Planetary Romance Sources
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Basic Information

This is a Bibliography page for useful resources in the in the genre of Planetary Romance. This is a nominally science fiction genre, in that it takes place on another world; but technology is given a far lesser emphasis, if it is even mentioned at all. In a planetary romance, the exotic location is most important; that and swashbuckling action. The natives of the planet tend to have either a low level of technology, or isolated pockets of advanced tech. (For example, John Carter of Mars has a pistol that shoots radium slugs, but he more often will use a sword or an old-fashioned punch to the jaw).

Planetary Romance has a lot of overlap with Space Opera. If the hero is likely to make his escape in a rocket, it's Space Opera; if he escapes on a green six-legged horse, it's Planetary Romance.



  • Brackett, Leigh:
    • Planetary stories (Recent collection: Sea-Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories)
  • Burroughs, Edgar Rice:
    • A Princess of Mars. This book, and the rest of the John Carter series, defined the Planetary Romance
    • Carson of Venus — Less well-known than the John Carter series
    • Pellucidar — Not exactly set on another planet, but rather within our own Hollow Earth. At one point, the series crossed over with another Burroughs character in Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
  • Lewis, C.S.:
    • Out of the Silent Planet — The first book of his "Space Trilogy" features a trip to Mars. Although originally inspired by H.G. Wells, Lewis wasn't terribly fond of what he called "engineer's stories". He skimmed over the technology in the first book, and ignores it in the second (using angels to transport his hero to Venus), devoting more attention to describing the worlds and the characters' adventures.
    • Perelandra
  • Moore, C.L:
    • Northwest Smith stories
  • Norman, John
    • Tarnsman of Gor — First of the Chronicles of Gor; a long-running series set on a Counter-Earth where Men are Men and Women like it that way.


  • Flash Gordon (1936) The movie serial starring Buster Crabbe based on the original comic strip. It may look cheesy today with it's sparking, buzzing rockets and it's rubber-lizard monsters, but for it's time it was a big budget serial. And Charles Middleton is the perfect Ming the Merciless!
    • Flash Gordon (1980) Yes, it's garish and campy, but I liked it. "Pathetic Earthlings, who can save you now?"
  • The Undersea Kingdom (1936) This movie serial is actually set in Atlantis, but it has the feel of a Planetary Romance. It stars "Crash Corrigan". (Flash envy, anyone?)

TV Shows


  • Vision of Escaflowne Takes place on a second planet Earth where a medieval culture uses magic-powered giant robots and where our own planet earth is visible in the night sky.


  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (comic strip) — Began as a novel set in a Post-Apocalyptic setting, where America has been conquered by the Chinese. As the comic strip progressed, Buck and his friends began visiting other planets, but it always had a greater emphasis on gadgets and technology than rival Flash.
  • Flash Gordon (comic strip) — The grandaddy in comic art of the planetary romance.


  • Space: 1889: (GDW)

Game and Story Use

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