what to see on
the sun

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

embers of the far-future sun

...Half-seen, a dim unhorizoned landscape, fitfully lit by the crimson far-sundered flares of volcanoes, by bluish zones and patches of strange radio-active minerals, it deepened beneath them abysmally disclosing mountains that would have made the Himalayas seem like hillocks, revealing chasms that might have engulfed asteroids and planets.

At the center of this Cyclopean landscape burned the great volcano that had been called Hephaestus by astronomers...  Tongues of flame a hundred miles in length arose and licked skyward from a crater than seemed the mouth of some ultramundane hell...

Clark Ashton Smith, Phoenix (in Time to Come, ed. August Derleth (1954))

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neutronium city on the sun

...The tremendous interplay of magnetic and electrostatic fields just beyond the city's edge was as clearly perceptible to his senses as the city itself - a mile-wide disc ringed with conical field towers, stretching away behind and to each side.  The ship was poised between two of the towers; immediately behind it was the field from which Kron had just taken off.  The area was covered with cradles of various forms - cup-shaped receptacles which held city craft like Kron's own: long, boat-shaped hollows wherein reposed the cigarlike vessels which plied between the cities...

Beyond the landing field was the city proper; the surface of the disc was covered with geometrically shaped buildings - cones, cylinders, prisms, and hemispheres, jumbled together...

Hal Clement, Proof (Astouonding, June 1942)

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reborn on the far-future solidified sun

The year A.D. 1,000,000,000.  The solar system had altered profoundly.  The tidal drag had brought the moon and Earth together millions of years before, with a collision that made them fuse, flame, and create a new star.  The star circled round the old, dying sun which, as it cooled and solidified under the light of the new star, developed its first species of life-forms, simple forms radically different from the beginnings upon the former planet Earth... 

He was a nitrogenised metallic spore, clinging to the peak of a jagged, titanic range of mountains fifty miles high, composed of volcanic magma, and overhanging an acid sea.  He was the life primeval, from which in billions of years of later time would arise the deathless, indestructible, purely intellectual and mathematical metallic beings who would shape the destiny of the cosmos for the inheritance of still more complex life-firms of still later trillions of years of ultra-time.

The nitrogenised metallic spore shook with the force of thoughts that all at once surged through it.  And through it too, echoing all that vast distance down the remote corridors of time, beat a name, another name...

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

>>  Guess The World - Open

scooping a sample of the sun

The Cup dipped into the sun.  It scooped up a bit of the flesh of God, the blood of the universe, the blazing thought, the blinding philosophy that set out and mothered a galaxy, that idled and swept planets in their fields and summoned or laid to rest lives and livelihoods.

"Now, slow," whispered the captain.

"What'll happen when we pull it inside?  That extra heat now, at this time, Captain?"

"God knows."

"Auxiliary pump all repaired, sir."

"Start it!"

The pump leaped on.

"Close the lid of the Cup, and inside now, slow, slow."

The beautiful hand outside the ship trembled, a tremendous image of his own gesture, sank with oiled silence into the ship body.  The Cup, lid shut, dripped yellow flowers and white stars, slid deep.  The audio-thermometer screamed.  The refrigerator system kicked; ammoniated fluids banged the walls like blood in the head of a shrieking idiot.

He shut the outer air-lock door.


They waited.  The ship's pulse ran.  The heart of the ship rushed, beat, rushed, the Cup of gold in it.  The cold blood raced around about down through, around about down through.

The captain exhaled slowly.

The ice stopped dripping from the ceiling.  It froze again.

"Let's get out of here."

The ship turned and ran...

Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun (Planet Stories, November 1953)

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the luminous countryside of the sun

…This land is so luminous that it resembles snowflakes on fire.  There is, however, one rather incredible thing, which I have never been able to make out and that is whether, once my box had fallen, I was mounting or descending towards the sun.  All I can remember is that when I had arrived there, I walked lightly upon it.  I only touched the ground at a single point and often rolled like a ball, finding it no more inconvenient to travel upon my head than on my feet.  Although I sometimes had my legs pointing towards the sky and my shoulders against the ground, it felt as natural to be placed in this position as if I had my feet on the ground and my shoulders towards the sky.  Whichever part of my body I rested on, whether on my belly, my back, an elbow, or an ear, I felt as if I were standing upright.  From this I learned that the sun is a world which has no centre, and that, as I was very far from the sphere of influence of our own, and of all those I had encountered, it was consequently impossible for me to continue to have any weight, since weight is simply the attraction exercised by a centre within its sphere of influence. 

The awe I felt in printing my steps upon that luminous countryside gave pause for a while to my burning eagerness to continue my journey.  I felt quite ashamed to be walking upon the daylight.  My very body was bewildered and sought the support of my eyes.  But since this transparent land, through which their vision penetrated, could offer them nothing to rest upon, my instinct got the better of my mind and drove it on and on, in spite of myself, seeking out the depths of a light which was bottomless…

…After travelling, as I believe, for fifteen days, I came to a country of the sun less dazzling than that which I had left…  I became tired and sleep took hold of me…  I lay down upon the sand in a deep stupor.

It was a bare country, so open that there was not a single bush as far as the eye could see, and yet, upon my awakening, I found myself beneath a tree by comparison with which the tallest cedars would seem like so many blades of grass.  Its trunk was of solid gold, its branches of silver, and its leaves were emeralds…

Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, L'Autre Monde (1657) - translated by Geoffrey Strachan

>>  Guess The World - Fourth Series

seeking escape from the sun

…The station must be completely immersed in the sun.  The uniform radiation on all sides proved that.  Yet he was still in the sunspot vortex, as shown by the much cooler convection currents bathing the station.  There was only one possible explanation.  The spot vortex must be returning to the sun's surface through a gigantic U-shaped tube.

Anything going down one limb of the tube would naturally ascend the other limb inverted.  The U-tube finally explained why all spots occurred in pairs and were of opposite magnetic polarity.  The ionised vortex of course rotated in opposite directions in the respective limits of the tube.

If the central gyro won out over the torrential vortex the station might be swept up the other limb of the following spot twin and he might break the station away to safety over the penumbral edge - in which improbable event he could live as long as his punctured lung permitted or until the storage chambers became filled with muirium and the synthesiser began turning the deadly material back into the sun to trigger a gigantic explosion.

But he could be sure that even if the station were found during that interval there would be no rescue.  The discovery would be made by Imperial search vessels and the IPs would simply keep the station under observation until the inevitable filling of the muirium holds.

The brooding man sat at the central operator’s chair for a long time until the steepening floor threatened to drop him out of his seat.  He rose heavily to his feet and, hanging tightly to the guide rails, walked the length of the panel to a bank of huge enabling switches.

Here he unlocked the safety mechanism of the central gyro switch and pulled it out amid a protest of arcking, hissing flame.  The deck immediately began to vibrate beneath him, and the rapidly increasing tilt of the floor made it difficult to stand…

Charles L Harness, The Paradox Men (1953)

>>  Guess The World - Fourth Series

glimpse of a sun-dweller

…I pulled the door open…

And damn near went blind.  The visor on my helmet adjusted as quickly as it could, and the wide duraglass windows struggled to compensate as well, but they couldn’t dim it completely.  There was this incandescent… thing blazing right outside.  It floated by the window, flickering brilliantly like a nuclear candle, and it moved, pushing against the shields and making them ripple.  Even through my clamped eyelids, I saw it flit luminously back and forth, reaching out with tendrils like it was trying to get in.  And the heat – it hit me like a wave!

I slammed the door.  I’m not ashamed to admit, I was sweating, and from more than just the heat.  I stood there staring straight ahead, watching the afterimage dance before my eyes, taking deep breaths and trying to get a grip.

There isn't any life on the Sun, I know.  How can there be?  But I saw something, some kind of... being, and there really was a temperature jump.  You can check the system alerts on my suit...

Dylan T Jeninga, Incandescence, in Vintage Worlds (2018), ed. J M Greer and Zendexor

>>  Guess The World - Fourth Series

conflict between worlds inside the sun

Standing in the long control room, Ken Darren was watching one of the great vision disks. An abyss of hot, golden radiance filled it—the illimitable fiery sea of the Sun. Nydron, within the silvery splendor of her protecting etheric sphere, hung like a white bubble in that gulf of flame.

Out of that bubble came the ships of the xyli.

They were black specks, scores of them. They grew into the arrows of slender, tapering vessels. Their glinting, dark sides were marked with rows of ports. At the sharp stem of each flickered the hot violet of its propulsion disk. They were gigantic, and they moved with the grace and the swiftness of a strange, incredible power.

Watching them, Ken drew in his breath with awe-struck, unwilling admiration.

“They are beautiful,” he whispered, “and dreadful. Like the patterned serpents of the hills of Pylos. And the builders of them are to be the masters of the planets when mankind is dead.”

Then a faint and misty cone of light reached out from the bow of one black ship. The color of it was a deep orange, verging upon redness. It fastened upon one geodesic flier, the Explorer. The attacked ship veered back and forth a little. But its movements were clumsy; it quickly became helpless.

The cone seemed to thicken; it darkened, curdled. And the silvery envelope of the dynamic space shell abruptly vanished from the Explorer.

Its naked, riveted hull was at first starkly black against the golden flame of the Sun. But it began to glow quickly and increasingly red, heated by the terrific radiation. Abruptly it sagged off its course and fell toward the fiery core of the Sun.

Jack Williamson, Islands of the Sun (Astounding Stories, October 1935)

>>  Guess The World - Fourth Series

Comment from contributor Lone Wolf:
A very original idea of this story, set supposedly in some very distant past, when the planets were inside the Sun like "islands", every one protected from the heat by an "etheric sphere" of its own pocket subspace. But still many things remain unclear, for instance which planet is "Nydron", the original home of mankind? (it becomes clear only that "Pylos" was Earth, "Synthrar" - Saturn, and "Bellydron" - probably Jupiter). There are the "xyli" - native inhabitants of the Sun, but they are never described, it is said only, that they have disc-like form and some floating cities in the photosphere. And the author still uses "days" as measure of time, although there should be no days on planets in such condition.