Fiction blunders: Alien uniformity

The biggest sinner (and likely the source for most others doing the same) is the Star Wars universe. They show us a desert planet, an ice planet, a planet that’s all city… this is not how it goes. Our atmosphere only works because Earth is so varied in its environments. The ocean produces oxygen (well, plankton in the ocean does) and cools and warms the atmosphere making it circle and producing wind, thereby distributing the oxygen (and everything else). There are great forests, deserts, rivers, mountains and this diversity is absolutely necessary for our planet to be alive. There is no way, a planet that is completely covered by a desert, has an atmosphere. And we kind of need that…

The Ice Planet series by Ruth Dixon actually plays with its Star Wars inspiration by calling the cold planet „Not-Hoth“, after the planet Hoth in the Star Wars universe. While the whole planet is terribly cold, Ruth Dixon manages to still include seasons – and there is no reason to assume that the whole planet is made of ice. The humans just managed to land in a cold area – imagine aliens crashing in Antarctica or Northern Canada! So well done, we have the alien environment without kicking science in the face!

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