I remember a science fiction story where a character says something like "to have Heaven in the past is good; to have Heaven in your future is better; to make Heaven around you is best".

As far as I recall, the main character starts on Mars, travels to Venus where he becomes an overseer of a slave gang and then returns to Mars, marrying a local Martian woman?

I thought the author could be Robert Heinlein, or perhaps Brian Aldiss, but connot find a book or short story by either of these authors that seems to match. Looking for the quote does not return a result in Google. Looking for "Heaven, Venus, Mars, science fiction, book or short story" produces too many hits to be useful.

In response to @valorum, @user14111:

I'm not sure whether it is a book or a short story. As for a date, I think I read it in the early 70's, though it could have been as late as the early 80's.

Mars was quite earthlike with canals. Venus was a hot jungle. The slave gang was made up of Venusians - smallish, furry humanoids as I recall. The main character had left Earth, I think, to be on Mars. Then he left Mars for Venus, but he left Venus to go back to Mars because he was sick of having to whip the Venusians. When he returned to Mars, he married a native Martian woman whom he knew before leaving for Venus, and set up a farm/homestead with her.

The quote refers to a way of looking at life/happiness. I think it was said to the main character by a Martian, perhaps the woman's father.

  • Was this a novel or a short story?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 1, 2018 at 11:30
  • How old is the story? Short story or novel? What is Venus like in the story? Desert, jungle, oceans? Does Mars have canals?
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 1, 2018 at 11:31
  • Where does the Heaven part come in? Is Heaven being a slave overseer on Venus, or is it marrying a Martian woman? Does he oversee slaves on Mars, or does he marry a rich Martian woman so he doesn't have to work?
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 1, 2018 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


No Place Like Earth by John Wyndham. Also published as Tyrant and Slave-Girl on Planet Venus under his pen name John Beynon

“A heaven behind you is no good,” she said. “A heaven ahead is better. But to make a heaven around you is best.”


  • Thanks very much @Ayshe for the title, and also for the exact quote. Best regards, Michael Watts. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 23:59

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