Post by email@example.com Post by James Nicoll
Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1977 edited by Ben Bova
There is a talk by Michael Ovenden on his "non-consensus science"
theory that a Saturn-sized planet between Mars and Jupiter exploded.
refers to the 18th century prediction of a planet
between Mars and Jupiter so that planets would
scale nicely (less important in modern astrophysics),
the satisfaction of discovering Ceres in the indicated
space, and re-evaluation when lots more bodies were
found there, declared "minor planets" or "asteroids".
I presume that almost immediately, those asteroids -
there are others - were treated as either the equivalent
of a missing planet, prevented from coming together by
Jupiter's gravity, or the /wreckage/ of a missing planet.
It's certainly been used a number of times in science
fiction, not necessarily the best stuff. List time?
I know that a fifth planet had been destroyed in the
setting of W. E. Johns's 1950s _Kings of Space_ by
their own super-weapon, leaving convenient asteroids.
This mainly comes out in the sequels.
In a Doctor Who story, __Image of the Fendahl_,
the fifth planet had been destroyed by the Time Lords
because of the Fendahl.
It would be available to H. G. Wells, for instance
in _The War of the Worlds_, but I don't think it
came up that time. We assumed that the invaders
had originated on Mars.
A past celestial war was described in C. S. Lewis's
_Out of the Silent Planet_, but it might be "limited"
to blighting Mars and blockading Earth.
I think a fifth planet may have copped it in
the prequel parts of the Lensmen series, but
I dunno. Atlantis is involved, and the lost
fifth planet is basically Atlantis in space;
if you set aside Aquaman and Namor in comics,
who each rule a modern Atlantis undersea but
inhabited by unconcerned mermen, the only basic
"fact" of Atlantis is that it went splat overnight;
it's a fable of cosmic insecurity; geological,
Anyway, the lost planet wasn't new in the 1970s,
and it isn't now.