Science Fiction for World Builders

This page is a listing of science fiction short stories and novels that describe alien planets and societies. These invented worlds may give you some ideas that you might consider in creating your own planets. Take note of how life on these planets uses the available resources. Do you get any sense of the biology of the invented world? Do you see any ecological patterns? Note also how the civilizations are adapted to the available resources, how personalities are shaped to fit the needs of the culture, how resources are distributed, and what assumptions underlie the organization of the culture.

There are many good adventure stories whose setting happens to be out in space somewhere. For the purposes of this course, we are looking for more than adventure, we are looking for well-crafted descriptions of what might be. Visitors, your suggestions are welcome!

Suggested by Gerald:

"Medea, Harlan's World" Harlan Ellison, Ed.

Any Poul Anderson Polysoltechnic League or Flandry novel

"The Earthbookof Stormgate"

Foster, Alan Dean . "Nor Crystal Tears"

Clement, Hal. "Mission of Gravity"

Forward, R.L. "Dragon's Egg" and "Roche World"

Niven and Pournelle . "The Mote in God's Eye"

Sawyer. Robert. "Far Seer"

Severance, Carol. "Reefsong"

Suggested by Wolf

Barlowe. Wayne Douglass. 'Expedition'

A great portrait of a fictional alien world. Caution should be used on some of his assertions, though. 1990

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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!