Venus in fiction

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Refer to caption
Venus appears in many pulp science fiction stories. Seen here is the winter 1939 cover of Planet Stories, featuring "The Golden Amazons of Venus".

The planet Venus has been used as a setting in fiction since before the 19th century. Its impenetrable cloud cover gave science fiction writers free rein to speculate on conditions at its surface; the planet was often depicted as warmer than Earth but still habitable by humans. Depictions of Venus as a lush, verdant paradise, an oceanic planet, or fetid swampland, often inhabited by dinosaur-like beasts or other monsters, became common in early pulp science fiction, particularly between the 1930s and 1950s. Some other stories portrayed it as a desert, or invented more exotic settings. The absence of a common vision resulted in Venus not developing a coherent fictional mythology, in contrast to the image of Mars in fiction.

When portrayed, the native sentient inhabitants, Venusians, were often portrayed as gentle, ethereal and beautiful. The planet's associations with the Roman goddess of the same name and femininity in general is reflected in many works' portrayals of Venusians. Depictions of Venusian societies have varied both in level of development and type of governance. In addition to humans visiting Venus, several stories feature Venusians coming to Earth—most often to enlighten humanity, but occasionally for warlike purposes.

From the mid-20th century on, as the reality of Venus' harsh surface conditions became known, the early tropes of adventures in Venusian tropics gave way to more realistic stories. The planet became portrayed instead as a hostile, toxic inferno, with stories changing focus to topics of the planet's colonization and terraforming, although the vision of tropical Venus is occasionally revisited in intentionally retro stories.

Early depictions: exotic tropics[edit]

The earliest use of the planet Venus as the primary setting in a work of fiction was Voyage à Venus (Voyage to Venus, 1865) by Achille Eyraud [fr],[1][2]: 6  though it had appeared centuries earlier in works visiting multiple locations in the Solar System such as Athanasius Kircher's Itinerarium Exstaticum (1656) and Emanuel Swedenborg's The Earths in Our Solar System (1758).[1] Science fiction scholar Gary Westfahl considers the mention of the "Morning Star" in the second-century work True History by Lucian of Samosata to be the first appearance of Venus—or any other planet—in the genre.[3]: 164  In time, Venus became one of the most popular planets in early science fiction, though never approaching the popularity of Mars.[1][3]: 164–165 [4]: 12  On the subject, Westfahl writes that while Mars has a distinctive body of major works such as H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898) and Ray Bradbury's fix-up novel The Martian Chronicles (1950), Venus largely lacks a corresponding canon.[3]: 165–166  Introducing the anthology Farewell Fantastic Venus (1968), Brian Aldiss writes "how few have been the visitors to Venus, compared with the voyages to Mars!"[2]: 7  Westfahl attributes the disparity largely to the image of Mars made popular by Percival Lowell, with Martian canals and a civilization that built them, not having a Venusian counterpart.[3]: 164  Aldiss explains the difference by noting that for the longest time, comparatively very little was known of Venus—including the length of its day.[2]: 7–8 

Venus has a thick layer of clouds that prevents telescopic observation of the surface, giving writers free rein to imagine any kind of world below.[1][4]: 12 [5]: 671 [6]: 547 [7]: 859–860 [8][9] One of the many visions was of a tidally locked Venus with half of the planet always exposed to the Sun and the other half in perpetual darkness—as was widely believed to be the case with Mercury at the time. This concept was introduced by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli and appeared in Garrett P. Serviss' A Columbus of Space (1909) and Garrett Smith's Between Worlds (1919), among others.[3]: 169 [4]: 12 [5]: 671 [6]: 547 [2]: 8  The absence of a common vision of Venus resulted in the less coherent mythology of Venus, particularly compared with the image of Mars in fiction.[1] As a result of the setting's versatility, according to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "some of the gaudiest romances of Genre SF are set on Venus".[1] Stephen L. Gillett, one of the contributors to The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, describes the situation as a "cosmic Rorschach test", with numerous authors populating the land beneath Venus' featureless clouds with exotic but usually habitable settings, and producing stories ranging from adventure to satire.[7]: 861 

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[10]

A common assumption was that the Venusian clouds were made of water, as clouds on Earth are, and consequently the planet was most often portrayed as having a wet climate.[3]: 166 [5]: 671 [6]: 547  This sometimes meant vast oceans, but more commonly swamps and jungles.[3]: 167 [8] Another influential idea was the early version of the nebular hypothesis of Solar System formation which held that the planets are older the further from the Sun they are, meaning that Venus should be younger than Earth and might resemble earlier periods in Earth's history such as the Carboniferous.[3]: 166 [7]: 860  Scientist Svante Arrhenius popularized the idea of Venus being swamp-covered with flora and fauna similar to that of prehistoric Earth in his non-fiction book The Destinies of the Stars (1918). Whereas Arrhenius assumed that Venus had unchanging climatic conditions that were similar all over the planet and concluded that a lack of adaptation to environmental variability would result only in primitive lifeforms, later writers often included various megafauna.[3]: 166 [5]: 671 [8]

Jungle and swamp[edit]

Early treatments of a Venus covered in swamps and jungles are found in Gustavus W. Pope's Journey to Venus (1895), Fred T. Jane's To Venus in Five Seconds (1897), and Maurice Baring's "Venus" (1909).[6]: 547  Following its popularization by Arrhenius, the portrayal of the Venusian landscape as dominated by jungles and swamps recurred in other works of fiction; in particular, Brian Stableford says in Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia that it became "a staple of pulp science fiction imagery".[6]: 547  Clark Ashton Smith's "The Immeasurable Horror" (1931) and Lester del Rey's "The Luck of Ignatz" (1939) depict threatening Venusian creatures in a swamp-and-jungle climate.[3]: 167–168  "In the Walls of Eryx" (1936) by H. P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling features an invisible maze on a jungle Venus.[11][12]: 483 

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Cover of Fantastic Adventures, November 1941, featuring "The Living Dead" from Burroughs' Escape on Venus.

In the planetary romance (or "sword and planet") subgenre that flourished in this era, Ralph Milne Farley and Otis Adelbert Kline wrote series in this setting starting with The Radio Man (1924) and The Planet of Peril (1929), respectively.[3]: 167 [7]: 860 [8]: xiii–xv [13]: 23 [14]: 232–234  These stories were inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian Barsoom series that began with A Princess of Mars (1912);[6]: 547 [13]: 23  Burroughs later wrote planetary romances set on a swampy Venus in the Amtor series, beginning with Pirates of Venus (1932).[3]: 167 [7]: 860 [9] Other authors who wrote planetary romances in this setting include C. L. Moore with the Northwest Smith adventure "Black Thirst" (1934) and Leigh Brackett with stories like "The Moon that Vanished" (1948) and the Eric John Stark story "Enchantress of Venus" (1949).[5]: 672 [8]: xiv [9][11]

Robert A. Heinlein portrayed Venusian swamps in several unrelated stories including "The Green Hills of Earth" (1947), Space Cadet (1948), and Podkayne of Mars (1963).[1][7]: 860  On television, a 1955 episode of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet depicts a crash landing in a Venusian swamp.[3]: 168  Ray Bradbury's short story "The Long Rain" (1950) depicts Venus as a planet with incessant rain, and was later adapted to screen twice: to film in The Illustrated Man (1969) and to television in The Ray Bradbury Theater (1992).[1][3]: 168 [9] Bradbury revisited the rainy vision of Venus in "All Summer in a Day" (1954), where the Sun is only visible through the cloud cover once every seven years.[11][15]: 53 [16] In Germany, the Perry Rhodan novels (launched in 1961) used the vision of Venus as a jungle world, while the protagonist in K. H. Scheer's sixteenth ZBV [de] novel Raumpatrouille Nebelwelt (1963) is surprised that Venus doesn't have jungles—reflecting then-recent discoveries about the environmental conditions on Venus.[11][17]: 78 


Others envisioned Venus as a panthalassic planet, covered by a planet-wide ocean with perhaps a few islands. Large land masses were thought impossible due to the assumption that they would have generated atmospheric updrafts that would have broken up the planet's solid cloud layer.[18]: 131 [6]: 547 [19] Early treatments of an oceanic Venus include Harl Vincent's "Venus Liberated" (1929) and Leslie F. Stone's "Women with Wings" (1930) and Across the Void (1931).[3]: 167 [6]: 548  In Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men (1930), future descendants of humanity are modified to be adapted to life on an ocean-covered Venus.[1][6]: 548 [5]: 672  Clifford D. Simak's "Rim of the Deep" (1940) likewise features an oceanic Venus, with the story set at the bottom of Venusian seas, featuring pirates and hostile Venusian aliens.[6]: 548 [20]: 26–27  C. S. Lewis's Perelandra (1943) retells the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on floating islands in a vast Venusian ocean.[1][5]: 672 [6]: 548  Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (1954) depicts human colonists living in underwater cities on Venus.[3]: 167 [19] In Poul Anderson's "Sister Planet" (1959), migration to an oceanic Venus is contemplated as a potential solution to Earth's overpopulation.[7]: 860  "Clash by Night" (1943) by Lawrence O'Donnell (joint pseudonym of C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner) and its sequel Fury (1947) describe survivors from a devastated Earth living beneath Venusian oceans. Those two works have been called in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction "the most enduring pulp image" of an oceanic Venus, and the former received another sequel decades later, The Jungle (1991) by David A. Drake.[1][6]: 548  Roger Zelazny's "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" (1965) was the last major depiction of an ocean-covered Venus, published shortly after that vision had been rendered obsolete by advances in planetary science.[1][3]: 171 [5]: 672 [7]: 860 [8]


A third group of early theories about conditions on Venus explained the cloud cover with a hot, dry planet where the atmosphere holds water vapor and the surface has dust storms.[18]: 131 [7]: 860  The idea that water is abundant on Venus was controversial, and by 1940 Rupert Wildt had already discussed how a greenhouse effect might result in a hot Venus.[7]: 860  The vision of a desert Venus was never as popular as that of a swampy or jungle one, but by the 1950s it started appearing in a number of works.[4]: 12 [7]: 860 [21]: 81  Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants (1952) is a satire that depicts Venus being successfully marketed as an appealing destination for migrants from Earth in spite of its hostile environment.[1][3]: 168 [5]: 672 [6]: 548 [7]: 860 [9][21]: 81  In Robert Sheckley's "Prospector's Special" (1959), the desert surface of Venus is mined for resources.[3]: 168 [7]: 860  Arthur C. Clarke's "Before Eden" (1961) portrays Venus as mostly hot and dry, but with a habitable climate at the poles.[3]: 171 [7]: 860  Dean McLaughlin's The Fury from Earth (1963) likewise features a dry, hostile Venus, this time rebelling against Earth.[7]: 860 [22]: 254  While these inhospitable portrayals more accurately reflected the emerging scientific data, they nevertheless generally underestimated the harshness of the planet's conditions.[3]: 168 [7]: 860 [9][21]: 81 [23]

Later depictions: hostile inferno[edit]

Refer to caption
Artist's impression of a hypothetical floating outpost high up in the Venusian atmosphere. Floating settlements of this kind appear in works like "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis.[8]: xvi 

In scientific circles, life on Venus was increasingly viewed as unlikely from the 1930s on, as more advanced methods for observing Venus suggested that its atmosphere lacks oxygen.[24]: 43  Later, space probes such as Mariner 2 in 1962 found that Venus' surface temperature was in the range 800–900 °F (400–500 °C), and atmospheric pressure at ground-level was many times that of Earth's.[6]: 548 [8]: xi [18]: 131  This rendered obsolete fiction that had depicted a planet with exotic but habitable settings, and writers' interest in the planet diminished when its inhospitability became better understood.[1][6]: 548 [7]: 860 [8]: xi [18]: 131  Fiction about Venus started to mainly focus on survival in the hostile environment, as in Larry Niven's "Becalmed in Hell" (1965);[1][3]: 171 [5]: 672 [6]: 548–549 [7]: 860  devices for protection against the elements include domed cities as in John Varley's "In the Bowl" (1975), environmental suits as in Brian and Frank Herbert's Man of Two Worlds (1986), floating cities as in Geoffrey A. Landis's "The Sultan of the Clouds" (2010), and space stations.[8]: xvi [11] Stories about survival in less extreme conditions had earlier appeared in works such as John W. Campbell's "Solarite" (1930), where the surface temperature exceeds 150 °F (70 °C); Clifton B. Kruse's "Menace from Saturn" (1935), where the atmosphere is toxic; and Philip Latham's Five Against Venus (1952), a Robinsonade.[1][3]: 168  Colonization stories had been popular throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and became so again towards the end of the century in parallel to the rise in popularity of fictional terraforming projects.[1][6]: 548–549 


Colonization of Venus appeared as early as J. B. S. Haldane's essay "The Last Judgment" (1927) and John Wyndham's "The Venus Adventure" (1932), and grew in popularity in subsequent decades.[1][6]: 547–548  Following emerging scientific evidence of Venus' harsh conditions, colonization of Venus was increasingly portrayed as more challenging than colonization of Mars.[6]: 548 [25]: 97  Several writers have suggested that Venusian colonists may have to lead a nomadic life, hiding from the extreme temperatures.[25]: 97 

Colonizing Venus is a major theme in Jack Williamson's Seetee series (1949–1951), Rolf Garner's trilogy beginning with Resurgent Dust (1953), and Soviet science fiction writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's The Land of Crimson Clouds (1959).[1][11] In Simak's "Hunger Death" (1938) colonists on Venus contend with a plague deliberately introduced by Martians,[11][20]: 27  Heinlein's "Logic of Empire" (1941) has the colonies rely upon exploiting labourers trapped in indentured servitude,[5]: 671 [6]: 548 [26]: 66–67  and S. Makepeace Lott's Escape to Venus (1956) depicts a colony that has turned into a dystopia.[3]: 171  Marta Randall's "Big Dome" (1985) features a rediscovered domed colony abandoned during a prior terraforming project. The story's jungle-like setting has been described by Gillett as an homage to the "traditional" image of Venus found in early science fiction.[7]: 861  Sarah Zettel's The Quiet Invasion (2000) features colonization of Venus by extraterrestrials better adapted to the planet's conditions.[7]: 860 [3]: 171 


Artist's impression of a terraformed Venus
Artist's impression of a terraformed Venus

As scientific knowledge of Venus advanced, science fiction authors endeavored to keep pace, particularly by focusing on the concept of terraforming Venus.[10][27]: 135 [7]: 861 [25]: 90–98  An early treatment of the concept is found in Stapledon's Last and First Men, where the process destroys the lifeforms that already existed on the planet.[3]: 167  While Venus has since come to be regarded as the most promising candidate for terraforming,[3]: 171, 173 [25]: 92  before the 1960s science fiction writers were more optimistic about the prospects of terraforming Mars, and early depictions, such as Kuttner and Moore's Fury, consequently portrayed terraforming Venus as more challenging.[27]: 135  Anderson's "The Big Rain" (1954) revolves around an attempt to bring about rain on a dry Venus,[5]: 672 [7]: 861 [21]: 81  and in his "To Build A World" (1964), a terraformed Venus becomes the site of countless wars for the more desirable parts of the surface.[25]: 90–98  Other early depictions of terraforming Venus include A. E. van Vogt's The World of Null-A (1948) and James E. Gunn's The Naked Sky (1955).[11]

The terraforming of Venus has remained comparatively rare in fiction,[3]: 164  though the process appears in works like Bob Buckley's "World in the Clouds" (1980) and G. David Nordley's "The Snows of Venus" (1991),[3]: 171 [7]: 861  while other such as Raymond Harris' Shadows of the White Sun (1988) and Nordley's "Dawn Venus" (1995) feature an already terraformed, Earth-like Venus.[6]: 549 [7]: 861  Pamela Sargent's Venus trilogy—consisting of Venus of Dreams (1986), Venus of Shadows (1988), and Child of Venus (2001)—is an epic detailing the generations-long process of terraforming Venus, drawing comparisons to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy (1992–1996);[3]: 171 [5]: 672 [7]: 861 [28]: 322  Robinson's later novel 2312 (2012) features Venus in the process of being terraformed.[1][5]: 672 [9] A terraformed Venus reverting to its natural state is mentioned in Clarke's The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1991).[3]: 164  In anime, the terraforming of Venus appears in the film Venus Wars (1989), where it is precipitated by a comet impact removing atmosphere and adding water to the planet, and the television show Cowboy Bebop (1998), where it is carried out by introduced plant life creating a breathable atmosphere.[17]: 79 [29][30] Gillett suggests that the theme of terraforming Venus reflects a desire to recapture the simpler, traditional fantasy of early prose about the planet.[7]: 861 

Nostalgic depictions[edit]

A romantic, habitable, pre-Mariner Venus continued to appear for a while in deliberately nostalgic and retro works such as Zelazny's "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" (1965) and Thomas M. Disch's "Come to Venus Melancholy" (1965), and Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison collected works written before the scientific advancements in the anthology Farewell Fantastic Venus (1968).[6]: 548 [8]: xv–xvii [31]: 201  The nostalgic image of Venus has also occasionally resurfaced several decades later: S. M. Stirling's The Sky People (2006) takes place in an alternate universe where the pulp version of Venus is real, and the anthology Old Venus (2015) edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois collects newly-written works in the style of older stories about the now-outdated vision of Venus.[8]: xv–xvii [9] The role-playing games Space: 1889 and Mutant Chronicles likewise use a deliberately retro depiction of Venus.[17]: 79 


Refer to caption
Cover of 1950 Avon comic-book adaptation of The Radio Man, titled An Earth Man on Venus, with the cover featuring exotic Venusian life in the form of a gigantic ant.


Early writings, in which Venus was often depicted as a younger Earth, often populated it with large beasts. Pope's Journey to Venus (1895) depicted a tropical world featuring dinosaurs and other creatures similar to those known from Earth's history.[4]: 12 [3]: 168  Jerry Pournelle noted that early science fiction was rife with images of exotic Venusian life: "thick fungus that ate men alive; a world populated with strange animals, dragons and dinosaurs and swamp creatures resembling the beastie from the Black Lagoon".[25]: 88  Stanley G. Weinbaum portrayed Venus as home to a voracious ecosystem in "Parasite Planet" (1935), and his visions inspired other authors such as Asimov, whose Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus depicts colonists encountering various hostile sea-dwelling creatures.[3]: 167 [19] Venus is home to a dragon in Heinlein's Between Planets (1951) and to dinosaurs in the Three Stooges short Space Ship Sappy (1957), while a Venusian monster brought to Earth by a space probe attacks humans in the film 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).[3]: 168 [5]: 672  The Green Lantern story "Summons from Space" (1959) feature the heroes protecting human-like inhabitants of Venus from the dinosaurs.[5]: 673  Prehistoric creatures sometimes coexist with primitive humanoids in depictions of Venus.[3]: 168–169  In the British children's television show Pathfinders to Venus (1961), the local fauna includes both pterodactyls and "apemen".[32] The Soviet film Planeta Bur (1962) features an American–Soviet joint scientific expedition to Venus, which finds the planet teeming with various lifeforms, many resembling terrestrial species, including sentient if primitive Venusians.[33]

Zelazny's "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" revolves around an encounter with a giant Venusian sea monster,[7]: 860 [5]: 672  and Clarke's The Deep Range (1957) presents sea creatures on Venus as a tourist attraction.[3]: 168  Sentient plant life appears in several stories including Weinbaum's "Parasite Planet" sequel "The Lotus Eaters" (1935), the Superman comic book story "The Three Tough Teen-Agers" (1962) by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino, and The Outer Limits episode "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" (1964).[3]: 170–171 A sentient Venusian worm called Mister Mind appears as a supervillain in the Fawcett Comics stories about Captain Marvel.[5]: 673  In the second half of the 20th century, as the hellish conditions of Venus became better known, depictions of life on Venus became more exotic, with ideas such as the "living petroleum" of Brenda Pearce's "Crazy Oil" (1975), the telepathic jewels of Varley's "In the Bowl", and the more mundane cloud-borne microbes of Ben Bova's Venus (2000; part of Bova's Grand Tour series).[7]: 860 


In contrast to the diversity of visions of the Venusian environment, the inhabitants of Venus are most commonly portrayed as human, or human-like.[3]: 167  In his review of early (pre-1936) science fiction, Everett Franklin Bleiler lists examples such as winged, angelic people; telepaths; archaic humans ("subhumans"); humans but with wings and antennae; humans with tentacles; furry humans; dwarves; giants; centaurs; fish-men; catpeople; reptilians; rat-men; and plant-men.[14]: 921–922 [34]: 694–695  Some works which portray Venusians as humans explain this by suggesting that Venus was colonized by an ancient, advanced civilization from Earth, such as Atlantis in Warren E. Sanders' "Sheridan Becomes Ambassador" (1932) and Ancient Egypt in Jeffrey Lloyd Castle's Vanguard to Venus (1957).[3]: 169  Superhero Tommy Tomorrow in "Frame-Up at Planeteer Academy" (1962) has a blue-skinned but otherwise humanoid Venusian sidekick called Lon Vurian.[3]: 167 [5]: 673  Bleiler also lists a number of more bizarre portrayals of Venusians, such squid-like; four-legged elephantine beings; intelligent giant bees, beetles, ants and worm larvae; giant monstrous insects; and even "living colors".[14]: 921–922 [34]: 694–695  In Simak's "Tools" (1942), a native Venusian is portrayed as "a blob of disembodied radon gas captured in a lead jar".[1][11][20]: 29 

Refer to caption
Associations of the planet Venus with the Roman goddess of love may have influenced fictional portrayals of Venusians. Seen here is the 1879 painting The Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Perhaps due to an association of the planet Venus with the Roman goddess of love, sentient Venusians have often been portrayed as gentle, ethereal, and beautiful – an image first presented in Bernard le Bovyer de Fontenelle's Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686).[1][10][6]: 547  This trope was repeated, among others, in W. Lach-Szyrma's A Voice from Another World (1874) and Letters from the Planets (1887–1893), about an interplanetary tour of a winged, angel-like Venusian, as well as in George Griffith's A Honeymoon in Space (1900), where human visitors to Venus encounter flying Venusians communicating through music.[1][6]: 547 [5]: 671  The anonymously published A Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Paul Aermont among the Planets (1873) depicts one Venusian race like this and another which is primitive and violent.[3]: 170  Primitive Venusians also appear in Donald Horner's By Aeroplane to the Sun (1919) and Frank Brueckel's The War Lord of Venus (1930),[3]: 168  while more advanced yet malicious ones are depicted in works such as Landell Bartlett's "The Vanguard of Venus" (1928) and Roy Rockwood's By Air Express to Venus; or, Captives of a Strange People (1929).[3]: 170 

Venusian civilizations have most commonly been depicted as being comparable to Earth's level of development, slightly less frequently as being more advanced, and only occasionally less advanced.[3]: 167  Utopian depictions of Venus are commonplace,[3]: 169  appearing in John Munro's A Trip to Venus (1897) among others.[5]: 671  In terms of governance, James William Barlow's History of a Race of Immortals without a God (1891) features a socialist Venusian civilization,[1][35] Homer Eon Flint's "The Queen of Life" (1919) depicts an anarchist society on Venus,[6]: 547  and Stanton A. Coblentz's The Blue Barbarians (1931) is a satirical depiction of a Venus ruled by plutocrats.[1][34]: 72–73  Bleiler additionally lists capitalist, feudal, monarchical, and matriarchal Venusian societies, among others.[34]: 694–695  In Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem's novel The Astronauts (1951)—later adapted to film as the Polish–East German coproduction The Silent Star (1960)—an expedition to Venus discovers a barren environment and the ruins of a civilization, deducing that the cause was nuclear holocaust.[3]: 169 [5]: 672 [23][36] Conversely, in Clarke's "History Lesson" (1949) Venusians come to Earth and find humanity already extinct by environmental causes.[3]: 169 [5]: 672 

The association of Venus with women manifests in different ways in many works.[3]: 169  The planet is inhabited solely or mostly by women in works like "What John Smith Saw in the Moon: A Christmas Story for Parties Who Were Children Twenty Years Ago" (1893) by Fred Harvey Brown and ruled by women in Stone's "The Conquest of Gola" (1931) among others.[3]: 169  In comic books, several of DC Comics' Wonder Woman stories in the 1940s featured the superheroine's female allies from Venus.[5]: 673  The films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) and Queen of Outer Space (1958) feature the trope of Venus being populated by beautiful women,[1] and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968), the second of two English-language adaptations of Planeta Bur (the first being Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, 1965), portrays the Venusians as "half-naked sex-appealing blond sirens" with supernatural or psychic powers.[37]

A theme of a Venusian visitor to Earth is seen in some works, such as Lach-Szyrma's A Voice from Another World and William Windsor's Loma, a Citizen of Venus (1897).[1][5]: 671  The British film Stranger from Venus (1954) portrays a visit by a Venusian in a similar manner to the one by a Martian in the US film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).[1][3]: 170  Visits like this are typically peaceful and for the enlightenment of humanity.[3]: 170  Occasionally, Venusians come to Earth intent on conquering it, as in Charles L. Graves and E. V. Lucas' parody of Wells' The War of the Worlds titled The War of the Wenuses (1898), Ray Cummings' Tarrano the Conqueror (1925), and the film Target Earth (1954).[1][3]: 169–170 [14]: 174 [11] Marvel Comic's Sub-Mariner defended Earth from an invasion by amphibious Venusians in a story arc from the Golden Age of Comic Books.[5]: 673  Venusians infiltrating Earth by posing as humans appear in several works including Eric Frank Russell's Three to Conquer (1956).[2]: 5 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Stableford, Brian; Langford, David (2021-01-25). "Venus". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e Aldiss, Brian (1968). "Clouded Judgments". In Aldiss, Brian; Harrison, Harry (eds.). Farewell, Fantastic Venus! A History of the Planet Venus in Fact and Fiction. London: Macdonald & Co. ISBN 0-356-02466-0. OCLC 34972.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az Westfahl, Gary (2022). "Venus—Venus of Dreams ... and Nightmares: Changing Images of Earth's Sister Planet". The Stuff of Science Fiction: Hardware, Settings, Characters. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-8659-2.
  4. ^ a b c d e Miller, Ron (2002). Venus. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-0-7613-2359-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Westfahl, Gary (2021). "Venus and Venusians". Science Fiction Literature through History: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-4408-6617-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Stableford, Brian (2006). "Venus". Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-97460-8.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Gillett, Stephen L. (2005). "Venus". In Westfahl, Gary (ed.). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-32951-7.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Dozois, Gardner (2015). "Return to Venusport". In Martin, George R. R.; Dozois, Gardner (eds.). Old Venus: A Collection of Stories. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8041-7985-0.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Liptak, Andrew (May 2016). "Destination: Venus". Clarkesworld Magazine. No. 116. ISSN 1937-7843.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Darlington, Andrew (Autumn 1995). Lee, Tony (ed.). "Visions of Venus: Lost Legacies from the World of Water". The Zone. No. 3. pp. 30–31. ISSN 1351-5217.
  • Marshall, Rob (Autumn 1995). Lee, Tony (ed.). "Storm World Views: Cinema SF About Venus". The Zone. No. 3. pp. 32–33. ISSN 1351-5217.