1. notleia says:

    Being a flatlander, I’m used to seeing a lot of sky. I was in Switzerland for a couple days and got kinda claustrophobic.
    It’s got some interesting applications in architecture by way of ceiling height. But high ceilings are not a cure-all trick, either (anyone who’s been in a McMansion for long enough would probably concur). Most people do not actually like living in open floor plans and their formless voids of largely wasted space. We do have a liking for delineated spaces, I guess a kind of “denning” instinct, and at least one architect uses ceiling height to play with this idea. She had designed an open room with varying ceiling heights to help delineate a sitting room, a “hallway” with a skylight, and a dining room all in one fairly small footprint, about 300 sq ft.

    Obligatory Star Trek post: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/611152611929540050/

  2. tt_perry says:

    Well, even in Switzerland, people see the sky. Just not as much of it as in some other places.

    I am aware of a phobia about the sky–well there’s more than one I think. Caelophobia being one. Presumably people with such a phobia are perfectly happy living indoors all the time. But don’t most peope want to see the sky, even if only once in a while? I don’t know of any human culture whose people, say, always live in caves or underground and never want to see the sky.

    As for high ceilings, I don’t think McMansions represent the kind of thing I’m refering to. A ceiling would have to be something like gothic cathedral height to help a person who is longing to see the sky. Or maybe higher even.

    As for a liking for delineated spaces, that’s talking about the use of indoor use for human beings who have access to going outside as much as they want–which is the case for the vast majority of humans. But if it becomes impossible to go outside, I think people would long for open space.

    Though perhaps that isn’t the case at all.

  3. I once read an absolutely terrible book called “By Air Express to Venus” (1929). Generic action-adventure that could have been set anywhere, since the venusian society it portrayed was basically humanity reimagined. But, it had solar sailing, which is cool, and an actually thrilling escape sequence involving caves filled with giant spiders and glass snakes!

    As to living on Venus… I don’t think it’s doable. Too many problems to overcome, and too inhospitable. I certainly wouldn’t want to!

    • tt_perry says:

      As much as a city in the clouds can be an appealing idea to me, the concept that if you fall off you are definitely going to die in a not very nice way makes the idea less appealing. Though maybe people could wear emergency inflatable ballons, so if they fall off, they could float until rescued?

      In some ways living on Venus would be like living in a colony under the ocean, suspended ten feet underwater over the deepest part of the Pacific. Something that could be done–but I think a lot of people would rather not.

      As for the problems with living on Venus stopping people from going there, I think a lot of whether it ever gets settled or not will have to do with the minimum gravity requirements for humans to develop normally. If Mars/Mercury gravity turns out to be insufficient, Venus will look a lot more attractive.

      As for By Air Express to Venus, I never heard of it. Sounds like I didn’t miss much.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I probably wouldn’t want to live on Venus unless there was no other choice. There’s a good chance stars could be painted or projected on the top of the Venus habitat just like with Mercury, but I’d have similar concerns as you, in terms of how easily someone would die the minute they were outside the habitat or the habitat got shot down.

    Recently for my birthday I was given C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, so maybe I’ll try to read it soon so I can actually comment on it more specifically.

  5. One of the earliest scifi stories I remember reading as such on my own was Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day,” which is still a fav for me despite it’s now debunked setup. He envisioned a Venus that was largely rain forest in a perpetual storm, with a brief break of sunlight once every nine(?) years. The children who grew up on Venus (kids of the scientists working their) found it completely normal; one kid moves in from Earth and has a very tough time adjusting to this life. It’s much more of a “mood” story than a “science” one.

    I found “Perelandra” an interesting thought experiment, right up until we forgot about the Venusians and it just became a generic fight between the good/bad earthmen. But the philosophical quandary and question/answer sessions were intriguing: I’m always game for proving that innocence does not equal stupidity or dullness of personality.

    It’s funny that Venus was once as much a science fiction author’s darling as Mars, but has become a pariah in the modern era due to our increased knowledge, to the point the “Expanse” series treats colonization of the planet as almost a joke.

    I hadn’t realized until this article how Venus has no moon (like Mercury and Star Trek’s Vulcan). I wonder if an artificially created moon might allow for cycling people in and out of the cloud cities, rather like how submarine crews are on rotation? Not that space stations are completely better in terms of confinement/tight spaces. But if we assume the population for a Venus culture is largely scientific outpost (a la Antarctica), then having a base above that people could get a “breather” out of the cloud world might be good, not to mention being more accessible for communications/transportation.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Michelle, thanks for your thoughts. I haven’t heard from you in a long while, by the way. Nice to see you. Allow me to react to a couple of your statements:

      Concering Bradbury’s stories, he was a genius at showing humans to be human no matter where they went–making “mood” stories. A great writer, but never as technical or “sciency” as some others.

      And, when I read Perelandra, I also thought it was an interesting thought experiment and at first was disappointed when it mutated into a fistfight. But that fight is so long and goes through so many settings that it winds up becoming an epic thing all its own. A thing that doesn’t quite go with the rest of the story, but great in its own way.

      As far as the Expanse goes, I haven’t watched it, but I’ve heard a lot about it. I suspect though the series suffers from some unrealism about human needs for protection from radiation and the need for gravity. Because humans could not successfully live in deep space over the long term without special protection. So, maybe the series mocking Venus is a bit off kilter.

      As far as Venus having a moon, some scientists think that is the reason Venus is a hellhole and Earth is not. Because the tides the moon produces kept plate techtonics going supposedly, which meant a lot of the carbon trapped by life wound up under the surface rather than in the atmosphere like on Venus. Providing Venus a moon by moving an ateroid there or something might help getting on and off Venus and might provide some psychological support. Though I think living above the clouds might do that by itself.

      Though one feature of a sattelite around Venus I had never considered before was the though maybe you could link such a sattelite to a colony in the clouds with a “space elevator” design (a cable made of carbon nanotubules maybe). You’d have to have an orbit that circles Venus every six days or so, which is pretty far removed from the planet. But is a lot closer than an orbit that would match Venus’s surface rotation!

      Thanks for your thoughts. I found ’em interesting!

  6. C.E. Stone says:

    Awesome article! As a sci-fi writer, this gets my mind going about similar planets and even jovian giants. Thanks for your thought-provoking and well-written article.

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