I'm looking for sci-fi/fantasy stories set on non-spherical worlds.

A few quick stipulations:

  1. I’m only interested in stories set on a planet inhabited by living, mortal creatures. Tales set in Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and so forth are irrelevant.
  2. I’ve already thought of Niven’s Ringworld, Abbot’s Flatworld, Tolkien’s Arda (pre-Change of the World), and Lewis’s Narnia.
  3. Speaking of those last two, while they both qualify I hope no one feels restricted to stories in which the Earth is a plane rather than a globe. Has anybody read anything in which the world is shaped like a Moebius strip, for instace?
  4. I also just now thought of Pellucidar, but I’m not going to admit that just yet.

What novels and short stories can you think of that are set in a world whose shape is not that of a sphere? (Okay, an oblate spheroid). What about these settings was most memorable or striking to you?

You know about Mission of Gravity, right? Hal Clement? Planet with rotational speed great enough to significantly distort it from spherical. Not sure if that is what you have in mind or not.

There was an enjoyable fantasy novel called *The Shattered World *by Micheal Reaves that was set on a world where a spherical planet had been shattered into an asteroid belt, where the asteroids were kept habitable by magic. I liked it a lot–the notion of all these mini-worlds that could be reached by magical flying ships.

There is also Niven’s Smoke Ring, about a habitable zone in orbit around either a neutron star or black hole–I forget which.

“Mission of Gravity” is pretty much the gold standard re this.

John Varley’s Titan. Donut shaped/toroidal, if I remember correctly

Yes. It’s a short story. Called The Wall or something similar.

I started to include a request in the OP that everybody name the author of whatever stories they were citing, then decided that was so obvious as to be unnecessary. Apparently I was wrong.

I imagine the Discworld stories would qualify? A disc shaped planet supported by 4 elephants standing on the back of a giant tortoise (or is Atuin a turtle?).

A’Tuin is a sea turtle.

Robert L. Forward’s Rocheworld consists of a pair of gravcitationally-deformed non-spherical worlds.

Besides Ringworld, Larry Niven had a toroidal miniplanet in Protector. It’s on the 1970s cover.

Lots of places have depicted Dyson Spheres as siolid places you can live on (rather than simply methods of gathering all the energy emanating from a star). This requires magical engineering to keep the thing stable and to let it have gravity. See, for instance, Bob Shaw’s Orbitsville and Orbitsville Departure.
Tony Rothman’s The World is Round depicts a spherical world, but it’s not a normal spherical world. Its structure is very different.
Larry Niven’s *The Smoke Ring * and The Integral Trees are set in a Gas Torus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smoke_Ring_(novel)

There are, of course, plenty of stories set aboard rotating cylinders, either generation starships, or at Lagrage points, as well as stories set aboard space stations of various shapes (generally wheels)

Strata by Terry Pratchett is an SF version of the discworld, predating that fantasy series.

Theodore Cogswell’s [i\]The Wall Around the World*. They use a Moebius strip to explain the concept, but the world isn’t obviously shaped like a Moebius strip – it’s just that you end up coming back to where you started.

Along the lines of Abbot’s Flatland , you have several sequels, including most notably Dionys Burger’s Sphereland. There lots of others (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland )

A.K. Dewdney took the idea of a flat world and re-imagined it much more scientifically. He had a newsletter going for many years, with many contributors, and eventually took the best ideas and turned it into a book, The Planiverse, which is not a sequel to Flatland (with its talkiing geometrical shapes), but a completely differrent work, with realistically-imagined two-dimensional beings, with 2-D physics, chemistry, and engineering. Their world is still a circle, though.

And, of course, in the Silver Age DC comics, there was the cubical Bizarro World.


And Philip Jose Farmer’s World of Tiers:

There’s a whole class of stories dealing with a “Hollow Earth”, the idea of John Symmes. Lotsa fiction from the late 19th century featured a hollow earth with definitely un-physical outward-directed gravity. Novels like Symzonia and A Goddess of Atvatabar are set in these places, as was the later Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar series.
Cyrus Teed and his Koreshans believed that we lived in a spherical buble of air inside an infinity of dirt, but I don’t know of anyone who wrote a story based on this arrangement


The world of China Mieville’s Bas Lag stories (Perdidio Street Station and two sequels) apparently has some very bizarre geography/topography, but he only hints at it.

Ted Chiang’s short story Tower of Babylon covers the construction of the Tower of Babel in a world that follows the Old Testament understanding of cosmology.

Technically, it’s not a non-spherical world, but Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle is a space travel story set in a Ptolmaic geocentric universe.

Well, she’s (he’s?) a Giant Star Turtle (Chelys galactica), but I know what you mean. Flippers, not legs.

Matter, a Culture novel by Iain Banks is set on an artificial shell world, massive ships and orbitals.

Also Arthur Clarke - “Wall of Darkness”

For a donut-shaped world, see “Moonbow” by J. P. Boyd

There’s also Stephen Baxter’s “Vacuum Diagrams” with a cubical world.

It’s been a LOOOONG time, but I remember it being a sphere. Just that all the interesting stuff was going on inside it. But I may be misremembering.

Terry Prachet has done a few - Diskworld, Strata and the Carpet People (yes in a carpet not quite the same but…)