At the beginning of the Science Fiction genre, space travel was a new and novel trope. It wasn't about the destination - the journey alone was interesting enough
. There was no Casual Interplanetary Travel
(let alone interstellar
). We didn't have your fancy Hyper Drive
or wormhole networks
or your sub-ether anagrammed-tribadist Teslafied radio transmittion contraptions
, and we had to walk sixteen miles back and forth through the snow to the launch site. We were lucky if we had a pith helmet! Our science was silly, but it tried to be hard
...for its time
(except for Cavorite
. That's just magic
with your single-stage rockets and intertialess drives and horseless space shuttles have it easy. Back then, you had to build a balloon filled with evaporating morning dew, or strap on a giant rocket, or get shot out of a bloody cannon at the Man in the Moon and put his eye out
That's how we did it.
Well, that's how the hired help did it.
You could go anywhere your heart desired, as long it was the Moon
, or Venus
. Or the Counter-Earth
, ruled by the rapacious Hun and the Kounter-Kaiser!
Back then, Men were Men, the Moon Men were Moon Men, or sometimes bats or bugs, Martians were Martians, and the Venusians were jungle-dwelling crab women!
And that's how we liked it, consarnit!
- The Ur-Example is Lucian's True Story, the first work of western fiction about a voyage to the moon.
- Orlando Furioso, loosely based on the era of Charlemagne, has the knight Astolfo fly to the Moon on a hippogriff.
- Somnium by Juan Maldonado (1541).
- Johannes Kepler's Somnium, where demons take a man to the Moon.
- The Man in the Moone by Francis Godwin, (1638) in which a Spaniard take a swan-powered boat trip to the Moon.
- Voyage dans la Lune (1657) by the Real Life Cyrano de Bergerac, where fireworks are used as rockets.
- The Consolidator (1705) by Daniel Defoe, a trip to the moon in a Chinese invention.
- The Adventures Of Baron Münchhausen (1786) involve two trips to the Moon.
- A Voyage to the Moon by Aratus (1793)
- The Conquest of the Moon by Washington Irving, an allegory about the colonization of America.
- A Flight to the Moon by George Fowler (1813).
- A Voyage to the Moon (1827) by George Tucker.
- "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" (1835) by Edgar Allan Poe involves a balloon trip to the Moon.
- In Les Exilés de la Terre (Exiled from Earth) by Paschal Grousset involves a trip inside of an iron mountain in Sudan that has been converted into a magnetically driven vehicle (1887).
- The 1903 Polish work The Silver Globe by Jerzy Żuławski.
- From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, and its film and opera adaptations.
- The First Men in the Moon by H.G.Wells (1901).
- Heinlein's Luna Cycle of short stories and novels.
- Roverandom by Tolkien, about a humorous trip to the moon taken by his 4-year-old son Michael's lost toy dog.
- Doctor Dolittle in the Moon by Hugh Lofting, where the Doctor flies to the moon on the back of a giant moth.
- C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy.
- Arthur C. Clarkes's 1951 Prelude to Space.
- Across the Zodiac by Percy Greg, describing a 1880 trip to Mars.
- Unveiling a Parallel, an 1893 feminist allegory by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant describing a Martian voyage.
- Journey to Mars and Journey to Venus by Gustavus W. Pope. Venus is covered in dinosaurs.
- Edison's Conquest of Mars (1898) by Garrett P. Serviss. Not as awesome as the name implies, as Edison commits genocide againsts the Martians. The message is less Scientific progress is fun! and more do not fuck with Edison.
- 1905's Gullivar of Mars by Edwin Lester Linden Arnold, using a magic carpet.
- Doctor Omega (1906) by Arnould Galopin.
- The Great Romance, a 1881 novel about a trip to Venus.
- A Trip To Venus by John Munro (1897)
- Stephen King's short story "The Cursed Expedition" is about a trip to a living, carnivorous Venus.
- Larry Niven's short story "Becalmed in Hell" (1965), involving a trip to a hellishly hot Venus. "The Coldest Place" and "The Hole Man" were set on Mercury and Mars, respectively.
- Ben Bova's 2000 novel Venus involves a scientifically accurrate trip to Venus. Also, the rest of his Grand Tour series.
- The Back Story of the Red Mars Trilogy has John Boone become a worldwide hero-celebrity because he led the first Mars voyage.
- The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew, a 2009 short story by Catherynne M. Valente has a documentary team fired into space from a giant cannon and exploring Venus via silk balloon.
- The Last Hero is a Magitek version, with a group of explorers reaching the Discworld's moon by means of a giant wooden bird powered by swamp dragons.
- Voyage by Stephen Baxter is a combination of this and Alternate History tropes.
- The Martian is a very well researched modern take on this trope.
- The Road to Mars is a 2014 collaborative Russian novel, written by 15 authors. The novel deals with the multinational crew of the spacecraft Ares, sent to explore the red planet as part of a joint American/Russian/European mission with two crewmembers from each of these blocs. They are actually in a race to overtake the Millennium Boat, a Chinese craft sent to the same destination a little earlier with only two crewmembers. Privately, though, some of the crewmembers on both vessels would much rather work together to ensure that everyone got home safely rather than win at any cost. After all, it's just them out there, with no other living soul for millions of miles. There is a supernatural component to the novel, though, which starts to affect the crew of the Ares.
- The Planetary story "The Gun Club" features a horror-tinged Deconstruction of Verne's classic tale, From the Earth to the Moon.
- The second story arc of De cape et de crocs takes place on the moon and pays tribute to Cyrano de Bergerac.
- Dan Dare in The Eagle comic is perhaps the example of trying hard to be scientifically accurate space travel (for the 1950s, at least), with (almost all) the stories being limited to travel around a then-realistic version of the solar system using then-realistic spacecraft etc.
- Tintin featured one such voyage in the album Destination Moon. The story is continued in the next one, Explorers on the Moon.
- The Smurfs comic book story (and its Animated Adaptation) "The Astro Smurf" have its title character attempt this with the creation of his smurfship, although his attempt ended up failing. Papa Smurf and all his little Smurfs secretly lead Astro into a Fauxtastic Voyage by transporting his ship inside an inactive volcano and turning themselves into the alien cavepeople called Swoofs.
- A Trip to the Moon, the 1902 film by Georges Méliès.
- A countless number of B-movies, such as Rocketship to Venus, Rocketship X-M, Destination Moon and Project Moonbase.
- Mission to Mars and Red Planet, newer version of this trope.
- Perhaps the best contemporary example would be Europa Report: hard sci-fi horror, presented in Apocalyptic Log form, yet still somehow manages to convey the same sense of wonder that is intrinsic of this trope.
- The Wallace and Gromit short A Grand Day Out involves a rocket trip to the moon, which is made of green cheese.
- Fritz Lang's 1929 film Woman in the Moon.
- A.N. Tolstory's Aelita, later adapted into the groundbreaking 1924 Soviet science fiction film of the same name, describes a voyage to Mars.
- The Russian film Planeta Bur (Storm Planet, 1962) is about an expedition to Venus that discovers dinosaurs. Bit of a running theme, actually.
- And of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The Martian, based on the aforementioned, eponymous novel.
- Pin*Bot requires the player to advance across the Solar System, from Pluto to the Sun.
- Kerbal Space Program is essentially an Interplanetary Voyage Simulator. It uses a physics engine to simulate realistic-but-simplified orbital mechanics and gives you essentially the same limitations that NASA has now (or might have Twenty Minutes into the Future), but once you're aloft, you can explore the solar system to your heart's desire (and the limits of your fuel tanks) and even run across a few anomalies along the lines of 2001 (though they don't actually do anything).
- The comic Narbonic ran a special Sunday feature spread out over a couple years, with a Victorian-era Mad Scientist Helen Narbon and her minion Dave Davenport taking a rocket to other planets and encountering spacefaring Venusians and Martians. And even the Victorian-era Helen can't escape the influence of her mother.
- Although actual space travel wasn't involved, the infamous "Moon Hoax" article series in the New York Sun used a super-telescope and elements of this trope to boost circulation in the mid-1800s.
- The Kerbal Space Program fanfic The Next Frontier may involve interstellar travel, but it's definitely not the casual or fast sort. Travel times just between planets vary from a couple of weeks to several months, and the current state of the art in Faster-Than-Light Travel gets about one light-year a month.
- The Space 1889 RPG took this trope and ran with it, featuring Victorian-era space colonies — colonies, as in "Age of European Colonialism" — on the Moon, Mars, and Venus.