1. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    A sentient planet

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by mbinks89, Feb 27, 2013.

    Hey all, I have an idea for a sci-fi story where mankind begins to colonize a planet (or a ship crash lands there) and eventually realize the planet is sentient or in fact a giant life-form curled up and sleeping. I was inspired by the concept of Alpha Centauri, though I've never played the game. How might the concept of a sentient planet come into play? I don't want there to be, say, a planet that just conjures up a tsunami when it's pissed. I need to mull this over a bit more, but just to get the gears going, how would you guys describe this? The life-form curled up and snoozing is easier to conceive, so please, just answer for the sentient planet one, thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read Asimov's Nemesis.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    If it is just curled up all it has to do when it is pissed is to stretch and flounce once or twice, then curl back again. By that point 99% of the population on it would be dead or floating into space or both. And how would a life form as you describe it maintain an orbit? I imagine if humans wanted to colonize it it must have been in orbit of a star for millions of years (since no one would colonize an asteroid in their right mind). And would mankind just settle somewhere and not notice that that somewhere doesn't have a core or not scan it's inside in some way?
    A planet that has sentience is a much more plausible concept. People believe that even earth is sentient (mother nature, gods etc), so you wouldn't have to stretch the idea too far. From that point on it is your job as the writer to come up with the how and why the planet's sentience comes into play in your story.

    Btw i liked Alpha Centauri back in '00 when it came out mostly for it's concept.
     
  4. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    What's giving me a hard time is how a sentient planet's defence systems would work. Oh well, I'll suppose what I always do, plunge right in and let the work flesh itself out
     
  5. AgonyDrum
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    AgonyDrum Member

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    what if the planet was capable of communicating telepathically? Kind of like the elf trees in Eragon, a sort of slow moving but powerful voice, you could even mold that into a defense in that it could attack intruders directly or stir up the animal population into a frenzy
     
  6. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    I like that idea! I don't know if you've ever read Beachworld by Stephen King, but that makes me think of the sentient sand. I think I might just have to incorporate this into my story. And as for frenzy of animals, I've already got dilophosaurus-like things waiting to be written. Pretty much this planet is going to have tons of fucked-up life-forms that it sends out in swarms at my gunslinging smuggler. Thanks a lot
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It reminds me of Makkathran from "The Void Trilgy" by Peter Hamilton. And also the Void itself.
    If you haven't read it, you should.
     
  8. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation. I'll try to get around to it eventually, but my reading list just keeps growing and growing . . .
     
  9. GazingAbyss
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    GazingAbyss Member

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    You could also go the opposite route from living planet and have them find an outpost of a defunct civilization so advanced they created a massive supercomputer the size of a planet. Since it's been abandoned, it's been disguised by the thick layer of their equivalent of plant life that's grown so that it looks totally natural.

    Then you also have the option of the civilization coming back to use their computer for whatever its intended purpose is.
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're welcome :) I know how it feels though, you have to pick and choose what you read. But those books are very entertaining, but they are long.
     
  11. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    From a comedy angle, 2000AD used to have a strip called ACE Trucking, in one of the story arcs they had a race called the Bampots (IIRC)who were basically large heads with arms and legs. They did a dance to reproduce and formed fully grown and developed "young". They were having problems because one of the planets they settled on was sentient and didn't like them being there, despite its best efforts to get rid of them they just reproduced way too fast.
    Eventually the planet just had to accept them and learn to live with it!
     
  12. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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  13. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    A sentient planet... Avatar? :D

    Personally, I would go with a subtle approach... Don't make the planet so much alive that it deters from the story immediately. Rather, allow the planet to control/communicate through various planet-like things (trees that can move and become obstacles, rapidly changing weather patterns, animals occassionaly doing things uncharacteristic to their species, etc... Make these odd occurences at first then slowly introduce the planets sentience. Hope my suggestion made sense and best of luck to you! :)
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    Sentient doesn't tell us what else the planet is capable of doing. Think of a sentient tree, can it move? Sentient tells us there is some ability to detect stimuli and process it. That's half the equation. What within the planet does the nerve center control?
     

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