One of my favorite subgenres in science fiction is old-school interplanetary adventures, in which Mars has canals, Venus jungles, and Mercury two faces (hot and cold). Lo! and behold, yesterday I discovered a blog devoted to that subject: The Old Solar System. Its creator is the British pseudonym Zendexor, who introduces himself as an SF critic. Well, he certainly masters the subject, discussing the oldschool settings created by veterans writers like Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Brackett, SM Stirling, and Edmond Hamilton.
If Zendexor knew Swedish, he would probably have written a lengthy post about Sture Lönnerstrand’s solar-system odyssey Rymdhunden (“Space Dog”) from 1954.
The eminent site XKCD has published this picture that compares the surface areas of notable rocky celestial bodies in our solar system. The four giant planets are excluded because they lack mappable surfaces. The arrangement would be laid out nicely on the type of Ringworld that Larry Niven proposed in some of his stories — link >>>
Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton. Two successful pulp writers, married to one another, in a sci-fi cosmos a long time ago.
One of my favourite science fiction authors, pulp queen Leigh Brackett, was born one hundred years ago on December 7, 1915. She wrote interplanetary adventures in a dramatic solar system: canals and ancient horrors on Mars, jungles and dark science on Venus, and so on. Her stories frequently moved in the borderland between SF and fantasy, because the genre boundaries were less clearcut in those days.
The fantastic Mars she created has been close to my heart since my first visit to it in my late teens. Check my review of her Sea-kings of Mars novella here — link >>>
Leigh Brackett’s final feat was the manuscript to Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, which so far is my favorite in the Skywalker Saga. Unfortunately she died before the completion of the movie.
Here is an article commemorating her centenary — link >>>
Wanderers is a short science fiction film by Erik Wernquist, a digital artist from Stockholm, Sweden. He explains its underlying idea:
The film is a vision of our humanity’s future expansion into the Solar System. Although speculative, the visuals in the film are based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. All locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.
NASA’s Messenger probe has been investigating Mercury for some years. Among other things, it has photomapped 100 percent of the planetary surface. Mercury has one unique terrain feature: extremely long escarpments created by the planet’s slow shrinking due to internal cooling.
BBC has published an article on this matter — link >>>