An earth spaceship looking suspiciously like a US space shuttle is approaching an unexplored planet. Chatterton, a mineralogist, works for a company that strips virgin planets of their natural resources. The rest of the crew is there to operate the ship. Their uniform patches indicate that, like the crew in Mars is Heaven, they work for ASA, not NASA.
Driscoll, an archaeologist, makes the absurd statement that all planets from 10 miles up look pretty much the same. What percentage of planets have life on them to justify an archeologist being one of a six person crew, anyway? They seem to land like the shuttle despite the presence of trees and rolling hills. In fact, the planet really looks like a golf course. One of the crew even makes the same observation.
Driscoll starts talking about wishing to fly when he was a kid, and suddenly he is airborne, swooping around like a kite. This miracle does not impress Chatterton who wants to get along with his work. He continues being a jerk, so Driscoll wishes him into the air for the same experience.
Further exploring, after someone mentions a bottle of wine, they discover a stream in which wine is flowing. That’s nice and convenient, but I have to think it makes the old problem of bits of cork in the wine bottle seem positively quaint. Driscoll wishes for fish to go with it and a few yards away there is a hot spring which has cooked a fish for him. So it is clear this planet is, or has, a sentience that is making wishes come true — an idea it seems like every iteration of Star Trek has run with.
Chatterton wanders away from the group and gets his giant drill from the ship. He might be a jerk, but he’s the only one in this group with a work ethic. The others leave their wine, fish and grapes and find him starting to burrow into the ground with a giant spiraled drill. The drill even makes a thrusting motion just in case we miss the rape metaphor. Then lightning strikes the drill.
Chatterton runs off saying he is going to destroy the planet. But he is eaten by an unseen (i.e. unbudgeted) predator before he can do any harm.
Driscoll tries to talk the others into staying on the planet, but they’ve been in space for years — they want to go back to earth. Driscoll stays behind and watches the ship take off. From their perspective, the planet is a hellish place of exploding volcanoes and flowing lava. To Driscoll, it still looks like Bushwood Country Club. The planet is putting on a show so it will be categorized as hostile and never revisited.
Driscoll looks into the stream and sees the reflection of a beautiful blonde. The first of several, I imagine.
- Stephen King has a short story by the same title.
- Just as in The Long Years, there is a female astronaut who has no lines.
- According to IMDb, it was rejected by The Twilight Zone as too expensive to produce.