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Chaos and Cosmos Authors Answer: Should Pluto be a Planet? And What OTHER Things Should Be Planets?

We’re all about the big questions in our Chaos and Cosmos campaign and we asked our authors a dozy this time: Should Pluto be a planet? And what OTHER things should be planets? Check out their answers below and let us know what you think should be a planet in the comments!


Kate Elliott, author of Unconquerable Sun

Should Pluto be a planet?

Pluto should get to be whatever Pluto wants to be.

What other things should be planets?

My rage.

Mary Robinette Kowal, author of The Relentless Moon

Should Pluto be a planet?

Trick question. Pluto is a planet so the word “should” is misleading.

What other things should be planets?

Books. I mean, who hasn’t felt the irresistible gravitational pull of a book? They’ve got gravity, atmosphere, and orbit the sun.

S. A. Hunt, author of I Come With Knives

Should Pluto be a planet?

I already consider Pluto to be a planet.

What other things should be planets?

Fictional planets should be real planets. I’d love to hear news that scientists have discovered a way to travel through the multiverse, and found that all the worlds in our books, shows, and movies are real. Hey, I have a question for you – what if an entire library was a planet?

Alaya Dawn Johnson, author of Trouble the Saints

Should Pluto be a planet?

Pluto knows it’s a planet, it doesn’t need our permission.

What other things should be planets?

Russel’s teapot, dark matter, the morning star (wait, sorry, that is a planet)

Ryan Van Loan, author of The Sin in the Steel

Should Pluto be a planet? 

Absolutely! I didn’t realize this was a controversial opinion to take, but there was quite a spirited discussion about it with the Tor Books folks, I can tell you. The millenial in me thinks Pluto is a planet and even if it’s not, deserves to be recognized as a planet after pretending to be one for so long. Participation trophies FTW!

What other things should be planets? 

Planet-killing asteroids? I feel like we’d take the threat of extinction by asteroid much more seriously if we named them like planets. Planet ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ sounds much scarier than Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 for example. Also, the weight of the average teenage angst as measured by the amount of My Chemical Romance in the air.

Kit Rocha, author of Deal with the Devil

Should Pluto be a planet?

It is a planet. *hard stare*

What other things should be planets?

National treasure Dolly Parton. The guitar riff from Smoke on the Water. The French Quarter of New Orleans. My dog’s ego.

Jenn Lyons, author of The Memory of Souls

Should Pluto be a planet?

Yes. While Pluto fits the definition of dwarf-planet and there are a suspected 200 or so dwarf planets in the Sol System, it’s also not making the definition of planet primarily because of its location — were Pluto where Mercury is, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. But of course, there’s a lot of masses out in the Kuiper Belt which meet the same qualifications. Still, I’m nostalgic.

What other things should be planets?

I’m personally a fan of a geophysical definition — which means, yes, there should be 200 or so dwarf planets we call as such in the Sol system. Because come on, how cool would it be to have 200 planets in our solar system?

Andrea Hairston, author of Master of Poisons

Should Pluto be a planet?

Why not? Size isn’t the only issue! Pluto is a wanderer, a traveler and that’s what planet means—from the Greek for wanderer to Latin to Old French and Middle English.

What other things should be planets?

Nine is a nice number, like the supreme court, but the other dwarf planets Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Haumea could just be “planets” too!

Christopher Paolini, author of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Should Pluto be a planet?

Maybe?

What other things should be planets?

Planet X … if it exists (also, Titan, if it weren’t a moon)

S. L. Huang, author of Burning Roses

Should Pluto be a planet?

Yes. DUH! (Sorry, Dr. Tyson.)

What other things should be planets?

Oh, no, now you’ve gotten me going. I have a whole rant about this. We as humans are so obsessed with defining categories and drawing bright lines between classifications. But Nature, in all its messiness, abhors our need to fit everything in little boxes.

Gender, speciation, fruits versus vegetables, PLANETS—we think we’ve got a way of differentiating them all cleanly and then something like a platypus comes and blows it all up, and we have to make more caveats and carve out exceptions until it becomes really obvious the cosmos is just a continuum of chaos that defies our attempts to order it.

If Pluto wants to be a planet, let it be a planet. I support self-identification of celestial bodies.

Also platypuses can be planets. Tomatoes aren’t a vegetable, they’re a planet. And stop the debate about whether Denisovans were a subspecies of ancient humans or not; they can come be planets too.

LET CHAOS REIGN.

Cory Doctorow, author of Attack Surface

Should Pluto be a planet? What other things should be planets?

My solar system includes Pluto as a planet and also includes many other things as planets, including large mammals, touring vans, extremely large San Francisco burritos, and many other odd sized things.

V. E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Should Pluto be a planet?

I feel like it should, absolutely. I mean, do we have a very high standard for planets? They could be added, I don’t understand why there are only eight.

What other things should be planets?

Here’s the things, right, I always think of planets as people that are super impactful to me, I wrote this whole open letter several years ago about how I felt like a tiny spec of mass and authors like Neil Gaiman were planets to me, but yeah, I don’t think anyone should have a planetary force, I just think there is something to be said about having enough mass that you feel like you move the world a little bit.

Stay tuned for more #ChaosandCosmos all year long!

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