[cute little unfulfulled fragments of fascination]

OSS literature is prone to these little tantalising snippets, delightful digressions, frustratingly not followed up, which tempt one to wonder at unanswered questions. 

The reader was introduced to this topic in the OSS Diary for 28th August 2016, and later I thought it best to begin a page on which newly discovered CLUFFs could be added as I find them.  Also, as time goes on, CLUFFs which have already been mentioned elsewhere on the site can congregate here, joining the new arrivals in one happy family, organized by zone, which, perhaps, can play a part in delineating the characters of worlds

mercurian zone

...Later, as the Earth's span closed, the transferred minds would again migrate through time and space - to another stopping place in the bodies of the bulbous vegetable entities of Mercury...

H P Lovecraft, The Shadow Out of Time (Astounding Stories, June 1936)

...On Mercury, Shelton had found a much simpler way of stopping the voracious hordes of omnivorous, two-foot amoeboids than by blasting them to pieces with small cannon.  No poison could affect them.  Small gelatin capsules containing solid carbon dioxide were strewn in their stampeding path.  The giant single-celled monsters absorbed them, dissolved off the gelatin, and swiftly puffed up into porous balloons by the action of the released gas...

Eando Binder, The Impossible World (Startling Stories, March 1939)

" least the natives are human, after a fashion!  Shut your eyes and listen to a Mercurian trying to bargain you out of your back teeth and you feel almost chummy..."

Murray Leinster,  Space-Can  (Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1948)

...The Kotolies, a strange, shy little animal native to Mercury, had been brought back to Earth in the fortieth century and crossbred with dogs.  The new hybrid, a domesticated pet, could speak and think the language of Earth, while still retaining the lore of Mercury...

Donald Wandrei, Finality Unlimited (Astounding Stories, September 1936)

...He remembered the Mercurian who had valeted one of the friends of his student days.  Khambee was the Mercurian's name - a curious elf whose unobtrusive yet insistent indulgence was much the same as that of this mechanical slave.

"Khambee the Second," Van Tyren pronounced good-naturedly, bestowing the nomen on the automaton...

Raymond Z Gallun, Derelict (Astounding Stories, October 1935)

...The Rasi was not particularly large, fast, or efficient, but compared to a spacesuit it was the palace of a Mercurian Butpati...

Dylan T Jeninga, Rimworld Trash (Tales To Astound, September 2018)

Heir to a million-dollar shipping firm which he himself had pyramided into a System-wide monster, he was equally well known as a big game hunter.  From the firedrakes of Mercury to the ice crawlers of Pluto, he had bagged them all...

Poul Anderson, Duel on Syrtis (Planet Stories, March 1951)

"...Damn you!  May the heat devils of Mercury burn and sear and shrivel you in everlasting torment."

Harl Vincent, The Copper-Clad World (Astounding Stories, September 1931)

venusian zone

...I have seen the hoary, sky-confronting walls of Machu Pichu amid the desolate Andes; and the frozen, giant-builded battlements of Uogam on the glacial tundras of the nightward hemisphere of Venus.  But these were as things of yesteryear compared to the walls upon which we gazed...

Clark Ashton Smith, The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis  (Weird Tales, May 1932)

"By the Great Black Rock of Karsim, he can hear my thoughts!"

Eric Frank Russell, Three To Conquer (1955)

For the CLUFF in Van Vogt's Film Library see Venusian Squid Captured on Film.

lunar zone

During my numerous trips to the inner and outer planets (said Hespire) I saw such marvels and met such adventures as would make the wildest legends of the world's youth appear credible by comparison. Some day, perhaps, I will tell you of my encounter with the frightful but insubstantial giants who infest the hidden side of the moon...

Clark Ashton Smith, Ascharia (fragment of unfinished story)

Now here's a bit of a cross-over from fantasy - a science-fiction-flavoured part of a fantasy tale in which the demon Charnadis tells of his travels:

...I have followed the moon from evening twilight to morning twilight; and I have gazed on the secrets of that Medusean face which she averts eternally from the earth.  I have read through filming ice the ithyphallic runes on columns yet extant in her deserts; and I know the hieroglyphs which solve forgotten riddles, or hint eonian histories, on the walls of her cities taken by ineluctable snow.

Clark Ashton Smith, Sadastor (Weird Tales, July 1930)

martian zone

..."The building of gigantic projects for ritual purposes - doing a thing for the sake of doing it - is the last act of an already dead culture.  Look at the pyramids in Egypt for example.  Or an even more idiotic and more enormous example, bigger than anything human beings have accomplished yet, the laying out of the 'Diagram of Power' over the whole face of Mars.  If the Martians had put all that energy into survival instead, they'd probably be alive yet."

James Blish, Bridge  (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1952)

...Moreover, I may speak of the living fluids that gather perniciously at the poles of Mhuth; and of certain dark Presences, neither material nor phantasmal, that assail the invader of the red, ruinous Mhuthian cities...

Clark Ashton Smith, Ascharia (fragment of unfinished story)

...on Mars, the very shrubs make noises, weird and shrilling...

Festus Pragnell, A Visit to Venus (Fantastic Story Quarterly, Spring 1950)

"...I will tell you a day in my life that has shaped me; such a day as comes only once, like love, or serving Oyarsa in Meldilorn.  Then I was young, not much more than a cub, when I went far, far up the handramit to the land where stars shine at mid-day and even water is cold.  A great waterfall I climbed.  I stood on the shore of Balki the pool, which is the place of most awe in all worlds.  The walls of it go up for ever and ever and huge and holy images are cut in them, the work of old times.  There is the fall called the Mountain of Water.  Because I have stood there alone, Maleldil and I, for even Oyarsa sent me no word, my heart has been higher, my song deeper, all my days..."

C S Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (1938)

...The rexeroid door disintegrated into molten streams that burst into the air in the form of flaming pellets, like Martian sky birds...

Philip K Dick, Our Friends From Frolix 8 (1970), p.90

...a bowl of soup, lamb chops, green peas, Martian blue moss with egg sauce and a cup of hot coffee...

Philip K Dick, Counter Clock-World (1967)

...His thoughts were very far from Earth, both in space and time.  Around him now were the dull, red sands of another world.  He was Cardenis, prince of engineers, fighting to save his people from the encroaching deserts.  For Bran had looked upon the ravaged face of Mars;  he knew the story of its long tragedy and the help from Earth which had come too late...

Arthur C Clarke, Transience (Startling Stories, July 1949)

...on Mars, whose only intelligent inhabitants were crustaceans - 'educated lobsters', as the newspapers are fond of calling them.  The aboriginal Martians never came near to achieving space flight, and in any event their civilization died before men existed on Earth...

Arthur C Clarke, Trouble with Time (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 1960, as "Crime on Mars"; included in Tales of Ten Worlds (1962)

"I'm not a spy!" answered Hans indignantly as the meaning of the words penetrated.  "You can't do this!  I'm a loyal American citizen!"

The other ignored the outburst.  He handed over the photograph.

"Do you recognize this?" he said.

"Yes.  It's the inside of Captain Zipp's spaceship."

"And you designed it?"


Another photograph came out of the file.

"And what about this?"

"That's the Martian city of Paldar, as seen from the air."

"Your own idea?"

"Certainly," Hans replied, now too indignant to be cautious...

"I'm sorry," continued the intruder.  "But there has been a serious leak.  It may be - uh - accidental, even unconscious, but that does not affect the issue.  We will have to investigate you.  Please come with us..."

Arthur C Clarke, Security Check (in The Other Side of the Sky (1958))

asteroidal zone

...It came to me that this was the language used by a captive mind I had known slightly in my dreams - a mind from a large asteroid on which had survived much of the archaic life and lore of the primal planet whereof it formed a fragment...

H P Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time (Astounding Stories, June 1936)


...on Jupiter, the air is full of flying things without wings...

Festus Pragnell, A Visit to Venus (Fantastic Story Quarterly, Spring 1950)

"Here's the breakdown of figures," Thomas went on calmly.  "Half our steel, as well as the billion tons we sell to Mars, is mined with great difficulty on Jupiter.  We couldn't operate those mines in case of war because the mines are hopelessly vulnerable to attack..."

A E van Vogt, Repetition (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1940)

...A tiny Terran-controlled state might function for a limited time in the Cheyenne vicinity, shelled and bombed day and night by the 'Starmen.  But then it, too, would capitulate.  Its shield of Jupiter-obtained rexeroid compounds would not protect it forever....

Philip K Dick, Now Wait For Last Year (1968), p.171

....old Dunbar was as crazy as a Jovian juke-bird...

Bryce Walton, To Each His Star (1953)

...That stone, protected by an envelope of white pinardium, contained a compressed particle of the light-active rock which formed Jupiter's great red spot.  And this stone contained sufficient inexhaustible power to move the factories and industrial plants of half the solar system.

Carl Jacobi, Tepondicon (Planet Stories, Winter 1946).


...Io, Jupiter's moon, was scoured sweet from its deadly, tenacious fungi by a tongue of protonic flame...

Eando Binder, Anton York, Immortal (1965), p. 44

...Pale, with glasses, his long hair carefully combed, wearing expensive, tasteful Io-fabric clothing, seemingly a trifle ill-at-ease, stood the Taoist authority from San Francisco, Marm Hastings...

Philip K Dick, Now Wait For Last Year (1968), p.43

A big uniped from Io gave an exhibition of its marvelous hopping abilities, bouncing straight up and down on its one leg until at last its flat head was touching the lofty ceiling...

Edmond Hamilton, Doom Over Venus (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1940)


...on Ganymede, protective mimicry has been developed to such an extent that one never knows when any plant or stone may suddenly spring away upon one's approach...

Festus Pragnell, A Visit to Venus (Fantastic Story Quarterly, Spring 1950)

"...I've seen frequent mention, recently, of a mineral water from Ganymede whose effects are like those of the mythical Fountain of Youth."

"You mean clilthni, as the stuff is called by the Ganymedians.  It is a clear, emerald liquid, rising in lofty geysers from the craters of quiescent volcanoes.  Scientists believe that the drinking of clithni is the secret of the almost fabulous longevity of the Ganymedians..."

Clark Ashton Smith, The Plutonian Drug (Amazing Stories, September 1934)

"...Finish your Ganymedean wap-frog croquette and let's get back to the office."

Philip K Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964)

...It was nine in the morning.  Nat Flieger reflexively poured water in a cup and fed the living protoplasm incorporated into the Ampek F-a2 recording system which he kept in his office; the Ganymedean life form did not experience pain and had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... neurologically it was primitive, but as an auditory receptor it was unexcelled...

Philip K Dick, The Simulacra (1964)

...I remember as a child finding a Ganymedian toad in our garden.  It was so beautiful with its shining flame and its long smooth hair...

Philip K Dick, A Maze of Death (1970)


"...It is not permitted to me to tell your waking earth-self of your real self, but we are all roamers of vast spaces and travelers in many ages.  Next year I may be dwelling in the Egypt which you call ancient, or in the cruel empire of Tsan Chan which is to come three thousand years hence.  You and I have drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus, and dwelt in the bodies of the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter.  How little does the earth self know life and its extent..."

H P Lovecraft, Beyond the Wall of Sleep  (first appeared in the amateur  publication Pine Cones, October 1919)

...Captain Creed had neglected to hire replacements.  Thus, the only other man aboard beside Captain Creed, Blaine and Holderlin, was Farjoram, the half-mad Callistonian cook.

Jack Vance, Planet of the Black Dust (Startling Stories, Summer 1946)

...There was the time, for instance, he had led the insurrection of the native Callistans against the domineering Earthmen, purely for the diversion of espousing a lost cause...

Eando Binder, Anton York, Immortal (1965), p. 27-8

...It happened too fast.  He backed away out of instinct, but too slowly and too late.  The gelatinlike Callisto cuddle sponge with its fifty feeding tubes clung to him, anchored itself to his chest.  Already he felt the feeding tubes dig into him, into his chest.

He leaped to the overhead kitchen cabinets, grabbed out a half-filled bottle of scotch, unscrewed the lid with flying fingers, and poured the scotch onto the gelatinlike creature...

- Philip K Dick, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974), p.20

"...I’m a collector of alien cultural items,” he explained proudly. “I’ve got the most complete arrangement of Callistan prayer shrouds in the system.”

- Dylan Jeninga, Whom Gods Destroy (Vintage Worlds 2)

saturnian zone

...In vain the Martian squirmed and struggled.  The glowing tentacles were more destructive than sear-blades.  Their corrosive writhings were more merciless than the pallid noose fungi that brought swift destruction to man, beast and Martian on the bleak Saturnian plateaus.

Frank Belknap Long,  Red Moon (Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1940)'s notions of weight tended to be somewhat wild when for some weeks one's own weight has shot far up or far down in between periods of weightlessness.  The most reasonable estimate had to be based on muscular reaction.  If you felt as sluggish as a Saturnian sloth, your weight was way up...

Eric Frank Russell, Hobbyist (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1947)

..."He says that militarism is ruining their race... it has weighed every Jovian down with an immense burden of guilt because of what their armies and military administration have done to alien life-forms on Ganymede, Titan, and Europa, not to mention the half-sentient bubbles of the Saturnian core..."

William Tenn, The Deserter  (Star Science Fiction Stories, 1953)

...Those touches included such things as sufficient wealth to create the ultimate setting in coiffure and gown, as well as the single Saturnian paeaea stone glowing in priceless black splendour between her breasts...

William Tenn, Time In Advance (Galaxy, August 1956)

Home again, the old familiar Earth!  He could scarcely believe it!  Perhaps it was only a dream, and he'd wake up among the unhuman glittering cylinders of Saturn, shuddering and crawling with the iciness of their fixed regard...

Nat Schachner, Slaves of Mercury (Astounding Stories, September 1932)

...interplanetary wars had weakened the race.  Invasions from outer space finished the destruction.  Man survived on Saturn only through hybrid amalgamation with the conquerors.  He vanished from the surface of Earth where sulphuric gases had poisoned the atmosphere for him but made it safe for the invaders... 

Donald Wandrei, Finality Unlimited (Astounding Stories, September 1936)

From the fantasy-with-science-fictional-overtones in which the demon Charnadis tells us of his interplanetary rovings:

...I have flown through the triple ring of Saturn, and have mated with lovely basilisks, on isles towering league-high from stupendous oceans where each wave is like the rise and fall of Himalayas...

Clark Ashton Smith, Sadastor (Weird Tales, July 1930)

...and the livid seed
Of some black fruit a king in Saturn ate,
Which, cast upon his tinkling palace-floor,
Took root between the burnished flags, and now
Hath mounted and become a hellish tree,
Whose lithe and hairy branches, lined with mouths,
Net like a hundred ropes his lurching throne,
And strain at starting pillars...

Clark Ashton Smith, The Hashish Eater (1922)


"...a carefully maintained culture of a lichen very much resembling the Titanian lichen from which Can-D is derived..."

Philip K Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964)

uranian zone

I know
What clammy blossoms, blanched and cavern-grown,
Are proffered to their gods in Uranus
By mole-eyed peoples...

Clark Ashton Smith, The Hashish Eater (1922)

neptunian zone

"What?  I'm sorry, darling.  I was reading the report of that scout ship that was grounded on Neptune for a month and three days.  Lord, it must be awful out there.  Those ice-cold planets, no air and no light, just dead rock."

- Philip K Dick, The World Jones Made (1956), p.32.

...Captain Saunders, like all spacemen, was fundamentally a romantic.  Even on a milk run like this he would sometimes dream of the ringed glory of Saturn or the somber Neptunian wastes, lit by the distant fires of the shrunken sun.

- Arthur C Clarke, Refugee  (1955), in the collection The Other Side of the Sky (1961)

...You see there are four different sorts of beings represented in those cylinders up there.  Three humans, six fungoid beings who can't navigate space corporeally, two beings from Neptune (God! if you could see the body this type has on its own planet!), and the rest entities from the central caverns of an especially interesting dark star beyond the galaxy...

H P Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness (Weird Tales, August 1931)

plutonian zone

...Dorn was a frozen idol to the spiral beings of Pluto...

Nat Schachner, Slaves of Mercury (Astounding Stories, September 1932)

George Hartley shuffled dispiritedly along the rock walk and watched the two moons of Mars floating through the night.  Phobos and Deimos - romantic twins of space sailing around the mysterious Red Planet.  Silver worlds crying over a dead land of dust and sadness and lonely canals...  nuts!  He had ground out so much stinking copy about them - at five bucks a column inch - that he was sick of them both.  He wished vaguely that they would buzz off into space and plough into the Sun.  Yeah, that would be nice.

Then all the tremulous dames back on Earth would have to find something else to sigh over - axe murders, for instance, or the Lost Treasure of the Plutonian Caverns...

Chad Oliver, The Reporter (Fantastic Story Magazine, Fall 1951)

From the firedrakes of Mercury to the ice crawlers of Pluto, he had bagged them all...

Poul Anderson, Duel on Syrtis (Planet Stories, March 1951)

...Of the Shining Trapezohedron he speaks often, calling it a window on all time and space, and tracing its history from the days it was fashioned on dark Yuggoth, before ever the Old Ones brought it to earth...

H P Lovecraft, The Haunter of the Dark (Weird Tales, December 1936)

outermost zone

...In that hall the captive mind of an incredible entity - a half-plastic denizen of the hollow interior of an unknown trans-Plutonian planet eighteen million years in the future - had kept a certain thing which it had modeled from clay...

H P Lovecraft, The Shadow Out of Time  (Astounding Stories, June 1936)