Single-Biome Planet

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Imperial Officer: Lord Vader, the rebels have fled the ice planet of Hoth. After going to the swamp planet of Dagobah, Skywalker has rejoined his friends on the desert world of Tatooine. And now the rebel fleet is massing for an attack on the forest moon of Endor.
Darth Vader: I sense a great disturbance in the Force.
Imperial Officer: My lord?

Darth Vader: How else can so many worlds be totally covered with only one terrain type without regard to latitudinal variations?

Earth is a wonderfully varied place with an amazingly diverse biosphere. On this single planet, you can find jungles, mountains, forests, deserts, prairies... we must be the most varied planet in the universe. Or you'd think so after seeing so many alien worlds trapped in solitary, homogeneous landscapes.

Planets in outer space will often be defined by a single setting. It doesn't matter if the events of the story only take place in on a small portion of the planet—we are still told the entire planet has one climate; specifically, the same climate as where the story takes place. Very rarely does any planet have the same level of environmental diversity as Earth, despite being as large and having a normal orbit. An ecological equivalent to the Planet of Hats. The locals will often have a hat that resembles the human cultures that inhabit similar environments.

A creature well-suited to the local environment may be upgraded to horse status, if it's big enough.

It should perhaps be noted that we usually only get very small views of these planets. Many times there are lines to the effect that it is a fairly standard planet. Almost never are we shown or told that a planet is entirely a Single Biome Planet in television or movies, and the ones that are are almost always either very temperate, tropical, desert, ice, or water worlds, which all have a statistical probability of existing. We have several of them in our own solar system in fact, missing only a breathable atmosphere.

Earth itself could fairly be considered a Water Planet. In its history, it has been an Ice planet more than once, though, as well as periods when most of the landmass was Desert (early Mesozoic) and of nearly uniform lush growth (mid-Mesozoic). By similar standards, Mercury could be a Desert Planet, Venus a Cloud/Volcano Planet, and Mars another Desert Planet (a cold desert this time). If you allow the moons of the gas giants, you also have Io (a Volcano Planetoid - it has been said that the entire surface of the moon is repaved in just 3 years by volcanic activity) and numerous Ice Planetoids (such as Europa & Enceladus). Most of the outer solar system dwarf-planets are also Ice Planetoids.

Note that a Single Biome Planet is not necessarily a Single Climate Planet. Even on planets and moons lacking atmospheres, there are bound to be variations in temperature due to latitude if the planet or moon receives a significant amount of radiant heat from a star. A planet or moon with atmosphere will of course have much more complex weather patterns due to wind and precipitation.

Notable classifications:

  • City Planets (Ecumenopolis)—Urban sprawl has taken over the entire surface of a world. Only possible with extreme technology and a constant inflow of resources from off-world. May serve as home base to a culture of Planet Looters. Often has a population in the trillions. The concept supposedly first appeared in the writings of 19th century spiritualist Thomas Lake Harris. The first recognised usage in science fiction would be Trantor in Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. The planet Coruscant in the Star Wars movies would probably be the most familiar to modern audiences. The logistics of such worlds—how they get food, dissipate excess heat and so forth—can be a subject of geeky speculation, as shown in multiple Irregular Webcomics. See also Planetville.
  • Cloud Planets—The land is not where Newton wants it. If something or someone lives here, either the ground floats through the sky in chunks, or there are hover-cities. Either way, watch that first step. Sometimes Hand Waved by making them Jovian planets, although no known gas giants are anywhere near habitable. Venus again is a prime example, as some levels of its upper atmosphere would be pretty nice and potentially habitable—if not for these pesky sulfuric acid clouds around.
  • Dark Planets—Like the Desert, but owe their lack of plant life to perpetual night; usually due to constant opaque cloud cover or spooky ominous fog. If inhabited, this might be the product of industrialization run amok, with the clouds being clouds of pollution. Home of the Big Bad, look for the Evil Tower of Ominousness with the perpetual lightning storm. It's like Planet Mordor. This is kind of like the real-life Venus, which even comes complete with the lightning storms. However, such planets in fiction are invariably described as "barely habitable", whereas the real version is of course completely uninhabitable. Dark Planets could also be Rogue Planets that do not orbit any star, although then there is the issue of what is keeping the atmosphere warm enough and replenishing the oxygen. Some of these planets could be tidally locked to their star with one side permanently facing it, rendering the facing side uninhabitable due to temperature and the dark side extremely cold, usually with a small habitable strip on the divide. These worlds also generate extreme weather, which can add to this atmosphere.
  • Death Worlds—Not a biome in and of itself, but can be any of the aforementioned types. This is a world where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, but you still have compelling reasons to go there. After all, except Earth (and, possibly, Mars) all other Solar System planets are unquestionably those (though Venus takes the cake, as if it's some sort of planetary Australia), and there is thriving research activity around, with a regular expedition and terraforming proposals popping up.
  • Desert Planets—These look like the cheaper parts of California, and are thus very common. May have aliens that act like Bedouin or Touareg, and a thriving black market on water. Multiple suns are common. Mars is sort of a desert planet, but with no breathable atmosphere, although recent discoveries pretty reliably show that it's an Ice Planet as well—it's just that all that ice is under the desert.
  • Farm Planets—If a Planet City is lucky, there will be another planet in the same system which is dedicated entirely for food production. Most of these are like a giant version of an American Midwest wheat farm. Complete with hicks. Technology level may range from highly advanced (in which case they are often largely automated with a population as low as hundreds or thousands) to feudal.
  • Garbage Planets—The entire planet is being used as a dumping ground for useless waste. Likely to act as home for scavengers looking to make a quick buck, treasure hunters seeking some long-lost treasure, and large numbers of mercenaries and criminals. The actual surface conditions can range from desert-like to incredibly hostile if the Phlebotinum is leaking out of ships.
  • Ice Planets—Planets whose entire surfaces look like Greenland glaciers. Somewhat justified, as there actually are frozen over planets and moons (for example, several moons of Jupiter & Saturn). Planets that normally have large oceans (like Earth) can look like this during a really deep Ice Age, and paleontologists believe that this may have happened to Earth in the past in a controversial scenario known as "Snowball Earth". The obvious question on an Ice planet is how it sustains life if there are so few plants to provide oxygen and a food chain; this paradox can be somewhat solved by allowing for a narrow equatorial band warm enough to support plant life, or by limiting life to the sea and having the food chain be based on geothermal energy/chemosynthesis (i.e. how we think life on Europa would work).
  • Jungle Planets—Mind the bugs, they are positively enormous. Often home to the Cargo Cult and vulnerable to a God Guise. Expect most things that crop up in Hungry Jungle stories. Equivalent in video games is the Jungle Japes.
  • Ocean Planets—These tend to have few, if any, mountains tall enough to breach the surface and make islands; if there are, they're prime beachfront vacation spots. Earth is arguably an Ocean Planet, just one with a lot of tectonic activity to create islands and continents (and even so, the average elevation of the Earth's surface is still well below sea level). This was even more true 500 million years ago, when the only life that existed was in the sea, and there was much less land above water than there is today. An extrasolar planet, GJ 1214b, has cropped up practically next door to us (a mere 42 light-years), which does appear to be an ocean planet, albeit a very hot one, and extremely non-livable.
  • Swamp Planets—Like the Jungle, but easier to lose your shoe. (Or your ship. Just ask Luke Skywalker.)
  • Volcano Planets—Defined by earthquakes, smoke, rivers of lava, and lots and lots of unchained mountains you don't want to climb. Featured in Revenge of the Sith; the Y-class planet in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Demon" is also similar to this. Equivalent in video games is Lethal Lava Land. In the real-life solar system, this is a fair description of Jupiter's moon Io. Earth used to look a bit like this, too. Planetologists expect that any rocky planet will look like this in the first few hundred million years of its formation, so expect to see a lot of them. The air almost certainly won't be breathable, though, so bring your ventilator mask.

Contrast Patchwork Map. Near the polar opposite of All Planets Are Earthlike. May overlap with One Product Planet. See also Planetville.

Examples of Single-Biome Planet include:

Anime and Manga

  • Galaxy Express 999 visited a Dark Planet, subverted in that it's actually a rather pleasant place with lush forests, pretty flowers, low crime rates, and genial people and it's lovely to visit apart from the difficulty of finding your way around. At least it was...until a native Mad Scientist, having decided that her people's way of life was archaic and hopelessly out of step with the rest of the galaxy, shut off the planet's natural light-dampening field and shot an artificial light source into orbit. Everyone and everything on the planet (herself included) promptly dropped dead from photosensitivity.
  • Justified on Outlaw Star with the explanation that since the planet in question is a resort planet, they terraformed it that way on purpose.
    • Heck, it's not even a Single Biome Planet, given the existence of snow-capped mountains.
  • The Five Star Stories has only two of these, out of the half-dozen or so habitable planets that orbit the titular stars. There's Juno, which is a relatively young planet currently in a jungle-covered mid-mesozoic phase & Pestako, a tiny, clapped out mining planet that has no natural atmosphere & is slowly being terraformed into a city planet, complete with roads so big you can see them from space. The rest are Earthlike, with some minor variations in their average temperature & terrain.
  • Terraformed planets and moons in Cowboy Bebop (e.g. Ganymede seems to be a water moon, Europa a kind of Western Prarie Moon, Titan a Desert Moon...)
    • Earth has also become one of these. As a result of being constantly bombarded by asteroids, almost all of the planet is dry, craggy wasteland.
  • Trigun is set on the planet Gunsmoke, which appears to be nothing but desert. Like Mars (or, more to the point, Arizona), it does have canyons that suggest more plentiful water in the past.
  • Planet Namek, which, for all the viewer gets to see is an ocean planet dotted with several very small islands.


  • Although Jerry Pournelle famously parodied this trope with the phrase "It was raining on Mongo that morning", the original planet Mongo in the old Flash Gordon comics is actually an aversion. It's specifically Earth-like, in that humans and near-humans can live comfortably there indefinitely without life support systems, which means it should be expected to have the full variety of potential environments as Earth...and it does. Jungles, forests, deserts, glaciers, etc. It's not a bad example of a relatively realistic habitable world, in some ways.
  • The 1980's British science fiction comic Starblazer had a variety of such planets.
    • City Planets: See that page
    • Cloud Planets: Pelion (issue 167). The factories of Cybeset industries are suspended above the poisonous acidic atmosphere.
    • Dark Planets: Largos (issue 56). It lost its sun long ago and is in an almost permanent state of darkness.
    • Desert Planets: Astalia (issue 9), Delta (issue 63), Glan (issue 103), Silicon IV (issue 50)
    • Farm Planets: Colonia (issue 161), Spiros IV (issue 53), Oprel (fish farming, issue 132), Vesta (issue 38)
    • Ice Planets: DB/907 (issue 179), Keeron (issue 33), Mongros (issue 43), Pax Ultima (issue 166), Sartog (issue 228), Thrymheim (issue 127), Vardy (issue 87)
    • Jungle Planets: Alterus (issue 71), Arenal (issue 146), Darga (issue 27), Eptiran (issue 106), Kreel (issue 144), Persephone (issue 269), Sygma 334 (issue 235), V8-Nam (issue 273), Veta (issue 5), Vloorg homeworld (issue 262), Zorg (issue 3)
    • Ocean Planets: Hera (issue 90), Monta (issue 161), Oceania (issue 102), Samor (issue 34)
    • Swamp Planets: Havena (issue 268), Holci (issue 161), Icon (issue 163)
  • In the DC Universe, the planet Oa (headquarters of the Green Lantern Corp) is a Deseet Planet.


  • Taken to ridiculous extremes by the Warhammer 40,000 Fanfic PRIMARCHS, to the point that the titular Primarchs cannot even fathom the concept of a planet having more than a single biome, proclaiming any such planet they encounter to be an abomination which must be destroyed.
  • Explicitly lampshaded in Undocumented Features with "Ice Planet Halloran V", which has "Ice Planet" actually as part of its official name.


  • Star Wars is known for them: ice planet Hoth, desert planet Tatooine, city planet Coruscant, Northern Californian forest moon of Endor, swamp planet Dagobah, cloud planet Bespin, ocean planet Kamino, volcano planet Mustafar etc. Nearly all the classifications described above occur in the movies.
    • At least, Bespin can be excused since it's a gas giant.
    • There are notable exceptions, however: Naboo, where the Everglades-esque area where the Gungans live in The Phantom Menace is contrasted with the temperate-forest-and-meadows area where Anakin and Padme vacation in Attack of the Clones. And the Earthlike Alderaan and Corellia.
      • And the Expanded Universe, particularly the Ewok cartoons and TV specials, show many other biomes on the moon of Endor including plains, mountains, and oceans. (So why did they call it "the forest moon" in the movie?)
    • It is stated that in Tatooine's distant past, is was more diverse... until the Rakatans bombarded it from orbit until the entire surface was molten glass. The glass eventually broke up into sand, making Tatooine as we know it today.
      • Also, Tatooine is divided into two hemispheres; a habitable one, and one even hotter than the sparsely inhabited areas.
      • Similarly, Hoth is only habitable on the equator- The rest of the planet is too cold for any sort of life. The real logistical question is... What do they eat and drink on Hoth?
        • There are geothermal vents and underground (underice?) cavern systems that have liquid water and support lichens and other hardy plants, which the herbivores feed on, which feed the omnivorous tauntauns and carnivorous wampas. The tauntauns and some smaller animals regularly trek out across the surface to find new territory, mates and food. The wampas find the thermal areas too hot and are the only creatures to spend all their time in the ice and snow, only going into the warmer places to quickly grab a meal if they can't ambush one out on the ice.
    • Subverted in the second Knights of the Old Republic game. You travel to the desolated Telos. Most of the planet has been bombed, and it's in the process of being terraformed. At first you land in a temperate forest, only to find out later that what you're really looking for is in the polar ice caps.
    • This trope is lampshaded in the second Star Wars parody episode of Robot Chicken. One sketch features a krayt dragon and his wife as sea serpents in a body of water on Tatooine; when the husband expresses his desire to explore the world beyond, his wife insists that, as far as they know, there's nothing but desert on this planet. The husband then retorts that a Single Biome Planet is patently ridiculous, describing several planets that happen to exist in the universe as proof of his position and asking what kind of a cruel god would make a planet with a single topographical fsOeature? About a week later his remains are passed by R2-D2 and C-3PO (in a scene taken directly from A New Hope). A water-adapted creature in a vast desert it has no idea how to traverse likely would end up dead in short order.
    • Another exception is Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld. Famous for its forests that greatly resemble Endor's, but in Episode Three, there's a battle on a beach. It is still often regarded as a jungle planet though.
      • The Legacy of the Force novels have gone and shown that the wroshyr forests range from very short, to half a kilometer tall, to many kilometers tall.
      • According to Knights of the Old Republic, Kashyyyk's forests are the result of a hyperactive terraforming device.
    • In the Expanded Universe, the Twi'lek homeworld, tidally-locked Ryloth, is basically a three biome planet: desert planet where it faces the sun, ice planet where it faces away from the sun, and a narrow habitable band in between the two.
    • The Hutts' homeworld of Nal Hutta is a swamp planet, most of its natural resources were stripped mined, and its environment makes it close to a Death World.
    • There are at least three different junkyard planets: Ord Mantell, Raxus Prime (like Ord Mantell, but with much older junk!), and Lotho Minor (like Raxus Prime, but on fire and populated by cyborgs!). Star Wars can get kinda redundant with these things at times.
    • Coruscant is far from the only city planet; there exist several others, like Denon, Christophsis, and Alsakan, and even a city moon in the form of Nar Shaddaa.
  • In Pitch Black, the planet the plot takes place on starts as a desert planet, then turns into a night planet due to an eclipse.
    • Chronicles of Riddick starts on an ice planet, heads to a desert-ish planet, and winds up on the heat-scoured Crematoria.
  • In Starship Troopers there is an entirely single biome solar system. Even the moons are desert.
  • In the TV movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Earth itself seems to have become a Cloud Planet, or at least a Single Weather-System Planet. While the song's "foggy Christmas eve" might merely have left Santa socked in at the North Pole, the movie shows the entire world drowning in a pea-souper from dusk to dawn.
  • Averted in Avatar. Although most scenes take place in a jungle region, far away shots show that Pandora has vast oceans as well as polar ice caps. When gathering allies they visit one Na'vi clan that's living along some sea-side cliffs and another dwelling in an area of large, open grasslands. Most of the plot just focuses on the jungle region. Word of God suggests the sequel will also show the oceans in detail.
  • The setting of Hunter Prey is a desert planet.
  • Kevin Costner's film Waterworld is set in a future where global warming has turned our earth into an ocean planet, with dry land as nothing but a legend (and science be damned!).


  • Arrakis, the titular world of Frank Herbert's Dune is a justified textbook example of a Desert Planet, with the nomadic Fremen and the black market on water. For example, the planet's polar regions are mentioned as a source for water traders. Herbert also explains why a desert world without any forests can maintain the CO2/O2 balance required for humans to survive. (It has to do with the worms, which release oxygen into the atmosphere.) There's a massive amount of detail on the biochemistry, ecosystem and geography in the Appendices that really show he did the research.
    • Also, the reason it's all desert is mostly because the constant movement of the sandworms (which can grow to be hundreds or thousands of meters long and wide and are incredibly strong) means that the crust is being constantly churned into sand.
      • More accurately, it's due to the sandtrout encapsulating any and all free moisture outside the polar regions, and converting it into a Spice precursor as part of their lifecycle, which eventually results in a few of them metamorphosing into sandworms. There is also a very hardy sort of vegetation present in the polar regions, as well as isolated pockets living in certain types of rock formations, which trap moisture in small pockets (enhanced and elaborated on by the Fremen to form their moisture-collecting windtraps).
    • Partially averted in the sequels. As humanity terraforms the planet and the Sandworm population decreases, significant portions of Arrakis become lush temperate forests.
      • And significant portion of Universe, subsequently, become fucked for natural Spice. Be careful what you wish for!
      • And the Fremen who wanted more water so badly realize that after generations of adapting to a dry environment their bodies can't handle the increased moisture.
  • Subverted in Bruce Coville's Rod Albright series. When the characters are walking through a swamp on Earth, one of the aliens becomes nostalgic for his home. Rod asks if he comes from a swamp planet, and his companion retorts, "Do you come from a swamp planet?"
  • Played straight for dramatic purposes in Animorphs. One Yeerk in book 6 mutters about the insane number of species Earth has, while the Yeerk character in book 19 is even more impressed with Earth...
    • Another Animorphs-example that both does and doesn't fit the planet archetypes is Ket, homeworld of The Ellimist. At first glance it looked just like a standard volcanic planet. But it was in fact a low-gravity world with a very dense atmosphere, which allowed for giant crystals to float freely in the atmosphere. The planet's civilisation of winged aliens lived entirely on (and off) those crystals. One character calls it "the rarest of all environments".
      • Saturn's moon Titan has 150% of Earth's atmospheric pressure and one-seventh the gravity; a human could strap on wings and fly there. Pity it's all at -180 °C.
    • The Hork-Bajir homeworld is a valley planet (sort of. It's justified by a catastrophic impact in the past which left a ring of steep valley around the equator as the only habitable part of the planet. Come to think of it, between the valleys, the Outside, and the Deep, it's got quite a bit of diversity over quite a small habitable area). It's also stated that the Yeerks artificially make the planets they conquer Single Biome Planets because (as stated above) they find millions of species on one planet far too complicated and pointless.
      • The Hork-Bajir world apparently was once closer to Earth's atmosphere, just with less oxygen and more nitrogen. After the impact the 'real' race of the planet realized that the small equator, while liveable, was highly unstable. Unable to terraform but masters of genetics they created the Hork-Bajir (who feed on bark) and gave them a diet that would make THEM take care of the trees and the environment. The Deep, an area with numerous monsters, was created by the original race to keep the Hork-Bajir from bothering them (they live on the other side)
  • Parodied in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy (the second Hitchhiker's Guide book), where the planet Ursa Minor Beta has not only a homogeneous geography (subtropical coast) but a perpetual Saturday afternoon.
  • Lusitania in Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead series is a Forest Planet with a bare handful of species to its name. This is totally justified, though - Precursors terraformed it using a virus to suit their needs.
  • Lampshaded in Fire and Dust, a Planescape novel where the protagonist points out that most people who claim to come from, say, an 'ice planet' just came from a polar region of a totally normal world, and never realized it because travel between planes is generally easier than travel between continents in D&D.
  • Several Territories in The Pendragon Adventure qualify. Cloral is an Ocean Planet, Zadaa is a Desert Planet, and Eelong is a Jungle Planet.
    • Cloral currently has one piece of dry land. Eelong is never stated to be completely jungle, the whole book just happens to have taken place in a jungle region. In the expanded works, Denduron is shown to be almost completely covered in ice with only some temperate zones near the equator.
    • Zadaa isn't entirely desert, either. The Rokador Elders blame the drought, which they are actually deliberately causing at Saint Dane's suggestion, in The Rivers of Zadaa on low precipitation levels in a mountainous region to the north of the desert Xhaxhu is located in. Then there's the fact that nobody questions Bobby's cover story of coming from a vast forest region.
  • The Hainish Cycle novels of Ursula K. Le Guin have a few of these :
    • In The Left Hand of Darkness, the planet of Winter (otherwise known as Gethen) is, predictably, an Ice Planet. However, what a few different characters observe is that Gethen is actually very similar to Earth, except that the story takes place in the middle of one of the Ice Ages. A native character remarks that the scientists have predicted a rise in temperatures across the planet and a mass melting of the ice. The character observes, "I'm glad I won't be around to see that."
    • The Word For World Is Forest
  • Andre Norton
    • The Forest Planet Janus in Judgment on Janus and Victory on Janus.
    • The Ice Planet in Secret of the Lost Race.
    • Uncharted Stars includes an Ice Planet and a City Planet.
    • Night of Masks takes place mostly on a world whose star radiates only in the infra-red.
  • Justified in the To The Stars trilogy by Harry Harrison. An imperialistic Earth has terraformed a number of planets (with a custom-made culture as well), each one dedicated to farming, production or mining of one particular resource. The idea being that none of them have the diverse resources needed to launch a revolt.
  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion novels include several of these : The ecumenopolises of Tau Ceti Center and Renaissance Vector, the ocean planet of Maui-Covenant, the forest planet of God's Grove, etc. Because all the planets are connected together in a single WorldWeb this doesn't appear to be a problem, though the ecological absurdity of this becomes a plot point when the network of Farcasters connecting the planets collapse, causing single-city planets to starve...except for Renaissance Vector, which conveniently got its food from Renaissance Minor, an agricultural world in the same system.
  • Deeply averted in Dan Abnett's Ravenor novels, where the villains speak with Ravenor after he comes through a gate. He has to go back the same way, but he can identify the location: not just the planet, but the actual location, down to a small sector, by the plants he sees.
  • The Puppeteer homeworld in Larry Niven's Known Space 'verse was a city world. To deal with the heat dissipation problem, they moved the planet increasingly far away from its star, with other farm worlds growing food. Then they discovered that the center of the galaxy was exploding, so they organised their five planets into a "Fleet of Worlds" and fled.
    • Known Space is also home to the sunflower plant, a genetically engineered lifeform that is capable of focusing solar rays to Frickin' Laser Beams in order to burn all other life to ashes, thus creating worlds solely populated by sunflowers.
    • There's also Planet Beanstalk, seen in one Man-Kzin Wars story set in the same universe, which is actually maintained as a pole-to-pole "gardened" forest planet by the ancient immortal Bandersnatchi because they just like it that way.
  • Inverted for several worlds in the Known Space setting: they were settled after being found by ramrobots (computer-controlled interstellar ramjets) with a slight bug: they were programmed to look for a "habitable spot" only. So Plateau gets settled: a Venus-type hellhole with just one large 40 km high tabletop mountain extending into breathable atmosphere, or We Made It whose surface gets blasted with super-hurricane-force winds except for short periods in spring and autumn, or Jinx, a moon in close orbit around a superjovian planet, whose tidally deformed surface extends into vacuum at the near and far ends, with an equatorial region of crushing air pressure and only two narrow habitable bands in between.
  • Alan Dean Foster is addicted to this trope.
    • Many Humanx Commonwealth novels were set on his own versions of Death World (Prism in Sentenced to Prism), Desert Planet (Jast in Sliding Scales, Pyrassis in Reunion), Ice Planet (Tran-Ky-Ky in Icerigger, Treetrunk on Dirge), Ocean Planet (Cachelot), Jungle Planet (Midworld), Jungle In A Swamp Planet (Fluva in Drowning World), Even Soggier Than Vancouver Pine Forest Planet (Moth in For Love Of Mother-Not), etc. He's even got Cave Planet (Longtunnel) and Vacation Paradise Planet (New Riviera) thrown into the mix.
    • His Star Wars Extended Universe novel Splinter of the Minds Eye was set on the Swamp Planet Mimban.
  • Parodied in Ray Bradbury's short story "The Earth Men" (incorporated into The Martian Chronicles). Some Earth-astronauts go to Mars, and the local Martians think they're nutters just claiming to be aliens, so the astronauts find themselves locked up in the loony bin. While there, several other loonies claim to be from Earth, and each say that Earth is a "massive jungle planet," a world covered with just oceans, or just desert, etc.
  • Referenced in A Civil Campaign :

"It's not at all what I was expecting, from Barrayar."
"What were you expecting?"
"Kilometers of flat gray concrete, I suppose. Military barracks and people in uniform marching around in lockstep."
"Economically unlikely for an entire planetary surface. Though uniforms, we do have."

  • In C.S. Friedman's Madness Season, the protagonist at one point looks up archive footage of the Tyr's home planet. He's somewhat unnerved to find endless unbroken kilometers of lush blue plant growth from pole to pole, broken only by oceans teeming with life. It turns out he's only viewing it during a very narrow portion of its solar orbit; nine years out of ten, the planet is either a frozen wasteland as its orbit carries it out to the far reaches of the solar system, or a boiling hellhole as it comes too near the sun. It looks as nice as it does during spring because all the planet's life has to put out as much growth as it can during the brief live periods.
  • The trope is justified with planet Droplet in Star Trek: Titan. It's an ocean world based upon genuine (and cutting-edge) scientific theories. While most such worlds wouldn't have higher order life, due to a lack of landmass to provide mineral runoff, the novel provides a reasonable explanation for the existence of a complex ecosystem on Droplet. Essentially, the life-cycle of a native plankton aids in bringing heavier elements from the hypersaline depths to the surface
  • In almost every drawing or painting of Earth created prior to the famous Blue Marble photos, the Earth was apparently a single-weather-system planet, with not a cloud to be seen anywhere.
  • Beachworld, a short story by Stephen King, is a very creepy deconstruction of an all-desert planet.
  • Trantor isn't the only Single Biome Planet in the Foundation series: Foundation and Earth features the planet Alpha, which is completely covered by water except for a single (though large) artificially created island.
  • Larry Niven's short story "The Soft Weapon". One of the planets in the Beta Lyrae star system is a "icy little blob of a world", AKA an Ice World.

Live Action TV

  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has R4 which is as far as we can see desert. More important it is a garbage dump for failed genetic experiments. This is a fig-leaf like justification for an episode which is pretty close to a traditional fantasy(containing what are effectively a gnome, a demon, and even orcs).
  • Star Trek has a tendency to either have totally Earth-like planets (class M) or Single Biome Planets. At least in the Original Series, they used so many Class M planets in order to keep production costs down. Most planets home to advanced civilisations have some degree of weather control, although the extent this is used to change the biome varies with some simply using them to prevent dangerous weather.
    • Ferenginar, the Ferengi homeworld, is a class M planet that's home to virtually constant, planet-wide torrential downpours, due to weather control technology and the Ferengi's preference for rainy days.
    • Andoria, home of the Andorians, is an Ice Moon.
    • Vulcan is somewhere between Earth-like and a Desert Planet.
      • Deep Space 9 once featured a minor character (a date of Jake Sisko's) who said she and her parents often visited lush forested parks on Vulcan. So much so, she thought it was a forest planet before realizing that that is not the biome most people associate with Vulcan. Also, she didn't realize that Vulcan had any indigenous people... You know, come to think of it, Nog may have had a point in suggesting she just keep quiet.
    • The homeworld of the Breen, who are always shown wearing opaque full body environmental suits, is known mainly as an Ice Planet, but according to Weyoun is "actually quite temperate". The planet itself is never actually seen, and this confusion serves to reinforce the mystique of the Breen.
    • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Thirty Days" the ship comes across an ocean world with no landmass whatsoever. In its center is a machine created by Precursors, that stops the water from dissipating out into space.
    • Risa, the "pleasure planet", uses technology to make the entire planet into a tropical paradise, as long as your idea of paradise is a sunny day in Hawaii (as noted before, the Federation consists of a large number of diverse societies with a large number of diverse homeworlds, so relaxing at the beach may not suit everyone the same).
  • Stargate (both SG-1 and Atlantis) generally avert this trope by rarely showing much of the entire planet (just a small area around the gate). The Stargate itself tends to be in a Vancouver-like pine forest (which is brought up and discussed; the eventual conclusion is that the Stargate makers only put them in places they could live, which is why they are all so similar), but there are also a fair number of worlds where the gate is in an arid desert.
    • Subverted in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Solitudes", wherein Captain Carter manages to get out of the cavern she and Colonel O'Neill are in, revealing the surface is a desolate ice planet. Only, it turns out they're on Earth, in Antarctica.
    • Also subverted in Atlantis with the planet where they find Atlantis. They assume it to be an ocean world, but later find out that it has several large land-masses that are inhabitable.
    • Stargate Universe has most planets being of the single biome type. However, they're never inhabited, so it could be deliberate - miles of arid desert or rock-hard ice could hardly have Human Aliens running around.
  • The third (second?) season of Lexx has the Lexx trapped in orbit between Fire, a volcanic planet covered in endless desert, and Water, a planet almost entirely covered by water. It could be somewhat justified as the planets are actually Hell and Heaven respectively, with the former being ruled by what's hinted to be the Devil himself.
  • Red Dwarf featured "ice planets" and "lava moons", and one ocean planet they picked for a fishing holiday.
    • At least the ocean planet is plausible. Look at an map of Earth 700 million years ago.
      • The lava moons are as well - look at a map of the Earth a few billion years ago.
    • Red Dwarf also has a tendency to make many planets Earth-like.
  • Andromeda's standard planetside-setting is the Vancouver Pine Forest Planet. This is somewhat Lampshaded when the trees are once referred to as "terraforming Pines".
  • Deconstructed in Power Rangers RPM, which takes place on a Desert Planet. The thing is, three years before the series takes place, it was earthlike - and the series takes place in a Please Insert New City Name version of Boston, most certainly not in a desert region, showing just how much of the planet is sandy wasteland. The cause of the mass desertification is subtly implied to be nuclear carpet-bombing. The background radiation is so high that long-distance communication is all but impossible, and orphans with cancer are prevalent.
  • Lampshaded on the episode of The Muppet Show where the cast of Star Wars are the guest stars. "Seems we've landed on some sort of comedy variety show planet!"
  • Usually in Doctor Who, we are only shown a small part of any given world so it is not possible to generalise about the entire planet. However, there are a few cases were a world is explicitly stated as being a Single Biome Planet: Aridus from "The Chase" (a desert planet) is one example.
  • At the end of the Firefly episode "The Message", it snows at Tracy's funeral, which is on an Ice Planet.

Tabletop Games

  • Some Magic: The Gathering planes can come across as this. For example, Rath is virtually all flowstone (a magically animated substance under the control of the plane's ruler); Mirrodin is an all-metal world constructed by a planeswalker; Ravnica is a city that has ultimately expanded to fill its entire plane. Somewhat justified in that none of these worlds came to be that way naturally; also, even these places find room to squeeze in the five basic land types of the game (forests, islands, mountains, plains, and swamps) in some form or other.
    • Shards of Alara pushed this further. Naya is Jungle Japes, Bant is Arcadia, Esper is also a planewide city (although somewhat less packed that Ravnica, apparently), Grixis is Mordor and Jund is Lethal Lava Land.
    • Serra's realm from the Urza's block is a cloud world. You can even see it on Urza's Saga plains. By contrast, Phyrexia is a Death World, to the point that everything in Phyrexia is a carnivore.
    • Mirrodin only looks this way because of how alien the whole metal-and-flesh blend theme is. The place has at least as wide a range of climates as the real world, it just doesn't seem that way.
  • As noted above, many world in Warhammer 40,000 fit this. They designate their planets almost entirely like the above.
    • It's noted that City Planets, if cut off by a Warp storm are essentially screwed since it prevents food from being transported in, unless they are lucky enough to have an agricultural world in-system - hive worlds (see below) may well have a problem even if they do.
    • The homeworld of the Vespid is an interesting one - an entire world of stone islands floating in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant.
    • It also has a Single Biome Planet that doesn't technically fit. Hive Worlds are worlds where, for various reasons, humans have been forced to live into massive city-buildings that can house billions of people, usually because the rest of the planet has been rendered uninhabitable by untold eons of industrialization and rampant pollution. The most atypical Hive World is Necromunda; about ten thousand skyscraper-based Hives scattered amidst an endless desert of ancient ash and chemical dust, but there are many others. Valhalla, for example, suffered a cosmic collision that knocked it out of orbit, rendering it an Ice World- huge subterranean cities were promptly bored into the heart of the planet and the depths of the glaciers in order to escape the cold. Earth is a Hive World, with no remaining recognisable features.
    • Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay has local variations spelled out more often. Also, there's random generator in Stars of Inequity with 1-5 Territories (each with its own Base Terrain, Traits and Landmarks... and an inner sea counts as a Landmark) on an average planet and up to 10 on a particularly large and lively one.
  • Classic Traveller had desert planets (hydrographic % = 0), ocean planets (hydrographic % = 100, called "water worlds" long before the Kevin Costner movie), and ice planets (such as Mithril in Double Adventure 2 Mission on Mithril).
  • Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) supplement Curse of the Chthonians, adventure "The City Without A Name". If the investigators are very unlucky they can go through a Gate to the home planet of the Chthonians, which is a "monstrous violent world of volcanic upheavals and earthquakes", i.e. a Volcano Planet.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Planescape solved this by splitting planes into layers and realms, each of which is easy to describe, because the areas that stand out would rather form a separate layer. E.g. The Nine Hells of Baator - the whole place is Death World, and most layers are quite uniform, but the whole gets more diverse the further "down" you go - the only constant being that it gets considerably more horrible with each level. The surface Avernus is along the lines of a volcanic wasteland under dark red skies, the second layer is the iron city of Dis where petitioners are slaves raising and tearing down structures with bare hands, and it's scalding hot there; the third is Minauros - a foul bog with ridges of volcanic glass scoured with razor-sharp hail and corrosive rain; then there's fiery Phlegetos, frozen sea of Stygia, endless pile of rocks Malbolge, Maladomini - land of ruins, mine pits and so on, glacier mountains of Cania, and finally Nessus - the place of extremes: a plain shattered with botomless rifts, with fires and ice and everything.
    • Spelljammer setting featured a number of Single Biome Planets. At least, in "at a glance" supplements; detailed ones tend to give more details - e.g. Anadia is Realmspace equivalent of Venus with breathable air, thus while two little areas (where a more hospitable world would have icecaps) are habitable for typical humanoids - and even then, only halflings actually live there - the rest of surface is not.
  • Mongoose Publishing
    • Starship Troopers RPG
      • Cloud Planet: Castus and Pollor are gas giants orbiting Barnard's Star. Their major industry is gas mining.
      • Farm Planets: Iskander in the Proxima Centauri system, Europa in the Sol System is a Farm Moon.
      • Ocean Planet: Hydora in the Alpha Hydrae system.
    • Strontium Dog RPG
      • The main rules: Cygnus 9 (Ice Planet and prison planet), Och Eleven (Ocean Planet), Pooh's World (Jungle Planet), Fundi 3 (Jungle Planet and Death World), Zunderland (Ocean Planet), Paprika (Desert Planet), Coriander (Jungle Planet), Q17 (Swamp World). Iceworld Zebra (Ice Planet), Aphid Majoris (Swamp Planet), Bles (Desert Planet), Kung and Hung (Desert Planets), Glauren (Ocean Planet)
      • In the Bounties and Warrants supplement a number of planets are of this type.
        • "Out of the Frying Pan": Calderon (Volcano Planet).
        • "Knowledge is Powered": Heapex (Garbage Planet)
        • "Howl at the Moon": Zhufi Moon (Desert Planet)
        • "A Needler in the Haystacks": Amoshe Prime (Farm Planet)
  • Terran Trade Authority RPG. In the Proxima Centauri system, Proxima III is an Ice Planet, and Proxima IV is an Ocean Planet.


  • Bionicle has the Endless Ocean planet the first Myth Arc took place on, though the new setting, the desert planet Bara Magna averts the trope by having at least several oases regions and some icy peaks to allow for the usual elementally themed villages.
    • The single biome planets are eventually explained as having formed from chunks of the shattered planet Spherus Magna. The Endless Ocean was the former Great Sea, Bara Magna was once a large population center of the planet.

Video Games

  • Many planets in Freelancer are themed. Pittsburgh, for example, seems to be a barren desert filled with mines, Cambridge is a planet full of blissfully green plains, Hokkaido is an Archipelago Planet, Manhattan is a Planet City, New Berlin seems to be a Snow Planet, Leeds is a Heavy Industry Planet capable of blowing out entire nebulae of smoke, and so on.
  • Both played straight and averted in Skies of Arcadia, which takes place on a Cloud Planet whose various floating continents contain the standard range of climates.
  • Rogue Galaxy has several of these, from the desert planet of Rosa, to the jungle planet of Juraika. The US release added an ocean planet to the mix.
  • Kirby Super Star and its Video Game Remake, in the "Milky Way Wishes" subgame, reveals Pop Star, which is pretty much Earth-like with its multiple biomes, to be in an entire solar system full of these - including three textbook examples in the form of Aquarius (Ocean Planet), Skyhigh (Cloud Planet), and Hotbeat (Volcano Planet).
    • Kirby 64 has you visit planets which subvert this trope, except for the planet where you fight the True Final Boss.
  • Both planets in Metroid Prime Hunters. The Pirate Home world in Metroid Prime 3 may have been built that way. Otherwise mostly averted.
    • In fact, most places have the opposite problem. In most games, you can find volcanoes, lakes, forests, glaciers, swamps & many others within walking distance of each other.
      • Even more impressively, all of these landscapes and biomes completely exist underground, in the case of Zebes. One has to wonder how, exactly, the planet's surface doesn't cave in. (According to the manga, the surface itself is a largely uninhabitable desert, and the grassy area Samus lands on, Crateria, was specifically designed to be habitable so that visiting lifeforms can make it underground safely. Even with all of this in place, it's mentioned in various places that Zebes was a harsh environment and Samus herself had to be altered to survive on it, since no human could for long.)
  • Meteos is chock full of these, containing most of the examples listed above and more. Canyon planet? Windy planet? Flower planet? Heated-iron planet? We've got it.
  • Mass Effect has many examples, from the textbook Ice Planet of Noveria, the volcanic wastelands of Therum, the tropical cliffs of Virmire...And those are just some of the plot-critical planets from the first game.
    • The planetary descriptions occasionally provide some justification for bizarre planets (tide-locked, atmosphere blasted away, etc.), and with the planets that are shown in detail, it's implied that the team is generally visiting specific regions of those planets. Not always, though.
  • Thoroughly averted in Halo. While on the titular Halo rings, one encounters several different biomes, from swamps, to beaches, to snowy mountains.
    • Only two rings have been seen up close, and the control room of the Ark implies that each ring is mostly a single biome (when seen from a distance, at least).
    • The Ark both averts and plays the trope straight. It's shaped like a flower, with the massive ring production facility at its center. Each of the "petals" is a completely different biodome.
    • The Expanded Universe does contain a few examples of this trope, however. Such as the homeworld of the Drones, a rainforest planet; and the Grunt Homeworld, a swampy planet with a methane atmosphere.
      • Also in the Expanded Universe (the fifth novel, Contact Harvest) one finds the titular planet Harvest, which is a prime example of the earlier established Planet Farm.
      • According to Eric Nylund (who is responsible for establishing much of the extended canon) the reasons for certain planets to be devoted over to farming or mining or urban and industrial centers has more do to with economics than anything else. For example, some planets have more hours of daylight than is typical for Earth and happen to have huge tracts of very rich volcanic soil, leading to very large crop yields. Raising crops on such planets inevitably becomes very inexpensive, and it costs less on other planets to have the food imported from the farm worlds than it does to grow it locally. As the war rages on and many of the outer colonies where much of the farming goes on are lost, and the Cole Protocol restricts intersteller travel, many inner planets reluctantly take to growing their own food instead of having it imported.
    • Reach also averts this. There are mountains, urban areas, lakeside areas...etc.
  • Ristar is made of this trope. Every level is such a planet. It gets especially ridiculous on Planet Sonata, which is made entirely of musical instruments.
  • Spore... technically counts, just because there's no biomes in the first place. Either a planet is an ice planet, a lava planet, or (varying levels of) lush and green.
  • According to the supplemental material, the planet of Kharak in Homeworld is a subversion that's gradually becoming a straight example; the huge equatorial deserts have been slowly expanding to cover more and more of the surface for tens of thousand of years at least, with the remaining temperate regions screened only by mountains. Since the planet is reaching the end of its geological activity, said mountains will eventually be eroded flat and reduce Kharak to a true Desert Planet. Except that the deranged ruler of a vast interstellar Empire orders it carpet-bombed with thermobaric weapons for no particularly sensible reason and it ends up being a Black Glass Planet instead.
  • StarCraft seems to follow this trope with Aiur a lush jungle world over its whole surface, Korhal a blasted post-atomic wasteland, Mar Sara a desert, Shakuras as an ice world etc. The only planet in the whole game with varying surface features seems to be Tarsonis, the Confederate capital, and even that is only discernable in the rendered cinematics, not in-game.
    • However, to be fair, Korhal was blasted very thoroughly by the Confederacy fleet and pretty much all the Terran planets except for Tarsonis seem to have been undergoing terraforming (and no one is seen without life support systems, except for the Zerg).
  • StarCraft II covers mostl of these categories with some world or other.
    • Desert: Xil. Meinhoff and Mar Sara also lean in this direction.
    • Jungle: Bel'shir, Aiur.
    • Dark: Shakuras, several nameless worlds seen in the Zeratul missions.
    • Volcano: Char, Redstone
    • City: Korhal, New Fulsom seems to be a planet sized prison.
    • Farm: Agria's name suggests it is one of these, and the terrain does indeed have numerous farms.
    • Garbage: Deadma's port.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has plenty of Single Biome Planet s, in single biome GALAXIES. You've got the Good Egg Galaxy, which is mainly grass planets, Melty Molten Galaxy which is all lava planets, Beach Bowl/Drip Drop/Bonefin Galaxy which is all water planets and quite a few more strange single biome ones including a haunted house galaxy (Ghostly Galaxy), Hailfire Peaks (Freezeflame Galaxy), two battlestation themed galaxies/planets (Battlerock and Dreadnought Galaxies) and one where all the planets are autumn themed. Might be justified in that the so-called "galaxies" are (at best) a collection of several small planetoids. Just chant the MST3K Mantra...
  • Thunder Force series often has each stage a separate single biome planet. Sole exception is V where it take place on Earth.
  • Poor Star Fox can't seem to get anything remotely spacey right, though being Funny Animal and all, science isn't really a priority. But wait, in is this an aversion in the planet of Fortuna? In Star Fox 64, it was icy, but in Assault, it's a jungle level? Maybe they got this different biomes thing right ... oh, wait, turns out Fortuna is all jungle, and the ice planet Fichina was the one that we were supposed to see in 64, they just got the names confused in the American version.
    • Star Fox Adventures, however, does get it right; there are a variety of biomes, though the planet suffers the same problem the Metroid games do, and biomes change a bit too rapidly.
    • The original SNES game portayed Fortuna as being very Earth-like, complete with plant-filled plains and expanses of water. It also was home to big-ass creatures.
    • Subverted and justified with Aquas in 64. It used to be a perfectly normal planet, but after one of Andross's bio-weapons shattered the ice caps, it flooded over and became a pure ocean world.
  • Sigma Star Saga had a Forest Planet, a Fire Planet, an Ice Planet, a Sand Planet, a Ghost Planet, and an Ocean Planet. the Ocean Planet is Earth
  • Most of the planets in the first two Master of Orion games appear to be this, although "Terran" planets are supposed to resemble earth. Of course, the only effect that environment has on gameplay is determining maximum population capacity, and preventing players of the first game from colonizing half the galaxy until they develop technology to cope with hostile environments. The third game averts this.
  • A lot of space colonization games appear to do this. Imperium Galactica 2, for instance, only has single biome planets, where the type of planet influences which races can settle there effectively. (Though the surface views of such planets do sometimes show a mix of terrain.)
  • There are four kinds of planets in Sins of a Solar Empire: Terran Planets (like Earth), Ice Planets, Volcanic Planets, and Desert Planets. Averted impressively by the planet textures, however. Some of the desert planets feature large seas, for example, and greenery can be found on peninsulas extending into the oceans.
  • Ratchet and Clank does this with several planets.
  • Averted in Killzone. The planet Vekta contains cities, beaches, swamps, jungles, snowy mountain tops and some other stuff inbetween.
    • Also averted in Killzone 2 and 3 where Helghan has oceans and at least two biomes- arctic and desert in gameplay- and is described in canon as having predator-filled jungles. Mostly wasteland, having a toxic atmosphere, and everyone there trying to kill you makes it a Death World.
  • Completely averted in Dwarf Fortress. Each of the randomly-generated planets created have dozens if not hundreds of diverse, interconnected biomes that track everything from vegetation, to temperature, to elevation, to even individual rock layers.
  • Subverted in Major Stryker. The planets are referred to as "Lava Planet", "Arctic Planet" and "Desert Planet," but all three have different biomes for different levels (for example, Lava Planet has "Water Zone" and "Land Zone" in addition to the "Lava zone")
  • Descent II: Quartzon=water planet, Brimspark=lava planet, Limefrost Spiral=ice planet, Baloris Prime=desert planet.
  • Every planet/track in the F-Zero series. Ranges from Mute City (not specifically stated to cover the entire world, but is commented on in the manual as a single city of BILLIONS of inhabitants) to Port Town to Death Wind, Sand Ocean, Fire Field, White Land, you name it. A veritable catalogue of one biome worlds.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters 2 has this: A desert world, an ocean world, an ice world, a cloud world, and Mordor. Also, all the "optional" worlds.
  • Populous goes nuts: There are plains worlds, desert worlds, ice worlds, volcano worlds, computer worlds, alien worlds, worlds made of cake, worlds where everyone's a pig, worlds where everyone's French, worlds where everyone's Japanese...The architecture reflects this, as do the inhabitants, but on plains, desert, ice, and volcano worlds, they'll always be toga-clad humans who are promoted to medieval knights, with the religious center being either an ankh or a skull.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception fits this trope. Even Earthrealm is single-biome in Konquest mode. Most of the other realms fit the Mordor pattern, though Seido (Orderrealm) is a cloud world, and Edenia is marked by a lot of waterfalls. Much less so in Armageddon.
  • Minecraft heavily averts this: there are several biomes available, with varying degrees of probability. If you start in an arctic biome and don't like it, just keeping walking until you find a biome you do like (note: may take a very long walk).
    • It should be noted, however, that most of the biomes look alike. A grass block in one biome looks exactly like another in a different biome, only a different shade of green. Except for deserts, all biomes have grass; it is only the kinds and amounts of trees which separates them. And, since you can plant your own trees wherever you feel, you can create this in a limited area.
      • Except, y'know, that's how real biomes work. And unless they can manage to simulate every possible variable, that's how it's gonna stay.
    • A mod can create biomes so big they are effectively this. The same mod can also make them so small they are only a few blocks wide.
      • Before biomes were added to the game, however, the trope was in full effect.
  • Both played straight and spectacularly averted in Myst IV: Revelation. Spire is revealed to be a literal Cloud World, a series of floating towers apparently orbiting a cometlike body; while Haven has seacoast, jungle, savanna, and swamp within a few minutes' walk of each other.
  • Knights of the Old Republic goes along with the Star Wars mentions above—while you only ever see one biome of the planets you travel to (in the first game, at least), most of them are at least implied to have other biomes, or have their single biome explained away. Tatooine was bombed from orbit by the Rakatan, turning it into a desert, the "unknown world" (Rakata) is mostly ocean with small islands because of ancient wars, etc.
  • Averted by Planet 4546B in Subnautica. Kind of -- you're lucky enough to have crash landed in a volcanic caldera more than a mile across, which is home to at least a dozen different underwater environments explicitly identified as "biomes". However, it's strongly implied that the variety of these biomes and the creatures that inhabit them is the exception rather than the rule for the rest of the planet, which appears from space to be a near-complete water world, except for its polar areas. And the Precursor records you eventually find suggest that the creatures inhabiting the caldera (and the caves beneath it) are doomed to eventual extinction.

Web Comics

  • Shortpacked shows us how theme planets sometimes don't work.
  • As well as giving the quote above, Irregular Webcomic lampshades this heavily in one of its podcasts: when Admiral Ackbar calls Endor a forest moon, C-3PO corrects him heavily, saying that it has a small ocean, two deserts, and a mountain range with an extensive cave system. Thankfully, by then, he was turned off.
  • While the "real" planets in Homestuck are naturally realistically varied as far as we can tell, all of the Lands generated by Sburb, in addition to the Skaian Battlefield, are fairly creative examples of this. Justified in that being single-biome planets is the entire point of the Lands as game constructs.

Web Original

  • In Red vs. Blue the Halo-map Sidewinder is "a planet made entirely out of ice. It was really fucking cold."
  • Satirized in College Humor's Troopers: "The Swamp Planet".

"50 years ago Dread Trooper scouts landed in a swamp on our planet and for some reason didn't bother exploring anywhere else! If they'd gone one mile to the left, they would have found some beautiful beach front condos. But they didn't. And now we're the "swamp planet". How do you think that makes me feel?"


Western Animation

  • Futurama frequently makes fun of this, and the Planet of Hats, as every world the crew visits seems to have a single defining characteristic; Dr. Zoidberg's home planet of Decapod 10 is all beaches (referred to as "the Mud Planet" by its ambassador), Kif's is all swamp, etc. A notable example is the Nude Beach Planet, the entire planet apparently a coastline.
  • Nearly every planet in War Planets was a Single Biome Planet. Admittedly, this was largely because the play-sets were designed first, but the writers have nobody but themselves to blame for the set-up whereby the inhabitants of the desert planet could only survive—on the planet on which they had evolved—by stealing water from the ice planet. This case, however, is justified by virtually every planet being designed and built, not evolved. The Cluster in particular was created as a quartet of interdependent worlds.
    • The adaptation took it a lot further. Bone provides food, Rock provides minerals, and Fire provides energy. They even have world engines inside.
  • Invader Zim has Zim banished to the planet of Foodcourtia, an entire planet of fast-food outlets. Similarly, Zim avails himself of the services offered by the planet Callnowia, which is devoted to the taking of catalogue orders and the shipping of products. Other Irken-dominated planets include Conventia, the convention center planet, recently-dominated Blorch, now a parking structure planet, and Dirt, the garbage dump.
    • This probably deserves a Justified Trope, as it's specifically mentioned (All There in the Manual) that Irkens just really like redesigning planets. Renaming them, too. See 'Blorch'.
  • Silverhawks featurs the Dollare Bank, a money vault planet, and Penal, a prison planet.
  • In most Transformers series, Cybertron is a city planet. Many series, especially Energon and Cybertron, contain further examples. Of course, a Transformer's requirements for survival are a lot more forgiving than a human's.
    • There's also the planets in Transformers: Cybertron. Velocitron the Speed Planet is a Desert Planet, the Jungle Planet is... well, that... and Gigantion is a City Planet.
    • In Energon and Cybertron, most planets are named "[Biome] Planet," or will have a name but be nicknamed [Biome] Planet, and the nickname will see more use than the name. In addition to the above examples, there's Blizzard Planet and Circuilt Planet (all racecourses. Same hat as Speed Planet, but it's covered with highways, while Speed Planet, as far as depicted onscreen, is all desert.)
    • In both the comic and cartoon humans visit Cybertron and are able to breathe with no problems, although logically there is no reason for there to be an atmosphere breathable for humans. The Beast Machines series seems to offer the suggestion that Cybertron was originally built around a habitable planetoid and that somehow has retained its atmosphere. This was actually the explanation given for the similar world of GoBotron in the Go-Bots cartoon series.
    • If Cybertron was originally Earth-like, the machines might incorporate a programming directive to keep it habitable that is so basic to their operating systems that they don't even think about it, they just do it.
    • Some series have partially subverted this and made it surprisingly diverse for a planet made of metal. It often has its own mountains, canyons, and even a sea of rust somehow. It's still made entirely of metal, though.
  • Skyland is set on a cloud planet.
  • Gobotron from Challenge of the Go Bots is a city planet. This is Justified in that the planet's biosphere was destroyed ages ago in the inhabitants' civil war, forcing the race to become cyborgs. They then set about salvaging their now-dead home by converting it into a technology-based world.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
    • "The Jihad". From what we were shown of it, the planet where the Soul of the Skorr was kept appeared to be a Volcano Planet.
    • "The Slaver Weapon", based on Larry Niven's short story "The Soft Weapon". As in the original short story, one of the planets in the Beta Lyrae star system is a "icy little blob of a world", AKA an Ice World.
  • In the old Flash Gordon animated series, this trope was averted (as in the comic strip that was the inspiration for it) by Mongo, which actually boasts a wide variety of habitable environments ranging from polar ice to tropical jungle, passing through various shades of desert and temperate forest in between, along with underground labyrinths.
  • Lampshaded in a Star Wars skit of Robot Chicken. The sea monster ends up as the skeleton C-3PO found in the middle of the desert.

Real Life

  • Look at Corot-7b, which is even being called "the lava planet".
  • GJ 1214b appears to be a prime candidate for an ocean planet. It's estimated that the ocean on its surface would be roughly three to four thousand miles deep. Yes, the ocean depth is a large percentage of the total radius of the planet. Additionally, because the planet is definitely hotter than boiling point, the ocean doesn't have a defined surface. Instead the atmosphere just gets thicker and thicker as you go down until it becomes as dense as water, which can't compress anymore, meaning the ocean and atmosphere just blend together.
  • Today, Earth is the only aversion in the solar system. In the very early stages of formation, Earth was a lava planet, and if the Giant Impact Hypothesis of the Moon's origin is correct, the Earth and the Moon were balls of magma for a while after the impact. It was probably a kind of ice planet at various points in the Cryogenian era (850-625 million years ago), particularly during the Marinoan Glaciation. This hypothesis is called (fittingly) "Snowball Earth". During Earth's Pangaea period, it was largely one huge desert surrounded with one gigantic ocean. Later, There was a period when the entire planet was a warm, moist planet covered with jungles - even Antarctica. This is how most of our coal reserves were created, by the way. Possibly the closest fit to the above archetypes would be an Ocean World, as the surface is over 70% water.
As for the other planets...
    • Venus has an extremely dense atmosphere that distributes heat very efficiently around the planet, so its surface of volcanoes and sulfuric acid is hot enough to melt lead from equator to pole and through the 60-Earth-day night.
    • Mars is basically a desert world. A very cold desert world. It does have polar glaciers though—made of frozen carbon dioxide.
    • Jupiter through Neptune are pretty much all Cloud Planets.
    • Everything else (Mercury, most moons, asteroids, etc.) are pretty much airless rocks or ice balls.
    • Barring intervention, in a few billion years, the increasingly hot Sun will boil off the Earth's oceans, leaving a desert planet. Before, that is, it gets hot enough to turn it into a lava planet again.
    • Some of the moons also count:
      • Jupiter's moon Europa's surface is composed of one giant ice-covered ocean. It's also a prime contender for extraterrestrial life.
      • If you want a volcano world, look no further than Io.
      • Titan (Saturn's moon) would be a dark (ice) world. It's far from the sun, and the atmosphere has an organic haze that blocks most of the sunlight that does reach it.
  • Actually, every Earthlike planet we have found thus far fits this trope. However, what we can tell from light-years away is very limited.
    • For that matter, Earth herself, observed by modern or near-future technology from some light-years away, would almost certainly be interpreted as an Ocean Planet. So such observations should likely be taken with a grain of salt.