planetary romance n.

a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on adventures taken on a planet's surface, especially in which the description of the planet is integral to the story; a work in this subgenre

SF Encyclopedia

SF Criticism


  • 1978 R. Letson in P. J. Farmer Green Odyssey Introd. p. v

    The major tradition is the subgenre which may be called the planetary romance. This subgenre is distinguished from its close cousins, the space opera and the sword and sorcery fantasy, by its setting (an exotic, technologically primitive planet), although it shares with them the adventure-plot conventions of chases, escapes, and quests.

  • 1993 J. Clute Science Fiction Novels of Year in D. Garnett New Worlds 3 204 John Clute

    In A Woman of the Iron People (Morrow), Eleanor Arnason finally bit into a planetary romance whose scope was great enough to geographize her tough but (in the past) self-lacerating edginess.

  • 1998 T. M. Disch Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of 117 Thomas M. Disch

    Enter John Frederick Lange, Jr., who under the pseudonym of John Norman, wrote a series of planetary romances, beginning with Tarnsman of Gor in 1966 and continuing until 1988.

  • 2001 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 50 page image

    Paul McAuley’s most recent novel, The Secret of Life, is definitely hard sf, but his previous three novels—the Confluence trilogy—were planetary romances in the vein of Gene Wolfe and Jack Vance.

  • 2002 N. Gevers Masters of the Universe in Washington Post 7 Apr. 5/4

    Wolfe weaves intricately together the different strands of his planetary-romance plot, thereby achieving an inclusiveness of texture that, contrasting with the resolute separateness or autonomy of the Fifth Head novellas, has more than a hint of utopian promise.

  • 2013 P. Di Filippo On Books in Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug. 108/1 page image Paul Di Filippo

    He’s kept some steampunk trappings while moving into the territory of Burroughsian planetary romance.

Research requirements

antedating 1978

Earliest cite

Russell Letson in 'The Green Odyssey'

Research History
Russell Letson submitted a 1978 cite from his introduction to Philip Jose Farmer's "The Green Odyssey".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1993 citation from John Clute's article in David Garnett's anthology "New Worlds 3".
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1998 cite from Thomas Disch's "The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from a review by Nick Gevers in the Washington Post.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2001 cite from editorial matter in F&SF.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2003 cite from editorial matter in David G. Hartwell and Karthryn Cramer's "Year's Best SF 8".

Last modified 2020-12-19 04:29:20
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.