Looking for ideas: Non-Hominid aliens

Hi folks,

Looking for some ideas. I am in the process of writing a series of science fiction novels and one of the areas with it I am stuck on is non-hominid aliens.

The rub is I am not looking for three eyed monsters here. Any aliens I put in my science fiction universe need to make sense from an evolutionary point of view. For instance I do have a race of intelligent beings (high tech but no desire to leave their home world) that live on (in?) a gas giant and are an evolutionary adaptation to life on a gas giant.

I’m not asking anyone to model these for me. I’m just figuring that as creative a crowd as we have here I just might get flooded with ideas that I can either use outright (credit will be given) or give me a spring board to work from.

I lack the hubris to believe that upright bipeds looking like us are the only adaptation of life out there… :slight_smile:

If it needs to “make sense”, then I personally don’t believe technological life would develop on/in a gas giant. There are no solid resources for their constructions, and very doubtful of an environment that would allow fire - probably the most basic and fundamental technology. Sentient life perhaps as a stretch, but I doubt they’d get much beyond flying dolphins.

I disagree ever so slightly about that point, and I’m in good company there. There was a show a while back where some of the leading minds in science were postulating on what kinds of sentient life could be out there. One of the ideas forwarded was very much parallel to what I describe above. I’m still working out what forms their tech would take but I believe that sentient life that has managed to stay around for a while will develop high tech over time.

Where not having “solid resources” might get in their way is it just might take longer. Not only that in my mind “high tech” doesn’t always have to be about gadgets. Advances in medicine, for instance, might be the area where a race would manifest high technology. Just one vector I can think of…

Sorry if I missunderstand your answer, but, did you already thinked about ant like creatures?

Not ants per se, but I do have an “empire” for lack of better word of aliens that have a hive like society similar to ants and bees on earth. They nearly wiped out the early colonists from Earth in the first of a series of contact wars before some time cycle that humaniti has no clue about expired.

what have you got against 3 eyed monsters??? ( j/k )

Uh, mmh, did you played StarCraft? maybe (I just played a bit) creatures like the Zergs do you mean? my english is bad so I don’t know if I have understanded you question well…

If you read Ender’s End Game, you would find that ant like creature or more precisely, “bugger” was quashed in the first book. Then follows a few books that I haven’t read.

But before writing a series of novels, I’d advise you to put up a few hundred words so we can assess if you have the necessary skills to go going as a writer. There are whole university courses that deal with “writing” and enough books to teach you about writing . . . not to mention the various online sites.

But all the best and look forward to your works.

No upright bipeds, huh? Your critters will need a way to manipulate their environment. They will need a way to communicate complex thoughts. Since evolution on one planet has produced critters as disparate as jellyfish, elephants and praying mantises, I suspect any shape could be justified by conditions existing or having existed on your hypothetical worlds.

In order to develop high tech, they would need either a way to record their thoughts to pass along to future generations of thinkers, or be tremendously long lived as individuals.

Since bipedalism is out of the question, thus bilateral symmetry is also, how about radial symmetry, based on a hexagon. A six legged spider like critter which can use any three of its ‘legs’ as manipulating ‘fingers’ (holding its body steady with the other three), and can produce long threads of silk like stuff, on which they can record their thoughts by knotting the cord in meaningful patterns. Lengthy palindromes would be a high art form on this world.

I’d go for the furry type too . . . but this appears to have been made into movies …



Tell us what you got so far, to help get a better idea of what would fit and what wouldn’t.

Have you read A fire upon the deep and A deepness in the sky by Vernor Vinge? Both feature very interesting and in-depth descriptions of non-bipedal alien societies. The telepathic* dog-society of the first book is one of my favourite sci-fi creations ever.
The pequeninos of Speaker for the dead - the sequel to Ender’s Game - are also quite interesting. Reading the wiki summary of the species is a heavy spoiler for the book, though.

*edit: sound waves and stuff, not mystical “it just works”-psionics

Hi, I’m in the process of designing a science fiction alien race as well. And new to Blender; this is only my 2nd post!

What I’ve found helpful for starters were books. One of the first I read was a volume called Aliens and Alien Societies by Stanley Schmidt and Ben Bova, which is one of four books in the Science Fiction Writing Series published by Writers Digest in the 1990s but still a good starting place.

Sean B. Carroll’s material on evo-devo is interesting to read, and there are a plethora of science books in the last decade on astrobiology or exobiology, whichever term you prefer. Also reading about extremophile life forms here on Earth might spark some ideas for you. I also like NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s PlanetQuest about exoplanets for the planet part and to track our progress in discovering “strange new worlds.”

I do NaNoWriMo and there are also a lot of helpful writing folks on their site. The November big session has just ended, but many people are still writing, and there’s a Science Fiction forum.

I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year but instead focused on my book series which portions of which I ripped out and started over on. Part of that tear out and rebuild process is what got me thinking about plausible sentient aliens and the lack thereof.

The two furry alien races in my stories are as unlike Gremlins as could be. In one case the color of the individual’s fur determines social rank and stripes dyed into the fur determine what profession they are.

I think you have the right idea for sci-fi. We should challenge our presuppositions about plausibility. I think that lack of solid matter wouldn’t necessarily be an issue.

Space dust and solar winds tend to pummel planets of all types. Gas giants tend to be turbulent as well so there could be solids readily available.

As far as evolution goes there are possibilities being uncovered in the fields of Nanotech and Biotech; DNA Origami being one of the more interesting ones. Given that the gas giant had an orbit that would produce the thermodynamics to bring about protein formations, they might be able (in principal) to form in more efficient ways. This might produce a being much smaller and more intelligent than ourselves that could just float or fly around in turbulent gas clouds. If the environment were more violent it could have the properties of weeding out inefficiencies and promoting more interaction. It could be that our “Goldie Locks” environment has made us a bunch of [email protected]$$es. Who knows?

I don’t dispute life evolving in such an environment, in fact I firmly believe there are more life friendly scenarios than we can imagine. I just don’t think such an environment would enable technological life. By definition, technology involves gadgets and the means to use them in conjunction with knowledge to gain new gadgets and knowledge. To me, the physics involved just don’t support it, and therefore doesn’t “…make sense from an evolutionary point of view.” Take that stipulation away and all is fair game.

That doesn’t mean these life forms can’t have settled in said atmosphere from somewhere else, possibly even have somewhat evolved due to the environment. But the physiology they are based on would have risen from a (relatively) solid world, and that isn’t the scenario originally given.

Physical systems in general do tend to produce greater amounts of complexity and novelty through the passing of time. I don’t think we can judge the capabilities of another life form with our own methodologies. For all we know they could colonize in membranes that are carried by pressure variances. All they would really seem to need is generalized intelligence and some kind of energy source…after all…microbes built us. I don’t see how a solid planet would be required for technology to emerge. I like that you brought up Panspermia. That significantly increases possibilities.

Give me some limits and i might be able to come up with some species that will fit what you’re looking for (i don’t wanna waste my time writing a bunch of details about a species just to have you say they’re too alien or too “normal”)

First off, I hope this isn’t high-jacking the thread, but maybe there is food for thought here about developing your characters.

Second, Panspermia was a consideration at first - and one that makes for some interesting ideas, but what I was finally considering was a species that migrated further on in their maturity, but far enough back in time to still allow some evolution to occur. They could have found this gas planet rich in some resources - carbon compounds, helium 3 or hydrogen for example - and settled in to harvest. Perhaps over time they grew capable of breathing the air, gas bladders that allowed them to float and jet themselves on the currents so on and so on.

Third, there are many reasons I don’t think gas giants are good incubators of technology, lack of liquids in quantity, lack of energy storage mediums, but as much as I like discussing it I don’t want to saturate this thread with that kind of debate. Much greater minds than mine can’t agree on this stuff either. But I also see this as a bit of a challenge now and would like to see more detail about this particular race and see what I can come up with.