Looking for title/author of a short story I read in a sci fi anthology I read in the 80s. Here is the plot line I remember of one based on the visual imagery I had when reading rather than the text so possibly there are some embellishments.

An astronaut crashes or lands on a forest/plant covered planet. I recall it being dark and raining. I think the astronaut was on his own or in a group who died on a journey. He was trying to find safety in the form of a bio-dome. He locates one but its smashed up and the vegetation has taken over. I cant recall whether he travels to another and finds the same thing. There is a some kind of twist - possibly the vegetation has attacked?

It will be in a collection and could be older than 80s as I used to borrow them from libraries in the UK. It might have been young adult, possibly even children's.


2 Answers 2


This is "The Long Rain" by Ray Bradbury. It was published in "The Illustrated Man".

A lieutenant and three of his man are the survivors of an Earth rocket crashed on Venus. They are walking in the never-ending rain of the planet towards one of the Sun Domes set up by the colonists, but the rain is taking a toll on their sanity. The Sun Domes are reprieves from the unending rain and general dreariness of Venus, with creature comforts and a miniature sun. They inflate a boat to paddle across a river and after crossing it see something - it turns out not to be the Sun Dome, but their rocket, as the two dead crew members from the crash proves. They realize that an electrical storm must have thrown off their compass and they now have food for only two more days. The electrical storm then approaches, and they try to stay away from its lightning bolts. One man tries to run but is struck dead by the powerful lightning before it finally leaves the area. As the survivors look at this newest corpse, they see vegetation already begin to crawl over him.

  • Ah yes - thats it! Should have known as I read this book as part of my O levels. Feb 19, 2020 at 17:28

This is reminiscent of a classic story by Ray Bradbury called "The Long Rain" (1950), which has been anthologized many times. Check out its listing at the ISFDB to see if any of the covers look familiar. Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia.

The story is set on Venus in a jungle, where a group of four men whose rocket has crashed are attempting to reach the safety of a Sun Dome. Bradbury portrays Venus as having nearly eternal rains. Earth colonists depend on the Sun Domes, lit and warmed by a miniature sun and filled with provisions, to keep from going insane. There are over 120 of these domes, but the indigenous Venusians destroy them when they can. The men are led by a character who is only identified as "the Lieutenant". One of the men is killed by a lightning strike when he tries to run; as the others remark, "he shouldn't have jumped up" during an electrical storm. The three remaining men make their way to a Sun Dome, but find that it has been destroyed by the natives and offers no shelter from the rain. One of the men becomes despondent and stops responding, instead staring up into the rain. He is shot by Simmons who defends his actions as a mercy killing, preventing the man from slowly drowning as his lungs fill up with rain. As Simmons and the Lieutenant continue on to where they think the next Sun Dome should be, Simmons believes that he is also going to go insane before they reach safety, and so commits suicide. The Lieutenant continues on, and finally reaches the Sun Dome where he is warm and safe, with dry clothing and hot chocolate. That said, by this point in the tale, the Lieutenant may not be a reliable narrator. Given the story's original title (Death-by-Rain), and the fact that all the other characters die by succumbing to the rain's sanity-attacking events, it is highly possible that he is hallucinating.


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