Looking for an interstellar getaway? Consider a vacation in sunny Epsilon Eridani. Earlier this week, NASA astronomers reported that the nearby solar system looks a lot like our own and could hold Earth-like planets, and maybe even life. Luckily, many science fiction novels have already used this planetary system as a setting, and they offer some thrilling ideas of what you can expect if you make a stop-over there. Here's our travel guide to some of the most exotic Eridani locales from science fiction.
Comporellon From: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series History: Comporellon, known first as Baleyworld and then as Benbally World, was one of the first planets settled by human Spacers. Local Color: Comporellians operate under a strict social and religious ethic and are quite sexually repressed, although said repression can be countered through robotic mind control. Key Attraction: Clues to the location of Earth. Watch out for: Corrupt government officials who will try to swindle you out of your superior technology. Also, Comporellon is one of the colder planets in the Foundation Federation, so be sure to pack your thermal underwear.
Harmony and Association From: Gordon Dickson’s Childe Cycle History: Two of the 15 planets colonized by humans, Harmony and Association are a pair of impoverished planets inhabited by the Friendlies and ruled by the Council of Churches. Local Color: The Friendlies are fierce adherents to their religion, able to endure any hardship in service to their faith. Some are quietly spiritual while others are full-blown fanatics. Key Attraction: Farms. Both planets are largely agrarian, although they supplement their meager incomes by drafting their citizens to serve as mercenaries. Watch out for: Sectarian violence between warring groups of Friendlies.
Kukulkan From: L. Sprague de Camp’s Viagens Interplanetarias Series History: As humans spread out into the stars, one of the planets they settle is Kulkulkan, a planet already inhabited by the reptilian “Kooks.” Local Color: The Kooks are an intelligent, dispassionate, and honorable race who have managed to construct cities, forge edged weapons, and develop steam technology. They have a land treaty with the human Terrans, but still eye their new planetary roommates with cool suspicion, so be nice. Key Attraction: Steampunk dinosaurs. Watch out for: Evil land developers, evil loggers, and anyone else looking to repeat the cycle of American colonization.
Yellowstone From: Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space Series History: Humans colonized the planet Yellowstone and a series of surrounding orbital habitats known as the Glitter Band. At one point, it becomes the height of human civilization. Local Color: Depending on which century you choose to visit, the upper crust of Yellowstone could be technologically sophisticate democratic anarchists leading a life of luxury, or deformed survivors clinging to the last vestiges of their culutre’s former glory. Key Attraction: The sight of the greatest achievements in human history, or the ruins thereof. Watch our for: The Melding Plague, which will attack any nanotech in your body and leave you dead or physically deformed.
Vulcan From: Star Trek History: Vulcan is the birthplace of both the Vulcan and Romulan peoples, the former going on to found the United Federation of Planets. Local Color: The Vulcans are a coldly logical people with a coldly beautiful culture. They are restrained and polite, and if they seem condescending, don’t take it personally. They’re that way with everyone. Key Attraction: The kal-if-fee, a rare but blood-pumping event where two fighters battle to the death over a woman's hand. Watch out for: The lack of meat and booze. Vulcans stick to a mostly vegetarian diet and don’t derive much enjoyment from alcohol.
Babylon 5 From: Babylon 5 History: Following the Earth-Minbari War, the space station Babylon 5 was placed in orbit around the abandoned planet Epsilon III to serve as a political neutral venue of human-alien discourse. Local Color: At Babylon 5, you’ll witness one of the most diverse groups of residents in the galaxy, from the imperialistic Centauri to the spiritual Minbari to the mysterious Vorlons. Key Attraction: Red Sector, which houses the station’s gardens, swimming pool, casino, and sports bar. Watch out for: Anything and everything. When the various governments aren’t threatening to go to war and a rogue alien or telepath isn’t about to rend the station apart, one of the thugs from Downbelow is bound to steal your traveler’s checks.