I remember reading a collection of classic SciFi short stories with one chapter about each of the nine planets, but I can't find any reference to it.
Here is what I remember.

  • Mercury: Takes place on the boundary between the dark and light side, and the sun is going to rise and fry everyone.
  • Venus: When the characters go outside, they are surrounded by a reflective force field. They also float on a lake of liquid mercury.
  • Jupiter: Ship descends to the surface, and remote controlled robot or lifeform encounters the natives.
  • Saturn: Ship lands on the surface and it is like an ocean.
  • Neptune: Hot air balloon like ship floats through the upper atmosphere and encounters jellyfish like creatures that are also floating around there.

I can't remember the stories for the rest of the planets.

Has anyone ever seen/read this compilation of nine short stories?

  • 2
    The balloon creatures sound vaguely familiar, but I can't place it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 26, 2016 at 10:51
  • 1
    You are definitely mixing your stories and planets. The one you list as Venus is Varley's Retrograde Summer which is set on Mercury. Jan 26, 2016 at 11:13
  • 6
    Sorry, it was later decided that that book really only has eight chapters plus an appendix. Jan 26, 2016 at 17:53
  • 1
    @Organic Marble -- Assuming that's the one, the list of places it's been published can be found here. None look like anthologies devoted to all the planets (the closest is maybe 'Worldmakers', an anthology about terraforming, but the review here suggests most of its stories are about Mars and Venus). It may be that Matt E is mixing up memories of a book about the planets with some other book that contained "Retrograde Summer".
    – Hypnosifl
    Jan 26, 2016 at 18:09
  • 3
    The Neptune story is almost certainly A Meeting with Medusa, but that's Jupiter and also not in any known planetary collection. Jan 26, 2016 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


There is a compilation of stories set on each planet (plus Earth's moon) called "Tomorrow's Worlds," edited by Robert Silverberg. Among the stories are "Wait it Out" by Larry Niven, set on Pluto (an astronaut stranded on Pluto takes his suit off, to cryogenically freeze himself to wait for rescue--and his nervous system becomes a superconductor so he can still think while he's waiting), and "Desertion" by Clifford Simak (humans on Jupiter send out explorers onto the planet in the bodies of Jupiter's native life; none return, but for a very surprising reason). Could this be the book you're looking for?

  • That is 100% it! Tomorrow's Worlds, edited by Robert Silverberg. Thank you Melvin. I just bought a copy. A childhood friend of mine borrowed it when we were young, and he was asking if I remembered it. I'll gift it to him after I read it again.
    – Matt E
    May 17, 2022 at 13:34
  • 1
    @MattE - if this is the correct answer, please click the checkmark to accept it as the answer. And...welcome back!
    – Basya
    May 17, 2022 at 15:10

Wow, thanks everyone. I am definitely mixing up my stories and planets.
Is has been over 35 years since I last read this.

Retrograde Summer and A Meeting with Medusa are definitely two of the titles. One might have been Call Me Joe (Jupiter?).

Found a reference to 'The Planets' 1985, Bantam on this site: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/astronomy-resource-guides/science-fiction-stories-with-good-astronomy-physics-a-topical-index/#topic

and 'The Science Fictional Solar System' http://www.asimovreviews.net/Books/Book208.html


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.