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) /

24. Ringworld

Ringworld might be a destination for engineering nerds, but visitors of all stripes can find something to enjoy. Just think twice about climbing that huge mountain, okay?

This artificially constructed world hails from the Ringworld series of novels by sci-fi author Larry Niven. The first novel, published in 1970, follows the supremely healthy Louis Wu as he celebrates his 200th birthday. He’s getting pretty bored with human society, as you tend to do around the two-century mark, and is thinking of taking a sabbatical.

Instead, Louis meets up with Nessus, a two-headed, three-legged representative of the Pierson’s Puppeteers species. Along with a few other team members, Louis learns that he is to investigate an artificially constructed planet in order to assess its threat level to other species.

Said planet, the eponymous Ringworld, is about one million miles wide and 600 million miles in circumference. The inner surface of the ring faces a sun and also features a conveniently breathable atmosphere. Night is provided by a series of “shadow squares” that orbit between the ring and the sun.

The trouble with Ringworld

Louis’ crew crashes into one of the super-strong wires that connect the shadow squares, sending their spaceship plummeting to the surface. They survive but must trek across the vast expanse of Ringworld to make it home. Along the way, they encounter an anthropologist’s dream of fascinating and varied societies, only some of which are hostile. There are also “flycycles” — aerial motorcycles — a floating castle, and a sword and sorcery-style hero straight out of a Robert Jordan novel.

What of the advanced civilization that constructed Ringworld in the first place? Their remains haunt the Ringworld, though they no longer remain. Archaeologists and historians are sure to make hay from the Ringworld engineers’ fate. So, too, will fans of meteors, including the one that made the huge hole/mountain in the midst of Ringworld itself.