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Sci-fi films and stories are full of places where no sane person would want to live.
From crazy creatures that inhabit hard-to-reach planets, to toxic atmospheres or ongoing conflicts, these worlds make it very clear that it would be incredibly difficult to survive on any of them—if you survive at all.
Let’s run through some of the worst real estate on the market.
1. Crematoria (The Chronicles of Riddick)
All the worlds in the Riddick franchise are full of terrible things that go bump in the night, so this was a tough choice. If we were going to choose the worst place to live, however, we’d have to go with the prison planet from the second movie: Crematoria.
Crematoria is a hell-scorched moon locked in a fast, close orbit around a volatile star. When it rotates, its “night” side is cast entirely in shadow. When the light hits its surface, everything on the planet bursts into flames in a pyroclastic cloud that races across the planet. If you get caught by this cloud, you die.
Putting aside the fact that all the oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere on this planet would get burnt up—and that no one is wearing masks to deal with the lack of it—the idea of being trapped on a prison planet with a very real chance of death-by-fire is my own personal nightmare.
2. Hosnian Prime (The Force Awakens)
Hosnian Prime from the Star Wars universe seems like an odd choice when you’re thinking about the places you wouldn’t want to live.
Before it’s destruction in The Force Awakens, it was a cultural hub and the heart of the New Republic, teeming with art and governmental services.
After the collapse of the Empire, however, you still had a lot of Imperial forces left over, hellbent on revenge. These were the same Imperial forces that had built not one but two death stars that they wielded with brutal efficiency. These remnants also still had access to this tech that they had created, and sure enough they used it to create Starkiller Base.
From there, they destroyed Hosnian Prime as a warning.
Why would you want to move to a prime target like that, especially when you know there are people out there still capable of creating this sort of destruction? It’s not worth it to live on a capital planet.
3. The Unmapped Planet (Alien: Covenant)
Alien is another franchise where all the planets are downright terrifying, but if I had to pick the least appealing I’d go with the unmapped world fromAlien: Covenant. It’s the one that is most likely to trick you into a false sense of security before you’re brutally murdered.
In the film a colonization ship is trying to reach the planet Origae-6 . They come across a distress signal emanating from another unmapped world of unknown origin instead.
When the crew investigates, they discover this planet is habitable and cultivated, with a breathable atmosphere. However, there is absolutely no wildlife or people on it. Soon their luck deserts them.
The crew discovers that this planet is lifeless due to a spore-like biological weapon that was released on the population. These spores have since adapted: once inhaled, they rapidly mature and turn into a proto-version of the xenomorphs, which burst forth in terrifying ways from their hosts.
4. Miranda (Serenity)
Serenity is a great film, and its least-liveable planet, Miranda, is a great example of how a world can be destroyed through government interference.
More than a decade prior to the start of the film, the Alliance Government called on its people to colonize the outer rim world of Miranda. Soon after colonization, contact with Miranda was lost.
No one knew what happened to the population there, and no one could check it out either, as the space between Miranda and the rest of the system was crawling with reavers: extremely dangerous, cannibalistic marauders who pillaged everything in their path.
When the crew of the Firefly make it to Miranda, they discover a sterile, seemingly functional planet with its buildings and technology still intact. This uninhabited metropolis soon gives way to a horrifying truth.
During the early days of colonization, the Alliance released a chemical concoction into the atmosphere to make the population docile. Instead of making everyone calm, however, most of the population perished. The small amount of people who did survive had an inverse reaction and became hyper-aggressive. They then turned into reavers, and began running roughshod over the galaxy. The entire thing is a critique on government control.
5. The Halo Array (Halo)
Finally, the last world we wouldn’t want to live on is the ringworld from Halo. This one dates back to the original game, which came out in 2001.
The first Halo is ancient history now, but it was a super popular first-person shooter back in the day. The premise of the franchise was that humans were at war with an alien conglomerate known as The Covenant. The Covenant believed these Halo arrays were “sacred rings”, and your character, Master Chief, lands on one of these ringworlds after a space-born battle goes sideways.
While you’re on this halo, it soon becomes clear that these ringworlds are anything but sacred objects. Instead, they are giant laboratories that have been built to study The Flood: a devastating parasitic alien that consumes all organic matter to create horrifying mutants. Think of them like fast-moving zombies in space, on a world so small you can drive from one end to the other—and there is no escape.
Looking for more information on all the weird and wonderful worlds in sci-fi? Check out our list of planet-wide megacities you should know about.