in his politics, Cordwainer Smith was deeply sympathetic to the liberation struggles of his fictional underpeople, as indeed he was with the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
- "Semley's Necklace" (1964), short story by Ursula K. Le Guin set on Fomalhaut II, and subsequently used as a prologue to the novel Rocannon's World (see next item in this section).
- Rocannon's World (1966), novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. The novel is set on the second planet of Fomalhaut, Rokanan. This planet is home to two species and four subspecies of sentient creatures of varying technology levels. Rokanan was Rocannon's name among the native Gdemiar.
- The Unteleported Man (1966), novel (later republished as Lies, Inc.), by Philip K. Dick. A new teleportation technology makes travel by spaceship redundant. A "paradise" colony planet in the Fomalhaut system, Whale's Mouth (see graphic), is the destination for forty million colonists escaping from the drab existence of Earth's urban anthills, but it is a one way trip—no teleportation back to Earth is possible.
- The Zero Stone (1968), novel by Andre Norton. The protagonist Mordoc Jern of this novel identifies his animal companion as a phwat from Fomalhaut.
- The Forever War (1974), novel written by Joe Haldeman. Protagonist William Mandella joins an elite task force assigned to counterattack the invading Taurans. The new soldiers depart for action, traveling via wormhole-like phenomena called "collapsars" that allow ships to cover thousands of light-years in a split second. Their first encounter with (unarmed) Taurans on a planet in the Fomalhaut system turns into a massacre, with the unresisting enemy base wiped out.
- The War Games of Zelos (1975), novel by Richard Avery. Zelos is the fifth planet of Fomalhaut. It was colonized in the year 2078.
- Children of Dune (1976), novel in the Dune universe by Frank Herbert. When Paul Atreides' son Leto is forcibly injected with spice essence, and undergoes the spice trance, he dreams peering through narrow windows in time-space and marveling at ancient kernels of wisdom. Among the subjects of his inner exploration is the planetary system of Fomalhaut.
- The Divine Invasion (1981), novel written by Philip K. Dick. The Fomalhaut system is the location of a galactic communications hub.
- FTL:2448 (1982–1990), role-playing game designed by Richard Tucholka and published by Tri Tac Games. Alvarez Station, a large space station and a major game asset, orbits the fifth planet, America, in the Fomalhaut system.
- Radio Free Albemuth (1985), novel written by Philip K. Dick in 1976. In this alternate history, a resistance movement against a despotic US president is organized with radio broadcasts from a mysterious alien satellite by VALIS, an omnipotent being (or network) from the Fomalhaut system.
- "Chains of Air, Web of Aether" (1987), short story written by Philip K. Dick. The Fomalhaut system is the location of a galactic communications hub.
- Battlelords of the 23rd Century (1990–1998), role-playing game designed by Lawrence R. Sims and published by Optimus Design Systems. There are many alien races in the Battlelords universe, but twelve are presented in the basic rulebook and form the basis for the Galactic Alliance. One of these is the race of Chatilian Empaths from Fomalhaut.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Fomalhaut system is home to an agricultural colony planet that grows food crops and exports them to other worlds. To prevent food chain pollution, no kind of manufacturing is permitted on this world.
- Diaspora (1997), novel by Greg Egan. The Diaspora in the novel consists of a collection of one thousand exact digital copies of the C-Z polis (city state), deployed toward stars in all directions hoping to improve humankind's understanding of the physics behind an unpredicted gamma ray burst that wiped out most of Earth's inhabitants. Fomalhaut is one of the target stars, and the novel follows the expedition there.
- Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos (2001), video game developed by Particle Systems and published by Infogrames. Fomalhaut has been colonized by humans and is the first accessible star system in the Gagarin cluster, by virtue of possessing a jump accelerator linked to Santa Romera in the Badlands cluster. It is also, therefore, the best-defended star system and last to fall against the alien invasion.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. The Fomalhaut System is a minor trade hub featuring the inhabited worlds Gem and Snowmelt.
- In The Mouth of the Whale (2012), novel by Paul J. McAuley telling a tale of "the quick and the dead." Fomalhaut was first colonized by the posthuman Quick, who established an archipelago of thistledown cities and edenic worldlets within the star's vast dust belt (see graphic). The Quick were conquered by a band of ruthless unreconstructed humans calling themselves the True. Now the Ghosts, a posthuman cult from Beta Hydri, threaten a third conquest. At issue is the mysterious metallic hydrogen core of Fomalhaut's ancient gas giant planet, which each race claims as a salvation with its own idiosyncratic vision (compare Philip K. Dick's use of the planet name Whale's Mouth for a paradise planet of the Fomalhaut system in Fomalhaut: The Unteleported Man, 1966, above).
Gamma Andromedae (Almach)
- Foundation (1951), novel by Isaac Asimov. A catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdown occurred on Gamma Andromeda V in the year 50 F.E. The meltdown killed several million people and destroyed at least half the planet.
Gamma Draconis (Etamin / Eltanin)
- Planet of Exile (1966), novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. This novel takes place on Werel, the third planet of Gamma Draconis. It is also known as Alterra. The planet has an orbital period of 60 Earth years, and is approaching its correspondingly long winter. The main characters belong to one of two major groups: the Tevarans, a tribe of humanoid extraterrestrials indigenous to the planet, and a dwindling colony of Earth humans who detest them, marooned on the planet in their stone city Landin. Alterra's prodigously extended seasons afford Le Guin ample scope to pursue her favorite narrative theme: a man is set in an alien world; he must pursue a frozen winter quest until he makes a conceptual breakthrough; he then becomes an agent of reconciliation between former antagonists.
- The Last Castle (1966), novella by Jack Vance. Etamin IX (Etamin being one of the traditional names for Gamma Draconis) is the planet of origin of both the Meks and the power-wagons, two of the species who are servants to aristocratic humanity.
- Master of Orion II (1996), strategy game developed by Simtex and published by MicroProse/MacSoft Games. Gamma Draconis is the Elerian home system.
- FreeSpace 2 (1999), combat simulation computer game designed by Dave Baranec et al, and published by Volition, Inc. Despite being an unpopulated system, Gamma Draconis plays a central role in the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance's second war against the xenophobic Shivans. It is the location of the first Knossos Device (a subspace portal designed by the Ancients) discovered by humanity, in the year 2367. The remote node of the portal is located in the Nebula, remnant of the supernova that destroyed the Ancients' civilization.
Gamma Orionis (Bellatrix)
- Babel-17 (1966), novel by Samuel R. Delany. Bellatrix is the star system of the Alliance War Yards at Armsedge, where Rydra Wong witnesses a berserker attack by an Invader agent controlled by the weapon/language Babel-17. The author's vividly kaleidoscopic descriptions of Armsedge, and the fateful banquet set-piece where the assassin runs amok, are instances of recurring themes in Delany's work: the quest (in this case, to decode and disarm Babel-17), a damaged protagonist (Wong), and an economical use of colorful detail to flesh out the social background of his stories (the remarkable Armsedge itself). Presumably the planet's name "Armsedge" derives from Bellatrix' (Gamma Orionis') situation at the outer edge of the Orion arm of the Milky Way galaxy, with an additional war-yard play on the word arms.
- Planet of the Apes (1968), film written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. Three Astronauts (there had been four, but one died in Stasis) have landed on an unknown world: Commander George Taylor (Charlton Heston) states, "We're some 320 light years from Earth on an unnamed planet in orbit around a star in the constellation of Orion." The crew speculates that they may be stranded in the Bellatrix (Gamma Orionis) system.
- Blade Runner (1982), film written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples and directed by Ridley Scott, loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Betelgeuse is the right shoulder, and Bellatrix is the left shoulder of the constellation Orion. In his "Tears in the rain" soliloquy, the dying replicant Roy Batty, tells of "attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion." See also Betelgeuse in fiction.
- "The Apple" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Max Ehrlich and directed by Joseph Pevney, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The planet Gamma Trianguli VI is visited by the USS Enterprise; at first blush it appears to be a tropical paradise, but it is in fact an elaborate illusion held in place by an entity—perhaps an artificial intelligence left behind by an ancient alien race—worshipped by the local primitives as Vaal. Vaal opens a double pronged attack on the crew of the Enterprise, ambushing the survey team on the ground with assaults by poisonous plants and lightning bolts from the blue, and at the same time draining energy from the ship and pulling it down with a tractor beam. The surviving planetside crew counterattack and destroy Vaal with phasers, leaving the native populace sadder but wiser, having been force-fed the eponymous apple of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17).
The Gliese stars in this list (but not all stars in the Gliese catalog) are red dwarfs, and they are among the closest stars to the Solar System. They were catalogued beginning in 1957 by the German astronomer Wilhelm Gliese. The stars listed below, despite their faint magnitudes (all numerically greater than 9), have attracted the attention of authors interested in fiction depicting the earliest stages of humanity's expansion into the galaxy. At least one of the Gliese stars has been confirmed to possess multiple extrasolar planets as of 2013. Another star in the catalog, Gliese 581, has been the subject of controversy: In 2010 Steven S. Vogt and R. Paul Butler reported the existence of Gliese 581g, an earthlike planet in the star's habitable zone. Within months a group led by Michel Mayor published a paper refuting the validity of the claim. As of 2013 the issue is unresolved. A number of stars in this list that are listed under other names also possess Gliese designations; they may be found by searching on "Gliese".
Gliese 687 (GJ 687)
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. The planet Haven, one of the Demarchist polities, orbits Gliese 687.
Gliese 754 (HD 36395 / Wolf 1453)
- Murasaki (1992), shared universe novel written by several Nebula Award winners and edited by Robert Silverberg. The scenery is set in a fictional double planet system with Genji and Chujo orbiting Gliese 754 (also known as HD36395 and Wolf 1453) about 20 light-years from our Solar System. The system was first explored by a Japanese robot interstellar probe, and the star has been given the proper name Murasaki.
Gliese 876 (Ross 780)
Item(s) in this section refer to the star as Gliese 876. For references to Ross 780, see the separate section in this article. As of 2013, it has been confirmed that four (nonfictional) extrasolar planets orbit the star.
- Building Harlequin's Moon (2005), novel by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. A group of space travellers, marooned in the inhospitable planetary system of Gliese 876, attempt to terraform a moon of the gas giant Harlequin, aiming to create over a span of many generations a sufficient technological base to refuel their ship and press on to their original destination.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Groombridge 34 is the location of a minor space station in the so-called "Hinder Stars": Olympus Station.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The crowded Groombridge 34 stellar system has three stars, multiple gas giants and numerous terrestrial planets. It is also heavily developed, with a large number of colonies and space stations.
- Macross Plus (1994), original video animation and anime film written by Keiko Nobumoto and directed by Shōji Kawamori and Shinichirō Watanabe. Groombridge 34 is a possible location of the fictitious "Groombridge 1816" (Helios) system, stated to be 11.7 light-years from the Solar System, about the same as the actual distance to Groombridge 34 (11.62 ly). The planet Eden in the fictional 1816 system is the location of the New Edwards Test Flight Center and its major metropolis, Eden City. The name Groombridge 1816 may be an alteration of the name of the actual although unrelated star Groombridge 1618 (see next entry).
- "Pilot, Part 1" and "Mutiny" (1995), first and fourth episodes of Space: Above and Beyond, a television series created by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Groombridge 34 is the location of the largest extrasolar USMC fleet base, mistakenly believed to be the target of a massive attack by the alien Chigs, and seen under sniper fire in "Mutiny."
- Halo (2001–), video game franchise created by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Groombridge 34 system is the location of a decommissioned construction platform. In 2531, a group of Spartan-IIs are sent to investigate rebel activity at the platform. One of the Spartans, Kurt-051, is declared MIA, when in fact the entire mission was a setup created by ONI's Beta-5 Division in order to recruit Kurt as an instructor for the classified SPARTAN-III program.
- Mindbridge (1976), novel by Joe Haldeman. A planet orbiting Groombridge 1618 is the homeworld of the psi-amplifying Groombridge Bridge. It is accessible from the Earth (less than 16 light-years away), using the instantaneous space transport mechanism called the Levant-Meyer Translation.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Groombridge 1618 planetary system can be visited in the Frontier series, but it is uninhabited.
- "The Heroic Myth of Lt. Nora Argamentine" (1994), short story written by Donald Kingsbury as a contribution to the Known Space universe created by Larry Niven. The colony planet W'kkai of the Kzin Empire orbits this star. In the story the star is referred to as "Gliese 380."
- Calculating God (2000), novel by Robert J. Sawyer. Virtual beings from a planet orbiting Groombridge 1618 engineer the supernova of Betelgeuse in order to sterilize the stellar neighborhood. The event threatens the survival of humanity, as well as that of two recently allied extraterrestrial races, the Wreeds and the Forhilnors.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. The planet Turquoise, a Pattern Juggler world, orbits Groombridge 1618. It is home to a primitive human civilization almost entirely cut off from the rest of humanity.
Iota Horologii (Gliese 108)
- Halo (2001–), video game franchise created by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Iota Horologii, referred to in the game series as the star Soell, is orbited by Threshold, Basis, and Installation 04.
- Iota Cycle (2006), novel by Russell Lutz. The Iota Horologii system is a setting for colonization and terraforming. In order of increasing orbital radius its six planets are named Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, America, and Antarctica.
- "Whom Gods Destroy" (1969), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Lee Erwin from a story by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl. The crew of the starship Enterprise arrives at the planet Elba II, an inhospitable world known for its poisonous atmosphere and underground asylum for the criminally insane. When they attempt to meet facility director Donald Cory, they discover that he is being impersonated by the now crazed Fleet Captain Garth of Izar, a famous starship captain and one of Kirk's personal heroes.
- Space Probe Epsilon (1974), German language novel (Raumsonde Epsilon) by Mark Brandis. This novel extrapolates the theory propounded by Duncan Lunan in 1973 that there was a space probe orbiting around the Moon, sent there by inhabitants of a planet in the Epsilon Boötis system.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Kapteyn's planetary system can be visited in the Frontier series, but it is uninhabited.
- Fallen Gods (2003), novella written by Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Kapteyn's Star is the sun of a planetary system whose planets are home to several dozen sentient species occupying a variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecological niches. This richness enables the intelligent and complex plotting that is a hallmark of the series, as well as its many spin-off novellas, novels, encyclopedias, annuals and even scholarly articles.
- Singularity (2012), novel written by William H. Keith, Jr. as by Ian Douglas. Studies of the proper motion of Kapteyn's star, and its composition, suggest that it comes from the Omega Centauri globular cluster, which in turn is so anomalous among clusters—having an atypical stellar population and high metallicity—that it is thought to be the stripped core of a dwarf satellite galaxy captured a hundreds of millions of years ago by the Milky Way. The Kapteyn's system contains the gas-giant Bifrost, whose arid and ruin-haunted moon Heimdall, with planetary scale computers nano-etched into its stones, appears to have been the home of a billion-year old extragalactic super-civilization.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Kruger 60 is the site of Venture Station, one of the stations on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. Lacaille 9352 is the sun to the planet Fand, home of the Fand "screech mat."
Lalande 21185 (Gliese 411)
Lalande 21185 is a red dwarf of apparent magnitude 7 and is thus too dim to be seen with the unaided eye. However, at approximately 8.3 light-years away it is the fifth closest stellar system to the Sun; only the Alpha Centauri system, Barnard's Star WISE 1049-5319 and Wolf 359 are known to be closer. For this reason the star has attracted the attention of science fiction authors and game developers. A number of claims have been made for the discovery by astrometry of one or more extrasolar planets in the Lalande 21185 system, but these are now in doubt.
- Rogue Queen (1951), novel by L. Sprague de Camp. On the planet of the star Lalande 21185 known to Terrans as Ormazd, the dominant humanoid species is organized into hive societies much like those of Earth's ants and bees. These societies are inadvertently but inevitably undermined and transformed by contact with Terrans.
- Lalande 21185 (1966), Polish language novel by Janusz Zajdel. Zajdel's dystopian themes of totalitarian states and collapsed societies are explored in the Lalande 21185 system.
- Star Light (1971), novel by Hal Clement. The story takes place on the supergiant planet Dhrawn, which some suspect of being a failed star, in orbit around Lalande 21185. The gravity at the surface is 40 times the Earth's, and a Dhrawn day lasts 1500 Earth hours. A consortium of spacefaring races, including humans, recruits Mesklinites, the centipede-like natives of the high-gravity planet Mesklin (see 61 Cygni: Mission of Gravity above), to explore Dhrawn.
- Across the Sea of Suns (1984), novel in the Galactic Center Saga by Gregory Benford. Radio astronomy on the Moon in 2021 reveals the presence of life in the system of nearby red dwarf star Lalande 21185, on the tidally locked planet Isis. An expedition is dispatched which discovers a primitive race of alien nomads broadcasting en-masse with organs adapted to emit and receive electromagnetic radiation. The biotic basis of the transmissions is emblematic of Benford's vision in his "water-themed" novels of a Universe-wide struggle between organic lifeforms and self-replicating machines.
- Marooned in Realtime (1986), novel by Vernor Vinge. A character has returned from an expedition to Lalande 21185, referred to in the novel as "Gatewood's Star" after astronomer George G. Gatewood, a pioneer in the search for extrasolar planets by astrometry who in 1996 claimed to have detected planets orbiting Lalande 21185.
- Timemaster (1992), novel by Robert L. Forward. Three astronauts make the slow sub-lightspeed trip to Lalande 21185 between 2043 and 2052 with the intention of establishing a wormhole terminus, enabling instantaneous travel to and from the Earth.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Lalande 21185 is dedicated to heavy industry. With a colony on the innermost planet of the system and a space station orbiting the planet, this industry-based system is more developed than most others in the games.
- Civilization II: Test of Time (1999), strategy game developed by MicroProse and published by Hasbro Interactive. Humans and an alien species both crashland on the earthlike second planet of Lalande 21185, Funestis. The object of play is to get back to Earth. Other planets in this system include rocky Naumachia and the gas giant Nona.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. Lacaille 21185 is the sun of the planet Zion. Little is known of this planet, save the fact that contact with it was lost during the Human-Inhibitor war.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. Lalande 21185 is an important crossroads, and features the minor planet Diva.
- Star Corps (2006), first novel in the Legacy Trilogy by Ian Douglas. The gas giant plant Marduk in orbit around Lalande 21185 has the earthlike moon Ishtar, where the alien race of Froggers holds humans in slavery, resulting in a force of US Marines being sent in 2148 to free them.
- Cyteen (1988) and Regenesis (2009), novels in the Alliance-Union universe by C.J. Cherryh. Lalande 46650 is the star system containing the planet Cyteen as well as a space station with the same name. Cyteen is the home planet of the ruthless, expansionist Union, and Cherryh limns its intricacies with plays on genetics, identity, family, and power. These novels go against type for her in that they are planet-centric rather than being set in artificial environments in space. They can also be seen to represent a shift from themes of honor (typical of preliterate "shame" cultures) to the responsibility of power (a problem central to literate "guilt" cultures).
Lambda Scorpii (Shaula)
- The Transformers (2005–), comic book series written by Simon Furman et al for IDW Publishing. Cybertron is the homeworld of the Transformers in the various fictional incarnations of the Transformer metaseries (Marvel, Dreamwave, IDW). In the IDW comics, Cybertron orbits Lambda Scorpii and has been rendered largely uninhabitable by war. While Transformers can survive on the surface, they cannot live there indefinitely.
- Blue Planet (1997, 2000), two releases of a pencil-and-paper role playing game designed by Jeff Barber et al, and published by Biohazard Games (v1) and Fantasy Flight Games (v2). Just before a worldwide ecological catastrophe devastates the Earth, space explorers discover that Lambda Serpentis II is a habitable ocean planet; they give it the name Poseidon. One major colony ship is sent before civilization collapses on Earth.
- Halo (2001–), video game franchise created by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Lambda Serpentis system is home to the human colony planet Jericho VII.
- "Acquisition" (2002), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The episode makes reference to the planet Stameris. The fictional reference book Star Trek Star Charts (2002) depicts Lambda Serpentis as a binary star with two class G components, and identifies it as the location of Stameris.
- Operation Bororo (1973), Czechoslovak science fiction film written by I. Drahnovská et al and directed by Otakar Fuka. A man and a woman (Ori-Ana) from a planet orbiting Maia come to the Earth to get a cure for a disease that threatens to eradicate their civilization, a drug made only by the Amazonian Bororo people.
Markab / Markeb (Kappa Velorum)
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Markeb is the home sun of the Hokún, or Glass Monsters.
- Babylon 5 (1993–1998), television series developed and written by J. Michael Straczynski. The Markab species from this star became largely extinct in 2259 due to the Drafa Plague. They were members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. There may still be some isolated colonies or outposts, but for all intents and purposes the Markab are a dead race.
- Cluster (1977–1982), series of novels written by Piers Anthony. Mintaka, like the Earth ("Sol") is the center of a galactic sphere of influence. Melody of Mintaka, a direct descendant of Flint of Outworld and his Andromedan nemesis, is a major character in the second and third books of the series.
- "Who Watches the Watchers" (1989), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Richard Manning and Hans Beimler, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Mintaka III is inhabited by the Mintakans, a preindustrial Vulcan-like race that is under observation by the Federation.
- "Durka Returns" (1999), episode 15 of the television series Farscape. Mintaka III is home to the Nebari, a race that sees violence and nonconformity as unacceptable traits that should be involuntarily excised. In the episode, a collision with a Nebari ship brings a Nebari "criminal" named Chiana to the Leviathan ship Moya.
- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (2003), video game developed by tri-Crescendo and Monolith Soft and published by Namco. Mintaka is the capital of the Alfard Empire.
- Baten Kaitos Origins (2006), video game developed by tri-Crescendo and Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo. Mintaka is the capital of the Alfard Empire.
Mira is a binary star system that consists of a red giant (Mira A) losing mass to its partner, the high temperature white dwarf companion (Mira B) steadily accreting substance from the primary. Mira A, a variable star, would actually be a poor candidate for the home sun of any of the "habitable" planets described below, since its brightness fluctuates over the long run by a total factor of around 1700, with each individual cycle lasting about 300 days. In 2007, observations showed a protoplanetary disc around the companion, Mira B. This disc is being accreted from material in the solar wind from Mira and could eventually form new planets.
- The War against the Rull (1959), fixup assembled by A. E. van Vogt. Protagonist Trevor Jamieson, chief scientist of the Interstellar Military Commission, is instantly hypnotized when he inadvertently glances at an intricate mandala inscribed with fine scratches in the enamel of his air car. Upon regaining awareness, he finds that Rull agents have transported him to Mira XXIII, a ravenous jungle world that is home to the dreaded progeny of the lymph beast. A beast-assisted assassination attempt on him follows (he escapes). The abrupt twist that places Jamieson on Mira XXIII is a dreamily disjointed non sequitur typical of van Vogt's plotting style; the astonishingly savage jungle in which the protagonist finds himself is a favored planetary setting of the author, and the second jungle world encountered in the novel (the first, Eristan II, orbits a fictional star).
- "A Relic of the Empire" (1966), Known Space short story by Larry Niven published in the collection Neutron Star (1968). Space pirates who have been raiding the Puppeteers' secret home system take refuge on a planet orbiting Mira, where they meet Dr. Richard Schultz-Mann and his Tnuctip relics. Red giant Mira A ("Big Mira") and white dwarf companion Mira B ("Little Mira") provide a spectacular diurnal display.
- "This Side of Paradise" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by D. C. Fontana, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise arrives at Omicron Ceti III, the site of a colony all of whose inhabitants are believed to have been killed by "Berthold rays." The crew is surprised to find the original colonists blissfully alive although behaving somewhat oddly.
- "Conspiracy" (1988), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Tracy Tormé, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise secretly meets three other Federation starships above Dytallix B, the fifth planet of Mira and a tidally locked mining world that has long been abandoned. On the surface, Captain Picard meets with the captains of the other ships to discuss a suspected conspiracy and infiltration of Starfleet Command.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Mirach is the home sun of the Ninín, or Little Ones.
- Way Station (1963), novel by Clifford D. Simak. In the aftermath of the Civil War, protagonist Enoch Wallace is the secretly designated administrator of a way station for interstellar travel. He uses a mathematical model developed on Mizar to predict that the Earth will someday go to war and destroy itself in a nuclear holocaust.
- Star King (1964), "Demon Princes" novel by Jack Vance. Mizar VI is home to the Tunkers, a religious sect who are "ascetic, austere, devout to an astonishing degree. The men and women dress identically, shave their heads, use a language of eight hundred and twelve words, and eat identical meals at identical hours..."
- "On the Sand Planet" (1965), third novella in the collection Quest of the Three Worlds (1966) by Cordwainer Smith. The desert planet Mizzer, home of the Twelve Niles, is the last planet on protagonist Casher O'Neill's quest.
- BattleTech (1984), wargame and related products launched by The FASA Corporation. The Mizar system hosts a habitable planet noted for its luxurious resorts and vain inhabitants.
- Enigma (1986) and Empery (1987), second and third installments of the The Trigon Disunity series of novels by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. The Mizar system is home to powerful, xenophobic aliens physically integrated into the geology of their planets. They react to threats with massive blasts of psychic energy, which they direct on occasion against the inhabited worlds of other species, light-years away.
- "Allegiance" (1990), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Richard Manning and Hans Beimler, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Captain Picard, while sleeping in his quarters, is abducted by an unknown device. He awakes in a cell with three other prisoners including the philosopher Kovar Tholl from Mizar II. The residents of Mizar II are green humanoids who are committed pacifists.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Mizar planetary system can be visited in the Frontier series, but it is uninhabited.
- Forever Free (1999), novel written by Joe Haldeman as a sequel to The Forever War. Mizar is the home sun of the planet Middle Finger. Middle Finger is the coventry planet where the surviving veterans of the Forever War are sent when they discover that the war is over.
- Emprise (1985), first installment of the Trigon Disunity series of novels by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. In a Luddite world, outcast astronomer Allen Chandliss struggles to maintain his primitive radio telescope, listening in secret for signs of intelligent life. After 17 years, he detects a repeating signal from an "alien intelligence" in Cassiopeia. The second novel of the series (Enigma) reveals that the "aliens" are actually human colonists residing on the planet Journa of Mu Cassiopeiae—out of touch with the Earth for the last 50,000 years.
Nu Ophiuchi (Sinistra)
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Nu Ophiuchi is the primary (Tuleng) of the planetary system that includes the planet Tékumel (also called Nu Ophiuchi d and Sinistra d). Tékumel is first settled by humans and several other alien species about 60,000 years in the future. Extensive terraforming of the planet's inhospitable environment, including changing its orbit and rotation to create a 365¼-day year, disrupts planetary ecologies and banishes most of the local flora and fauna (including some intelligent species) to small reservations in the corners of their own world, resulting in a golden age of technology and prosperity for humankind and its allies. Naturally enough, this halcyon era cannot last ...
Omicron Persei (Al Atik)
- Futurama (1999), animated science fiction situation comedy created by Matt Groening. The "Omicronians" claim to be from Omicron Persei VIII, more than 1000 light-years from Earth. Living in the 31st century, the Omicronians receive and are fans of 20th-century television broadcasts from the Earth.
- Known Space (1964–), shared universe for books and stories by Larry Niven. The Pierin are a slave species of the Kzinti. At the time of their conquest, they occupied several planets near p Eridani.
- Revelation Space universe (2000–), novels and stories by Alastair Reynolds. p Eridani is the home star of the planet Ararat, a Pattern Juggler world. Ararat is a primary setting of the series novel Absolution Gap.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The star Phecda appears in the northern territories. It is a notoriously dangerous system swarming with pirates and freebooters.
Phi Ophiuchi (8 Ophiuchi)
- The Palace of Love (1967), novel by Jack Vance. Sarkovy, the single planet of this obscure star, is moist and cloudy; with an axis normal to the orbital plane, it knows no seasons. The surface lacks physiographical contrast; the characteristic features of the landscape are vast steppes across which nomads wander in their tall-wheeled wagons. From the abundant flora the notorious Sarkoy venefices (poison masters) leach and distill the poisons for which they are famous across the galaxy. Vance draws the Sarkoy world and its people with a peculiar richness and melancholy élan: he is an influential creator of imaginary worlds. "The first full-fleged modern planetary romance is therefore probably Jack Vance's ... [he] supplied sf writers with a model to exploit." Vancian worlds provide a rich environment together with off-world protagonists (In the case of Sarkovy: Kirth Gersen) whose need to travel across the planet provides a quest plot and a rationale for the lessons in anthropology and sociology so common to the form. In Phi Ophiuchi, Vance has chosen a nondescript star for a world central to his narrative: It is a star that is the 18th brightest in its constellation, has attracted no other fictional interest, and very little scientific interest. But a well-known hallmark of Vance's style, and one which helps create his intense sense of place, is his "talent for naming the ... places in his stories [with] a mixture of exotic invented terms and commonplace words with the right resonance."
Phi Orionis (φ1 or φ2)
- Space Opera (1965), novel by Jack Vance. Home star of the planet Zade (Phi Orionis II), where the crew of the Phoebus performs Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Vance does not specify whether the star is φ1 or φ2, which are about 900 light-years apart on a direct line from Earth.
- Flash Comics #1 et seq. (1940–), comic books in the DC Comics universe. Thanagar is a planet in the Polaris star system (sometimes the "Polaris Galaxy") that is the original home of the humanoid Thanagarian race, noted for the discovery of gravity-defying Nth metal. Thanagar is the home of the "Silver Age" version of Hawkman, who is able to fly using prosthetic wings of Nth metal.
- Showcase #17 et seq. (1958), comic books in the DC Comics universe. Rann is a planet in the Polaris star system whose capital city is Ranagar. Rann is most famous for being the adopted planet of the Earth explorer and hero Adam Strange and for its teleportation device called the Zeta Beam, which first brought him there.[note 6]
- "Camera Bugged" (1989), episode #38 of the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated television series, written by Michael and Mark Edens. The Polarisoids (a pun on Polaroid cameras) are the most obnoxious tourists in the galaxy.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Polaris is a distant (434 light-years from Earth) uninhabited system comprising many planets. In First Encounters, the player may visit Polaris in order to complete the game's major plotline.
- FreeSpace 2 (1999), combat simulation computer game designed by Dave Baranec et al, and published by Volition, Inc.. Polaris is the capital system of the Neo-Terran Front during their rebellion against the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. Polaris is the name of a game faction that settled planets in the Polaris system.
- Green Lantern vol. 4 #25 et seq. (2007), comic books in the DC Comics universe. Odym is a planet in the Polaris star system that is home to the Blue Lantern Corps, one of seven corps empowered by a specific color of the emotional spectrum within the DC Universe. The Blue Lanterns are powered by the emotion hope.
- Super Mario Galaxy (2007) Game by Nintendo in the Super Mario Series. The character "Polari" is named after the star.
- "Who Mourns for Adonais?" (1967), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Gilbert Ralston and Gene L. Coon, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The starship Enterprise is approaching Pollux IV on a survey mission. Suddenly, a huge energy field in the shape of a glowing green hand materializes and seizes the Enterprise. An apparition who identifies himself as the god Apollo appears on the bridge and invites the crew down to the planet—an invitation they can't refuse.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Pollux has a single permanent settlement, primarily engaged in mining and refining operations.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Procyon is the home sun of the Pé Chói, or Listeners.
- Viagens Interplanetarias (1949–1958; 1977–1992), series of novels and short stories written in two waves by L. Sprague de Camp. The Procyon system has three inhabited planets: Osiris, an arid world whose saurian inhabitants are sentimental, rapaciously capitalistic, and capable of mind control; Isis, inhabited by a species resembling a cross "between an elephant and a dachshund"; and Thoth, a wet planet whose natives are amoral and anarchic.
- Non-Stop (1958), novel by Brian Aldiss. A generation ship is returning from the newly colonized planet Procyon. Twenty-three generations ago, the ship suffered from a pandemic due to an alien amino acid in Procyon's water. Shipboard civilization broke down during the crisis and the crew has since devolved into a collection of primitive tribes having no idea they are on a starship.
- Seed of Light (1959), novel by Edmund Cooper. Commander Kepler of the starship Solarian has a prescient vision in which his crew visits a terrestrial planet orbiting Procyon in tidally locked rotation. They discover that the two cities in the planet's twilight zone have ended a five-thousand year war by destroying each other in a nuclear holocaust.
- A Gift from Earth (1968), Known Space novel written by Larry Niven. We Made It, a planet in orbit around Procyon A, got its name because the first colony ship there crash-landed (the natives are called "Crashlanders"). Gravity is about three-fifths that of Earth. The planet's rotational axis is parallel to the plane of its orbit (like Uranus), contributing to hypervelocity 1500 mph winds during half the planet's year that force the inhabitants to live underground.
- Justice League of America #140 et seq. (1977–), comic books in the DC Comics universe. The Manhunters are a race of extraterrestrial robots based on the planet Orinda in the Procyon system, the first attempt of the Guardians of the Universe to create an interstellar police force to combat evil all over the cosmos. After serving the Guardians for thousands of years, they have become obsessed with the act of "hunting" criminals—even at the expense of justice.
- Terran Trade Authority (1978–1980), novels by Stewart Cowley. Procyon is orbited by three planets: Procyon II, named Sisyphus, is a barely habitable mining world.
- His Master's Voice (1983), English translation by Michael Kandel of the 1968 Polish language novel by Stanislaw Lem. It is a densely philosophical novel about an effort by scientists to decode, translate and understand an extraterrestrial transmission from Alpha Canis Minoris. The novel critically approaches humanity's intelligence and intentions in deciphering and truly comprehending a message from outer space.
- Star Control II (1992), computer game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade. Procyon II is the homeworld of the Chenjesu species, and the adopted homeworld of the robotic Mmrnmhrm. If the player performs certain actions, these species form a hybrid race that helps the protagonist reach the objective of the game.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al.. Procyon is represented as an uninhabited, worldless binary star system.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. The Procyon system begins the game uninhabited but is connected to four other systems. A minor mission string terraforms one of its planets into the world Nirvana, which subsequently becomes a major hub in Federation space.
- Procyon's Promise (1996) and Life Probe (2009), novels by Michael McCollum. The Procyon system is the home of an extraterrestrial civilization that has discovered the secret of faster-than-light travel.
- Star Trek: Star Charts (2002), fictional reference book by Geoffrey Mandel. The Andorians are a fictional race of humanoid extraterrestrials created by D. C. Fontana for the Star Trek universe. According to Mandel's reference book they are native to the icy M-class moon Andoria (also called Andor), which orbits the blue, ringed gas giant Procyon VIII.
- Treasure Planet (2002), Disney animated film written by Ron Clements et al. and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. Captain Amelia of the RLS Legacy says in introducing herself, "Late of a few run-ins with the Procyon Armada, nasty business, but I won't bore you with my scars."
- Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon (2002), computer strategy game developed by Barking Dog Studios and published by Disney Interactive. The game is set five years after the events of the film Treasure Planet. In the game, the Terran Empire is on the cusp of a peace treaty with the Procyon Empire and the Procyon fleet figures prominently, but no battle actually takes place at Procyon (a fact noted in the end credits).
- "Azati Prime" (2004), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, and Manny Coto as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Procyon system is the location of the far-future Battle of Procyon V, a Federation victory in a war against an alien species known as the Sphere Builders. In 2153, Captain Jonathan Archer is sent 400 years forward in time to witness the battle from the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-J.
- Supreme Commander (2007), developed by Chris Taylor at Gas Powered Games and published by THQ. In the Cybran campaign QAI, the enormously intelligent and powerful AI responsible for spreading the quantum virus, resides on hardware located in the Procyon system. This planetary system forms part of the Cybran Nation, a race of man-machine symbionts.
- Halo Wars (2009), video game set in the Halo universe, developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Part of the game is set on the planet Arcadia, a fictional world in the Procyon planetary system.
- Starflight - The Lost Colony (2010), computer game in the Starflight universe developed and published by Electronic Arts. The planet Procya in the Procyon system is the homeworld of the Empire's worst enemy, the Procyon Expanse.
Proxima Centauri (Alpha Centauri C)
Proxima Centauri, possibly part of a triple star system with Alpha Centauri A and B, is the nearest known star to the Earth's Solar System. Even though it is known to be a flare star, a disproportionate number of early fiction titles are dedicated to Proxima Centauri, as the destination of humanity's first interstellar voyage. No claims have been made for the discovery of extrasolar planets in the Proxima Centauri system, although the possibility was explored in the 2005 television documentary Alien Worlds.
- Proxima Centauri (1935), short story by Murray Leinster. Earth's first starship, the Adastra, navigates to Proxima Centauri. The star has two planets: Centauri I, homeworld of the Centaurians—mobile, carnivorous plants that look on the crew as a desirable food source (and eat most of them); and earthlike Centauri II, abandoned ages past by the Centaurians and ripe for human colonization, once the Centaurian homeworld can be destroyed.
- "Universe" (1941) and "Common Sense" (1941), novellas by Robert A. Heinlein assembled into the fixup Orphans of the Sky (1963). The generation ship Vanguard, originally destined for Proxima Centauri, is cruising pilotless through interstellar space after a failed mutiny that killed the piloting officers. The descendants of the surviving crew have forgotten the purpose and nature of their ship and lapsed into a pre-technological farming culture laden with superstition.
- "The Variable Man" (1953), novelette by Philip K. Dick published in the collection The Variable Man (1957). Time-travel refugee Thomas Cole is recruited into an interstellar war being waged between burgeoning humanity and the Centaurians, scions of an aging and corrupt empire who rule from a planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri. Cole lends his atavistic troubleshooting expertise to the war effort, with unanticipated results.
- The Magellanic Cloud (1955), Polish language novel (Obłok Magellana) by Stanislaw Lem. Several hundred colonists leave the Earth in the Gaia, bound for the Alpha Centauri system. They find signs of life on a barren marslike planet of Proxima Centauri, which lead them to an advanced civilization orbiting Alpha Centauri.
- The World in Peril (1955–1956), third radio series in the BBC Radio science fiction programme Journey into Space, written and produced by Charles Chilton. In the last episode (#20) of the series, the Martian Invasion Fleet, including many humans who have led unhappy lives on Earth, leaves for Proxima Centauri to establish a perfect civilization, free from persecution, hunger, misgovernment and war.
- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), novel by Philip K. Dick. The Proxima Centauri planetary system ("Prox system") is the source of an alien hallucinogen which Palmer Eldritch markets as Chew-Z. His business rivals arrange to have him killed, suspecting at the same time that Eldritch has become a god in the "Prox" system.
- Captive Universe (1969), novel by Harry Harrison. Another generation ship story; this time the pre-technological culture that has forgotten its true provenance is Aztec, and the restless young man who discovers the truth is named Chimal. The ship is the hollowed-out asteroid Eros, and the destination is Proxima Centauri. As with many authors of "first voyage" stories, Harrison has selected this nearest star to the Earth as the target of the mission. Strangely, the crew has been deliberately programmed into a mental state of medieval monkishness, and the colonists into a pre-Columbian tribalism. This novel provides an outstanding example of the use of myth in science fiction.
- Moscow-Cassiopeia (1973), Soviet film (Москва-Кассиопея) written by Isai Kuznetsov and Avenir Zak, and directed by Richard Viktorov. From the depths of space the Earth could hear the radio signals of intelligent beings from the star Alpha Cassiopeiae (Shedar). A group of students is recruited as the crew of the starship Dawn to search out the source of the transmissions. On the way, they pass the star Proxima Centauri.
- Star Maidens (1976), ITV network television series written by Eric Paice et al. and directed by James Gatward et al. Two male slaves escape from the matriarchal planet Medusa and are pursued to Earth by Medusan security forces. When the Medusans fail to recapture the two, they take a pair of terran hostages—a man and a woman—back with them instead. Subsequent episodes explore the fish-out-of-water goings-on on both worlds. Medusa, originally in orbit around Proxima Centauri, was cast adrift in the galaxy as a rogue planet (see graphic) when it was ejected from the system by a giant comet.
- Terran Trade Authority (1978–1980), novels by Stewart Cowley. Proxima Centauri is the home system of the Proximans, adversaries of Terrans and Alphans during the Proximan War.
- Cerberus: The Proxima Centauri Campaign (1979), strategy board game designed by Stephen V. Cole and published by Task Force Games. Humanity tries to colonize a world in the Proxima Centauri system that is already inhabited by aliens from Tau Ceti. The game revolves around ground combat between the rival races. Note that Proxima Centauri, at 4.24 light-years from Earth, is about 13.37 ly from Tau-Ceti, giving us the claim of proximity while leaving the right of prior possession to the Cetians.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Players are able to visit Proxima Centauri and enter a space station in the Alpha Centauri system.
- Babylon 5 (1993–1998), television series developed and written by J. Michael Straczynski. Proxima III is an Earth Alliance colony. When Earth becomes a dictatorship in 2260, Proxima III secedes from the Alliance, is besieged by Alliance warships, and finally rescued by Captain John Sheridan in late 2261.
- Event Horizon (1997), film written by Philip Eisner and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. A rescue vessel is dispatched to recover the Event Horizon, a starship that had disappeared seven years before, during its maiden voyage to Proxima Centauri. It was using an experimental gravity drive to generate an artificial black hole that could bridge two points in spacetime. Without warning, the Event Horizon entered another dimension, described as one of "pure chaos, pure evil"—perhaps Hell itself.
- Far Gate (2001), video game developed by Super X Studios and Thrushwave Technology, and published by Microïds. The New Terran Dynasty exiles a group of colonists to Proxima Centauri after forging data to suggest that the planet Vesta, orbiting the star, is habitable. After a series of misunderstandings, the colonists are aided by the Nue-Guyen, a race of aliens who terraform the uninhabitable world for them.
- Destroy All Humans! (2005), video game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by THQ. Furons are the enemies of humanity, and they resemble the ufological Greys morphology—except for their mouths full of sharp teeth. They come from the planet Furon in the Proxima Centauri system.
- PROXIMA (2007), Spanish film written and directed by Carlos Atanes. Tony, the proprietor of a failing video store, listens to a strange CD, and his life is changed forever. He feels bizarre sensations, and he meets surprising people who assure him they know how to escape an alien fleet approaching Earth. Finally, Tony starts off for Proxima Centauri, but what he finds there is not exactly what he had expected.
- "The Waters of Mars" (2009), special of the British television series Doctor Who, written by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford, and directed by Graeme Harper. Proxima Centauri is the first destination of mankind when faster-than-light travel is developed. This plot element of Waters is a quite typical example of the science fiction "custom" of sending first interstellar voyages to the nearest of stars.
- Tékumel (~1940–), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Regulus is the home sun of the Vléshga, or Shunned/Stinking Ones.
- BattleTech (1984), wargame and related products launched by The FASA Corporation. Regulus is the capital system of the Duchy of Regulus, one of the founding states of the Free Worlds League.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. In the games, Regulus has no permanent settlements, although minor mining operations do occur within the Regulus system.
- Babylon 5 (1993–1998), television series developed and written by J. Michael Straczynski. The Regulus system is the location of the Earth Alliance's first extrasolar colony.
- Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War (1998), computer game developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Interplay Entertainment. Regulus is the greatest stronghold of the Neo-Terran Front during their rebellion against the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance.
- "Kir'Shara" (2004), episode of Star Trek: Enterprise written by Mike Sussman, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. Regulus is the staging area for a massive pre-emptive strike by the Vulcan High Command on Andoria, based on specious intelligence suggesting that the Andorian Imperial Command is planning to adapt their vessels with a powerful Xindi weaponry.
Ross catalog of stars
The Ross stars in this list (but not all stars in the Ross catalog) are red dwarfs, and they are among the closest stars to the Solar System. They were catalogued beginning in 1926 by the American astronomer Frank Elmore Ross, and some of them are still widely known by the catalog number he gave them (for one that is not, see Ross 780). The stars listed below, despite their faint magnitudes (all numerically greater than 10), have attracted the attention of authors and game developers interested in fiction depicting the earliest stages of humanity's expansion into the galaxy. At least one of the Ross stars has been confirmed to possess multiple extrasolar planets as of 2013.
- Across the Sea of Suns (1984), novel in the Galactic Center Saga by Gregory Benford. Ross 128 is the home system of the Ganymede-like moon Pocks. An amphibious alien race hides under the moon's ten-kilometer thick mantle of ice from a Berserker-like autonomous killing machine known as a Watcher, in orbit around Pocks.
- Enigma (1986), second installment of the The Trigon Disunity series of novels by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. Ross 128 is discovered to be the site of a long-abandoned colony of humans that was established 50,000 years in the past.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. An inner planet of Ross 128 is the site of a prison colony. Game players cannot visit the system except by special permit.
- Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War (1998), computer game developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Interplay Entertainment. The Ross 128 system is the location of the first known encounter between the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance and their antagonists, the Shivans.
- "Galactic North" (1999), short story by Alastair Reynolds, also published in the collection Galactic North (2006). The Ross 128 system is the source of an outbreak of self-replicating machines known as greenfly, which become a major threat to life in the galaxy (compare Ross 128: "Across the Sea of Suns" above).
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Ross 154 is the site of Glory Station, one of the stations on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- DOOM (1993), video game developed and published by id Software. In the original treatment of the game, designer Tom Hall wanted Doom to take place on the planet Tei Tenga of Ross 154, on which the UAAF (United Aerospace Armed Forces) had two military research bases.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The moon Merlin, an ice world similar to our own Europa, orbits a gas giant planet of Ross 154. Its primary export is fish, harvested from the liquid ocean that exists below the icy crust. Importing luxury goods from Sol and illegally exporting animal skins to Barnard's Star are both profitable enterprises. Ross 154 is the primary starting point of Frontier: Elite II.
- Terminal Velocity (1995), video game developed by Terminal Reality and published by 3D Realms. The planet Tei Tenga (taken from the early ideas for DOOM, as stated above) orbits this star.
- The Night's Dawn Trilogy (1996–1999), novels by Peter F. Hamilton: In 2611 a "terracompatible" planet, Felicity, was found in its orbit in 2123; as of 2611, its multi-ethnic population still struggles to find racial harmony, one of the main themes on planetary colonization in this novel set.
- Rimrunners (1989) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Ross 248 is the site of Thule, one of the stations on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- "Glacial" (2001), novella by Alastair Reynolds, also published in the collection Galactic North (2006). The ice planet Diadem orbits this star. The onetime location of a since-failed American colony, it is 100 years later explored by the Conjoiner faction as they flee from the war-torn Solar System. Diadem is in fact a planetary sentient being that "thinks" using the transient chemical trails of ice-worms in its mantle much as the human brain uses electro-chemical impulses.
Item(s) in this section refer to the star as Ross 780. For references to Gliese 876, see the separate section in this article. As of 2013, it has been confirmed that four (nonfictional) extrasolar planets orbit the star.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Ross 780 is the site of Russell's Station, a space station founded after the discovery of Pell's World in the Tau Ceti system. It is rendered uninhabitable by the Company Fleet prior to the events of Downbelow Station and many refugees from it arrive there at the start of the novel. It is later repaired and joins the Union.
- Dragonriders of Pern (1968–), series of novels and short stories by Anne McCaffrey. Rukbat is the star around which Pern, the focal planet of the series, orbits. Life on Pern resembles a pre-industrial society with lords, holds, harpers, and dragons. The dragons have been bio-engineered by the Pernese to protect their planet from Thread, a space-borne spore that voraciously consumes organic material. (In a mischaracterization, possibly intentional by the author, Rukbat is described in the series as a class G yellow star whereas in reality it is a class B blue dwarf.)
Among the star systems commonly appearing in science fiction, Beta Lyrae is the second most distant (at 900 ly, with ~10 fictional references below), even though as the beta of the constellation Lyra it has an appreciable apparent magnitude of 3.52. Only Delta Orionis in Orion's belt (Mintaka, 900 ly, ~5 references, mag 2.23) and hyperluminous Deneb (1400 ly, ~25 references, mag 1.25) can compare. Why the attention? Beta Lyrae is an eclipsing binary system (see animation) in which mass is being transferred from the brighter primary to the more massive secondary star in a presumably spectacular accretion disc. Because of this, it has inspired the imaginations of artists and authors alike across the years; Chesley Bonestell (1964), for example, painted a famously evocative, influential (and imaginative) canvas depicting Beta Lyrae as it traces a vast fiery spiral across the black sky of some jagged airless world.
- I lived in the year 3000 (1959), German language novel (Ich lebte im Jahr 3000) by Heinz Gartmann as by Werner Wehr, with an introduction by German aerospace engineer Eugen Sänger. A journalist who is an outspoken sceptic on the possibility of time dilation accidentally goes on a subjective 10-year voyage to Sheliak, and discovers that the phenomenon is real indeed.
- Moon Pilot (1962), film written by Maurice Tombragel based on the novel Starfire by Robert Buckner, and directed by James Neilson. Astronaut Richmond Talbot is to make the first manned flight around the moon. He is approached by Lyrae, a beautiful "foreign" woman who offers a formula to protect his spacecraft from a hidden flaw. She turns out to be a friendly alien from the planet Beta Lyrae; she stows away, he flies her to the moon. During the mission the two lovers perplex mission control by joining in a love song about the distant planet.
- "The Soft Weapon" (1967), Known Space short story by Larry Niven published in the collection Neutron Star (1968). Two humans and their Puppeteer companion are ambushed on the planet Cue Ball of the Beta Lyrae system by Kzin pirates. They possess a "soft weapon" that was originally made for Thrint Slavers by the Tnuctip race, and which can morph into several forms. Taking advantage of this, the trio trick the Kzinti and escape with the weapon. (These events were revisited from another viewpoint in the novel Juggler of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner.) In "Soft Weapon" Niven's description of Beta Lyrae is actually a meticulous retelling of the details of Bonestell's painting rather than any kind of portrayal of the Beta Lyrae system itself, which is now understood to look quite different; Cue Ball is nothing like Bonestell's planet.
- The Slaver Weapon (1973), episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series written by Larry Niven, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. In this version of the Slaver story set on an ice planet orbiting Beta Lyrae, the trio of spacefarers comprises Mr. Spock, Uhura, and Sulu. The Tnuctip weapon self-destructs and kills the Kzin pirates (compare Sheliak: "The Soft Weapon" above). Mr. Spock has described Beta Lyrae as "one of the rare spectacles of the galaxy," and further observed that "almost every ship that passes stops to see it."
- The Ensigns of Command (1989), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Melinda M. Snodgrass. Enterprise saves human colonists who would be destroyed by natives of Sheliak to make room for their intended colony.
- The Tail of Beta Lyrae (1983), computer game developed by Philip Price and published by Datamost. The game player takes the role of a wing commander assigned to the Beta Quadrant. Alien invaders have occupied mining colonies in the asteroid belt of the Beta Lyrae planetary system. The player must navigate a fighter through the asteroids and destroy the aliens and their installations.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Beta Lyrae has an unusual property: If the system is entered, the game crashes as a result of its computer code being unable to handle the mechanics of a contact binary. Only advanced players can observe this, since Beta Lyrae is so distant from the core systems that only very powerful ships can get there.
- Marathon (1994), video game developed and published by Bungie Software. The generation ship Marathon is served by several artificial intelligences, including the "utilities" AI Durandal, who is of doubtful loyalty. Durandal dreams of voyaging to Beta Lyrae to see the contact binary's spectacular accretion disk.
Sigma Draconis (Alsafi)
- "Spock's Brain" (1966), episode of Star Trek: The Original Series written by Gene L. Coon as by Lee Cronin and directed by Marc Daniels, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Sigma Draconis system contains three inhabited planets: Sigma Draconis III, IV and VI. Sigma Draconis III is home to a medieval civilization, while the inhabitants of Sigma Draconis IV have reached a post-industrial level. The crew of the Enterprise does battle on Sigma Draconis VI, an ice-blasted world populated by primitive Morgs (who before their fall were more scientifically advanced than the Federation), in a campaign to recover the kidnapped brain of Mr. Spock.
- Bedlam Planet (1968), novel by John Brunner. A crew of astronauts runs into trouble on a planet of the Sigma Draconis system—they are infected by a local virus that destroys their capacity to assimilate vitamin C. Odd things begin to happen to their mentalities.
- The Byworlder (1971), novel by Poul Anderson. An extraterrestrial from the Sigma Draconis system lands on the Earth. The nations of the world enter a sprited struggle to gain control over his advanced space ship.
- Starforce: Alpha Centauri (1974), board game designed by Redmond Simonsen and published by Simulation Publications. Humanity is reaching out into local interstellar space, and making first contact (and war) with a number of alien species. In the Sigma Draconis system, 18.8 light-years distant, they encounter the L'Chal Dah, an advanced spacefaring race.
- Total Eclipse (1974), novel by John Brunner. The starship Stellaris undertakes several missions to Sigma Draconis III in the years from 2020 to 2028.
- A Woman of the Iron People (1991), novel by Eleanor Arnason. The novel tells a story of first contact between peoples from a future Earth and the intelligent, furred race inhabiting an unnamed planet of Sigma Draconis. Chinese explorer Li Lixia lands on the planet, befriends the native woman Nia, and slowly masters the intricacies of the local culture. The second part of the novel deals with the question of intervention: Various factions of humans disagree as to how much they should interfere in events onworld.
- Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (1992), computer game developed by Westwood Studios (Brett Sperry et al.) and published by Virgin Interactive. The game revolves around an interstellar struggle between the Houses of Atreides, Harkonnen, and Ordos. House Ordos does not appear in any of the Dune novels, but it does in several Dune computer games. The Ordos are mercenary; they care for nothing, save power and wealth. Their home planet, featured in the Ordos House emblem, is Sigma Draconis IV.
- Honor Harrington (1993–), series of novels by David Weber. Located in the Sigma Draconis system, Beowulf is the oldest human colony, having been founded almost two thousand years before the events in the Honor Harrington saga. Beowulf, an important member of the Solarian League, derives a measure of prosperity from the proximity of a wormhole junction that makes the planet a major trading partner of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Recent developments have tempted Beowulf to secede from the Solarian League.
- The Apocalypse Troll (1999), novel by David Weber. Protagonist Ludmilla Leonovna is descended from the Sigma Draconis First Wave—inhabitants of Sigma Draconis IV who, surviving a biological attack by the violently xenophobic Kanga, acquired a heritable symbiote which lent them an array of enhanced physical and mental powers. She must travel back in time to the Earth of the twenty-first century to do battle against a time-shifted Kanga task force and its Troll (a psychopathic cyborg shock-trooper) who have been assigned the back-time mission of preemptively destroying the human race.
- Rollback (2007), novel written by Robert J. Sawyer. Sarah Halifax is an astronomer who long ago translated the first transmission received from an extraterrestrial source: Sigma Draconis. Now, 38 years later, the 87-year old protagonist is again called upon when a second set of signals arrives. In the story, the importance of her task leads to rejuvenation ("rollback") treatments for herself and her longtime husband—but they only work for him.
- Antares Passage (1987), third of the Antares Series of novels by Michael McCollum. Spica is discovered to be the transport hub of the Ryall Hegemony. Most of the events of the following book, Antares Victory, take place in the Spica system.
- Pushing Ice (2005), novel written by Alastair Reynolds. Saturn's moon Janus unexpectedly veers out of its orbit and bolts from the Solar System, pursued by explorer Bella Lind in her space ship the Rockhopper. On approaching its quarry, the vessel gets helplessly entrained by the inertialess drive that propels the great orb—in reality a huge alien spacecraft—and the ship's crew, in the realization that they can never return to Earth, eke out a rough settlement on the moon's surface, willy nilly joining in its voyage to the star Spica. Their ultimate destination there turns out to be the Spica Structure: An immense artifact orbiting the star, it is a fasces-like bundle of O'Neill cylinders, each one with "the internal surface area of fifty thousand Earths; a million Earth's worth in the entire structure...the tube could be three light-minutes [~50 million km] long."
- "The Ensigns of Command" (1989), episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Melinda M. Snodgrass, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Enterprise crew receives an ultimatum from the enigmatic Sheliak race: Within four days evacuate the human colony from Tau Cygni V, which the aliens intend to colonize. The crew of the Enterprise use a combination of intimidation and diplomacy to resolve the crisis.
Theta Centauri (Menkent)
- Starman Jones (1953), novel by Robert A. Heinlein. To launch his brilliant career in space, farmhand Max Jones signs on to the Asgard with forged papers. The starship's first stop on his first voyage out is Garson's Planet, which "possesses the meager virtue of being least unpleasant" of Theta Centauri's 13 planets. It is a cold world with a burdensome surface gravity of 1.25 g, and a methane atmosphere that forces human inhabitants to live under domes. On the plus side, there are no less than six plotted "Horst congruencies" nearby, which makes the planet an interstellar cross-roads (compare Sigma Draconis: Beowulf above).
- The Armies of Memory (2006), fourth in the series of four Thousand Cultures novels by John Barnes. In this novel Theta Ursae Majoris is orbited by the planet Addams, home to 102 cultures, which has lost contact with Earth. Protagonist Giraut Leones discovers that the planet was overwhelmed by an alien AI force that killed almost all the inhabitants and plundered their brains for memories and experiences.
- Tékumel (~1940– ), novels and games by M. A. R. Barker. Unukalhai is the home sun of the Hegléth, or Swamp Folk.
Luyten 726-8 is a binary star system: The component Luyten 726-8A is a red dwarf star with the variable designation BL Ceti, and Luyten 726-8B is a red dwarf with the alternate designation UV Ceti. The latter is the prototype for the class of flare stars, and it goes through fairly extreme changes of brightness: For instance, in 1952, its brightness increased by 75 times in only 20 seconds. None of the items below pretend that UV Ceti is orbited by habitable worlds.
- A Gift from Earth (1968), Known Space novel by Larry Niven. The colony world Plateau in the Tau Ceti system (11.9 light-years from Earth) lives by a rigorous code: All crimes are punishable by involuntary organ harvesting, while organ transplants are reserved to the benefit of the aristocracy. A robotic Bussard ramjet arrives from Earth, bearing a gift that will upset the unstable social balance on Plateau. But before that ... "8.3 light-years from Sol, almost directly between Sol and Tau Ceti, lie the twin red dwarf stars L726-8. Their main distinction is that they are the stars of smallest mass known to man. Yet they are heavy enough to have collected a faint envelope of gas. The ramrobot braked heavily as her ramscoop plowed through the fringes of that envelope." The relative proximity of Tau Ceti to the Earth (with a turnaround point at UV Ceti) is an important plot element in the novel, enabling Plateau to be isolated from the mother planet, and yet still close enough to receive occasional cargoes via ramjet.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. UV Ceti is the site of Eldorado Station, one of the stations on the "Great Circle" chain of space stations that terminates at Pell Station in the Tau Ceti system.
- Timemaster (1992), novel by Robert L. Forward. A billionaire makes a six-year journey to the Barnard's Star system (6 light-years away) to open a wormhole in 2049. Later, a wormhole is opened between Earth and UV Ceti, at a distance of 8.7 light-years.
Van Maanen's Star (Gliese 35)
- A World Out of Time (1970), novel by Larry Niven. Protagonist Jerome Branch Corbell, cryogenically frozen in 1970, is revived in 2190 by an oppressive "State." He is arbitrarily selected to be the pilot and sole passenger of a Bussard ramjet, whose mission is to find and seed suitable planets as the first step in terraforming them for human colonization. The first planetary system on his to-do list lies in orbit around Van Maanen's Star. However, disgusted with The State, Corbell hijacks the ship and takes it to the center of the galaxy.
- Downbelow Station (1981) and other Alliance-Union universe works, novels by C.J. Cherryh. Van Maanen's Star is the site of Mariner, a space station founded after the discovery of Pell's World in the Tau Ceti system. It later joins the Union.
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. The Van Maanen's planetary system is the home of a radical religious sect that believes in suffering as the key to salvation. Mining is done without machines, and any surplus money that is not needed to satisfy basic requirements like oxygen, food and water is burned in a sacred ceremony. The system is only accessible with a special permit. Due to the banning of ordinary trade items, Van Maanen's is a haven for smugglers.
Wolf 359 is a red dwarf of apparent magnitude 13.5 and thus can only be seen with a large telescope. However, at approximately 7.8 light-years away it is the fourth closest stellar system to the Sun; only the Alpha Centauri system, WISE 1049-5319 and Barnard's Star are known to be closer. For this reason, even though it is suspected to be a flare star, it has attracted the attention of science fiction authors, filmmakers, and game developers.
- The Space Pioneers (1953), novel in the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet franchise originated by Carey Rockwell. Corbett is in training at the Space Academy to become a member of the elite Solar Guard. The action of the novel takes place at the Academy, aboard the training ship Polaris, and on alien worlds, both within our Solar System and in orbit around nearby stars—specifically on Roald, a planet circling Wolf 359.
- "Wolf 359" (1964), episode of The Outer Limits television series, written by Seeleg Lester. To test the feasibility of colonizing Dundee Planet in the Wolf 359 system, scientist Jonathan Meridith creates a miniature time-accelerated simulacrum of the planet in his laboratory. When a mysterious lifeform swiftly evolves, Meredith becomes alarmed at its potential. In his final report he writes, "Final report, Dundee Planet, star system Wolf 359. The experiment is finished. My planet is destroyed. My recommendation to the Dundee Foundation: Change the planet selected. Its not a place we can land our spacemen, but the project is feasible..."
- Captive Universe (1969), novel by Harry Harrison. Another generation ship story; this time the pre-technological culture that has forgotten its true provenance is Aztec, and the restless young man who discovers the truth is named Chimal. The ship is the hollowed-out asteroid Eros, and the destination is Wolf 359, selected after the original choice of Proxima Centauri was abandoned.
- The Dark Side of the Sun (1976), novel by Terry Pratchett. The story is set in a portion of our galaxy populated by exactly 52 different sentient species. All of these species, humanity among them, have evolved in the last five million years, and all of them have evolved in a spherical volume of space only a few dozen light-years across centered on Wolf 359. The rest of the galaxy is sterile.
- "The Best of Both Worlds" (1990), double episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation written by Michael Piller, as part of the film, television, and print franchise originated by Gene Roddenberry. The Battle of Wolf 359, the subject of the second installment of the episode, is a pivotal confrontation between the Borg and a defensive Federation fleet in 2367, in which a single Borg cube obliterates a substantial fleet of 39 Federation ships. The battle and its aftermath are significant historical events in the fictional history of the Star Trek franchise. The battle appears in greater detail in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pilot episode "Emissary" (1993) and is recounted again by the ex-Borg character Seven of Nine in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Infinite Regress" (1998).
- Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), computer games written by David Braben et al. Wolf 359 is an industrial and mining colony in these games.
- Terminal Velocity (1995), video game developed by Terminal Reality and published by 3D Realms. The game has three episodes, the first of which is distributed as shareware. Each episode features three different worlds, making a total of nine levels. The third mission, to destroy the spaceship Moon Dagger, is set in the Wolf 359 planetary system.
- Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War (1998), computer game developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Interplay Entertainment. As a kind of in-game payback for failing a mission, the unsuccessful player is given a throw-away assignment with little chance of augmenting his score: The player's character is assigned to fly support for an unimportant mission in the "remote" Wolf 359 system (remote from the War theater, not from the Earth!)
- Chindi (2002), Priscilla Hutchins novel by Jack McDevitt. Possibly alien satellites of unknown origin have been discovered orbiting various planets of our Solar System, including the Earth. Hutch's crew sets out to find who placed them there and why. In the course of the mission, the lost ship Venture is found in the Wolf 359 system.
- Escape Velocity Nova (2002), computer game developed and published by Ambrosia Software. The Federation's Bureau of Internal Investigation—the secret police—has its interstellar headquarters on the planet New England in the Wolf 359 system.
- There Will Be Dragons (2003), first in the series of four Council Wars novels by John Ringo. In this series, humanity inhabits two main worlds: the Earth and a planet in the Wolf 359 system. Civilization is in a state of stagnant decline as men dream away their days in luxury under the care of an omnipotent nanny-AI. Revolutionaries act to shatter this crippling system, and they plunge the worlds into a new Dark Age, complete with medieval-style warfare.
- Sword of the Stars (2006), computer game developed by Kerberos Productions and published by Paradox Interactive. In the game the player chooses one of six races to form an interstellar empire and conquer the galaxy. Key to winning the game's space battles are advanced military technologies, and the game provides the means to "research" them. Character Blasky Yao Hsiang's "research pod" visits Wolf 359 on its first subspace journey.
- "Who's Afraid of Wolf 359?" (2008), short story by Ken MacLeod. After running afoul of Security on a space station, the unnamed protagonist is coerced into accepting a dangerous assignment: finding out what happened to an experimental colony orbiting Wolf 359. Find it he does—with rather unexpected results.
- Troy Rising (2010—2011), trilogy of military science fiction novels by John Ringo. The Earth is belabored by aliens arriving through a jumpgate who at first appear to be friendly traders, but soon reveal themselves to be bent on conquest. Human resistance forces make use of the portal to travel to the star system Wolf 359, where under the tutelage of war leader Tyler Vernon they build an artificial satellite in orbit around a gas giant planet to extract helium-3 from its atmosphere; this rare isotope is used as fuel by mankind's space fleet.
- Star King (1964), "Demon Princes" novel by Jack Vance. Over drinks, protagonist Kirth Gersen is explaining to lovely Pallis Atwrode the origin of the humanoid race of Star Kings. One theory has it that the same vanished race who "carved Monument Cliff on Xi Puppis X" kidnapped a tribe of Neanderthals long ago and removed them to the Star Kings' homeworld Ghnarumen, there to serve as an experimental evolutionary template for the highly adaptable but still rudimentary native life forms.
- Descent II (1996), video game developed by Parallax Software and published by Interplay Entertainment. The first four levels of the game are set on the planet Zeta Aquilae.
- Alien (1979), film written by Dan O'Bannon et al. and directed by Ridley Scott. The spaceship Nostromo receives a mysterious transmission from a nearby planetoid. It sends an expedition to the surface where they find a derelict alien spacecraft. The worldlet is named Acheron (Alien); it is located in the ζ2 Reticuli system. LV-426 is the colony identification codename given in the sequel, Aliens.
- Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983), Alliance-Union universe novel by C. J. Cherryh. A group of 42,363 Union colonists are dispatched to set up a base on the habitable planet Gehenna II in the Zeta Reticuli system. Unknown to the settlers, their mission is designed to fail; they are deliberately abandoned in order to create long-term problems for the rival Alliance.
- Space: Above and Beyond (1995–1996), television series created by Glen Morgan and James Wong. In early 2063, the Chigs wage war against humanity, launching what appears to be an unprovoked first-strike against two human colonies. Zeta Reticuli is the home system of celestial body 2063F (the Chig homeworld), 2064R (its moon), Anvil, and Ixion.
- Silicon Embrace (1996), novel written by John Shirley. During a second American Civil War in the near future, a group of journalists is caught up in a plot hatched by obscure government entities and an alien race from Zeta Reticuli. The Reticulans have been secretly influencing the course of human evolution for thousands of years.
- Seven Days (1998–2001), television series created by Christopher and Zachary Crowe. A secret NSA department has developed a time machine based on alien technology and a fuel source (element 115) found in the wreckage of a spacecraft from Zeta Reticuli near Roswell, New Mexico. The show's "Backstep Sphere" can send one operative seven days back in time to avert disasters.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! (1999), original trading card game published by Konami. It is based on the fictional game of Duel Monsters created by manga artist Kazuki Takahashi. One of the collectible cards is "Zeta Reticulant," featuring an alien from the ζ Ret system; when played, it summons Extraterrestrial Biological Entity tokens.
- Prometheus (2012), film written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, and directed by Ridley Scott. In 2089, two scientists discover a star map among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Following the map, the spaceship Prometheus and its crew arrive on Christmas Day 2093 at the moon LV-223 in the Zeta Reticuli system where they find an abandoned bioweapons installation of a technologically advanced humanoid race and encounter a threat to Earth.
- The Cunning Blood (2005), novel by Jeff Duntemann. Zeta Tucanae I (Longshadow) is only marginally habitable, given its proximity to the star and its tidally locked rotation. Zeta Tucanae II is an earthlike world that would be a nice place to visit, but is used by Earth as a prison planet—whence its name Hell.
Notes and references
- Shakespeare mistakenly applied sixteenth century astronomy to the era of Julius Caesar. In Roman times the north celestial pole was about equally distant from α Ursae Minoris (Polaris) and β Ursae Minoris (Kochab). Before this, during the 1st millennium BC, β Ursae Minoris was the bright star closest to the celestial pole, but it was never close enough to be taken as marking the pole, and the Greek navigator Pytheas in ~320 BC described the celestial pole as devoid of stars.
- Later in the story (pp 47; 70) Pournelle refers twice to the star as 81 Eridani, an apparent editorial error. In spite of majority rule, it is probable that he really meant the once-mentioned 82 Eridani, a well-known star 20 ly from the Earth, with an apparent magnitude of 4+, rather than its Gould catalog predecessor 81 Eridani, a nondescript star about which little is known.
- To calculate: 1 ly = c ·1 yr = c ·52 wk, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum. The speed of the Tours (cranking Mike 400) as it makes the run of "forty-six (46) light-years in under six (6-) weeks" is: Mike 400 = distance/time = 46(c ·52 wk)/(6- wk) = 398.7+c, so that Mike 1 = (398.7+c)/400 = 0.997+c ≈ c. Mike 1 is the speed of light. Note that the current best estimate of the distance to Capella is 42.2 ± 0.5 ly.
- Grendel is the name of the beast-monster slain by the hero Beowulf in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the same name.
- While terrestrial genetic matter and proteins are levorotary, those of Dextra are dextrorotary. The question of nutrition was posed by Lewis Carroll's Alice, in a discussion with her cat on the prospect of stepping through the looking glass, "How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I wonder if they'd give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass milk isn't good to drink...". It isn't, although interestingly, Looking-glass oranges would smell like lemons, and vice-versa.
- Rann was originally located in the Alpha Centauri system until it was fictionally transposed to the Polaris system. It eventually found a home in the Vega system (see Vega: Omega Men).
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