1. elfdragonlord
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    elfdragonlord Member

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    Extra-terrestrial evolution - a new approach to my writing

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by elfdragonlord, May 5, 2007.

    I haven't been on this forum for ages.

    Tbh I got a bit fed up with creative writing for a while. Becoming an atheist made me wonder why I need to write - it's not like I feel a need to preach any particular message anymore.

    But I still have the writing urge and now that I've returned to the idea of writing I can see how freeing it is that I'm not writing because I have a perspective to share with the world - but just for the sheer joy of writing.

    So I've scrapped everything and decided to start world-building from scratch. No agenda, just building a Universe to set stories in - and see where it takes me.

    I think it's better to create first and tell later, rather than preach first and create a world around the message.

    I've recently been reading about zoology and so I've decided to start imagining how life might evolve differently on different planets. Quite exciting. The most interesting planet I've invented has echinoderms (starfish and sea urchins) developing into mammal-like creatures (only invertebrate and penta-radial). An intelligent life-form developing that has five limbs and no head seems quite excitingly bizarre.

    I wonder if there is any information anywhere about what kinds of life might evolve on different planets...
     
  2. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Check out this site. Just found it so I can't say much about it other than it looks interesting. http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/siliconlife.html

    Most other good xenobiology information is found in scientific journals, that cost a lot of money, so you'll probably have to rely on science fiction and things you can find online, unless you want to spend several hundred dollars.
    Good luck.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm sure you can find plenty of it with some creative googling...
     
  4. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Most definitely.
    But it will take quite a bit of creativity to find more than the occasional snippet, unless you want to read up on already done fictional ecosystems, and rantings of people who think they visited them in their dreams.
    I've tried on a few occasions, it can get very depressing.:)
     
  5. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    In David Gerrold's Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, he suggests using terrestrial life as a basis for whatever you create. I've seen other sci-fi writers recommend using oddball species and their habits - cuckoos that knock other birds' chicks out of the next, the "frog with nasty habits" that became the basis for the grendels in Legacy of Heorot, marsupials - as a way to take a fantastic creature and give it a realistic background.

    I'd argue against making those echinoderms into mammals. Mammals become pregnant, nurse their young, have hair, and create their own body heat. However, a smart echinoderm is entirely possible - perhaps they have a highly protected node of nerves that they use to 'think' and additional nodes in their limbs which they can use as 'backup' brains if they become injured in the main node. They'd think far more slowly in cold water; at the surface or near underwater heat vents such as those found near volcanoes, where the water is warmer, they might think more quickly . . .

    Ah well. Just my two cents. Have fun with it, Elf-Dragon-Lord. And remember: atheists may not have a message to spread about God, but they sure as heck have messages to spread about being good people, doing right, facing one's fears, not being afraid to explore, et cetera. My advice to you would be to keep writing; your world sounds interesting thus far.
     
  6. elfdragonlord
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    elfdragonlord Member

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    Wow! Thanks people. That link about silicon based life does look interesting.

    Heinlein fan - thanks a lot for your input it was much appreciated.

    btw - my echinoderms aren't mammals as such. They don't nurse their young with milk, they don't have body heat and they don't have a bony skeleton.

    What I thought was interesting though is what if they develop so that they can live on land? What if the water canal becomes the respiratory system? What if their spiny skin becomes fur? What if they develop brains and eyes?

    What I find interesting is the idea of having highly evolved land-living animals that have penta-radial symmetry instead of bi-lateral symmetry. Imagine a creature swinging through the trees with its five tentacles yet it is furry and there is a single eye in the centre of it's body accompanying its hungry mouth. Or maybe a ring of eyes. I'm still toying with the concept...
     
  7. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    The Discovery channel in North America, had two shows that might interest you. One was about what an alien planet might look like. It use a lot of CG and came up with an entire ecosystem. It also had scientists talking about the science behind it all.
    The other one was what the Earth might look like in several hundred million years, if humans left and never returned. It focused on three eras at vastly different times. And in one of them it had giant squid like animals that wandered around on land.

    I'm trying to remember what they were called. If I find it I'll send you a link. But if you have the time you could probably find it on the Discovery homepage.

    Edit: Just found them. This is where you order them, but it will give you the name, and you can see if there might be videos or something for free on the net.
    Alien Planet: http://shopping.discovery.com/product-58212.html
    The Future Is Wild: http://shopping.discovery.com/product-54934.html?rel_productId=58212
     
  8. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I just found out that Alien Planet and The Future is Wild can be found on Youtube.
    And heres a program from National Geographic that seems to go into more details about two possible alien eco-systems. But I can't find any videos except for a few seconds on their site, so you'll have to do quite a lot of searching if you want to use it. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/extraterrestrial/index.html
     

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