An Edited Biblography

From Stephen Gillett's New Book: World-Building

This reading list was generously contributed by Dr Stephen Gillett. It is an edited version of the references and resources in his book,World-Building, which has just been published by the Writer's Digest Press. (1-800-289-0963, $16.99) This book will be the textbook for our World Builder's class. It is a goldmine of information!

Dr Gillett has had numerous publications on world building. I had the good fortune to participate in one of his world builders workshops at a CONTACT Conference, and I have the greatest respect for his knowledge and expertise!

For this rich list of sources -- Thank you, Dr Gillett!



Anderson, Don, Theory of the Earth, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1989. Bott, M.H.P.,
The Interior of the Earth: its structure, constitution, and evolution, Elsevier, 1982.

Stacey, F.D., Physics of the Earth, 3rd ed., Brookfield Press, Kenmore, Queensland, Australia, 1992.


Stanley, Steven M., W.H. Freeman & Co., 1993.
(This is the textbook I use for teaching historical geology; it gives a current overview of the history of the Earth.)

Wells, Neil, The Atmosphere and Ocean: A Physical Introduction, Taylor & Francis, 1986.

Lewis, John S., & Ronald G. Prinn, Planets and Their Atmospheres: Origin and Evolution, Academic Press, 1984.

Walker, J.C.G.,Evolution of the Atmosphere, Macmillan, New York, 1977, 318 pp.


Beatty, J. Kelly, and Andrew Chaikin, eds., The New Solar System, 3rd. ed., Sky Publishing Corp., Cambridge, MA, 1990, 224 pp.

Broecker, Wallace S., How to Build a Habitable Planet, 2nd. ed., Lamont-Doherty Geophysical Observatory, Palisades, New York, 1990
. (A guide to building an Earthlike planet by a noted geochemist.)

Carr, M.H., R.S. Saunders, R.G. Strom, and D.E. Wilhelms, The Geology of the Terrestrial Planets, NASA SP-469, 1984.

Chapman, Clark R., Planets of Rock and Ice, Scribner's, 1982.

Dole, Stephen H., Planets for Man. (Probably the first serious attempt at determining what makes up an Earthlike planet, but parts are now very dated, as it came out both before the plate tectonics revolution and the avalanche of planetary data from space probes.)

Gillett, S.L., Carbonosis: Organic desiccation and the Fermi Paradox, Analog, pp. 74-84, Mar 1993.
(This outlines the "carbonosis" scenario in detail.)

Greeley, R., Planetary Landscapes, Allen & Unwin, 1987.
(new edition supposed to be available this fall)

Hughes, David W., Evolution of the universe, stars, and planets, in Evolution and the Fossil Record, K. Allen & D. Briggs, eds., Belhaven Press, London, 1989.

Melosh, H.J., Impact Cratering: A Geologic Process, Oxford U. Press, 1988.
(Now the definitive treatise on meteorite impact and its effects.)

Murray, B.C., M.C. Malin, and R. Greeley, Earthlike Planets: Surfaces of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, W.H. Freeman & Co., 1981, 387 pp.

Newsom, Horton E., and John H. Jones, eds., Origin of the Earth, Oxford University Press & Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1990.

Weaver, H.A., and L.A. Danly, eds., The Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989.
See George Wetherill's paper especially.

And last but hardly least, the 20-odd volumes in the University of Arizona's marvelous Space Science series. Although they're collections of technical papers, at least a few papers in each volume are review papers that give an overview of a subject. Titles include specific volumes devoted to particular Solar System bodies (e.g., Mercury, Venus, Mars, Asteroids I and II, Jupiter, Uranus, and Comets). They also include more general topics of great potential SF interest, such as The Galaxy and the Solar System, Saturn Satellites, Origin and Evolution of Planetary and Satellite Atmospheres, Near-Earth Resources, etc., and on planetary system formation (Protostars and Planets I, II, and III; Meteorites and the Early Solar System).


Cadogan, Peter, The Moon--Our Sister Planet, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981.

Hartman, Phillips, & Taylor, eds., Origin of the Moon, Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1986.

Heiken, G., D. Vaniman, & B.M. French, eds., Lunar Sourcebook: A User's Guide to the Moon, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991.

Taylor, S.R., Lunar Science: A Post-Apollo View, Pergamon, 1975.

__________, Planetary Science: A Lunar Perspective, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1982.

Wilhelms, D.E., The Geologic History of the Moon, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1348, 1987.


One thing to remember when looking for planetary references is that, as an astronomy graduate student put it to me when I was a geology grad student, the planets have changed hands in the last 30 years. Most of the new studies on planetary science are showing up in the geological technical literature, rather than the astronomy literature. (In other words, real astronomers don't do planets!)

So, journals to watch (besides Science and Nature) include:

The Journal of Geophysical Research, especially the new "Planets" section.
Reviews of Geophysics Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Earth, Moon, and Planets Icarus, the "Journal of Solar System Studies"

Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics Proceedings of the xxth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
The Lunar and Planetary Science Conference is held every March in Houston, and these volumes summarize some of the information presented there. This conference started as "The Lunar Science Conference" in 1970 to present findings from the Apollo 11 samples, and has continued annually ever since.


Berman, L., & J.C. Evans, Exploring the Cosmos, 5th ed., Little, Brown, & Co., 1986.
(This is a basic textbook with nice quotes, although it has occasional glitches in the tabulated data. I used it when I taught astronomy at a community college.)

Swihart, Thomas L., Astrophysics and Stellar Astronomy, John Wiley & Sons, 1968.
(A good, albeit somewhat dated, treatise at the slightly more advanced level for those aggravating questions that the undergraduate texts don't quite answer.)

Danby, J.M.A., Fundamentals of Celestial Mechanics,Macmillan, New York, 1964, 348 pp.
(A useful and relatively elementary treatment of celestial mechanics.)

Allen, C.W., Astrophysical Quantities, Athlone Press, University of London, 1973.
(Standard reference on astronomical and astrophysical data.)

Lang, Kenneth R., Astrophysical Formulae, Springer-Verlag, 1974.
(Standard reference on astronomical and astrophysical data.)

Data on specific stars and other astronomical objects are in any of a number of standard catalogs; e.g., The Yale Bright Star Catalog, The Catalog of Nearby Stars, The Catalog of Visual Binary Stars, etc. Recently (and more usefully, perhaps), many of these catalogs have been put on CD-ROM. In particular a single CD-ROM, Selected Astronomical Catalogs, Vol. I, which contains most of the basic catalogs, is available from the National Space Sciences Data Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771. The catalogs are in ASCII text format readable by any standard personal computer. I got a copy for free just by writing NSSDC on university letterhead (your taxes at work :) Seriously, though, telling a NASA office you're in education is a good way to get deluged with material. Although I've advocated using spreadsheets for calculation, a number of specific programs for planet-designing also have been written. Most recently, Daniel Hatch has written a long BASIC program to automate planet design. It's available from him through the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA).

For the elements and their formation, a good general introduction is Cox, P.A., The Elements, Oxford University Press, 1989, 207 pp.
It also has guides to some of the technical literature. Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics also often has review papers on nucleosynthesis.

Other resources. Finally, of course, not only does the local university have a library where you might be able to find many of these references (and if they don't, they can get them via interlibrary loan), the people there are sources of expertise. In particular, don't forget graduate students: they're often more approachable than the professors--and they're always looking for excuses not to work on their theses!


To make tracking the stories down easier, here is a list of places they've appeared. I've not tried to make an exhaustive list of anthology republications, but have simply listed a selection of relatively recent publications.

Anderson, Poul, "The Longest Voyage", in The Hugo Winners, vol. 1;The Best of Poul Anderson; The Many Worlds of Poul Anderson; The Analog Anthology #1; Winners (Tor Books, 1981). (It originally appears in Analog, December 1960 and won the 1961 Hugo award for best short fiction.)

__________, "The Queen of Air and Darkness", in The Many Worlds of Poul Anderson; Nebula Award Stories #7, The Queen of Air and Darkness and Other Stories (Signet, 1973); Winners (Tor Books, 1981). (This story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April, 1971 and won the Nebula award.)>

________, "A Sun Invisible", in The Trouble Twisters (Berkeley Medallion, 1977).
It originally appeared in Analog, April 1966.

________, "Supernova" ("Day of Burning"), in Beyond the Beyond (Signet Books, 1969);

The Earth Book of Stormgate; The Many Worlds of Poul Anderson. (It originally appeared in Analog, January 1967.)

Asimov, Isaac, "Nightfall".
According to one vote, this is the best SF story of all time and it has been reprinted many times.
Some examples are A Science Fiction Reader; The Road to Science Fiction #2; Classic Science Fiction; The Golden Years of Science Fiction (Second Series); and recently Science Fiction: The Science Fiction Research Association Anthology (HarperCollins, 1988). (The story first appeared in the August 1941 Astounding.)

Clarke, Arthur C., "Exile of the Eons", in Expedition to Earth, 1953, which has been reprinted many times (e.g., by Ballantine, 1966).
(The story originally appeared in Super Science Stories, March, 1950.)

Clement, Hal, "Whirligig World".
This essay on the designing of the giant planet Mesklin for Mission of Gravity remains a classic. (Originally appearing in Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1953, it has been reprinted as an appendix to many editions of the novel --e.g., Ballantine, 1978.) Goodloe, Lee, and Jerry Oltion, "Waterworld", Analog, pp. 12-56, March 1994 (cover story).

Niven, Larry, "Inconstant Moon", in All the Myriad Ways; The Hugo Winners, vol. 3; Best Science Fiction for 1972.
(This story won the Hugo award for best short story in 1972.)

Oltion, Jerry, and Lee Goodloe, "Contact", Analog, pp. 12-71, Nov. 1991 (cover story).
(It was a nominee for the 1992 Nebula award for best novella and was reprinted, in digital format, on the compact disc Hugo and Nebula Anthology 1993 (ClariNet Corp., San Jose, CA).

Shelley, Rick, and Lee Goodloe, "Because It's There", Analog, pp. 12-61, July 1992 (cover story).

Utley, Steven, "The Glowing Cloud", Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, pp. 108-160, January 1992 (cover story).

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© Elizabeth Anne Viau, 1997. This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. As a courtesy, please inform the author if you use it at Thank you!