what to see on
planet x

For a scenic browse, and an answer-page for Guess The World...


a hollow trans-plutonian world

Ciaran felt good. The heat of the sunballs that floated always, lazy in a reddish sky, made him pleasantly sleepy. And after the clamor and crush of the market squares in the border towns, the huge high silence of the place was wonderful.

He and Mouse were camped on a tongue of land that licked out from the Phrygian hills down into the coastal plains of Atlantea. A short cut, but only gypsies like themselves ever took it. To Ciaran's left, far below, the sea spread sullen and burning, cloaked in a reddish fog. To his right, also far below, were the Forbidden Plains...

Leigh Brackett, The Jewel of Bas  (Planet Stories, Spring 1944)

>>  Guess The World - Open

a slurp of h on planet x

A half-dozen of the bulks stirred uneasily... moving clumsily.  Then, broadside on, they started rolling toward the two men on the most direct line - through the lake of liquid hydrogen.

"They'll drown in that," pronounced Blake.

"Or freeze.  I - "  Penton stopped.  The first one had rolled into the liquid, sending it splashing in rainbow showers of ultra-cold.  It rolled smoothly on into the lake, going deeper and deeper, until it was fully twenty feet deep in the stuff.  Then, it stopped.  Blake stared open-mouthed as the huge, blunt end of the vast cylinder of apparently brainless flesh split.  As though hinged, an immense, thick flap of leathery hide rolled down, and instead of the leathery, featureless cylinder-end, a whole assortment of organs appeared.

First was a tube, fully two feet in diameter, that shot out like an elephant's trunk, to dip into that inconceivably frigid lake.  The mobile liquid swirled and bubbled, twisting in vortices.  With a tremendous smack, audible even in that thin, chill air, the tube broke contact with the surface of the liquid.

"Drinking," gargled Penton, "drinking liquid hydrogen..." 

John W Campbell, The Tenth World (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1937)

>>  Guess The World - Open

slow-motion culture on planet x

….The men hesitated to go around.  What could this enigmatic wall be doing on this frigid world?  The instruments showed the temperature to be many hundred degrees below zero Fahrenheit.  What beings could have built this great wall?  What could it mean?

But at last they did go round the edifice, flashing their lights before them.  And nearly collapsed from the shock of what they saw: a broad paved street on which bordered many stone houses whose glass windows reflected the dim glow of the stars above.  The tiny sun cast a faint illumination on it all. 

“People!” gasped Mullins.

There were.  Standing on the streets and in the doors of the houses were the dim figures of men.  Unmistakably human in form. 

“They’re not alive,” observed Rokesmith.

“At least, they are not moving,” replied Barth quickly.

“Come on, then.  Why are we waiting?  Are you afraid of a lot of statues?”  Captain Wanderman suited action to his words as he strode forward, stopping directly before the first of the standing figures.  He cast his beam over it from head to foot.

Unmistakably, it was a man.  Clad in clothes and undeniably human.  Its features were perfectly normal, bore the flush of life.  The feet and entire body were set in attitude of taking a step.  But it was motionless. 

“Some statue!” breathed Opp.  “I would swear it was a real man.”

“It is a real man,” said Barth, softly.  He bent close to the face.  “It has the pores and tiny hairs that can only be on a true body.”

“Then he must have been alive once,” murmured Weber.  “What do you suppose happened to him?  Is he petrified or only frozen solid?”

“Frozen, I think,” said Barth.  “Yet, it is very strange.  His flesh is still soft and resilient; it is not natural.”

Donald A Wollheim, The Planet That Time Forgot (Planet Stories, Fall 1940)

>>  Guess The World - Third Series

planet x as a promised land

“It’s okay,” he shouted.  “No monsters in sight.”

Mary held back.  “Look,” she whispered.  “Look at it glow.”

The planet was a single plain of green light.  Wherever they looked there was the faint, unwinking sheen of color, soft and unfocused, on the rocks and boulders, on the ground itself.  In the dim green phosphorescence the group of men and women were strange opaque shapes, black columns of metal and plastic stepping awkwardly and hesitantly down.

“It’s been here all this time,” Jereti said wonderingly.  “And nobody to look at it.”  He kicked at the frozen rock.  “We’re the first to set foot here.”

“Maybe not,” Groves said thoughtfully.  “As we landed I saw something…”

Philip K Dick, Solar Lottery (1955)

>>  Guess The World - Third Series