Follow TV Tropes


Venus Is Wet

Go To
The rain continued. It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping at the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains. It came by the pound and the ton, it hacked at the jungle and cut the trees like scissors and shaved the grass and tunneled the soil and molted the bushes. It shrank men's hands into the hands of wrinkled apes; it rained a solid glassy rain, and it never stopped.
Weather Report Opening of The Long Rain by Ray Bradbury

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 a 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. Relatedly, there was a theory at the time that the planets were formed in reverse order from their proximity to the sun - therefore, just as Mars was thought of as a much older world than Earth (and a glimpse of its possible future), Venus was believed to be a younger planet, with all the humidity and heat of our world's distant past. Therefore, speculation on what sort of life might be found on Venus tended towards stereotypes about the tropics and the ancient past: Venus was often imagined as going through its own Age of Reptiles, full of Living Dinosaurs or Lizard Folk, and any Human Aliens encountered would be very much of the Nubile Savage Green-Skinned Space Babe variety. All this dovetailed nicely with the planet's Roman namesake, as it seemed very appropriate that a planet named for a goddess of fertility and femininity (who was born from seafoam) should be so fecund and watery.

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). Instead of being able to walk around on Venus, anyone foolish enough to somehow set foot on its surface would be quickly crushed flat by the immense weight and pressure of the planet's atmosphere, then reduced to a seething puddle of blood and gore under the effects of Venus's incredible temperatures and the sulfuric acid present everywhere in its air.note 

As a result, this is now a Dead Horse Trope used only by authors deliberately harking back to the old days of science fiction, or in works involving terraforming. Otherwise, the modern stereotype of Venus is as our friendly neighbourhood Death World.

Evidence reported in 2009 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.

This trope, Once-Green Mars, and Strolling on Jupiter are subtropes to Science Marches On and therefore, more common in sci-fi works of the Two-Fisted Tales or Planetary Romance varieties. May overlap with Hungry Jungle and Swamps Are Evil.


    open/close all folders 

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

    Comic Books 
  • DC One Million: In the far future, all the planets of Earth's system have been made habitable via advanced terraforming 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.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Venus is a lush planet full of plant life and lakes inhabited by winged women who worship Venus and are allied with the Amazons whose culture is very similar to their own.

    Comic Strips 
  • Safe Havens: Venus was once inhabited by an aquatic species, but when the climate began changing to uninhabitable levels, they left to find a new home. They tried Earth first but found it too dangerous. However, those that were left behind on Earth when the rest left are the ancestors of merfolk.

    Fan Works 
  • Coreline: 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.
  • Rocketship Voyager, written In the Style of a 1950's sci-fi magazine serial. In Chakotay's backstory, he took part in a "pacification" campaign against the native inhabitants of Venus, which is described as a world of swamps and jungles under neverending rains. Spacefleet eventually resorted to defoliating everything within twenty miles of its colony, but the rains eventually turned the bared area into a swampy morass filled with parasites.
    They had spent months searching for the culprits with 'copters and amphibious tanks and orbital platforms; all the technology of Terra was useless against an enemy that hid in the swamps and jungles. Eventually, Spacefleet had defoliated everything in a twenty-mile radius around the New Earth colony, and that had worked well enough until the never-ending rains turned the ground into a quagmire infested with bloodworms and mudsucker eels.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth downplays this trope, made during a time when it was generally played very straight. While Venus is still described as having life (and the main alien featured looks distinctly dinosaurian), it is also shown to be inhospitably hot with an atmosphere toxic to humans.
  • Queen of Outer Space: In order to use Stock Footage from Flight to Mars, the rocketship is shown crashlanding on an icy world. Our heroes then trek "below the snowline", instantly appearing in a jungle where they make First Contact with the Venusians, all gorgeous dames who trek around their wet swampy world in short skirts and high heels.
  • Planet of Storms (Planeta Bur) has Venus depicted as a cloudy, swampy place with at least one ocean, and plenty of dinosaurs running around.


By Writer:

  • David Drake: Surface Action and The Jungle, collected in Seas of Venus, are based on Henry Kuttner's Clash By Night. In The Jungle, the crew of a gunboat are forced to trek across a Venusian Hungry Jungle. Because the cities are underwater, they are off-limits for warfare and, like in Drake's Hammer's Slammers, the warriors are mercenaries.
  • Henry Kuttner: In "Clash by Night" and Fury, Venus is an ocean world where the landmasses are dominated by an uninhabitable jungle, forcing the colonists from Earth to live in underwater cities and wage their wars by sea.
  • Isaac Asimov:
  • 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.
  • Poul Anderson:
    • "The Big Rain": the eponymous rain is entirely man-made due to terraforming.
    • "Sister Planet": Venus is an ocean world with no landmasses. In a variation from the norm, it doesn't have a human-breathable atmosphere.
  • Ray Bradbury:
    • "The Long Rain" (published in 1950): 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.
    • "All Summer in a Day" (published in 1954) is set in a colony on Venus, where it rains continually and the sun comes out for only an hour once every seven years.
  • Robert A. Heinlein: In both Space Cadet and Between Planets, Venus is a humid, swampy jungle. In the former, an attempt to land a Retro Rocket on the surface leads to disaster when the rocket topples over in the swampy ground, stranding the protagonists. In Between Planets, the swamps and jungles prove useful for guerilla warfare when resisting The War of Earthly Aggression.

By Work:

  • Amtor depicts Venus ("Amtor" to its inhabitants) as an oceanic world with a tropical climate.
  • Between Planets: Venus is a humid, swampy jungle planet covered by dense fogs and home to a species of sapient, six-legged multi-ton saurians,
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: One of the good endings of "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.
  • The Cosmic Express: Venus is a habitable jungle planet similar to pre-Cenozoic Earth, complete with dinosaurs.
  • Course Of Empire by Richard Wilson: It's mentioned that the English sent a shipment of raincoats with the colonizers of Venus, but it turned out the planet had a mist that rose from the ground instead of water falling from the sky, making the raincoats useless because you got wet anyway.
  • The Doors Of His Face The Lamps Of His Mouth is an early example of a deliberately retro Venus, with oceans containing monstrous fish.
  • "In the Walls of Eryx", one of H. P. Lovecraft's ventures into straight science fiction, is set on a Venus that has a tropical climate and is filled with lush, swampy jungles with alien Lizard Folk. The atmosphere is not human-breathable, however, and the protagonist mentions having to wear a breathing mask and periodically changing filter cartridges.
  • Iron Gold: 80% of Venus's surface is covered by oceans, with the remaining surface consisting of tropical islands.
  • Last and First Men depicts Venus as an ocean world with fierce storms and torrential rains, covered in thick banks of clouds, stewing in temperatures so high that only the poles are just barely habitable to the Fifth Men and home to its own sort of aquatic lifeforms; as part of their terraforming process, the Fifth Men also seed it with island-sized masses of floating marine plants... However, the atmosphere lacks oxygen until it's terraformed by the Fifth Men, regrettably wiping out the natives. The Seventh Men are engineered with wings to fly over the churning seas several millennia after the air becomes breathable to Terran life.
  • Northwest Smith: The stories depict Venus as dark and swampy.
  • Old Venus is a 2015 anthology that homages this trope, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. All are contemporary sci-fi stories set on a watery or jungle-clad Venus.
  • "Parasite Planet" by Stanley G. Weinbaum features a variation — Venus is a Tidally Locked Planet, where one hemisphere a sun-baked desert and 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 luxuriant flora and fauna hell-bent on eating you (yes, even the plants).
  • Perelandra: Venus is an ocean world where the only piece of dry land is a mountain emerging from the depths. The Perelandrans live on enormous rafts of matted plant life.
  • Podkayne of Mars: Venus is depicted as a swampy and smog-covered planet.
  • Radiance is an homage to inter-war science fiction in which all of the worlds of the solar system are inhabited by complex life and at least moderately hospitable to humans. Venus, where many of the key events of the novel take place, is depicted as a wet world of marshes, lakes, and seas, but Neptune is the novel's out-and-out waterworld with no land at all.
  • Perry Rhodan: In early issues of the series, Venus is described as a lush jungle world teeming with life. After initial exploration, mankind colonizes the planet.
  • The Sky People: Venus is a lush, fertile world similar in climate to Earth's Mesozoic, although the jungles share space with floodplains, mountain ranges, and other biomes. It is home to a wide variety of life from the breadth of Earth's evolutionary history, including dinosaurs, giant insects, and tribes of humans and neanderthals, which were seeded there by the mysterious "Lords of Creation".
  • The Space Merchants: Venus is portrayed as a world of "verdant valleys, crystal lakes, brilliant mountain vistas"... in Fowler Schocken advertising artists' impressions of what it might look like after decades of terraforming. In the present, Venus is devoid of water or a breathable atmosphere.
  • Tom Corbett Space Cadet: Revolt on Venus depicts Venus as a jungle world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cosmos: Carl Sagan lists the theories about how Venus could be before spacecrafts found the hot, hard facts. Among others, besides the lush world already mentioned, was that the planet was covered in a global ocean where part of the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere would have dissolved. In other words, a sparkling water sea.

  • Twilight Histories: “Blue Dragons” takes place in a world where Venus has been terraformed into a habitable world. Your mission is to find out who did this and how they accomplished it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Buck Rogers XXVC: A terraformed Venus is a lush, swampy jungle with frequent rain. However, like the actual planet, this liquid is not water but acid with the genetically-engineered "native" life all adapted to these conditions.
  • Leaving Earth 1956-1976: It's possible to explore Venus and reveal a world like this. Or you could find it to be as hot, crushing, and inhospitable as the Venus we know (and love?). This game is focused on the space race, and recapturing the fact we didn't know the truth about these worlds before sending probes there — both realistic and theoretical possible options exist in the game and the true nature of each planet is random from those.
  • Mutant Chronicles: Venus is more diverse than other examples. While the large area around the equator is sweltering jungle, further north or south things become more temperate. Closer to the Rings of Winter, it's very similar to North America
  • Pathfinder and its sci-fi spinoff Starfinder are both set in a solar system loosely resembling ours, though filtered through a very pulpy Science Fantasy lens. The second planet from their sun, Castrovel, is, therefore, a throwback to these older portrayals of Venus, a jungle world inhabited by a beautiful and matriarchal race of psychic humanoids called the lashunta. Castrovel is also the original home of the elves.
  • Rocket Age's version of Venus plays this one pretty straight, and is dominated by hungry jungles, impenetrable fog, and dinosaurs. The colonial powers of Earth vie for control of the planet's resources, while the native Venusians - a race of gorilla-like warrior poets - do their best to hang on.
  • Space 1889: Venus is a swamp planet inhabited by lizard-men and dinosaurs. Its magnetic field destroys the liftwood the British use for their spaceships, so initially German ether Zeppelins were used to colonize it.
  • Urban Jungle: Venus is a swamp and ocean world inhabited by colorful bird people who spend most of their lives flying. It also has an atmospheric toxic to Earthlings and Tellurians.

    Video Games 
  • Destiny: Venus was once the 900-degree world that we know, but the Traveler helped humanity terraform it, and now it's a wet and drippy jungle world.
  • Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus: Venus is a proper pulp-serial jungle, with random quicksand pools, snakes cunningly disguised as vines and Bird People natives.
  • Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon: Pox claims that Venus used to be lush and sustained life before the Furon Empire turned into a "self-perpetuating inferno". While it is never clarified as to why they did that (although it can't be hard to guess with the Furons), the last remaining thing from this time in Venus's history are spore samples from a carnivorous plant species that are used as ammo for the Venus Human Trap weapon.
  • Warframe: Justified. Venus had been partially terraformed by Orokin Precursors in the distant past, but rather than turning it into a lush jungle they only managed to cool it off, turning vast segments of the planet into frozen wastelands covered in artificial snow (the snow is not water, but synthetical cooling liquid) and poor in vegetation. These conditions remain only due to the remnant terraforming machines that managed to last centuries working non-stop, and without them, the planet would presumably return to its natural state as we know it.
    • It's mentioned in the Codex that the majority of the planet is similar to its original state. The Orb Vallis (a large snowy territory containing several of the aforementioned terraforming devices) is described by one of its denizens as "A blizzard in a firestorm", and is bordered on all sides by a perpetual storm, presumably caused by the temperature difference.
    • Following "The New War", the trope is played a bit straighter, as the Sentients fully repaired the terraforming tower after they took over the Origin System. The frozen parts of the Vallis have thawed enough that the area now looks more like a snow-covered grassland than a barren Tundra.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: Discussed. One of the soldiers stationed there comments how he thought Venus would have more trees, having read a book about it called "Pirates something" by "that guy who wrote the jungle boy stories" which depicted Venus as a world of lush jungles and rivers (he's referring to "Pirates of Venus", the first of the Amtor series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs).
  • Xain'd Sleena: Venus is a jungle world with big insects and carnivore flowers and where Everything Is Trying to Kill You.


    Web Original 
  • Har Deshur is a Speculative Biology project that fully runs on old Solar System Neighbors tropes, but its version of Venus manages to be a subversion in that, like its version of Mars, it is only slightly less of a hellhole than it is in real life. Most life has fled to the skies while the bottom-dwellers are extreme thermophiles with deep-sea-fish-like adaptations to the immense pressure. Seas and lakes are mentioned as existing, but they are boiling hot and only kept liquid thanks to the extreme air pressure.
  • This mock retro-space tourism poster from Zazzle Art urges you to See Venus by Air!, because the ground these Zeppelins from Another World fly over looks rather damp.
  • Somewhat Reconstructed in this art project, where the terraformed Venus of 3000 CE is a world with Earthlike oceans and continents. It’s noted that many aquatic species from Earth have been transplanted into the Venusian oceans, including Sapient Cetaceans.

    Western Animation 
  • 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