Venus in fiction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Planet Stories Winter 1939

Fictional representations of the planet Venus have existed since the 19th century. Its impenetrable cloud cover gave science fiction writers free rein to speculate on conditions at its surface; all the more so when early observations showed that not only was it very similar in size to Earth, it possessed a substantial atmosphere. Closer to the Sun than Earth, the planet was frequently depicted as warmer, but still habitable by humans.[1] The genre reached its peak between the 1930s and 1950s, at a time when science had revealed some aspects of Venus, but not yet the harsh reality of its surface conditions.


Before Mariner 2 explored Venus, scientists expected that Venus would be ocean, swamp, or desert. Space probes that found that the planet's surface temperature was 800 °F (427 °C), and ground atmospheric pressure was many times that of Earth's, rendered obsolescent earlier fiction that depicted the planet with exotic but habitable settings.[2]


Some scientists envisioned Venus as Panthalassa ("all ocean"), with perhaps a few islands. Large land masses could not exist, they said, because land would cause vertical atmospheric currents breaking up the planet's solid cloud layer.[2]

In Olaf Stapledon’s 1930 science fiction novel Last and First Men, humanity is forced to migrate to Venus hundreds of millions of years in the future when astronomical calculations show that the Moon will soon spiral down to crash into Earth. Stapledon describes Venus as being mostly ocean and having fierce tropical storms. Works such as C. S. Lewis's 1943 Perelandra and Isaac Asimov's 1954 Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus drew from a vision of a Cambrian-like Venus covered by a near-planet-wide ocean filled with exotic aquatic life.[1]


A clement twilight zone on a synchronously rotating Mercury, a swamp‐and‐jungle Venus, and a canal‐infested Mars, while all classic science‐fiction devices, are all, in fact, based upon earlier misapprehensions by planetary scientists.

— Carl Sagan, 1978[3]

Others expected that the planet would have land masses, but not dry ones.[2] In 1918, chemist and Nobel Prize winner Svante Arrhenius, deciding that Venus's cloud cover was necessarily water, decreed in The Destinies of the Stars that "A very great part of the surface of Venus is no doubt covered with swamps" and compared Venus' humidity to the tropical rain forests of the Congo. Because of what he assumed was constantly uniform climatic conditions all over the planet, the life of Venus lived under very stable conditions and did not have to adapt to changing environments like life on Earth. As a result of this lack of selection pressure, it would be covered in prehistoric swamps. Venus thus became, until the early 1960s, a place for science fiction writers to place all manner of unusual life forms, from quasi-dinosaurs to intelligent carnivorous plants. Comparisons often referred to Earth in the Carboniferous period.

In the 1930s, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the "sword-and-planet" style "Venus series," set on a fictionalized version of Venus known as Amtor. The Venus of Robert Heinlein's Future History series and Henry Kuttner's Fury resembled Arrhenius' vision of Venus. Ray Bradbury's short stories "The Long Rain" and "All Summer in a Day" also depicted Venus as a habitable planet with incessant rain. In Germany, the Perry Rhodan novels used the vision of Venus as a jungle world.[1]


A third group explained the cloud cover with a hot, dry planet, on which the atmosphere holds water vapor and the surface has dust storms.[2] In 1922 Charles Edward St. John and Seth B. Nicholson, failing to detect the spectroscopic signs of oxygen or water in the atmosphere, proposed a dusty, windy, desert Venus. The model of a planet covered in clouds of polymeric formaldehyde dust was never as popular as a swamp or jungle, but featured in several notable stories, like Poul Anderson's The Big Rain (1954), and Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth's novel The Space Merchants (1953).

Venera program[edit]

However, the more optimistic notions of Venus were not definitively disproved until the first space probes were sent to Venus. Data from the fly-by of Mariner 2 (December 1962) as well as radio astronomy from the same time pointed to a hot, dry Venus, but as late as 1964, Soviet scientists were still designing Venus probes for the possibility of landing in liquid water.[4] It was not until Venera 4 and Mariner 5 reached Venus (October 18–19, 1967) that it was confirmed beyond doubt that Venus was actually an extremely hot, dry desert planet with sulfuric acid in its atmosphere. Stories about wet tropical Venus vanished at that point,[5] except for intentionally nostalgic "retro-sf", a passing which Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison marked with their 1968 anthology Farewell Fantastic Venus.

As scientific knowledge of Venus advanced, so science fiction authors endeavored to keep pace,[3] particularly by conjecturing human attempts to terraform Venus.[6] For instance James E. Gunn's 1955 novella "The Naked Sky"[7] (retitled "The Joy Ride") starts on a partial terraformed Venus where the colonists live underground to get away from the still-deadly atmosphere. Arthur C. Clarke's 1997 novel 3001: The Final Odyssey, for example, postulates humans lowering Venus's temperature by steering cometary fragments to impact its surface. A terraformed Venus is the setting for a number of diverse works of fiction that have included Exosquad, the German language Mark Brandis series and the manga Venus Wars. In L. Neil Smith's Gallatin Universe novel The Venus Belt, Venus was broken apart by a massive man-made projectile to form a second asteroid belt suitable for commercial exploitation.

Stories set on Venus[edit]

The following list divides stories about Venus into those which reflect the older view of Venus, and the more accurate ones reflecting Venus science since the mid-1960s.

"Old Venus"[edit]

Cover of 1950 Avon comic adaptation of The Radio Man
  • Achille Eyraud's Voyage to Venus (in French) (1865), where humans travels to Venus in a spaceship propelled by a reaction motor.[8][9]
  • The anonymous The Great Romance (1881) is another early SF account of a trip to Venus.
  • Gustavus W. Pope's Journey to Venus (1895) provides a flight, by Earthmen and Martians, to a Venus of dinosaurian monsters.
  • In John Munro's A Trip to Venus (1897), the narrator, an engineer, an astronomer and his daughter travel by a newly invented flying machine to Venus and Mercury. On Venus they find a Utopian civilization, and the narrator falls in love.
  • Fred T. Jane's To Venus in Five Seconds (1897) is a satire and parody of the popular fiction of its era; it features Venusian natives that blend the characteristics of elephants and horse-flies.
  • Garrett P. Serviss' A Columbus of Space (1909) is the story of Edmund Stonewall, an inventor, who travels to Venus in an atomic powered spaceship. He discovers that the planet is inhabited by two species, both of which are telepathic. The first is a cave dwelling ape-like tribe with black heads and white bodies. The second are humanoids that look like tall, blonde Englishmen who live in a floating city suspended by balloons.
  • Ralph Milne Farley's Radio Man series (1924-1955). In Farley's stories, where a man from earth is teleported to Venus, the planet has boiling oceans but has habitable landmasses populated by a humanoid race with blonde hair and blue eyes, and a pair of vestigial wings on their back. Being both deaf and earless, they communicate through antenna on their heads.[10]
    • The Radio Man (1924)
    • The Radio Beasts (1925)
    • The Radio Planet (1926)
    • The Radio Menace (1930)
    • The Radio Minds of Mars (1955)
  • In Otis Adelbert Kline's Planet of Peril (written 1922, published 1929), hero Robert Grandon is telepathically transported into the mind of a Venusian. This was one of the first science fiction stories to send a character particularly to Venus. It was followed by two sequels set on Venus (The Prince of Peril, 1930 and The Port of Peril, 1932).
  • In Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men (1930), humans fleeing a dying Earth perpetrate genocide on Venus and completely exterminate its aquatic intelligent species. Their descendants many millennia later live in the planet's oceanic idyll and biologically evolve into bird-men having the power of flight.
  • In John W. Campbell's The Black Star Passes (1930, republished 1953), Venus is the home of an advanced civilization that creates enormous aircraft, among other things. There are two large continents on Venus called Lanor and Kaxor, one centered on each pole.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs' Venus series (1934–1946) Venus is a tropical world shielded from the heat of the sun by a perpetual cloud cover, home to a humanoid race whose technology is advanced in some respects but archaic in others. The native name is Amtor, and the portion depicted, largely confined to the southern hemisphere's temperate zone, is primarily oceanic, but includes two forested continents and a number of large islands. The series features hero Carson Napier, who engages in derring-do and the rescue of princesses amid vicious political struggles.[11]
  • In Stanley G. Weinbaum's "Parasite Planet" and "The Lotus Eaters" (1935), Venus is tidally locked, with a barren sunside, a tropical twilight zone inhabited by parasitic life-forms, and a frozen nightside.
  • H. P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling's "In the Walls of Eryx" (1939) takes place on a muddy jungle Venus inhabited by lizard-men. (Unlike many other Lovecraft stories, it is not part of the Cthulhu Mythos.)
  • In Leigh Brackett's short stories (1940–1949), including "Lorelei of the Red Mist", "The Moon That Vanished", and "Enchantress of Venus", Venus is warm, wet, and cloudy; most of its surface is ocean or low-lying swamp, both of which are filled with exotic forms of life, including a large number of alien species.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Future History series, Venus is portrayed as a world covered entirely in hot, steamy swamps, which are used to explain the constant, unyielding cloud cover. Humans can live on Venus, but they find it very uncomfortable, and the few who settle there mainly are there for growing and harvesting local crops for export. The native Venusians are a primitive, yet peaceful people who tolerate humanity's presence and colonization.
    • Logic of Empire (1941). An Earthman is enslaved on Venus.
    • Space Cadet (1948). Depicts a confrontation with ordinarily peaceful Venusians who inhabit a steamy, jungle-covered Venus.
    • Between Planets (1951). A war for independence erupts between Earth and colonists and natives of Venus. The protagonist joins the Venus side.
    • Podkayne of Mars (1962), a spaceliner en route from Mars to Earth makes a stop at Venus, which is depicted as a latter-day Las Vegas gone ultra-capitalistic, controlled by a single corporation. Almost the last half of the novel takes place on Venus.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Perelandra (1943), the second book in science fiction Space Trilogy, the scene is the planet Venus, described as a sort of paradise, where fabulous animals live, along with the King and Queen, Green humanoids. In Lewis' description the whole surface of Venus is covered by ocean upon which are free-floating rafts of vegetation large enough to support animal life; with the exception of a single mountainous land-mass. The main character, Elwin Ransom acts as Maleldil's emissary in a second "Garden of Eden" situation. The Oyarsa of Venus is feminine, like the Classical goddess Venus.
  • In Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore's classic of military sci-fi, Clash by Night (1943), humanity in the Fourth Millennium, after the destruction of Earth due to atomic energy, found refuge on Venus within submarine city-states, which hired mercenary companies and their battle fleets to fight their wars on the waters of the planet, away from civilians. The mainland is - apart from the mercenary strongholds - uninhabitable, covered by a dense and lethal jungle dominated by poisonous flora and fauna, including huge and fierce reptiles. In the novel Fury (1947), set several centuries later, the mercenary companies have disappeared, and the now united underwater Reserves are dominated by an elite minority of rich Immortals. Human civilization is in full stagnation, and would face extinction within a few centuries, when the protagonist of the novel promotes a "crusade" to colonize the surface. In David Drake's Seas of Venus the author revisits the Venus of Fury for two more adventures of the mercenary companies.
  • In C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories, Smith occasionally visits a dark, swampy, decadent Venus (whose pale women are described as the most beautiful in the system). His best friend is the equally-amoral Venusian Yarol.
  • "Venus and the Seven Sexes" (1947) by William Tenn.
  • In A. E. van Vogt's The World of Null-A (1948) and The Pawns of Null-A (1956), Venus in the far future is terraformed into a paradise where immigration from Earth is strictly controlled. The trees are all giants, with massive leaves to hold back the torrential rains.
  • In Jack Williamson's Seetee Ship (1949) and Seetee Shock (1950), Venus is colonized by China, in cooperation with some colonists from Japan and other East Asian countries, who all find the climate of Venus (as conceived here) congenial for the growing of rice. The Chinese transfer the seat of their government to Venus after the United States builds a nuclear base on the Moon, which enables the Americans to dominate the whole of Earth. The Asian-colonized Venus is one of the main powers contending for control of the mineral wealth of the Asteroid Belt.
  • One of the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet books, The Revolt on Venus (1954) depicts a jungle-covered world with huge trees and large plantations.
  • In Ray Bradbury's "Death-by-Rain" (1950), a short story later published as "The Long Rain" in the 1951 short story collection The Illustrated Man, four astronauts search for a man-made shelter, called a "sun dome", on the surface of Venus, to escape the constant rain. In a film adaptation, the planet is not identified as Venus.
  • In Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants (1953), Venus is portrayed as a steamy jungle world, on which a former executive is enslaved on a Chlorella plantation.
  • In The Duplicated Man (1953) by James Blish and Robert Lowndes, Earth is at war with Venus, and a pacifist scientist discovers a human duplication machine. But it only makes five copies at a time. If he can duplicate the right world leaders, he might be able to bring about peace.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (1954), a juvenile novel, Venus is covered by a worldwide ocean with human colonies located on the seafloor.
  • In Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" (1954), a short story later published in the 1959 collection A Medicine for Melancholy, the sun is seen for only an hour every seven years in a colony on Venus where it is constantly raining.
  • In Poul Anderson's 1954 novella The Big Rain published in the 1981 collection The Psychotechnic League, Venus is a harsh, waterless world under a brutal dictatorship.
  • In Boris and Arkady Strugatsky's Noon Universe stories, Venus is depicted as an extremely harsh planet covered by strange flora and fauna but also very rich in minerals and heavy metals. The Land of Crimson Clouds (Russian: Strana Bagrovykh Tuch, 1959) describes the first successful manned mission to Venus, although a full-scaled colonization of the planet was not initiated until much later (in 2119; see Noon: 22nd Century).
  • In Philippe Curval's 1960 novel Les Fleurs de Vénus, Venus is a luxuriant (but deadly toxic at night) paradise inhabited by peaceful noble savages. The Humans tried to colonize it but with little success.
  • In some of the early Perry Rhodan stories (1961–1962), Venus is a jungle world inhabited by dinosaurs and other monstrous creatures and is the site of a huge, ancient alien fortress.
  • Roger Zelazny's The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth (1965) describes an oceanic Venus complete with monstrous fish-like creatures is invoked, despite then-recent evidence contradicting this image of Venus.
  • Farewell Fantastic Venus (1968; abridged paperback as All About Venus) is an anthology of short stories, excerpts and essays from both old and new versions of the planet.
  • S. M. Stirling's The Sky People (2006) restores the traditional oceanic and Mesozoic Venus by postulating an alternate universe in which Venus was terraformed and given a shorter solar day 200 million years ago by an unknown alien intelligence; Venus was then populated with wave after wave of terrestrial species ranging from dinosaurs to Neanderthals and several different populations of humans. Discovery of the Earthlike conditions prevailing on Venus led to a sped-up Space-Race and Terran settlements by the second half of the 20th century.
  • Stephen King's short story "The Cursed Expedition" detailed a Venus that was alive and ate starships.
  • The 2015 anthology Old Venus contains modern stories set on retro versions of Venus.

"New Venus"[edit]

  • In Stanisław Lem's book Astronauci (The Astronauts) (1951) it is a post-apocalyptic dead world (see film section for details).
  • James E. Gunn's 1955 novella "The Naked Sky" (published in Startling Stories Fall 1955 and retitled "The Joy Ride") starts on a partially terraformed Venus that had been "embalmed at birth, shrouded in stifling clouds of carbon dioxide, hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids. Beneath those miles of poisonous clouds, Man found a desert where nothing lived, where nothing could live. The vital ingredients were missing: free water, free oxygen. What it offered were unbearable pressures and burning temperatures."
  • In Larry Niven's "Becalmed in Hell" (1965), a spaceship exploring the atmosphere of Venus lands to fix a problem. One of the earliest stories to reflect the newer understanding of Venus' high surface temperatures.
  • In Frederik Pohl's The Merchants of Venus (1972), Pohl made a meticulous effort to present a plausible way for human colonization of Venus, under the conditions revealed by probes. In this story, Venus had been settled in the distant past by mysterious aliens which humans called Heechee. They left behind various artifacts as well as tunnels and underground chambers which could be adapted to human use, which both considerably reduced the price of colonization and provided a strong economic incentive as Heecheee artifacts fetched high prices. This became the basis for Pohl's celebrated Heechee Series, where the search for Heechee artifacts and the Heechee themselves goes deeper and deeper into space, and meanwhile human-settled Venus has become a sovereign state and a major power.
  • In Brenda Pearce's short story Crazy Oil (1975), Venus is inhabited by a sentient oil life form, which consists of membranous pockets functioning as different organs. It is very useful and is mined until the oil attempts to kill the miners. All work on the surface must be done in special suits and life is thought to be impossible there.[12]
  • In Felix Thijssen's Dutch novel "Pion" (1979), early human attempts at terraforming Venus by seeding its clouds with oxygen producing simple lifeforms threatens to destroy the sentient jellyfish-like Venusians who live in the clouds (due to oxygen being lethal to them). Their only hope is to venusform Earth by removing the oxygen from our atmosphere.
  • In John Varley's "In the Bowl", humans use advanced technology to live on Venus.
  • In Pamela Sargent's Venus series, Venus of Dreams (1986), Venus of Shadows (1988), and Child of Venus (2001), the setting is provided by the terraforming of Venus.
  • In Frank Herbert's Man of Two Worlds (1986), part of the story takes place on Venus, with a war occurring on the planet between the French (and their Foreign Legion) and the Chinese. Foot soldiers on both sides wear armored suits made of inceram, an incredibly heat-resistant material, to protect them from the planet's surface temperatures. Any damage to a soldier's armor which allows the Venusian atmosphere inside results in his body literally boiling into vapor.
  • Paul Preuss' Venus Prime second book Maëlström (1988), is set on Venus.
  • In Ben Bova's novel Venus (2000), part of his Grand Tour series, a scientifically accurate depiction of the planet is offered. Two competing manned expeditions are sent there to recover the body of an astronaut whose previous mission failed for unknown reasons.
  • In Sarah Zettel's The Quiet Invasion (2000), exploration on Venus leads to the discovery of an alien species.
  • In Geoffrey A. Landis's "The Sultan of the Clouds" (2010), human settlements float inside balloons at a level of the atmosphere high enough above the surface for the atmospheric temperature to be roughly earthlike.
  • In the Mark Brandis Space Partisans universe, mankind in the late 21st century has managed to terraform Venus to host a colony of cities, each covered by massive transparent domes containing a breathable atmosphere and protecting from the heat. The colony had been a former Gulag-type penitentiary and the domes had been built by the prisoners.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 (2012), the terraforming of Venus is being led by the Chinese. A giant parasol is used to block the sun's heat, cooling the atmosphere enough to freeze the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and have it fall onto the surface. Artificial rock is being layered over the CO2 ice before it can sublimate again when the sunlight is returned.
  • In James S. A. Corey's Caliban's War (2012), Venus is colonised by a sapient alien protomolecule.

Other fictional references to Venus[edit]

  • In Lucian's 2nd century True History the war between the King of the Moon and King of the Sun was started when the King of the Sun tried to stop colonisation of the Morning Star.
  • In H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898), the narrator states in the epilogue that he believes that the Martians may have landed on Venus after the failed invasion of Earth. Ironically, the first film adaptation of the novel, The War of the Worlds, opens with an exposition on the Martian studies of all the planets in the solar system, with the exception of Venus, before selecting Earth.
  • The War of the Wenuses (1898) by E. V. Lucas with C. L. Graves (Charles Larcom Graves) is in fact a parody of H G Wells's The War of the Worlds.
  • The animated science fiction film Battle for Terra briefly mentions that Venus (along with Mars) was colonized by Earth in the backstory, before all three were rendered uninhabitable after a civil war, forcing humanity into space.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories, Venus is the Star of Eärendil. The star was created when Eärendil the Mariner was set in the sky on his ship, with a Silmaril bound to his brow. Elements of this story go back as far as 1914, though they did not appear in print until 1954. Tolkien chose the name directly from the Old English word Earendel, used as the name of a star (perhaps the morning star, Venus).
  • In Hugh Walters' young reader's novel Expedition Venus (1962), an unmanned probe returning from Venus crashes in Africa, accidentally releasing a dangerous spore that flourishes in terrestrial conditions.
  • In Stephen King's short story "I Am the Doorway" (March 1971; reprinted in Night Shift 1978), the astronaut protagonist's difficulties occur subsequent to a mission to Venus.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama (1972), the UP (United Planets) organization conspicuously excludes Venus. Later, the book's protagonist William Norton is described as having "distinguished himself during the fifteenth attempt to establish a base on Venus."
  • In L. Neil Smith's The Venus Belt (1980), part of an alternative history series, an unrestrained capitalist free enterprise culture makes a huge success of colonizing the asteroid belt and decides to blow up and smash to pieces the "utterly useless planet" Venus so as to create a new Asteroid Belt (hence the book's name).
  • In Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, it is briefly noted that humans are planning to use a parasol to diffuse or block the sunlight from Venus, causing the atmosphere to condense to the surface as dry ice, where nano-machines will encase it under the oceans under a blanket of nano-engineered diamond. Metallic drivers are being used to increase the spin of Venus to something like a Terran week per rotation. These ideas are expanded on in Robinson's 2312 (see above).
  • In Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Space, Venus is found to have been purposely slowed down through the use of planet-covering superconducting cable. In the novel Exultant of the Destiny's Children series, the Venus of an entirely different universe has been turned into a vast carbon mine, its atmosphere depleted.
  • In Larklight (2006) Venus is home to many varieties of plant life, some are even sentient. An experiment by the British Government led to all but one of the 20,000 colonists turning into changeling trees in 1837. In Mothstorm, they are finally turned back in 1852 Easter.

Comics and manga[edit]

Planet Stories 1942
  • The Buck Rogers comic strip included several story lines related to Venus, starting with the Sunday sequence "Marooned on Venus" (12/7/30 to 7/12/31), featuring teenage protagonists Buddy and Alura.
  • The Hydrads of Venus, who resemble huge animated sponges, appear in Planet Comics, in the Lost World section. If hurt, water can restore them to health. Though opposed to the Voltamen who have invaded Earth, they are also enemies to Hunt Bowman.
  • Venus features prominently in the British comic Dan Dare (original run 1950–1967). Dan Dare's Venus was divided into two hemispheres, north and south, separated by a "flamebelt" of burning gases. North Venus was the home planet of the hyperintelligent, dictatorial Mekon, Dare's arch-enemy, as well as his people, the Treens. South Venus is inhabited by a different people, the Therons. The Treens are green, and mostly emotionless. Descendants of humans abducted from Earth millennia ago are slaves to them. Venus may have been a comment on the divisions of North and South Korea.
  • Action Comics #152 portrays Venusian's civilization as a futuristic version of Earth's, and Venusians as humanoids who have adopted English as their planetary language (Act No. 152, January 1951: "The Sleep That Lasted 1000 Years").
  • Superman #151 on the other hand, portrays Venusian life humorously, depicting Venus as a world inhabited by cute "tomato girls," "pumpkin men," "cucumber men," and other comical "plant-beings" (February 1962: "The Three Tough Teenagers!").
  • Venus is Cosmic King's native planet (Superman #147/3), August 1961: "The Legion of Super-Villains!", and the place where Van-Zee and Sylvia lived prior to taking up residence in Kandor (Superman's Girl-Friend Lois Lane #15, February 1960: "The Super-Family of Steel!" pts. I-III—"Super Husband and Wife!"; "The Bride Gets Super Powers!"; "Secret of the Super-Family!").
  • In November–December 1948, Superman journeys to Venus to obtain an exotic Venusian flower as a gift for Lois Lane (Superman #55/2: "The Richest Man in the World!").
  • In January 1951, Dr. Dorrow attempts to exile Superman and Lois Lane to Venus by shutting them inside transparent cylinders filled with "suspended animation gas" and launching them into outer space, but Superman and Lois are released from their cylinders by friendly Venusians and soon succeed in returning to Earth (Action Comics #152, January 1951: "The Sleep That Lasted 1000 Years").
  • In December 1953, when a meteor is about to destroy Venus, Superboy smashes it and visits Venus to quench his thirst. Upon returning to Smallville, he unknowingly brings back a Venusian spore that grows rapidly into a tree. The tree's strange odor begins to affect the population, making them behave strangely or act out dreams. Superboy uproots the tree, hurls it into space and solves the problem of the alien tree's aroma (Superboy #29, December 1953: "The Tree that Drove Smallville Wild!").
  • In February 1962, Superman flies a juvenile delinquent to Venus and threatens to abandon him there as part of his plan for teaching the young troublemaker a richly deserved lesson in good manners and respect for others (Superman #151/1, February 1962: "The Three Tough Teenagers!").
  • In the DC Comics universe, Venus is home to millions of mind-controlling worms which might have once ruled Earth, such as Mister Mind (1943), an enemy of Captain Marvel. It is also the homeworld to the villain Cosmic King (1961), who was banished for performing transmutation experiments. As shown in the one-shot issue Wonder Woman #1,000,000, it is also the potential future home to the Amazons in that universe in the 853rd century. In Golden Age Captain Marvel stories Venus was the base of Sivana, the mad scientist. It is inhabited by giant frog-like amphibions and somehow the Sivana family hold royal status there. All of Sivana's four children spent most of their life growing up on Venus, and in early stories it appeared like a safe haven for Sivana. It contained many prehistoric beasts, which Sivana once tried importing to Earth to make a circus.
  • In the Golden Age Showcase #23 (the one with Green Lantern) the planet was populated by blue-skinned humanoid cave dwellers and yellow pterodacyl-like predators called Bird-Raiders, which are sealed in a cave by Green Lantern, after he is sent by the Guardians operating through his power battery, to prevent the humans being wiped out..
  • In the English adaptation of Black Magic, one of Masamune Shirow's earlier works, a habitable Venus several millions of years before the present is used as the principal setting. It is home to a technologically advanced civilisation of humans and human-like beings. It is implied that the planet later somehow deteriorated into its current (real-life), uninhabitable state.
  • In the manga Venus Wars, an ice asteroid designated Apollon collides with Venus in 2003. This has the effect of dispersing much of the planet's atmosphere, adding enough moisture to form (acidic) seas, and speeding up its rotation to give it a day that matches its year. Simply put, due to an unlikely yet scientifically sound accident, it takes amazingly little effort for humans to make the planet marginally habitable - the first manned ship lands in 2007, colonization begins in 2012.
  • In Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, also known as Minako Aino, was once the princess of Venus. Magellan Castle, named after the Magellan probe, is where the princess and royal family lived on Venus and ruled over a race of Venusians prior to the events in the manga. While the inhabitants of Venus are not explored, the character of Adonis in Codename: Sailor V is also from Venus. All of Sailor Venus' attacks are energy based on gold and love.
  • In DC Comics' All-Star Comics #13 the JSA are gassed by Nazis and rocketed to different planets. The goddess Aphrodite directs the rocket bearing the unconscious Wonder Woman to the planet Venus, and the Amazon is brought before Queen Desira of the race of Fairies who live there, who immediately recognizes her as the oracle of Aphrodite. Wonder Woman is asked to help battle giant men-warriors, who are killing and capturing the men of the planet. In a series of desperate adventures, Wonder Woman defeats the warriors and is given the gift of magnetic hearing by the Queen.
  • In one Super Goof comic, the Beagle Boys trick Super Goof into believing there is a river of gold on Venus, and then steal his return-trip supply of super-peanuts (replacing it with a sack of shell-fragments) which they then use to temporarily get similar superpowers. When Super Goof and Gilbert reach Venus, Gilbert finds the substitution—and puts one super-peanut which he has in his hat in the clouds (producing a bush of huge peanuts within minutes). The two do find what appears to be a river of gold (which the Beagle Boys find out about through a spy-eye which has tracked Super Goof for some time) and then rush there to stop him and Gilbert from returning—but are stopped when Super Goof takes a pipeline (made from the bush that sprouted) and aims some of the stream's liquid at them (which Gilbert has found is actually liquid cheese), who then takes them back to earth and turns them over to the police.
  • In one Flash Gordon comic, Flash visits a friend on Venus—and has much difficulty from this friend's rowdy son Reynaldo (Venusians in this comic breathe water—an ability the half-Venusian Reynaldo has inherited) after the latter kills one of his father's dolphins.

Film and television[edit]

  • Many science-fiction movies and serials of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Space Ship Sappy, Queen of Outer Space (with Zsa Zsa Gabor), and Space Patrol, have used the concept of the namesake goddess Venus and her domain to contrive planetary populations of nubile Amazonian women welcoming (or attacking) all-male astronaut crews (even though the goddess Venus - or Aphrodite for that matter - had absolutely nothing to do with the Amazons; that role belonged to Ares, or to Artemis).
  • The original Space Patrol displayed Venus (with the exception of cities and bases built by the United Planets) as the cloud-covered, swampy, dinosaur- and amazon-ridden version discussed above. (The few episodes of the Space Patrol radio shows set on Venus all took place in the highly civilized sections of it.)
  • The later British Space Patrol (1962) puppet television series featured episodes along these lines:
    • "Time Stands Still" episode. Stolen art treasures are being transported into space. Raeburn suspects that Venusian millionaire Tara is behind the thefts, but his palace is too well-guarded. Professor Heggarty develops a watch that speeds up the wearer's reaction sixty times, which enables Dart to sneak into the palace unnoticed.
    • "The Human Fish" episode. The Tula Fish in the Venusian Magda Ocean are evolving at an extraordinary rate and attack fishermen. The Galasphere crew are sent to help and discover that building materials, routinely dumped in the ocean, may be the cause of the Tula's accelerated evolution.
  • Der Schweigende Stern (1960) (The Silent Star, vaguely translated into English as First Spaceship on Venus). In this co-production East Germany-Poland, based on Stanisław Lem's book Astronauci (The Astronauts), it is discovered that the Tunguska Event in 1908 was the crash of a spaceship from Venus, and a multi-national crew is sent to the planet. They find the Venusians to have destroyed themselves (probably in a nuclear war) and the environment to be hostile. We never see the actual Venusians, but in an eerie scene, humanoid flash shadows are shown on a wall.
  • The Twilight Zone episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" shows a three-eyed Venusian disguised as a human chef. He tells a Martian sent before a colonisation force that Venus is forming a colony on Earth and has intercepted the Martian colonisation force.
  • The Russian film Планета Бурь (Planeta Bur) (Storm Planet, 1962) is about an expedition to Venus that discovers dinosaurs. The film exists in many badly-recut versions, including Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, which were re-directed by Curtis Harrington and Peter Bogdanovich, respectively, under pseudonyms.
  • "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" (1964), episode of The Outer Limits television series starring William Shatner as an astronaut who returns from a voyage to Venus suffering from unexplained mutations.
  • "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster" (1964), a film in the Godzilla franchise, has a character stating that 5,000 years ago, an ancient civilization lived on Venus before being wiped out by King Ghidorah.
  • Venus is the location of several Starfleet Academy training facilities and terraforming stations in the fictional Star Trek universe (1966– ).
  • Doomsday Machine, a film originally produced in 1967, but not released until 1972, depicts an ill-fated attempt, in (a fictional version of) the year 1975, by an American-launched and led, mixed-gender space-faring crew of humans (survivors of a war in which their home planet Earth had been obliterated by the armed forces of China, using an apocalyptic super-weapon, hence the film's title) to colonize Venus, before the planet's telepathic inhabitants, fearing mankind's "self-destructive powers", presumably destroy the humans' spaceship and, at film's end, send the last surviving human couple (the "Last of Man", as they were so-called by the Venusians), aboard a re-discovered, derelict Soviet sister craft, to a place somewhere "beyond the rim of the Universe".
  • The British science fiction series Space: 1999 also refers to a mission to a space station orbiting Venus where the crew contracts a deadly virus and must be left to die rather than bring the infection back to Earth.
  • A failed Russian probe that returns to Earth and wreaks havoc was a recurring "character" on the 1970s series The Bionic Woman.
  • In Doctor Who, the Third Doctor purports to be an expert in Venusian aikido and sings Venusian lullabies. The Missing Adventures novel Venusian Lullaby elaborates on this, depicting the First Doctor visiting a dying Venus three billion years in the past. The Fourth Doctor holds a pilot's license for the Mars—Venus run.
  • The British spy/fantasy TV series The Avengers with characters John Steed and Emma Peel has a 1967 episode entitled From Venus with Love (a whimsical reference to the James Bond title From Russia With Love) about a group of amateur astronomers, all members of the BVS (British Venusian Society). One by one they succumb to death due to sudden advanced age, each after having observed Venus, allegedly as a result of an Earth invasion by Venusians. One of the BVS members (Brigadier Whitehead) is played by Jon Pertwee, 3 years prior to his eponymous role in Doctor Who.
  • In the BBC miniseries Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets (2004), Venus is the first destination of the interplanetary science vessel Pegasus. Cosmonaut Yvan Grigorev becomes the first human to set foot on the planet during a short manned landing, which due to the hostile environment, only has a planned duration of one hour.
  • Venus was the first planet when a team of eight astronauts were doing a grand tour of the solar system in Defying Gravity. Two of the astronauts land on the planet in search of an object.
  • In the second episode of Challenge of the Super Friends Venus is shown to be inhabited by an advanced civilisation called the Fearians. They form an alliance with the Legion of Doom, who trick the Super Friends into changing the world so it can support Fearian life. This will allow the Fearians to form a colony and the Legion will rule the world. The Super Friends are trapped by the Fearian Leader in a force field. However Green Lantern makes them invisible, causing the Leader to think they have escaped and turn off the field. He is defeated by Black Lightning and Green Lantern sends him back to Venus. The Super Friends then restore the world. The Fearian Leader has three-heads, with green skin and red eyes.
  • In the film Astronaut: The Last Push (2012), the Life One spaceship has to perform a slingshot maneuver around Venus in order to safely return to Earth after an aborted mission to the Jovian moons. The beautiful sight of Venus at its closest approach significantly raises the morale of the lone surviving astronaut.
  • In the Series The Expanse, Venus is critical part of the plot, as the protomolecule crashes on Venus, re-emerges and builds a structure which later becomes "The Ring".


  • Venus Wars (1989) is an animated film that takes place on a terraformed Venus.
  • In the television series Exosquad, a terraformed Venus was one of the three Homeworlds.
  • Venus is the setting of episode ("session")8 "Watz for Venus" of the anime Cowboy Bebop (1998). In the show, Venus is an arid but habitable world, terraformed by floating plants in the atmosphere. These plants are depicted to be the size of cumulous clouds. These plants occasionally precipitate snow like spores which cause a disease called Venus Sickness. In episode 8, Spike meets a woman named Stella who has become legally blind as a result of Venus Sickness. In the same episode Stella's brother Rocco goes to great lengths to obtain a plant called Gray Ash, which can cure Stella from Venus Sickness and restore her sight. Much of the population lives in floating cities in the sky. Local society and architecture appear to be loosely based on real-life India, Istanbul and other parts of Middle and Southwest Asia. In episode ("session") 8 Spike meets Rocco at a cathedral which resembles Hagia Sophia.
  • In the 2009 Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog, Venus (the "Evening Star") is dubbed Evangeline by Ray the firefly and is from that point on in the movie referred to by all the characters as such. Ray becomes a second one at the end after he died.
  • A Super Friends episode shows Venus as a world inhabited by giant termites who have destroyed the world. A volcanic eruption sends termites to Earth, however Samurai is able to send them into space.


  • In the role-playing game Transhuman Space, a scientific colony of a few thousand people has been established on Venus. The European Union has also begun construction of a sunshade as a first step toward terraforming Venus.
  • In the computer game Descent, levels 4 and 5 take place in a Venus atmospheric lab, and a nickel-iron mine. In the game's third installment, Descent³, the final level of the game takes place in an underground facility on Venus where the game's main antagonist fled to and hidden himself in.
  • In the PC game Battlezone, Venus is featured in several missions and multiplayer maps with a brown atmosphere, constant lightning and thunder, and fog. The heat does not affect the gameplay, but lakes of molten yellow-colored material can damage the player's tank.
  • In the Mutant Chronicles game universe, Venus is an important setting, following the pulp era jungle description.
  • In the PlayStation game Colony Wars, the wider universe believed that Venus had been destroyed, but it was in fact an experiment by the Empire to cloak a planet.
  • In Destiny, Venus is a planet terraformed by the Traveler, a mysterious alien artifact made of advanced technology. It lifted the clouds of poisonous carbon dioxide and created oceans on its surface, prompting human colonization. The Ishtar Collective, a famous university and research station, was built on Venus. When alien races invaded the solar system, Venus was abandoned and is now reaching a pre-terraformation stage, rendering it uninhabitable. The player must fight the alien races off before the planet consumes itself.
  • Space 1889, a role playing game from Frank Chadwick and Games Design Workshop. Venus is depicted as above, a cloud covered world of giant fauna and flora, shallow seas, pterosaurs and colonial fighting. The Earth colonies are forced to exist only in the highlands and travel is by helium filled Zeppelins as Martian liftwood decays in the Venusian atmosphere.
  • In active development, Arms of Venus is an online game based on immense floating platforms in the upper atmosphere.
  • Solar Warrior, US version of the side-scrolling arcade Xain'd Sleena: Venus appears as a lush world with dinosaurs and large insects.
  • In the MMO Warframe, Venus was terraformed into an expansive tundra by the fallen Orokin empire, but has slowly reverted to a planet of extreme temperature fluctuations in the time since then. A megacorporation known as the Corpus is attempting to reactivate the derelict terraforming technology left behind.
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, the Nazis have appeared to colonize it with Adolf Hitler taking refuge on the planet. One of Hitler's reasons in doing so was to have the planet as a convenient location for actor auditions towards his propaganda film projects.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Ron (2003), Venus, Twenty-First Century Books, p. 12, ISBN 0-7613-2359-7
  2. ^ a b c d Ley, Willy (April 1966). "The Re-Designed Solar System". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 126–136.
  3. ^ a b Sagan, Carl (1978-05-28). "Growing up with Science Fiction". The New York Times. p. SM7. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  4. ^ Inventing The Interplanetary Probe
  5. ^ Dick, Steven (2001), Life on Other Worlds: The 20th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate, Cambridge University Press, p. 43, ISBN 0-521-79912-0
  6. ^ Seed, David (2005), A Companion to Science Fiction, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 134–135, ISBN 1-4051-1218-2
  7. ^ Startling Stories Fll 1955
  8. ^ SF&F encyclopedia (V-V)
  9. ^ Rockets Into Space
  10. ^ Radio Free Venus - Ralph Milne Farley's Radio Series
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Analog Science Fiction, April 1975, pp. 14 - 60
  13. ^