gas giant n.

a large planet composed mostly of gaseous material thought to surround a solid core; spec. each of the four largest planets in the solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune)

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1952 J. Blish Solar Plexus in J. Merril Beyond Human Ken 106 James Blish bibliography

    A quick glance over the boards revealed that there was a magnetic field of some strength near by, one that didn’t belong to the invisible gas giant revolving half a million miles away.

  • 1955 J. Blish Watershed in Worlds of If Mar. 42/2 page image James Blish bibliography

    On worlds where only extreme modifications of the human form would make it suitableβ€”for instance, a planet of the gas giant typeβ€”no seeding is attempted.

  • 1979 O. Davies First Starship in Omni Jan. 78/2 page image Owen Davies

    Five of the encounter probes would be specially designed to study gas-giant planets similar to Jupiter.

  • 1990 G. Bear Queen of Angels (1991) i.iv. 17 Greg Bear

    B-3 was already known to moonbased astronomers; it is a huge gas giant some ten miles larger than Jupiter.

  • 1994 D. Kingsbury Heroic Myth Lieutenant Nora Argamentine in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars VI xviii. 175

    Inward there were two gas giants for an ample supply of hydrogen and helium, and a thin belt of rubble for heavier metals.

  • 1995 A. D. Foster Life Form i. 1 Alan Dean Foster

    The outermost was a gas giant, a lonely but colorful banded sentinel the size of Neptune.

  • 2005 I. M. Banks Algebraist Prologue 3 Iain M. Banks

    Sunlight poured from the purple sky visible between the curve of eastward horizon (hills, haze) and the enormous overhanging bulk of the gas-giant planet Nasqueron filling the majority of the sky (motley with all the colours of the spectrum below bright yellow, multitudinously spotted, ubiquitously zoned and belted with wild liquidic squiggles).

Research requirements

antedating 1952

Earliest cite

James Blish, 'Solar Plexus'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1955 cite from James Blish's "Watershed". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1954 reprint in an anthology ("Beyond Human Ken" ed. Judith Merril) of James Blish's "Solar Plexus". Alistair Durie checked the first publication of this story (in Astonishing Stories, September 1941), but Blish apparently rewrote the story, and the cite does not appear in this first publication. Fred Galvin located the cite in the the Merril anthology's 1952 first publication.

Earliest cite in the OED: 1965

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.