Recently I asked a question to identify a novel which turned out to be Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem. That reminded me of another novel, clearly different, but with some analogies.

I also read it long ago, but not as far back as Solaris, only about 30 years ago. And I believe that, at that time, it was rather recent. It is on some planet, not Earth, though not about just a scientific station but rather a whole colony. There was also some sentient planetary organism, a bit like the ocean of Solaris but not a huge liquid body.

Again I don't remember much, except that there was a feeling of threat during most of the novel, although it is possible that there was a positive resolution at the end. But I am not quite sure, it was too long ago.


It is a novel, so not "Green Patches". And the organism is global, not visibly including people-who-are-not-completely-individual, so not the Gaia of Asimov's "Foundation's Edge".

It is not on Earth, so certainly not "Here there be Tygers" by Stephen King...

"Here there be Tygers" by Ray Bradbury is not it either, though in space, because it is a short story, not a novel. And it does not fit my memories.

And there are only humans from Earth and the global sentient planet, no "individual sentient locals" so not "Midworld" either.

  • There are a lot of these in fiction. If it's the planet itself it might be "Here There be Tygers;" if it's just the flora it could be Midworld; if it's the fauna perhaps "Green Patches."
    – DavidW
    Nov 6, 2023 at 2:34
  • @DavidW I know the short fiction (short story or just maybe novelette) "Green Patches" and it is clearly not it. To avoid the problems about possible dupe, do you mind giving a few details on each of the two other choices in a formal answer, so I can compare with my memories, or get by myself afterwards more details on wiki or other sources ? If I do it now before you write a formal answer it might become a dupe immediately...
    – Alfred
    Nov 6, 2023 at 2:41
  • Was it set on a water world?
    – Shawn
    Nov 6, 2023 at 3:17
  • @Shawn Not as I remember, I don't think so.
    – Alfred
    Nov 6, 2023 at 3:58
  • @Alfred Thanks, your edit helps narrow it down a lot. The fact that both the intelligent planet and humans appear also leaves out works like Clarke's short story "Crusade." (Obviously it doesn't match as a short story, but it's a different take on the "intelligent planet" idea.)
    – DavidW
    Nov 6, 2023 at 3:58

3 Answers 3


One possibility that (in my memory at least) matches what you're looking for is Asimov's 1989 novel Nemesis. It was published 34 years ago, which fits it being reasonably new about 30 years ago.

In Nemesis a colony departs from Earth for the planetary system of the titular star Nemesis. They find a potentially inhabitable moon (which they name Erythro) in orbit around a gas giant they call Megas. Erythro has a planetary consciousness formed from bacteria that live there, and the colonists learn to communicate with it.

The feeling of threat through the novel might have been from the fear that Nemesis' passage near to Earth's solar system could disrupt it.

  • Expel Earth from the solar system ! Yes ! That was the threat !!! Kudos !
    – Alfred
    Nov 6, 2023 at 8:53

This sounds like the short story Vaster than Empires and More Slow by Ursula Le Guin.

The story follows an exploratory ship sent by the League to investigate a newly discovered planet, named World 4470. The team includes Osden, an "empath" who is able to feel the emotions of those around him; however, he has an abrasive personality that leads to tensions within the team. The ship finds World 4470 to be a world covered in forests, and apparently devoid of animal life. However, the team eventually begins to feel a fear emanating from the planet. The team realizes that the entire vegetation on the planet is part of a singular consciousness, which is reacting in fear at the explorers after spending its whole life in isolation.

The forest is the planetary consciousness, and the feeling of threat is the explorers feeling the forest's fear. However this isn't a whole colony, just a single vessel containing the exploration team, and of course it's a short story not a novel. Having said this, I repeatedly confuse the story with the novel The Word for World is Forest and you may have done the same and remembered it as a novel.

  • Just one vessel and a short story, so no. And besides, it is Nemesis. But thanks for your efforts.
    – Alfred
    Nov 6, 2023 at 8:55

In Mark Clifton's novel Eight Keys to Eden (1960) the protagonist investigates an "uninhabited" planet where a colony has failed because basically everything they brought from Earth disappeared overnight. The protagonist eventually establishes mental contact with some overpowered planetary-scale entity but I don't recall whether it was the planet itself or just some rando super-being hanging out there.

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