Venus Is Wet

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In the early days of science fiction, the one thing most people knew about the planet Venus (or rather, most people who knew anything about Venus or any other planet in our Solar System for that matter, which at the time included only a very limited group of enthusiasts with university education) was that it has permanent cloud cover over its entire surface. This led to many depictions of Venus as a planet where it rains a lot, often to the point where it's a Single-Biome Planet covered in oceans, or at least swamps or rainforests.

In the 1960s, the planet was visited by unmanned probes which definitively established that the clouds were sulfuric acid, the atmosphere was largely carbon dioxide, and that due to the resulting greenhouse effect the temperature at the planet's dry and barren surface was nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit (480°C). As a result, this is now a Dead Horse Trope used only by authors deliberately harking back to the old days, or in works involving terraforming.

Some new evidence suggests, however, that Venus did once have water and could have been habitable as recently as around 700 million years ago, but Venus's lack of a magnetic field caused that water to become disassociated into its component hydrogen and oxygen atoms via solar radiation, leaving nothing to prevent a runaway greenhouse effect and as a result, turning Venus into the dry pressure cooker it is today.

Compare Once-Green Mars.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime/Manga 
  • Subverted in Cowboy Bebop. While Venus has been terraformed to the point where people can live there, the surface is still a vast desert. However, numerous floating islands composed of tropical plants were constructed and serve as both a method for introducing oxygen and home for the colonists. Which, incidentally, is the most realistic way Venus could be colonized.

     Comic Books 
  • In the far future of DC One Million, all the planets of Earth's system have been made habitable via advanced teraforming technology. In the case of Venus, it is now a lush, green, paradise world similar to Themyscira, where the Amazons are able to live unmolested. Until the antagonist's Evil Plan does so, that is.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Core Line: One of the various reality changes done by the Vanishing was the transformation of Venus into a jungle planet out of pulp fiction, inhabited by characters from the same... and a hard-core Death World nasty enough that any kind of Nature Hero that lives there (well away from civilization) is astonishingly superhuman.

    Literature 
  • Poul Anderson: In "Sister Planet" Venus is an ocean world with no landmasses. In a variation from the norm, it doesn't have a human-breathable atmosphere.
  • Isaac Asimov: In Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus Venus is an ocean planet with seas and kelp (and domed underwater cities).
  • Ray Bradbury:
    • "All Summer in a Day" is set in a colony on Venus, where it rains continually and the sun comes out for only an hour once every seven years.
    • In "The Long Rain", a rocket crashes on Venus, where it rains constantly. The crew must locate a Sun Dome in which they can find shelter, or die.
      It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping in the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains.
  • Leigh Brackett's short stories, including "Lorelei of the Red Mist", "The Moon That Vanished", and "Enchantress of Venus", depict Venus as warm, wet, and cloudy; most of its surface is ocean or low-lying swamp.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Amtor series depicts Venus ("Amtor" to its inhabitants) as an oceanic world with a tropical climate.
  • Philip K. Dick: While not described in detail, the Nazis in The Man in the High Castle have established colonies on the Moon, Mars, and Venus by 1962.
  • Robert A. Heinlein: In both Space Cadet and Between Planets Venus is a humid, swampy jungle.
  • Henry Kuttner: In "Clash by Night" and Fury, Venus is an ocean world where the landmasses are dominated by uninhabitable jungle, forcing the colonists from Earth to live in underwater cities.
  • C. S. Lewis: In Perelandra Venus is an ocean world where the only piece of dry land is a mountain emerging from the depths and all the inhabitants live on enormous rafts of matted plant life.
  • H.P. Lovecraft: "In the Walls of Eryx", one of his ventures into straight science fiction, is set on a Venus that has a tropical climate and is filled with lush, swampy jungles with hostile native aliens. The atmosphere is not human-breathable however and the protagonist mentions having to wear a breathing mask and periodically changing filter cartridges.
  • C. L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories depict Venus as dark and swampy.
  • In early issues of the Perry Rhodan series, Venus is described as a lush jungle world teeming with life. After initial exploration, mankind colonizes the planet.
  • In Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants, Venus is a steamy jungle world.
  • Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men depicts Venus as an ocean world with fierce storms.
  • The Tom Corbett Space Cadet novel Revolt on Venus depicts Venus as a jungle world.
  • Stanley Weinbaum: Parasite Planet features a variation — Venus is a Tidally Locked Planet, one hemisphere a sun-baked desert, the other submerged under a sea of ice. However, the planet's "twilight zone" — where the story takes place — is a perfect example of this trope: hot, steamy, with a luxuriant flora and fauna hell-bent on eating you (yes, even the plants).
  • In Jack Williamson's The Cosmic Express, Venus is a habitable jungle planet similar to pre-Cenezoic Earth, complete with dinosaurs.
  • Roger Zelazny: The Doors Of His Face The Lamps Of His Mouth is an early example of a deliberately retro Venus, with oceans containing monstrous fish.
  • One of the good endings of the Choose Your Own Adventure book "Your Very Own Robot" ends with the protagonist and robot going to Venus, which is a sticky, gooey mire; later she has to play dumb when her parents ask about the goo on her shoes.
  • Old Venus is a 2015 anthology of short stories based on this trope, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

    Video Games 
  • In Destiny, Venus was once the 900-degree world that we know, but the Traveler helped humanity terraform it, and now it's a wet drippy jungle world.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, Venus is depicted as a lush, tropical swamp with red water and purple and blue plants during Leela's dream in "The Sting".

Alternative Title(s): Venus Was Wet

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