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Jan 17th 2017 at 9:35:14 AM •••

The description of the trope misses one important point. Single Biome Planet is actually the most prevalent type of planets known to humanity. It is the diversity of the Earth climate zones that is something unusual in the universe. As stated in the description, virtually every other planet and moon in the Solar System (with the possible exception of Venus) has roughly one biome with some variation (e.g. polar regions of Mars). The climate variation on such worlds are usually irrelevant from a human standpoint - all climatic zones of Neptune or Mercury are uninhabitable. The real problem lies in habitability or, to be precise, unaided habitability by humans (as human or human equivalent is the prevalent type of protagonists in science fiction). There is nothing wrong with portraying single biome planets - they exist, and, as I said earlier, they are the most common ones. There is a problem however, if one portraits a desert or ice planet where people can breathe unaided. If there is no vegetation, then where all the oxygen came from? If the small planet is made a desert by a scorching star, how come the atmosphere exists there in the first place? In my opinion this is the main problem with such narrative constructs.

Of course, a 'jungle planet' is something completely opposite. If vegetation and climate are earth-like, it would be pretty hard to explain why the similar vegetation covers all the planet (or whole landmass) even if the 'Goldilocks zone' within a single-star system means at least a few dozen degrees difference between the equator and poles. I don't say it is impossible (say, tundra at the poles and steaming jungle at equator, where temperatures reach 160 F or so), but are much less plausible than ice, volcanic or desert worlds.

Apr 7th 2015 at 7:26:28 AM •••

The planet may have several zones only one of which is within the endurability range of humans - the rest of the planet may be too cold, too hot, too high-gravity (a la Hal Clement).

Jun 21st 2012 at 7:04:08 PM •••

In the section on cloud planets it says the Jovian worlds are nowhere near habitable. I would not consider Saturn to be uninhabitable. The atmosphere lacks oxygen but isn't toxic. The gravity is acceptable. Thus you get the world of "The Clouds of Saturn" ( where people live in enclosed cities hanging beneath hot-hydrogen balloons. (And yes, the oxygen/hydrogen/helium atmosphere in the cities is safe. The partial pressure of oxygen is too low to support combustion.)

Also, the dark planets are listed as completely uninhabitable. You would never have a lot of life on one but they could support life. Just look at the deep sea vent communities on Earth—the whole ecosystem is based around the minerals from the vent, not the sun. Such ecosystems would not care one bit if the sky were opaque.

Apr 26th 2012 at 4:30:24 PM •••

Rearranged the planet types into alphabetical order to make them easier to find.

Feb 7th 2011 at 3:20:16 PM •••

Someone needs to add the "death gate cycle" to the books section.