open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z:
Vegeta: Maybe... if your planet had five hundred times Earth's gravity, you'd have an advantage, but ten? I don't even feel it!
- The Saiyans hail from Planet Vegeta, with gravity 10x that of Earth. Goku and Vegeta also routinely train in high-gravity chambers, with Vegeta once turning it up to 450 G. This was used hilariously when a lower level Elite Mook in the beginning of the Buu saga challenged the Saiyans, thinking that changing the environment to his home planet, which had 10 times Earth's gravity, would give him a sizable advantage. Boy was he wrong.
- The series also gets around the whole issue of Heavyworlders logically being short by having the Saiyans be invaders who originally evolved on another planet, which presumably had gravity to closer to ours. Indeed, Planet Vegeta's original inhabitants were noticeably smaller than humans.
- One of Rumiko Takahashi's comedic one-shots was Maris the Chojo, about a bounty hunter whose family was from a high-gravity world, and had proportionate strength, so they had to wear special restraints in order to keep from destroying everything around them by accident. The antagonist was also a super-strong Heavyworlder, though not to the degree of the protagonist.
- Not a person but a machine: in Zeta Gundam, Big Bad Paptimus Scirocco's final mobile suit, The O, is designed for operations in Jupiter's gravity. As such it's incredibly heavily armoured and features massive thrusters to allow it to move at all. Turn it loose in space or Earth's atmosphere and it becomes a Lightning Bruiser and One-Man Army.
- To a lesser degree, Scirocco's three previous mobile suits fit this model as well. He's got a godlike ability for cranking out one-shot, scratch-built Super Prototypes. His first known mobile suit, The Messala, is a Transforming Mecha and arguably the deadliest suit on the field for the first half of the series.
- The eponymous Crossbone Gundam was also designed to operate within Jupiter's gravity. In order to keep weight down, its primary thrusters are mounted on flexible X-shaped binders that can fan out for maneuverability or close together for incredible speed. As with The O, it's a Lightning Bruiser that can outmaneuver most modern mecha, which allows it to rip them apart in melee combat.
- Charlie-27 of Marvel Comics' original Guardians of the Galaxy is a Jovian, a member of a human subspecies genetically engineered to colonize Jupiter. As such, he's huge, super-strong, muscular and very tough. Implicitly he's even stronger and tougher than the typical Jovian, as he was a career military man. He's also not short at all — the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe lists him at an even 6', only slightly taller than the average adult human male, though he's often drawn as the tallest of the team even so.
- Tom Strong was raised in a high-gravity environment, giving him immense musculature and strength while somehow not interfering with his growth. Just the opposite, in fact, he's huge; this may be due to how heavily the miracle food goloka figures into his diet.
- Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire is a Hoffmannite, from a violent race of large Heavyworlders who call normal humans "jellybones" and are prone to Attack Hello. Hoffmanites aren't noticeably shorter than regular humans and appear quite obese... but it turns out the bulk is all muscle. They were also genetically engineered by a team that thought that making a sub-race of centaurs was a good idea.
- Before he started flying and shooting laser beams out of his eyes, the late Golden Age and full Silver Age explanation for Superman's powers was that his home planet, Krypton, had exceptionally high gravity (the first explanation given in Action Comics #1 was Evolutionary Levels — Superman had originally been conceived as being from the future). Even after the yellow sun explanation came into play, Krypton was still described as having a much greater mass than Earth. This might be the inspiration for Tom Strong's origin.
- Elliot S! Maggin, a prominent Superman writer, once wrote that Krypton's gravity was so great that every explorer from another planet who had landed on, or even approached Krypton was unable to to ever return. Krypton gained an ominous reputation as a "black hole planet", whose gravity was inescapably strong.
- Possibly as a reference to this fact, Stan Lee's presentation of Superman was a policeman from an alien world with high gravity.
- The Elseworlds comic "Superman: Last Son of Earth" is built upon a total inversion of Superman's backstory; here, he's Clark Kent, a human shot into space to escape a disaster who landed on Krypton and was raised as Kal-El. Arriving back on Earth in his adulthood, he's surprised to discover that growing up in Krypton's heightened gravity has given him superhuman strength and bulletproof skin.
- In The Supergirl From Krypton Superman mentions he owes his powers to this while he examines his cousin's rocket.
- This was also the explanation for the powers of Supergirl back in the Silver Age, combined with the yellow sun factor.
- Not quite the same thing, but the idea that Aquaman's incredible strength and durability come from he and his fellow Atlanteans adapting to the "crushing ocean depths" is related to this trope.
- The Flash: Thondor Allen, a "fifth-generation Jupiter colonist" and distant future descendent of The Flash Barry Allen, who appears to exist largely for the visual humour of a really massive speedster.
- Legion of Super-Heroes:
- Frequent foes of the Legion are the humanoid Khunds.
- Supervillain The Persuader from is a normal human, but has incredible strength from being born and raised on a high-gravity world.
- Dan Dare: The short and stocky Verans from Jupiter are a good example of this trope. When one visited Earth, he fell flat on his face and needed a couple of industrial cranes to get back on his feet.
- In Bait and Switch (STO) New Bajor is stated to have about a third more gravity than Bajor.note LCdr. Reshek Gaarra, who's from New Bajor, is once seen in the ship's gym adjusting the weight set to mimic his planet's gravity so he won't lose the edge it gives him.
- The Phantasm films have dead humans resurrected as superstrong dwarves by compacting their density on a high-gravity world in an alternate universe.
- The creature in the B-Movie It Conquered the World (1956) was originally conceived as short and squat, due to the heavy gravity of its native planet. Actress Beverly Garland was unimpressed by the vertically-challenged villain — approaching it within hearing of director Roger Corman she cried "So, you plan to take over the world do you? Take that!" and kicked it in the head. Corman agreed to redesign the creature to more menacing proportions◊.
- Officially, Jek "Piggy" Porkins from A New Hope — callsign Red Six, the first pilot to die on the run against the Death Star — was from a high-gravity world. This made him somewhat overweight but still strong, and likely killed him. In the X-Wing Series, a surviving squadmate reminisces that Porkins dialed back his fighter's Artificial Gravity a bit more than usual, which could be why he insisted that he could pull out of his fatal dive into the Death Star's surface.
- Several minor characters and extras in the Star Wars Expanded Universe are also mentioned to be Heavyworlders — however, unlike Jek, they're generally portrayed as being short and stout. It's possible that Jek Porkins was adapted to a heavy world, and gained weight from the sudden drop in exercise upon moving to standard-gee worlds.
- Earth has higher gravity than Barsoom, as John Carter finds out.
- He's also much shorter than the green-skinned Tharks, although he's the same size as the local humans. His Super Strength isn't shown much, although he easily breaks through the first chains that the Tharks put him in. They put him in heavier chains and attach them to a huge rock. Carter manages to throw the rock.
- Deja Thoris theorizes that the reason for Earthling and Martian physiology appearing similar is that Carter's body is more dense than the Martians. More realistically, the superpower that he shows off the most is being able to jump really far.
- One reason why Kryptonians are so strong on Earth in Man of Steel.
- In Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon describes a realistic version of Heavyworlders engineered to colonize Neptune (at the time it still seemed possible): they're simply midgets who take advantage of the Square/Cube Law. Subsequent Neptunian species engineer themselves to be taller than the original terrestrial men, but it's made clear that they're so advanced they're not limited by petty biological constraints.
- The short story "Heavy Planet" by Lee Gregor is probably one of the earliest examples of this trope. The planet's gravity is so intense that the alien describes the metal of a crashed human ship to be like rubber, poking a hole in it with his bare finger.
- E. E. “Doc” Smith:
- The Lensman series featured a company of Valerians, the next-millennium descendants of Dutch colonists on a high-gravity world (the g of Valeria is 27 m/s^2, nearly triple the 9.8m/s^2 of earth), serving in the Space Marines of the Galactic Patrol. In close quarters, their Weapon of Choice was the space-axe, essentially a solid-metal combination axe and warhammer pragmatically adapted for zero-G and inertialess combat in a universe where force fields can't handle the "slow" but lethal implement.
- Another of his great sci-fi series starred the Family d'Alembert, a circus troupe of Heavyworlder secret agents and incredible badasses, one and all.
- Noteworthy, the Valerians fit the larger type, while the d'Alemberts, are the short and stocky variant.
- The Jinxians of Larry Niven's Known Space are one of the rare short Heavyworlder variety (described by one character as "five feet tall and five feet wide"), realistically so, since human growth patterns are determined in part by the weight of the body. They are strong enough to bend crowbars, and black-skinned regardless of ancestry, since the star they orbit, Sirius, is far brighter than Sol, particularly in the ultraviolet. They got this way after only four hundred years of selective breeding, but the downside is heart problems and short lifespans even with the life-extending drug "boosterspice". Culturally, they are mainly scientists and punsters. Ringworld even features a joke about them:
Q: How many Jinxans does it take to paint a building?
A: Three. One to hold the paint sprayer and the other two to shake the building up and down.
- In Animorphs the pacifistic Pemalites and their android servants the Chee hail from a world with gravity four times that of Earth. As you'd expect, they're very powerful by human standards. While the Pemalites are extinct and we don't know how well they followed the trope, the Chee, being robots, are incredibly strong and incredibly fast. Erek is so fast that he can get from his inland house to several miles out into the ocean and several thousand miles deep in less than an hour. In their more bitter moments, the Animorphs frequently lament the fact that, if the Pemalies would have just reprogrammed the Chee's violence prohibition, they might not be extinct and the Yeerks would done over in a week.
- The setting of Anne McCaffrey's Planet Pirates series and Dinosaur Planet series may actually be the Trope Namer. The genetically-enhanced Heavyworlders, due to their history, resent and distrust "lightweights" to the point of being open to manipulative propoganda and conspiracy theories by the titular criminals. In a greater society of near-universal vegetarians, they also have to eat meat due to their altered metabolism.
- The CoDominium universe has the inhabitants of Frystaat, a Death World with high gravity, intense heat, blinding sunlight, and native life with More Teeth than the Osmond Family. A mere six hundred years of mutation and natural selection has rapidly transformed them into superhumans with strength, stamina, senses, and reflexes beyond the human norm (almost a match for the Saurons). They are, however, very vulnerable to cold.
- The eponymous heroine of the Honor Harrington series is from a world with heavier-than-normal gravity, and the "Meyerdahl Beta" genetic enhancements built into her ancestors to best thrive in heavy gravity are part of what make her kick so much ass. She's actually a fairly marginal example of a Heavyworlder, though. Meyerdahl Betas' modifications were specifically designed to be subtle in the face of widespread prejudice against genetic modification, and Sphinx isn't THAT heavy, only about 1.3 Earth's gravities. On the other hand, the series also has San Martin, at 2.7 g the highest gravity planet inhabited by humans, with several minor characters being from there. San Martinos are much more classic examples of the trope — in its squat-but-wide form — noted for their prodigious strength and muscle mass, and tend to be quite tall as well. San Martin's gravity is actually so high that humans can't even survive at sea level: the increased air pressure makes the atmosphere toxic. The third of the Manticore system habitable planets, Gryphon, with ~1.5 g is somewhere in between, and its inhabitants often lack the genetic mod most Sphinxians sport, becoming short and squat instead. Anton Zilwicki, a stereotypical Gryphon highlander, is 163 cm (5'6") tall and was shown to dismember a Super Soldier with his bare hands, so the comparisons to the dwarf lords are thrown about him quite routinely.
- One story by Stephen Baxter had "humans" engineered to live on neutron stars. Said "humans" were on a microscopic scale — such that they considered a centimetre to be a really impressive size for a city — and lived inside the star. Oh, and got around by "swimming" through the magnetic field...
- Bill the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison. The Chingers are lizardoids only seven inches high, but as they come from a 10G world, they're able to throw the Space Trooper protagonist easily. Government propaganda portrays them as being seven feet tall so morale won't be affected.
- Hour of the Horde and some short stories by Gordon R. Dickson add a forgotten corollary: things fall faster (or rather, accelerate at a higher rate) on a high-gravity world. One alien from such a world is somewhat stronger, but much faster, because falling over on such a planet is a bad idea and being able to catch falling things is usually helpful too.
- The S't'ach in Star Trek: Titan, who resemble metre-high four-armed blue teddy bears, but are denser than they appear. In early books they are said to be superdense, but in a later book one points out the perils of having a lot of mass on a high gravity world. Apparently, this is a rumour spread by the S't'ach themselves; they're aware of how cute they look to humanoids, and want to discourage them from trying to pick them up and cuddle them.
- The Perry Rhodan universe features human colonists that come in short-and-squat, physical giant, and even relatively normal looking superman form depending on their exact planet of origin. (Ironically, these just happen to be listed in order of increasing homeworld gravity — so the most normal-looking ones hail from the world with the most extreme conditions. Oxtorne is rated at 4.8 Gs and the locals' idea of "mild" weather would be considered a full-blown hurricane elsewhere.)
- The Brobdingnagian, from the Hoka story "The Napoleon Crime." Who's also a Gentle Giant and a Japanophile, and would be obnoxiously cute if he weren't huge.
- Harry Harrison's Deathworld features Pyrrus: double Earth gravity and so, so much more. The population are all TykeBombs. Pyrrans are short and massive, for added realism.
- Used in George R.R. Martin's "Thousand World" stories. In the short story "The Hero", the planets Wellington and Rommel have habitable climates but higher-than-Earth gravity, and their populations were recruited by the Federal Empire of Earth as soldiers.
- The "1 on 1" gamebook Battle For The Ancient Robot had Kan-Tal from Jupiter as one of the human player's allies. His vital stats are given as 5' 2" and 492 pounds.
- The people of Lusus, a very massive planet and industrial powerhouse with its settlements buried underground (called Hives and many of them fitting the description), are described as being rather short, rather stout, and very strong in Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos. This includes Brawne Lamia, a Private Detective from Lusus who fell in love with a clone/reconstruction of John Keats who had lost his memory... and long story short, that's how she ends up one of the main characters of the first novel.
- The people of Sol Draconi Septem, which in addition to being very heavy was covered in a mostly-frozen atmosphere (or something), are described in the third novel (Endymion) as being rather like short, stout Inuit.
- The inhabitants of the planet Mesklin (which not only has very high gravity, but a very rapid rotation) in Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement are adjusted to this by looking somewhat like flat centipedes. The Mesklinites are the main characters of the story, which tells how a brave sea merchant retrieves a probe fallen from the sky for a strange space alien (i.e., a human).
- Saval Bork from Steve Perry's Matador Series is from a heavy-g world, and has some genetic modifications to help him survive there. He also spends a lot of time weightlifting, when he's in places with lighter gravity. His personal record in the bench press is 360kg, or approximately 790 pounds.
- Averted (as per usual) in the Sector General series, with the FROB Hudlar (homeworld in excess of 3G, body plan more or less spherical with six prehensile tentacles) and FGLI Tralthan (homeworld 2G, rather like a hexapedal elephant, can easily be killed by a fall).
- The Starwolves in Edmond Hamilton's Starwolf trilogy are Vikings IN SPACE! from the heavy world of Varna. They can endure higher-acceleration maneuvers than anyone else they've encountered, which is what makes them so dangerous and hard-if-not-impossible to catch. "When a Starwolf gets killed, they declare a holiday on all decent worlds."
- Implied to be true of the Jenoine, from the Dragaera series, as they have sturdy, heavily-muscled bodies and the world on which they imprison their captives in Issola has higher gravity than Vlad and his friends are used to. Only an implication, because it's unclear whether the prison-world in question is the Jenoine's native habitat, or if its higher gravity is just a coincidence.
- The Masters in The Tripods had evolved in a higher gravity world and built domed cities to maintain a higher pressure to accomodate both this and their need to breathe an atmosphere other than Earth's. It didn't have a good effect on their human servants.
- Reconstructed and downplayed in The Right Hand of Dextra: While Dextra's gravity isn't that much higher, the protagonist speculates that the colonists' descendants will be Heavyworlders, albeit a more realistic take on the idea (short, stocky, and thick-limbed). At that point, however, he wasn't counting on people mutating themselves into centaurs.
- Dragon's Egg features one of the most extreme examples and yet manages to treat it realistically — like the Stephen Baxter example above, the Cheela live on a neutron star with a gravity 67 billion times stronger than Earth's. They're essentially puddle-like Blob Monsters the size of sesame seeds (but with the same mass as humans), since nothing could stand on legs on their homeworld, and made of degenerate matter for even ordinary atoms fold themselves in that gravity.
- Torin Kerr of the Confederation of Valor series is a mild version of the trope; her homeworld has 1.2 times Earth's gravity. This works to her advantage in a Bar Brawl in the first book since the planet she's on has 0.8 G.
- Members of The Culture can do this at will. One character lives on a high-gravity world but visits a world with lighter gravity, and his body begins to adapt, shedding muscle and bone mass. He plans to return home soon, so he imagines a stick figure standing on a sphere, and he makes the sphere larger in his mind. His body automatically reverses the changes and builds up muscle and bone again.
- Ia, protagonist of the Theirs Not to Reason Why series, is from a 3.2g planet. The Corps requires her to practically live in a weighted suit to retain her consequent strength and reflexes, a suit that doesn't have enough connection points for weights to fully mimic Sanctuary's gravity. There's a mention that heavyworlders in this verse are usually smaller and more compact than lightworlders, but Ia is an exception, and her brothers are even bigger than she is.
- All Tomorrows: The Lopsiders were an...
- In The Expanse (both the book series and its TV adaptation), humans raised on Earth are heavyworlders by default compared to those who grew up on Mars or on colonies in the asteroid belt. The trade-off is that Earthers also require more food and oxygen. It's most pronounced with Amos and Alex; while they look similar in size, Alex (a native Martian) isn't able to lift Amos (an Earther) because he is physically weaker and because the Earther is denser than he is.
Live Action TV
- In Star Trek, Vulcan is said to have higher gravity than Earth, and Vulcans are consequently around three times stronger than humans. This explains why Spock, in spite of being a nerd, can kick most people's butts in hand-to-hand combat. Well, that and the fact that while Vulcans turned away from their previous proud warrior race society thousands of years ago, they kept teaching the old (and very effective) martial arts as a matter of tradition.
- In Andromeda, there are several genetically-engineered human variants, including people who breathe water and Heavyworlders. Captain Dylan Hunt's mother is a Heavyworlder, so he has genes that almost make him a physical match for a Nietzschean Super Soldier.
- In a straight fight against a Nietzschean with equivalent hand-to-hand combat, he'd lose. This is acknowledged by the producers in commentary tracks. Remember, Gaheris Rhade was eventually revealed to have thrown that fight..
- An episode of the Buck Rogers TV series had an unassuming man of average build named Toman who was secretly from a high-gravity planet, giving him great strength, which he used as a hit man who never needed weapons.
- The Sontarans, a race of cloned galactic warriors from Doctor Who. Although Sontarans 'grew' in size over the course of the series, the new series took the trouble to restore them to their original short height, leading to the inevitable Hurricane of Puns from the Doctor.
- The much-despised spin-off of the original Battlestar Galactica (1978), Galactica 1980, had the Twelve Colonies with greater gravity than Earth so the Galacticans were considerably stronger and could jump much higher.
- The "Gatecrashing" supplement for Eclipse Phase introduces Dvergar (singular: Dvergr), short and stocky morphs meant for exoplanets with significantly higher gravity than old earth.
- Warhammer 40,000 has several prominent examples that ended up going in very different directions:
- One group of Heavyworlders adapted to their environment by bulking up (and up, and up) at the expense of culture and brainpower, developing into the abhuman Ogryns.
- Meanwhile the settlers of the high-gravity worlds near the galactic core gradually became shorter and stouter, developing into the Squats.
- In a less extreme example, the jungle death world of Catachan has slightly higher gravity than Terran standard, which helps explain why its inhabitants are so brawny. This earns them the somewhat unflattering nickname of "Baby Ogryns."
- Averted in Hc Svnt Dracones, Vectors are designed to adapt to new gravities quickly. Martians often find it funny when Venusian tourists think they'll be super strong when they come to their world, only to feel lethargic for eight hours and end up no stronger than anyone else.
- Taken to an extreme by the 'lobster' form that Kheldians can take in City of Heroes; a previous common host for Kheldians were the inhabitants of a white dwarf star.
- The Cabal of Destiny are such people; they are so adapted to their own worlds that they have to wear specially-pressurized suits just to survive on Mars.
- According to Halo's official data, the Covenant has a few Heavyworlders in its ranks. The Sangheili/Elite homeworld Sanghelios has 1.375G, Doisac (the Jiralhanae/Brute homeworld) has 2.1G, and the Yanme'e/Drones call Palamok, with 2.2G, their home. Fittingly, all three races are quite physically strong — Elites & Brutes can match Spartans in close combat, and Drones are strong enough to lift full-grown armored human marines into the air. Additionally, Te (the Lekgolo/Hunter homeworld) has 4G. Appropriately, the Lekgolo are actually small wormlike creatures that live in massive colonies.
- The Elcor of Mass Effect come from a heavy world, and as a result are very cautious and conservative in all aspects of their life, since a fall could literally kill them on their homeworld.
- Deconstructed in Mass Effect 3. As a race of slow-moving Mighty Glaciers who are outmatched by the Reapers, the vast majority of Elcor civilians fail to evacuate their home-world in time. It's implied that while some Elcor escaped, there aren't enough to recover the species.
- Mass Effect also has the Volus. The Volus homeworld has a high pressure atmosphere and a gravity of 1.5gs making the Volus rather short. They have to wear a pressure suit to keep their skin from splitting open when in environments that are suitable for the other council species.
- Gravitas in Meteos is the planet in the game with the strongest gravity. Its inhabitants have little leisure time. They are about 1 meter in height and seem to be angular in shape.
- There are a number of other planets with very heavy gravity too, though they don't have it as their defining trait like Gravitas. They're reflected in gameplay by everything falling quickly (and thus tend to be more difficult planets to work with).
- In Master of Orion II, races with the High-G World trait gain an extra hit in ground combat and do not suffer production penalties when colonizing other high-gravity planets, though they still suffer a production penalty when colonizing low-gravity worlds.
- One of the Biotechs in Sword of the Stars that allow colonists to be genetically tailored to their environments is Gravitational Adaptation.
- Reach For The Stars has a species that lives on the surface of the solid core of a gas giant. Yes, thousands of miles below the gas giant's apparent surface.
- In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the Klausian people are from a planet with a gravity roughly twice that of Earth's. True to form, they possess heightened speed, strength, and stamina relative to Earthlings.
- Metroid protagonist Samus Aran is a Heavyworlder, though she rarely gets a chance to show this off due to her Power Suit. She was fostered by the Chozo on the high-gravity planet Zebes, and had to undergo some Bio-Augmentation to survive there. Just how much is debatable — one number thrown around is that Zebes had 950 times Earth's gravity — but the fact remains that Samus was able to leap forty feet high in Zebes' gravity, or stick a Three-Point Landing off a cliff that resulted in a small crater (while still a child). If she ever took the suit off and ran around on a planet like Earth, Samus could probably bench-press several tons. Naturally, she avoids the usual squat-broad Heavyworlder body type and usually portrayed as tall but lithe.
- Orion's Arm has numerous races designed and redesigned for high gravity planets. Also comes in handy on accelerating spaceships.
- The ktrit'zal in Junction Point. Their homeworld has five times the surface gravity of Earth, and they are appropriately squat quadrupeds. Liu mentions that Rudak's arms are nearly as thick as her torso, and apparently females are even bigger.
- A variant of this can be seen in people who grew up in places located at high latitudes. While the gravity is the same, the air is substantially thinner, meaning that people raised to breathe this air as normal often have heightened stamina when closer to sea level. This is part of the reason why mountainous East Africa (especially Kenya) is famous for its long-distance runners, and why the United States' first Olympic Training Center was established in Colorado Springs (at 6,035 feet above sea level, one of the highest-altitude major cities in the US).