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Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

"What would happen if...?" has always been a staple of Science Fiction. What do you wonder about?

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Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Supercollider » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:33 pm

Thought it might be fun to share an idea or two for an alien race that you have thought up and toss around with other writers how you might make use of that feature in a story. It can be something you aren't going to use yourself, or even something you are using in a story but want to see how someone else might use.

For example - my aliens are going to have bioluminescence as one of their features.

Now your turn to brainstorm about that and/or float an idea of your own! :alien: :D
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Ariel » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:50 am

Wow, cool idea. I don't know what I would choose, I would have to think about that one.
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Asp Zelazny » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:17 pm

It has probably been done before, but I think it would be interesting to develop a story using silicon-based life forms: not silicon as in circuit boards, but silicon as opposed to carbon in living structures. There would be the challenge of working out the chemistry of silicon bonding, and thus the environment and physical characteristics, but investigating the mutual incompatibilities of carbon based vs silicon based life in competition for living space and/or in trade could drive the action.

Would they be faster or slower than humans inherently due to their chemistry? What elements would they especially value for trade; what would be exceptionally toxic? Would there be competition for planets given intergalactic travel, or could there be shared use due to different needs? What would their experience, or even definition of "life" be, and thus their philosophy a/o religion?

And just think of the feelback/argumentation one could get from biochem nerds letting one know what they think you got wrong, and EXACTLY why ..... !
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Supercollider » Thu May 16, 2013 10:22 pm

Another area that's wide-open would be alien genetics - would DNA or something very similar have evolved elsewhere, and if so what are the implications of that . . . or the opposite question, what carries an alien race's replication code if it is something very different from DNA?
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Talon Sinnah » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:14 am

One of my recent ideas wasn't necessarily on aliens but humans. Once humans reach space we will evolve more depending on we're we settle or if we settle at all. One of my thoughts was if we spent more time in actual space our chemistry would change so we could make the environment adapt to what we needed at the time
I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the Soul. The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

-Walt Whitman-
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Supercollider » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:19 pm

Evolved, modified, enhanced - different humans can be good writing fodder so welcome and thanks for sharing!

In researching for my own writing I ended up back at the pre-cellular molecule level and became rather absorbed in the research itself - questions such as the silicon based life form, or DNA handedness and things like that. Areas I've found fascinating have been evo-devo (see Sean B. Carroll's website if you are unfamiliar with that), or the extremophile life forms that are being discovered on Earth - discoveries which may also expand our parameters re where we might expect to find life outside our planet or solar system.
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Asp Zelazny » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:55 pm

On Talon's idea, I remember that Niven's Ringworld series did postulate that humans would significantly change as a result not only of space travel, but also as a result of the new environments upon new worlds. The Belters for example were long and thin, with weak muscles, the Crashlanders (I think) were short and stocky from a high gravity planet. Never did figure out what environmental changes produced the "asymmetrical beards" though. Still and all, that aspect of the very extensive story cycle seemed to get put on hold (except for a few genetic 'sport' characters) whether this was due to the author's interests leading elsewhere, or perhaps it was due to the binding of humanity together in the face of the Kzin challenges. It could have made for interesting reading.

S.C. -- good to see you again -- research like that is tough, but I know that I certainly appreciate it when I read a good Science fiction story: sloppy science can really detract from the message. Keep at it! The extremophile angle even on Earth is a fascinating area ... the life forms that use sulfur-based energy in the hot pools in Yellowstone, or the high-pressure lightless environment of the deep ocean vents are realistic alternates that can be studied, and are even potential models for, say, life in the seas of Europa. The challenges of interacting with alternate life forms was especially well addressed by the Sector General novels of James White. His science was a little soft, but the focus was on the sociology of a hospital with the strains of dealing with wildly variant environmental, metabolic, and cultural disparities among the staff and the patients. Worth checking out if you aren't familiar with that series.
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby The Master » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:25 pm

Larry Niven is a genius. The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring are also brilliant depictions of life adapted to a different environment, in this case a "world" with no ground because it is made up entirely of a gas torus.
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Re: Ideas for various aliens - writer's share-an-idea thread

Postby Supercollider » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:39 pm

Hello everyone! :smt006 I'm glad I found this thread again - I haven't been on the boards that much the last few weeks. These are great answers and recommendations for fictional examples. I have also thought about human variations for future stories and am keeping a notebook of ideas there too. I'll have to read some of these authors or re-read them, as the case may be.

We've all seen "amazing animals" or "weird animals" magazines or photo collections - I just saw a magazine in the drugstore the other day, one of those glossy special ones. I can't remember if it was Time or Life or National Geographic or what, but it had great photos of earthly life forms that one can look at and go "Whoa!" and be completely blown away by. And . . . of course, get ideas for aliens from! :alien:
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