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Insignificant Little Blue Planet

"How insignificant we are, with our pygmy little world!- An atom glinting with uncounted myriads of other atom worlds in a broad shaft of light streaming from God's countenance..."
Mark Twain, The Bible According to Mark Twain

Earth? That old dirtball? Who cares about that boring, useless planet crawling with its clueless lifeforms?

The opposite of Earth Is the Center of the Universe. Seems if not the above, then the main action is set on another civilized planet, and Earth is either radioactive, lost, forgotten, generally meaningless, or outright nonexistent in the work's setting. It's not on any cosmic Evil Overlord's Take Over list, nor is it covered in any Milky Way Geography classes.

Double points for throwing in Earth All Along.

If the people on Earth think they're the center of the universe, but everyone else thinks they are just an Insignificant Little Blue Planet, then you can probably expect some sort of conflict over this or, at least, a few words about how stupid humans are for thinking that way.

Sci-Fi literature tends to employ this trope more often than television and movies. Also a popular theme in Cosmic Horror Story.

See also: Earth That Was and A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away.... Puny Earthlings usually goes hand-in-hand with this, for obvious reasons. Earth is also no longer the only planet subject to this — compare Pluto Is Expendable.

Can provoke Fridge Logic when aliens who plainly evolved in an environment similar to Earth call it thisóas if their homeworlds were any different. No aversions or kinda-sorta subversions here. Take them to Earth Is the Center of the Universe instead.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Despite a good number of its cast being from Earth, to the Space/Time Administration of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha it's just "Non-Administrated World #97." Nobody looks down at us, though, and hey, given how the TSAB monitors the whole freaking Space-Time Continuum, being in the top 100 ain't bad. The first two seasons did have Tokyo Uminari Is The Center Of The Universe, though, with both the Jewel Seeds and the Book of Darkness appearing in that city.
    • The serial numbers are apparently granted based on classification and order of acceptance (Mid-Childa is also referred to as "Administrated World #1").
    • Since Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, the setting is on Mid-Childa and the main characters have moved from Earth to there, with only two of them being real humans anyway. The other characters from Earth don't have any origin there.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, about half a century before the series, a disaster on the moon left a ring of moon rock orbiting Earth, with pieces regularly plummeting to the surface and causing problems for the inhabitants. Result: Mars is now the center of civilization, while Earth is a ghetto for those who couldn't afford to move off the planet.
  • Initially, the Data Integration Entity almost completely ignored Earth. It's mostly "inhabited" by creatures who actually have to use physical matter to interact with each other, something at best, slightly interesting. But then one Haruhi Suzumiya showed evidence of being capable of "Auto-Evolution" and they had to start paying some real attention. They still don't really care about anyone else on the planet though. (Yuki Nagato doesn't count.)
  • The primary motive of the Terran Cult in Legend of Galactic Heroes revolves around this trope. At one time Earth was the center of a massive colonial empire that spanned galaxies. However, Earth began to brutally exploit and repress the people of its colonies, which led to a bloody revolution. The colonies barely scraped by with a victory and Earth was left a hollow shell of its former self, becoming less and less significant as time passed by. The Terran Cult's plan is to use organized religion and terrorist actions in order to manipulate politics and history so that Earth is made the center of the Universe once again.
    • Furthermore, after they fail what little civilization left on Earth is destroyed. The protagonists respond to this with simple apathy.
  • In the final season of Sailor Moon, the main villain Sailor Galaxia, regards the earth this way. To the point, it's the last place she has in the Galaxy that she hasn't destroyed yet, which is the only reason she even bothers. Obviously she is proven wrong when the Senshi of earth actually beat her.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, Earth is just an insignificant [unaware] colony/territory of Jurai, the actual center of the universe in importance. Earth is only ever actually relevant to the overall story at all because the Jurian Emperor got one of his wives here, and her son lay low here for a few hundred years.
  • In Gantz the aliens that save Earth from another alien race say this, along with the fact that human life is meaningless. Destruction of life is simply 'matter being reshaped.' Even when the humans try to point out that the alien took a vested interest in Earth, it simply says not to read too much into it.
  • This is pretty much what attracted the Pict in Axis Powers Hetalia: Paint it White. Said aliens expected Earth, with all its diverse countries and divisions to be a backwater that can easily be steamrolled. They thought wrong.

    Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    Test question: "What was the significance of the Erie Canal?"
    Calvin's answer: "In the cosmic sense, probably nil."
    • In another strip, Calvin is looking at the stars with Hobbes and talks about how small and insignificant Earth is in the universe... then says: I wonder what's on TV now.
    • In yet another strip, Calvin is again looking at the stars with Hobbes:
      Hobbes: What a clear night! Look at all the stars. Millions of them!
      Calvin: Yes, we're just tiny specks on a planet particle, hurling through the infinite blackness. (beat) Let's go in and turn on all the lights.
  • Numerous members of the Green Lantern Corps in The DCU look down on Earth—partly because of Hal Jordan's actions as Parallax. Many others have never even heard of the planet or of the species that inhabits it.
    • However, it has been revealed that while Oa is the center of the universe, Earth is the center of The Multiverse, destroy Earth and the rest of existence will follow.
    • They do however like the food.
      Flash: "Knew it! Johnny DOES have a chink in his armor! Bob and Terry's!" tosses carton of ice cream to Kilowog
      Kilowog: (Chomp!) "Delicious!"
    • However later that scene this notion is made fun of.
      Flash: "Ahh, check this out, people's exhibit B! Old Yeller." tosses the video cassette to Kilowog
      Kilowog: (Chomp!) "Delicious!"
    • Maybe Kilowog just has a taste for the bizarre?
      • Also Guy opens up a Warrior (his superhero, namely him, theme restaurant) that does pretty well.
  • Most of the alien races in the Marvel Universe view Earth in this way.
    • Even some humans. Nova rips into Tony Stark for many of Earth's superheroes (some of whom have cosmic-level powers) having been totally wrapped up in what was, at the base, a bureaucratic dispute in the United States while he, entire civilizations, and cosmic entities including Galactus were fighting to save the entire universe.
    • On the other hand, some aliens species fear earth and their heroes since they have defeated several cosmic threats. Specifically, one alien species are scared of earth because they are the only planet in the universe that has stopped Galactus from eating their planet.
  • Similarly, the universe where most of Marvel's stories take place is numbered Earth #616 by at least one inter-dimensional organization.
    • Several stories have subverted this by pointing out that this Earth is the most important one in the Multiverse. The numbering might be an intentional way of disguising its importance.
    • See Number of the Beast. There are conflicting stories about where that number for the "core" universe comes from.

    Fan Works 
  • Retro Chill plays this for laughs: the planet selector's explanation of Earth is "home to the most obsolete and stupidest aliens in the universe, THE EARTHLINGS!" Calvin argues against it, but the voice simply tells him that they're always fighting and have never visited another planet. He can't argue with that.
  • From Bajor to the Black's viewpoint character isn't human. As far as Kanril Eleya is concerned, the only functional difference between Earth and any other Class M rock is that she has to pay taxes to it.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Lilo & Stitch, Earth is considered quite insignificant, but is left alone by the aliens primarily because they have declared it a protected wildlife sanctuary. For mosquitoes. (Since humans are a major food source for mosquitoes, that means humans are also protected.) That was a bit of a diplomatic coup by the black ops division charged with dealing with aliens. The "diplomatic coup" portion at the end was a last-minute decision by the writers when they realized they'd need a good reason for Cobra Bubbles not to be surprised at all the aliens. It also made a neat explanation for why a social worker would look like a Secret Service Agent.
  • In Titan A.E., the aliens don't particularly care that Earth got destroyed. Those that do treat the surviving humanity as scum, teetering at the edge of extinction. The aliens didn't care, but the humans sure did. In fact, the entire movie is based around finding a device that can rebuild Earth. This proves to be a Despair Event Horizon for Korso, but he gets better.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Flash Gordon. Ming and Klytus don't think much of the planet... Earth (stressing the word as the synonym for "dirt".)
  • In Battle Beyond the Stars Space Cowboy proudly tells everyone he's from Earth but no one has ever heard of it.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes ends with the Earth being destroyed by the Doomsday Bomb. The somber voiceover man says, "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."
  • In Battlefield Earth, the aliens stationed on our post apocalyptic planet hate it because it's boring, small and the gravity's too low. They use any humans they can catch as slave labor but the captain of the settlement says that he would much rather use dogs. At first he saw them as more useful, but they lack the appendages needed for certain jobs. Most of the aliens are convinced that humans have no language and are too stupid to learn whatever the aliens speak in. You Suck is softened a little when a man does learn the alien language and the captain enjoys explaining to him how it only took his ancestors 15 minutes to destroy all human civilization after finding Earth. Softened in that even though humanity's last stand was pathetic, he purposely wanted his staff not to know humans had some intelligence
    • Even the defense wasn't that pathetic; they teleported in a massive number of gas weapons in a move no race had survived in three universes of conquests.
  • Summed up nicely by Ron Perlman in Alien: Resurrection:
    Johner: Earth, man. What a shithole.
    • Which of course they proceed to make even worse by crashing a military starship into the surface. Granted, they did so to kill the Xenomorphs, but still...
  • In The Last Starfighter, Earth is an underdeveloped backwater notable mainly for being neutral in the war between the Star League and the Kodan Armada and off-limits for mercenary Starfighter recruiters. That is, until Alex Rogan beat a certain video game...
    • However, it's not that neutral.
      Centauri: Earth's in danger, too, isn't it?
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Criminologist sums it up at the end.
    And crawling, on the planet's face
    Some insects, called the Human Race
    Lost in time and lost in space
    And meaning
    Chorus: Meaning...
  • The ending of Men In Black suggests that Earth and the entire Milky Way exists inside a marble.
    • The sequel implies all of existence is like that or at least structured in layers like K's locker
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, we see how Earth transitions from this trope to Earth Is The Centre Of The Universe, after Zefram Cochrane makes his first warp flight and sees the Earth from a distance:
    Cochrane: Is that Earth?
    Geordi: That's it!
    Cochrane: It's so small...
  • In The Avengers, this is the Chitauri's attitude towards Earth, until the Avengers prove them wrong.
  • Discussed in Hellraiser: Bloodline when Pinhead says that the insignificant creatures that walk the Earth only look to the light and are oblivious to the untold darkness beyond. He's delighted to see it reduced to a world of suffering and death when he takes over.

    Literature 
  • The Trope Namer, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxynote : Earth's entire entry in the Guide is "Harmless". After 15 years of research, Ford Prefect has a revised entry to submit to the guide: "Mostly harmless." Ford initially submitted a much longer, painstakingly detailed entry — part of which later appears in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, to his considerable surprise — but nobody considered Earth to be important enough to warrant better than two words. And in any case, the Vogons made it somewhat academic early on; there's not much more you can really say about a smouldering heap of rubble. Of course, it turns out the Earth was rather more important than anyone except for the people who put the Vogons up to demolishing it were aware of. It also wasn't strictly speaking a planet.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Our entire universe is insignificant and little, compared with all the others in the Wood Between The Worlds. Very little of the action takes place in our universe—most takes place in Narnia. And Heaven Aslan's Country has this effect on any universe, seeing as it contains perfect versions of all of them.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Robot Detective series, Earth is primitive and backward compared to the Spacer worlds. Later, in his Empire series, humans have spread through the Galaxy and no longer even remember which planet is the homeworld. Earth is one claimant, but most people don't believe it, as it's become a radioactive ghetto. By the Foundation series, no one even knows where Earth is anymore.
    • Hilariously, they go from knowing where Earth is (but not recognising it as humanity's home planet) in the Empire series to being aware that humanity's home planet was Earth, but not knowing what happened to Earth in Foundation's Edge.
    • In the first Foundation novel, it's mentioned that Sol 3 (read: us) is one of a few possible sites of the original home of humanity, but even that possibility is long forgotten by Foundation's Edge, which is set 500 years later.
  • In Stephen King's Under the Dome, the town of Chester's Mill is shown to not be the target of any terrorist attack, supernatural event, or even coordinated alien experiment, but rather the victim of a few alien children playing with human beings the way that human children might burn ants with a magnifying glass.
  • Iain M. Banks has The Culture roaming the galaxy in the 12th Century, and they're not the only ones. They don't know about Earth until one of their ships visits in 1977, and even then they decide not to contact us. Though Consider Phlebas has an appendix which calls itself part of a "Contact-approved Earth Extro-Information Pack" made in 2110, so presumably they came back by then. Dammit.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar books have a Planet of Adventure (the namesake Barrayar), though the characters often venture forth across the galaxy. Only one book out of nearly 20 takes place on Earth. However, the first chapter of that book, Brothers in Arms, states, "Earth was still the largest, richest, most varied and populous planet in scattered humanity's entire worm-hole nexus of explored space. Its dearth of good exit points in solar local space and governmental disunity left it militarily and strategically minor... But Earth still reigned, if it did not rule, culturally supreme."
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, the namesake spaceship, en route from Point A to B, zips through the solar system and slingshots around the sun. Earth isn't even an afterthought.
    • If there had been any sequels, they would have involved a couple more ships coming specifically to obtain humans. However, these ships contained life forms from other solar systems as well, so Earth still wasn't considered extremely important except for the humans.
  • Henrik Wergeland`s Magnum Opus, Creation, Man and the Messiah has two celestial spirits ponder the newly created earth, with one of them asking "is God present in this lump"? The question is followed by a rant, casting doubt about whether this particular planet is "of any particular interest".
    • Wergeland defined God as a being who literally spawned new planets while walking through cosmos ("planets are in his footprints").
  • Taken to its extreme in the short story "They're Made Out of Meat": Earth is blacklisted due to the freakishness of its inhabitants. The narrators clearly don't even think of them as people.
  • The Sirens of Titan has the entirety of human existence as a means to build a part to repair a damaged alien spaceship, or send messages to said alien that help was on the way. For example, the Great Wall of China was a progress report. Just to twist the knife further, a discarded offcut of something else turns out to be that crucial part, and the ship's mission is utterly banal.
  • In Katherine Kerr's Polar City Blues, Earth has been abandoned after ecological collapse. Humanity has spread out to across the stars, but the Human Republic is quite insignificant compared to the two main alien power blocs, the Carli Confederation and H'Allevae Alliance.
  • In the earlier parts of Larry Niven's Known Space chronology, the Earth needs the resources of the (asteroid) Belt more than the Belters need anything from Earth, and both know it. In later stories and novels, humans native to the various Terran colony worlds see "flatlanders" (that is, people from Earth) as arrogant, overly-restricted xenophobes who think the universe revolves around their little blue mudball. The flatlanders in question see the colonists as quaint rubes who don't know enough to realize that the universe revolves around Earth.
  • In Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat novels, humans are all over the galaxy and their origin has mostly been forgotten. When the Rat has to go back in time, they're not even sure of the name: "Dirt, or Earth, or something" and dubious of its claim to be the ancestral home of mankind.
  • The existence of Earth is also considered dubious in E. C. Tubb's nearly endless Dumarest of Terra series, chronicling the Earth-born hero's attempt to find his home planet. The final stories make clear that a fan theory is in fact Canon: Earth is the Cyclan base planet.
  • In Mark Twain's "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven", the protagonist finds out when dealing with the Celestial Bureaucracy that there are apparently many planets with intelligent species called "world", all of them saved by Jesus, and that our one is known as "Wart".
  • A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Humans have been out in the galaxy so long that Earth is merely a legend; the origin planet most humans feel emotionally attached to is called Nyjora - meaning New Earth.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune series, humanity rules an Empire of a million worlds that stretches across the galaxy. Thing is, not one of those is Earth.
    • According to The Machine Crusade (written after Frank had died, so possibly not canon), humanity nuked Earth in a first strike against the thinking machines.
    • It's inconsistent in the main series. You'd get that impression most of the time (and maybe the common people on the streets don't know) but information about Old Earth is mentioned in the appendices as being the place where the Ecumenical Council created the Orange Catholic Bible, and Paul mentions it in the sequel (though his information is garbled through thousands of years).
      • This is mercilessly RetConned in more prequel novels as happened after the Butlerian Jihad, being met with a huge public outcry, as it basically told people of various faiths: "here, read and follow this book; forget all this other crap". The Commission of Ecumenical Translators was nearly lynched by the mobs, only protected by Emperor Jules Corrino's decree. That is until one of their number was caught possibly raping the Empress. Cue public beheadings.
    • On the other hand, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers certainly should be expected to know the truth, if they bother to want to remember it, via their access to the female ancestral memories of the human race. Leto the Second, the God Emperor, most certainly knows all about Earth from his ancestral memories from both sexes. He knows more about Earth and its history, in fact, than we do today.
  • A certain page of Pirandello's "The Late Mattia Pascal" (translated from Italian) goes something like this:
    MATTIA: Oh, dear God, and should I care? We are but on an invisible top, that a sun thread makes spin, on a crazed sand crumb which spins and spins and spins, without knowing why, without ever reaching its destiny, as if it liked to roll, just to make us feel now just a bit hotter, now just a bit colder, and to make us die, often regretting a string of trivial nonsense -after fifty or sixty spinnings, aren't we?
  • In Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix, Earth has turned away from science in the name of stability. Unlike most uses of the trope, it is portrayed as a Crapsack World on the single occasion anybody even enters the atmosphere, and nobody visits any of the cities.
  • In Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space series, Earth is only mentioned a handful of times and none of the characters ever go there. Much of the plot takes place around the planet Yellowstone.
  • In Walter William's Dread Empire's Fall planets are important based on the number of wormhole connections in their system. Earth's unimportant enough that a character gets assigned there for punishment. The race who for a time managed to defend themselves against the Empire's expansion is the bird-like Lai-Own, humans got steamrolled over like nearly everybody else. It is mentioned that humanity's only contribution to galactic culture is pottery and the equally tempered tonescale.
  • In Dante's Paradisio, he makes this observation in Canto 22 after entering the Eighth Sphere of Heaven:
    And turning there with the eternal Twins,
    I saw the dusty little threshing ground
    that makes us ravenous for our mad sins,
    saw it from mountain crest to lowest shore.
    Then I turned my eyes to Beauty's eyes once more.
  • In the Animorphs, the Andalites basically view Earth this way, as they continually refuse to send aid against the Yeerk invasion. It's the Yeerks, actually, who realize that Humans Are Special...in that they make the perfect race to be conquered.Actually, Earth isn't that special 
  • Subverted to hell and gone in John D. MacDonald's Ballroom of the Skies. The galactic government deliberately keeps Earth impoverished and war-torn... because that toughens Earthpeople spiritually to the point that they make good recruits — to run the galactic government.
  • Rebecca Ore's Being Alien trilogy makes Earth this by default because it portrays aliens as "just folks". The main concern for the Federation is that humans are violent xenophobic/philic flip-flops.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Bible sometimes invokes this trope, at least in the New Testament. The heavens are the glorious abode of God and His angels, where everyone lives forever, where as Earth is a degenerate realm of dirt and sin where all who tread upon it are destined to die after a handful of miserable decades.
    • The Christian view of geocentrism was quite the opposite of how we think of it today. To a 12th Century cleric, the geocentric model placed the other bodies above the Earth, making us the dumping ground of the universe.
  • This is the trope that inspired many of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Rather than serving as the cosmological center of a battle between good and evil over men's souls, Earth is simply one more insignificant speck in a universe populated by brain-breaking Eldritch Abominations which regard humanity with about the same level and type of attention that we would give to gnats.
  • In Creatures of Light and Darkness, humanity has spread across the stars, and the only mention of Earth is as the original home, many centuries ago, of the immortal Steel General.
  • In Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite, Earth isn't even a legend to the Getans, and when they finally discover and decrypt ancient historical documents that tell them about the world of their ancestors, their feelings are quite mixed. Though they're no strangers to violence, the idea of war, with its indiscriminate killing, seems like such a waste of tasty protein.
  • While Earth is important culturally to all humans in the Lost Fleet series, nobody has actually bothered to go there in about a century due to the more pressing war between the Alliance and the Syndicate Worlds. The reason for the importance is widespread religion that reveres ancestors. And which planet is the source of all ancestors? Even in Geary's time, a single warship was sent to Earth every year as part of a pilgrimage, but that's about it. So imagine everyone's surprise when the newly-discovered "spider-wolf" aliens ask to be taken to Earth before any negotiations take place. Why? To lay a dead human sailor to rest in his ancestral home region of Colorado.
  • This is pretty much the reaction to any mention of Earth in The History of the Galaxy books. The second (by in-universe chronology) half of the books, at least. The first half usually deals with the devastating First Galactic War involving the Earth Alliance attempting to forcibly subjugate the various Lost Colonies and relieve some pressure from the overpopulated Earth. At the end of the long and bloody conflict, Earth is defeated and isn't even included when the Confederacy of Suns is formed, based on five of the most developed colonies. One of the later books deals with a Space Marine discovering that his uncle died while studying something on Earth and goes there to check it out. He arrives to find an overgrown planet with dried up oceans and only a few million people living on it. The surviving major monuments were moved to safer locations near the remaining cities.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural. Death, after Dean tries to snark at him, gives him the speech:
    Death: This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy thatís barely out of its diapers. Iím old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.
  • Finding Earth may be a big deal to the crew of the Red Dwarf, but most of the galaxy apparently lost interest in it ages ago. The book series takes it a step further by revealing it was eventually selected to be the solar system's landfill.
  • Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda sci-fi TV series: Earth, the origin of the human race, used to be part of the All Systems Commonwealth (an empire spanning three galaxies), but it was just one planet among many, the Commonwealh founded and run mostly by an enigmatic race of aliens. After the fall of the Commonwealth, Earth was taken over by the Nietzscheans and its people enslaved and forced into gulags for cheap labor, and the planet was invaded by the Magog several times. Earth became a Crapsack World, and no-one in the rest of the universe cared, even after the restoration and rebirth of the Commonwealth 2.0.
    • And then finally, Earth is destroyed outright in the series finale.
  • Stargate SG-1 starts out this way - Earth is just a source of slave labor for an interstellar alien civilization. After the U.S. Air Force kills a few Goa'uld, they have it in for us, but Earth is still just one human-populated planet among many, and not the most technologically advanced, nor the only one to rebel. However, it's eventually revealed that the Ancients are almost identical to humans and that's because they evolved on Earth millions of years ago. The Ancients were allies of the Asgard and created most of the technology the Goa'uld rely on, so it seems Earth Is the Center of the Universe after all.
    • The spinoff, Stargate Atlantis, makes Earth a main target of the villains in the pilot episode as the Wraith's first reaction to finding out about Earth and its astonishingly huge human population is "feast!".
  • In Star Trek: Voyager Seven of Nine and Naomi Wildman are determined not to share the crews' ridiculous emotional attachment to a planet they've never seen in person.
    Naomi: "Mom thinks I need to learn more about Earth."
    Seven: "I see. And does studying this image increase your desire to go there?"
    Naomi: "Not really."
    Seven: "I concur. It is unremarkable."
    • Even among the human crew members those actually native to Earth were a minority.
      • Return to Earth meant return to the Federation, and thus, return home. Many of the crew (and not a small number of the adopted Maquis) no doubt found this significant in some way, shape or form. Contrast Naomi and Seven, whose entire lives (or new life, in Seven's case) existed on that ship. To them, the ship was home.
    • Since Star Trek: Enterprise takes place before Starfleet really makes waves in the interstellar community, this trope is played fairly straight. As the Enterprise goes where no man has gone before, they run into folks who simply haven't heard of Earth.
      • Keep in mind, in the Trek Verse, the Vulcans themselves would've continued ignoring Earth but for the flight of the Phoenix.
  • The aliens of 3rd Rock From The Sun regarded Earth like this until they discovered that Humans Are Special.
  • The theme of an entire season of Lexx... beginning with the episode "Little Blue Planet."
    • Subverted; Earth is insignificant to the main characters, who find it to be incredibly backwater largely because the technology level requires a giant rocket ship just to reach the moon (compared to their moth shuttles that flap wings and have tiny jets for vacuum travel) and also because the society they come from is so ridiculously different that they can't comprehend Earth cultures at all. However, in the series' cosmology, Earth is actually important; it's the last refuge for the dead, and the final wall of Satan's prison, after the Lexx blows up the Afterlife.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica (and the old one for that matter) centers around a journey across the cosmos to find the legendary planet known as "Earth". Earth is built up to almost mythical status over the course of the series partly due to the fact that perfect habitable planets are few and far between in the BSG universe (never mind that the series starts out in a set of four solar systems where there are, collectively 12 of 'em) and every almost-Earth-but-not-quite planet turns out to be a Crap Sack World. When they finally find Earth it turns out to be just another Crap Sack World, the original inhabitants having annihilated themselves millennia ago. After a period of much despair, the survivors happen upon a perfectly habitable planet due to angelic intervention seemingly sent by God, when they decide to cut their loses and settle on and dub it "Earth" just for the sake of saying they made it to Earth. That random planet turns out to be our Earth.
  • Seen many times in the run of Doctor Who by a wide variety of alien races. To the Sontarans, Earth is another front to win in their war against the Rutans. To the Cybermen, Earth is another planet to harvest stock from. To the Daleks, Earth has just gotta go. The only reason it's still in existence is because the Doctor happens to be fond of it.
    • Of course, at the same time, Earth seems like the center of the universe. Its the favourite planet of the most famous Time Lord. Its right on a rift in space-time. Its the exact shape needed to make a reality bomb (one of 27, anyway). Its primary species, the humans, will one day become the most widely spread groups in the universe, lasting right until it is destroyed. So played straight and subverted.
  • Clyde lampshades this in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. After hearing yet another alien call earth insignificant, Clyde says, "Y'know, a planet could start to get a complex."
  • Crichton's shipmates in Farscape routinely put down his descriptions of earth as backwards and savage, and when ( a false) earth appears in a wormhole, it is dismissed immediately as an uninteresting little blue planet.
    • The wrap-up mini-series reveals that Sebaceans (i.e. Peacekeepers) are descended from a group of genetically-modified humans taken from Earth by a race of ancient mediators to serve as their guards.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A somewhat obscure example: In the out of print RPG Manhunter, the Earth is a polluted husk and all of its cultural sites have been hijacked by the Terran (offworld human) race and removed to the new Terran homeworld, called (with little imagination) Terra. The Earthers are none too pleased by this.
  • Warhammer 40,000 either plays this straight or inverts it depending on which faction is in play. To the humans, Earth is Holy Terra, the holy of holies, the motherworld, and home of the God-Emperor. Pilgrims spend lifetimes waiting in line to land on its sacred soil. However, for those not of the Imperium, Holy Terra is only important because of its importance to the Imperium; if it weren't so critical to enemy morale, no one would care. As it is, it's probable that the Necrons and Orks don't care anyway (because they're too mysterious and too stupid, respectively). (The Tyrannids, however, are homing in on Earth specifically because they're drawn by the Astronomican. In WH40k, it sucks to be significant.)
  • In Traveller when they first meet the Terrans think Earth Is the Center of the Universe and the Vilani think that Earth is an Insignificant Little Blue Planet. After they spend two hundred years arguing the point it is finally agreed that Earth Is the Center of the Universe because after all Terrans are warriors, and Asskicking Equals Authority.

    Video Games 
  • In the Star Control series of games, Earth is just one of several planets that have banded together to fight the Ur-Quan. By the time of Star Control 2, Earth finds itself defeated and enslaved along with the rest of its allies. Freeing it may be a big deal to the player (as it's his homenote  and all), but ultimately nothing makes its liberation any more important that that of dozens of other planets the Ur-Quan have conquered. In fact, to win the game, other worlds must get priority to free up stocks of Lost Technology to use against the Ur-Quan.
    • Though in terms of gameplay, the trope is averted. Unless you're doing a no-starbase run of the game, Earth's space station is the only place to upgrade your ship, buy new ships (though you can find some elsewhere), get a special escape ability that allows you to run from combat. Basically, in a normal playthrough, you will come back there a lot and often.
  • Spore: As an Easter egg, Maxis included our own solar system in the galaxy, including Earth. However, aside from being in one NASA presentation and part of two achievements, the planet itself is pointless and has a T1 incomplete atmosphere (the lowest inhabitable atmosphere possible), making it even more insignificant that many other insignificant planets outside of novelty. To make things even worse, one of those achievements is gained for blowing it up. Hilariously, the achievement is called "Oh, the humanity!"
  • Mass Effect, to an extent—Earth is important to humanity, culturally, but otherwise has little interest and less relevance on the galactic stage—the Systems Alliance capital is a massive Space Station in the Arcturus system. The player can select the Earthborn origin for Shepard, the protagonist, in which case he/she is an orphan who grew up on the streets of Earth's slums...
    • The codex entry states that the planet is still home to the mass of humanity, the biggest human colony is only 4.4 million strong. Earth is heavily overpopulated as well, and humans are looked down on by other Citadel species for still having things like homelessness, especially on the homeworld.
    • Earth becomes very important in 3, however, mostly because it's important to Shepard - most of the game consists of rallying forces to eventually retake Earth from the Reapers, and the Reapers presumably struck Earth bright and early in the hope of taking out Shepard. It doesn't hurt that, for whatever reason, the Reapers move the Citadel - which you need for the mystery superweapon you've been working on all game - into Earth's orbit.
  • Universe at War, Earth would had been on the next to be struck by the Hierarchy's Purifier (aka a Planet Buster meant to collect materials for the war machine) if it wasn't a plan to destroy the Novus.
  • Earth, and the entire Milky Way Galaxy for that matter, vanished from existence in the Xenosaga universe some 4,000 years before the start of the trilogy and is referred to almost in mythological terms as "Lost Jerusalem", the long-forgotten homeworld of the human race, which has now colonized at least three separate galaxies thanks to the entire universe being devoid of other intelligent life. Getting back to Earth is a key part of a few of the villains' plots, but by-and-large humanity has forgotten about it except as a piece of trivial history.
  • Marathon Trilogy:
    Durandal: By Pfhor standards, Earth is a poorly defended low technology world, populated by billions of potential slaves.
  • In the X-Universe games, Earth is only the center of the universe for the Terrans. The majority of humanity lives in their Lost Colony the Argon Federation.
  • Played with in StarCraft; The human faction of the game, the Terrans, is merely the result of criminals and dissidents exiled from Earth who ended up the Koprulu sector and built their own civilization. As a result, Earth is little more than a sour memory to them. As for the alien factions, Word of God states that the Protoss are aware of Earth's existence, but are frankly uninterested in visiting it, while the Zerg are likely aware of its location but are more concerned with the Koprulu sector than this far away planet. Ironically, Earth itself is terrified by the prospect of either of those two alien species reaching them one day, and Brood War has them sending an army to the Koprulu sector in order to preempt such attempts as a plot point.
  • In Half-Life, the Combine views Earth as simply another one of their millions of conquests. They don't even bother stationing most of their transhuman forces on it. Until, that is, they discover the humans have developed teleporter technology superior to their own....

    Webcomics 
  • In Killroy and Tina, aliens consider Earth's only natural resource to be pornography and wonder what could have made Killroy travel there.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the Nemesites consider Earth a nature preserve, with humans as part of the local wildlife.
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, When the leaders of the human race caught wind of a plan to atomize Earth to find the Winslow, they had a minor Heroic BSOD. Not because the Earth was destroyed, but because they realized that humanity had expanded so much as a species that their homeworld had become expendable.
  • Spoofed in xkcd Pale Blue Dot. The protagonist talks about the topic, but the audience thinks it's just an artefact on the photo.
  • Among The Chosen plays this straight in the present, but averts it historically (where ancient aliens got their slave stock, before they had an uprising, making it the source of human life in the galaxy).

    Web Original 
  • Although Earth is physically the approximate center of the terragen sphere in Orion's Arm, since expansion in any direction is limited by light speed, it isn't really very important any more. Ever since the Great Expulsion, only a tiny population of hippy rianths and other modosophonts live there, under the ongoing rule of the caretaker archailect GAIA, as she continues to restore Earth to its pre-human pristinity. Physically and politically, it's nothing more a wildlife reserve and an exclusive tourist destination, though it is remembered with some sentiment by terragens of all kinds as their original homeworld and one of the richest and most biologically diverse natural planets ever known.
  • Tech Infantry, especially in later seasons, when Earth has been devastated by an asteroid strike, abandoned, partially re-colonized by rebels against the now innacurately-named Earth Federation, then effectively destroyed. Mars and the asteroid belt remain important industrial centers, but Earth is a burnt-out cinder whose top several miles of crust melted to magma when the Moon was blown up and the fragments rained down over several years. The Earth Federation moves its capital to the garden planet of Avalon, then to Wilke's Star, and pretty much never looks back.
  • The Onion does this with a video news story: Study Finds Earth Located In Lamest Part Of Universe (language NSFW)
  • In one Global Guardians story, Ut'ua the Gardener, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien who claims to be the first sentient being to arise in the Milky Way, tells the titular team of heroes that the Earth always has been an insignificant speck of dirt and would be for billions of years to come. But he also reveals that eventually Earth will be of some significance, because while he might have been the first sentient being in the galaxy, a human from Earth was going to be the last.

    Western Animation 
  • Invader Zim: The conqueror Irkens, bent on taking over the entire galaxy, don't even know Earth exists (there's a note stuck to the edge of their vast map of the galaxy that reads "Planet?") until Zim lands there after being sent into a supposedly empty area of space on a cosmic Snipe Hunt. Even then, Earth is the one planet the conquerors are not interested in conquering, hence why they decide it's a safe place to stash the annoying, persistent eponymous character. Though it seems they might want to in the future, this actually turns out to be Dib in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • This is further highlighted when Tak tries to conquer the Earth instead of Zim, specifically noting that it has no strategical value. However, since the point is more about retribution against Zim than anything, she just decides to make the planet valuable, hollowing it out and filling it with snacks the Almighty Tallests would like.
  • The general view of Earth in Transformers Animated by many of the Autobots and Decepticons is that Earth is a puny, primitive backwater filled with filthy, disgusting organics, and if the All Spark didn't crash here, no Cybertronian would ever admit going there. There are some exceptions (for instance, Jazz thinks any planet that could design his adopted funky vehicle alt-mode couldn't be all bad and Prowl is a Friend to All Living Things, from bugs to cats to tree, and Earth is absolutely teeming). Pretty much every other continuity averts this, with Earth either being a resource powerhouse, a prison for stranded factions, or housing a MacGuffin worth landing armies on (or sometimes a combination of at least two of the three).
  • In the Battletoads cartoon, Professor T. Bird explains that Earth is "so backward and insignificant that the Dark Queen never dared to conquer it."
  • All series of the Ben 10 franchise make it quite clear that in the eyes of almost every alien species in the Universe, Earth is nothing but a backwater planet with lowly advanced beings as the dominant species, and the only interesting part about it is Ben Tennyson living on it. This sometimes reach some ridiculous proportions, such as the Plumbers being reluctant to "waste" their resources on it if there is no apparent threat, aliens repeatedly threatening to destroy it for silly reason at least once in each series (Ben 10: Omniverse had an alien threatening to destroy Earth because one of its inhabitants wouldn't marry his daughter), and the list goes on. This is partially why the planet suddenly being a major strategic point to conquer the Universe in "Frogs of War" came up as an Ass Pull in the eyes of some fans.
  • Animaniacs: The song "Yakko's Universe."

    Other 
  • This trope was a favorite of Carl Sagan. He played with it in his books, in speeches, and in Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. He famously popularized the Pale Blue Dot photograph, which is now often shown with his famous quote:
    "Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

    "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds."

    "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

    "The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

    • That photo was and (so far) remains the farthest picture of Earth ever taken: (roughly) 3.7 billion miles out. It's worth noting that, as mind-boggling as that distance is, Voyager 1 wasn't even outside of the Heliosphere yet. In interstellar space it would take something like the Kepler space observatory to find us, and something even more advanced than that to indicate Earth has an atmosphere.
  • With the definition of Supercluster Laniakea, this can be taken Up to Eleven with the definition of an insignificant little galaxy!


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alternative title(s): Insignificant Blue Dot; Insignificant Blue Planet
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