If you’re a massive sci-fi fan, then you know of some crazy creative science fiction worlds in books. While many science fiction novels take place on a futuristic Earth, or even an Earth-like planet, there are some authors out there that have completely re-imagined what “home planet” means with completely unreal worlds. As a writer of sci-fi myself, I’m always searching for brand new planets to explore within literature, and love getting lost in a world that is unlike any other.
One of the many reasons I’m addicted to sci-fi is because of the combination of familiar and unfamiliar — science and art. It’s why I love Doctor Who so much, and could reread anything by Margaret Atwood or Ray Bradbury until the day I die. The exploration of space, time, and how humans understand the universe is a topic that’ll never get old for me. Fiction allows us to dive into these crazy new worlds, and after all, there’s no better way to experience a new place than within the pages of a book.
Maybe you’ve been curious about finding a new sci-fi book to explore over spring break, or perhaps you’re a sci-fi queen and want to share the planets you love best — either way, prepare for an intergalactic adventure through these five crazy worlds within books.
1. Arrakis, or Dune from Dune by Frank Herbert
From first glance, Dune wasn’t so awesome. Sand, sand, and, well, more sand. It was a desert, but with a complex ecosystem and history that made us all want to sink deeper within the story. With giant sand worms to look out for, the famous kangaroo mouse, and many other odd creatures, Dune makes for one incredibly unique planet. And buried within the sand is the source of spice, the most sought-after item in the universe that extends life and allows for interstellar travel. It’s no wonder why Dune is considered the best sci-fi novel to have ever been written.
2. Solaris from Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Solaris is the opposite of Dune — the planet is completely covered in one massive ocean, with only a few tiny islands inhabitants live on. While that doesn’t sound too fascinating, this ocean is very much aware of the humans that live near it, or visit it. This causes humans to travel and study it, fascinated by this fact alone. It can read the minds of people, and even create a replica of a person with new and somewhat superhuman abilities. Similar to how an entirely new world exists beneath our oceans, Solaris takes that concept and creates an unbelievably amazing sci-fi world.
3. Annares and Urras from The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
While both of the twin planets in LeGuin’s The Dispossessed are interesting, Annares takes the cake for making one of the most believable and yet worrisome fictional societies within literature. Both planets are covered in massive oceans, but are lush with different resources. While both planets are in search of creating the ultimate utopia, they both have massively different takes on how to do it. The main reason I adore Annares is due to the feminist take on society, and for being written in the '70s, it was a bold and brave step toward showing how important feminism is.
4. Red, Green, and Blue Mars from The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
As Mars continues to evolve within The Mars Trilogy, each book reveals the changes and state of the planet, as well as who lives there. Granted, Mars isn’t a fictional planet, but because of the scientific advances and terraforming it to fit the human needs, it feels as though it’s completely new. In Blue Mars, the planet is given a spin to produce gravity, cities are hallowed out of asteroids, and an entire sun is made to produce heat and light. The colonization of Mars doesn't get more crazy than this concept.
5. Uriel and Camazotz from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is without a doubt one of my favorite books, and the planets that the siblings Meg and Charles Wallace visit in hopes to save their missing father are remarkably fascinating. First there’s planet Uriel, a place where centaur-like creatures live, and then planet Camazotz, which is run by a massively evil and disembodied brain with mind-control abilities. They are not planets that I'd love to visit, but they are awesome to read about. While the group travels through space and time, it’s an adventure unlike any other, and it wouldn’t be the same without the odd and somewhat scary new planets they discover.