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Planetary Tropes

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An index of tropes dealing with planets.

Tropes specific to the planet Earth belong on the sub-index This Index Earth. Compare Stellar Index.

General tropes

  • Alien Landmass
    Weird land, continents or highlands which demonstrate at a glance that the planet is not Earth.
  • Alien Sea
    The planet's sea has unusual features/appearance that visually sets it apart from the Earth that we know.
  • Alien Sky
    The sky looks very different from that of the Earth that we know.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like
    All alien planets resemble Earth to a lesser or greater degree.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...
    A planet in a galaxy far, far away is a setting for a story which is so far away from Earth, that the very fact of its distance lends an air of credibility to even the most fantastic of plots.
  • Baby Planet
    An inhabitable planet that is far smaller than astronomically possible, often less than a few functional miles in diameter.
  • Binary Suns
    This planet has more than one sun in its sky.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel
    Interplanetary travel is quick and inexpensive.
  • City Planet
    A planet consists entirely of city landscape.
  • Conveniently Close Planet
    Traveling from planet to planet is much easier in fiction than reality.
  • Death World
    This planet is such a highly dangerous place, that simply going there is considered taking your life into your own hands.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom (aka Planetary Destruction)
    When The End of the World as We Know It entails the destruction of the entire planet you're on (which may not necessarily be Earth, despite the name).
  • Genesis Effect
    The birth of a planet, be it naturally or through artificial means, usually with a good deal of impressive visuals.
  • Homeworld Evacuation
    A planet has been struck with a disaster that forced (a portion of) the native population to leave for outer space.
  • Interplanetary Voyage
    A story where space travel is less concerned about the destination and much more concerned about the journey itself. Common in early Science Fiction, not so much in modern times.
  • It's a Small World After All
    Planet equals small town.
  • Landfill Beyond the Stars
    An entire planet is used as an interstellar landfill.
  • Metal Poor Planet
    A planet is lacking in metals or metal ores, which causes problems for the people living there.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet
    This world is no Planet of Hats; its native population comprises several distinct ethnicities and cultures, each with its own traditions.
  • Named After Their Planet
    The name of an alien race is derived from the name of their home planet. Conversely, aliens will tend to call humans by a name derived from Earth's own, such as "Earthlings" or "Terrans".
  • Naming Your Colony World
    Naming Conventions for colonized worlds.
  • New Eden
    An exiled race discovers that their once ravaged homeworld has healed over.
  • Numbered Homeworld
    An inhabited planet lacks a proper name, and instead is known by the name of the star it orbits and a number.
  • Planet Eater
    A character that not just destroys planets, but eats them for nourishment.
  • Planet Looters
    A species or group has run out of a resource on their own planet, and now must steal it from others (usually Earth).
  • A Planet Named Zok
    Just as aliens can have bizarre names, so goes for the names of alien planets and other celestial bodies.
  • Planet of Hats
    An entire world/species is culturally uniform, with a single set of quirks being shared by all of its members.
    • One-Product Planet
      A planet that specializes in providing a single commodity or service on the interstellar market.
    • Planet of Copyhats
      An entire race's "hat" is extrapolated from the behavior of one or two characters.
  • Planetary Nation
    An entire planet is ruled by a single government.
  • Planetary Parasite
    A parasite that victimizes planets instead of the organisms living on them.
  • Planetary Romance
    Stories, nominally Science Fiction, set on a alien world described in lush detail. The world can be Earth in the far distant future, or an alien planet, but it is reached by science-fictional means, not magic.
  • Planetville
    In Space Opera, entire planets serve the same function in space that towns and countries do in more traditional planet-bound stories.
  • Pleasure Planet
    An entire planet that is dedicated to providing luxury and pleasure to its inhabitants/visitors.
  • Sacrificial Planet
    The plot-driving threat destroyed another planet first.
  • Shattered World
    Once a planet, now broken into small pieces floating through space.
  • Single-Biome Planet
    This planet has no ecological diversity; rather, it's overwhelmingly dominated by a single environment type, often regardless of latitude.
  • Terraform
    A planet's enviroment is artificially changed to better suit a species, human-like or otherwise note .
    • Hostile Terraforming
      Making a planet less suitable for native life and more suitable for alien life.
  • Tidally Locked Planet
    A planet is tidally locked to its star the way the moon is to Earth; one side is always day, one side is always night. Extreme opposing temperatures (burning hot on the day side, bitterly cold on the night side) often result from this.
  • Vulcan Has No Moon
    You can see celestial bodies clearly from this planet, even when it's scientifically impossible or violates pre-established canon.
  • World Shapes
    Speculative Fiction is rife with unusual choices for a planet's shape, as a way to drive home the exoticness of said planet in comparison to the more familiar Earth.

Tropes about the Solar System's planets