Thinking of devising some diabolical plot to snuff out an alien species, steal some experimental superweapons or hijack a diplomatic spaceship? If you get caught, there are major repercussions to any illegal loss of life, liberty or property in the realms of sci-fi, fantasy and horror movies, books and comics, mostly in the form of ruthless prison planets to incarcerate evildoers in the vast outlaw regions of the universe. With hostile climates, brutal guards, back-breaking labor and few creature comforts, these hardcore jails are meant to punish those villains responsible for their reprehensible behavior with little chance of easy escape. From Star Trek's chilly Rura Penthe and Star Wars' Spice Mines of Kessel to Dune's dire Selusa Secundus and Alien 3's desolate Fiorina "Fury" 161, these nine petrifying prison planets might keep you out of trouble for the time being.
Drop in for a brief tour and tell us which ones we might have missed.
CHTHON (PIERS ANTHONY)
If sparkly red stones are the apples of your eye, then this nightmarish underground prison of Chthon from Piers Anthony's 1967 sci-fi novel might be suitable for your incarceration period. This labyrinthine garnet mine houses various levels of dangerous criminals, with sealed off tunnels leading to the planet's surface and the lowest levels of this bejeweled Hell housing a collection of insane criminals unfit for the rest of the prison population. After you've had your fill of the gemstone toil, try to escape the clutches of the Chimera monster or a horrible zombified viral death. All that glitters is not gold in this ungodly subterranean penal colony.
SALUSA SECUNDUS (DUNE)
The third planet in the Gamma Waiping star system, Salusa Secundus is the feared Imperial Prison Planet of House Corrino after removal of the Royal Court to planet Kaitain. All Padishah Emperors of the known universe have used "S.S." as a cruel penal colony to gather "the worst of the worst" in the galaxy. Affectionatley known as a "Hell World," the planet has an inhospitable climate so savage that the mortality rate among the newly incarcerated is more than sixty percent. Imperial House Corrino makes use of the vile prison planet as a secret recruiting station, experimental lab and training ground for its berserker Sardaukar troops, most likely recruited from the available prison population and native tribes.
ROVE 12 (ALIEN UPRISING)
Space marines are called in to the brutal prison planet of Rove 12 to put down a violent inmate uprising in this semi-cheesy indie sci-fi flick from 2008. Once the rescue operation is underway at this remote penitentiary, the secret behind the distress call is revealed. A wicked regenerating alien is running amok and feasting upon guards and inmates alike, revealed to not be some mysterious cosmic monster, but a mutant acid-spewing creature being created via experiments on inmates by a nefarious corporation. Better off ignoring that distress call and avoiding this devious prison planet altogether.
KESSEL (STAR WARS UNIVERSE)
I like my food a bit spicy but wouldn't want to find myself doing hard time in the Empire's infamous Spice Mines of Kessel, a grueling existence in the pits and mine shafts on the planet Kessel in the Star Wars Universe. First mentioned in Star Wars: Episode IV by C-3PO as the place he's least looking forward to being sent to, these harsh mineral mines offer a life expectancy of two or three years. The slave labor crews, made up of Wookiees and other galactic races incarcerated for crimes against the Empire worked in horrid conditions, digging in the potato-shaped moon's soil to extract the telepathy-inducing spice. It's considered an absoute death sentence for anyone sent to this deplorable penal colony.
FIORINA "FURY" 161 (ALIEN 3)
First opened in 2127, but largely abandoned now with only a custodial staff and marauding xenomorphs remaining, this Weyland-Yutani prison built on the formidable, wind-ravaged planet of Fiorina 161 was intended as a harsh Class C penal labor camp for dangerous Double-Y chromosome convicts and lead smelting works. The prisoner workforce operated the lead facility and mining operations until it was shut down in 2175, when a skeleton crew and 22 inmates remained to mop up and maintain it. This outer veil prison boasts insane surface temperature fluctuations, a nasty outbreak of headlice and acid-spewing alien creatures thanks to Ripley's fateful crash landing with Newt and Hicks.
CREMATORIA (THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK)
It's always feeding time in this triple-max prison drilled deep into the scorching planet of Crematoria in the Igneon System. The Crematoria Slam Facility is accessed via an 18-mile prison railway below the surface where convicts are lowered into the actual prison complex. Vicious Hell Hounds make meals out of any prisoner not locked in their cells. This harsh planet rotates at 5000 mph with 52 hour days. Surface temperatures fluctuate wildy, with daytime nearing 700 degrees and nighttime plummeting to nearly 300 below zero, making it uninhabitable to say the least. Whether the surface of the planet is unfit for human survical or not, temperatures are in the wild extremes. One would be instantly incinerated if caught in the sunlight, or frozen solid at night. No drops ships allowed anywhere close. No escapes ever on record. Abandon all hope unless you're Riddick....and you're not!
TAKRON-GALTOS (DC'S LEGION OF SUPER HEROES)
First appearing in Adventure Comic #359 in 1967, this prison revisited in Legion of Super Heroes over the decades has an exact location deemed classified. It's the principal prison and criminal rehabilitation facility for the United Planets, and appears in various incarnations in a multitude of storylines, even in an alternate timeline for Justice League 3000 as a ravaged, polluted hellhole once known as Earth. Largely automated in the 30th century, housing high-security inmates from many worlds, it has most recently been encased in a force shield of Brainiac Five's devising for increased traffic control. Prisoners were kept powerless via light-based pacification technology. Some of the more notable prisoners are the Fatal Five, the Legion of Super-Villains, and Alexis Luthor. It was often used to wrongly imprison members of the Justice League and Legion of Super Heroes, but unless you display myriad magical or paranormal powers this may be your home for eternity. Takron-Galtos is destroyed by a wave of anti-matter during the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, replaced by a new prison planet, Labyrinth.
RURA PENTHE (STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY)
Bring pocket hand warmers and goose down undies to this frigid subterranean penal colony if ever sentenced in a trumped-up mock trial. The Klingon prison planet is covered in ice and snow and stuffed with a motley menagerie of interstellar criminals, gruff aliens and shapeshifting supermodels. The coldest habitable place in the universe and often called "The Alien's Graveyard," this punishing planetoid in the Beta Penthe system earns a life expectancy of less than a year, most of it spent mining dilithium in the suffocating caverns and trying not to be eaten by roving jackal mastiffs. Escape is near non-existent with a vast magnetic shield preventing any chance of beaming out of this frozen Klingon purgatory.
Located on the lone planet of Elba, Garrus-9 is a maximum security Autobot detention and rehabilitation facility nicknamed "G-9" in the IDW Transformers comics. This fortress penitentiary detains criminal Decepticons and Autobots incarcerated under the Tyrest Accord by Duly Appointed Enforcers like Ultra Magnus. Those deemed to be categorized as the ultimate danger, Threat Level Nine, have their sparks forcefully extracted to ensure optimum pacificity. These sparks are held in a special containment section known as "The Rig". Prisoners who are kept whole exist in barren isolation cells, with all maximum security being located in the lowest levels. Beware of the supercomputer adjudicator, Aequitas, if trying to hide any secrets revolving around your suspected guilt.