“Heavy Planet” by Milton A. Rothman

June 20, 2010

The Book: “Heavy Planet” by Milton A. Rothman.  Story originally published in 1939 by Astounding Science Fiction.  Read in the anthology Where Do We Go from Here? edited by Isaac Asimov published by Fawcett Crest in 1972.

The Setting: Heavyplanet.  Creative name, that.

The Story: Ennis, inhabitant of Heavyplanet, encounters an Earthly spaceship which has crashed in the ocean.  No survivors, only red jelly.

The Science: Rothman has a vision of a planet with gravity much much heavier than earths, so much so that the human body squishes under the pressure.  The Heavyplaneteers are enormous, squat men, evolved to withstand the enormous pressures of their world.  Also the same, one wonders whether life in heavy gravity would be the harder-than-rock sort described in the story, or if it would choose a more yielding form.  Or, at the very least, if bipedalism is really the best answer.  Why have legs when it would be hard to stand up?

The Reaction: Original.  Interesting.  Scientific.  It’s genuinely good science fiction.  And short too!

The Cover: A generalized science fiction anthology cover with what may be planets or molecules or whatever.  But mostly, ASIMOV.

Etc: Not only does the author have a cool name, but he was a physicist who literally wrote The Laws of Physics.  Also, a total nerd.  ❤

Next Up: Synthetic Men of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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