25 of the best fictional planets to visit

KRYPTON (Photo by: SYFY)
KRYPTON (Photo by: SYFY) /
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fictional planets
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

9. Blue Mars (The Mars trilogy)

Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is generally considered one of the most realistic sci-fi writers working today. Robinson’s work contains no such nonsense as bioluminescent cat people or mystical swamp worlds. Instead, he presents future realities that are all the more fascinating for the possibility that they could actually occur.

Blue Mars actually has its origins in plain old red Mars. That’s the planet you encounter in Robinson’s 1992 novel, Red Mars, where colonizers first establish a base on that planet. That book contains extensive details about how crewmembers would make it out to Mars, create a settlement, and begin the endless bickering that seems to be endemic in all human groups.

Things are worse on Earth, though, which is dominated by large transnational corporations (also known as “transnats”). Increasing tensions between the transnats and the nascent Martian society eventually explodes into outright conflict. A space elevator connecting Mars to an asteroid is cut, cities are bombed, and torrential floods wash over the surface after nuclear weapons release groundwater.


By the end of Red Mars, the transnats have taken control of Mars, though rebellious survivors have gone into hiding. In Green Mars, terraforming efforts have brought plant life to the planet’s surface. Mars even has an atmosphere, which makes it just barely possible for people to walk across the surface and survive.

But, really, we’re here for Blue Mars. In the 1997 conclusion to the trilogy, Mars finally has enough of an atmosphere that liquid water runs freely on the planet. While Earth is undergoing its own environmental catastrophes, Mars keeps looking better and better. Wouldn’t you want to check out a sight like Martian seas and rivers, unseen for eons?