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Mankind Vs Humanoid Aliens

  1. Mankind

    37.5%
  2. Humanoid Aliens

    62.5%
  1. Xathule
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    Xathule New Member

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    Inhabitants of a galaxy

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Xathule, Aug 31, 2016.

    I have a thought for a comic series taking place in a galaxy, although I have run into a wall when it comes to filling the galaxy with life, A part of me wants to run purely human,, and work the angle that we are the only sentient life in the galaxy.
    Although I also am a sucker for bizarre character designs leading more in the direction of humanoid aliens Ala Legend of Zelda style.

    Really i'm just looking for any tips or advice on how others would populate a world or if just humans could work.
     
  2. Domino355
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    Domino355 Contributing Member

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    The problem in my point of view isn't whether to have the inhabitats human or aliens (plenty of species instead of just one makes more sense. You can blend both ideas by making all the alien species different evolutions of mankind, as a result of humans spreading across the galaxy)
    The problem you will need to tackle in my opinion is the lack of diversity in alot of sci-fi and fantasy stories. Star wars is a great example for that, there is the desert planet, the forest palnet, planets populated by one nation ect. In reality, Earths geography is more diverse and different that all of Star Wars worlds combined. Another problem is the "all dwarfs dig holes" cliche. Basically, having an entire race behave the same, believe the same and have the same culture. I mean, you don't even have nations you can say that about.
    What I'm saying is, that in my opinion, it doesn't really matter, as long as the reader feels the complexity of the galaxy. Think Earth, and multiply it by a thousand. Of course you don't need to know all the creatures and climates in all the planets, definately not to write it down. But the reader has to feel he is in a far bigger world than his own.
     
  3. Xathule
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    Xathule New Member

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    That is something I hadn't really thought of, but I do agree that things such as star wars feel flat but I could not put my finger on it, I feel that has not answered the question I asked but the larger question I didn't know existed. XD
    Thanks for the help.
     
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  4. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    What about non-humanoid aliens? Intelligent whales, swarm minds, dirigible entities that live in gas giants? To me, "intelligent humanoids" just says "rubber forehead prosthetics" like in Star Trek. They had an explanation for that (panspermia), but I get much more interested when there are things out there that are really different.
     
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  5. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    What about non-humanoid aliens? Intelligent whales, swarm minds, dirigible entities that live in gas giants? To me, "intelligent humanoids" just says "rubber forehead prosthetics" like in Star Trek. They had an explanation for that (panspermia), but I get much more interested when there are things out there that are really different.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I was going to suggest wacky non-humanoid aliens but @Iain Aschendale already got there.

    Have you played Mass Effect? I always thought the hanar were the coolest alien race from those games, followed by the elcor, just because they were odd and different from the run-of-the-mill "humanoids with digitigrade legs and weird faces".
     
  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Xathule I think taking the 'Dune approach' is to err on the side of safe and slightly non-creative. Warhammer 40k has an extensive and vast galaxy filled with all types of alien, and supernatural life beside it focusing mainly on the Imperium of Man. Even my own Sci-Fi has alien creatures, and plenty of variety depending on what it is I am writing, but in my duology there are a fair amount of interesting beings that show up at one point. :p

    I will throw you a bone as they say. Carbon and Silicon based lifeforms could exist in a multitude of different physical forms beyond the purely human that we have in abundance (like Dune and the Foundation Series). While it may be safe and comfortable to just make a similar galaxy/universe as is the case with Dune and The Foundation, it is far more interesting to create a few ( say 3-4) species/races on top of the Human for inhabiting your galaxy.

    If you should ever need some ideas for creating other races/species beyond Humans, let me know. I can cook up all sorts of creatures with diverse histories, all the way from religion to porn. As well a concept art if I can. :p Good luck.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ Filling the galaxy with life shouldn't concentrate only on sentient life.

    2/ Now, what is sentient...

    Yes, I hate the forehead prosthetics that Star Trek uses, but they've got a budget and a production schedule. You, the author, aren't constrained by having a human actor wear your alien's costume. And you can have plenty of weird aliens; but try to make sure there's a likely evolutionary path to their weirdness. One thing I could never get my head around was the Trill in Deep Space Nine; how did the simbiont evolve so that it could only survive in a Trill host? Why did the Trill suddenly say, "Oh, let's stick this thing inside us and see if it makes us more intelligent.", when half of the plotlines revolve around regaining control after your body's been taken over by an alien? That's the best argument for Intelligent Design I've ever heard!
     
  9. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which actually says something interesting about humanity:

    1) Every single "Planet of Hats" that you see in Sci-Fi/Fantasy ("Vulcans' Hat is that they are logical" "Klingons's Hat is that they are warriors" "Orcs Hat is that they are barbarians" "Elves' Hat is that they are hippies") was invented by a human.

    2) Most of the problems in the real world are based on people stereotyping each other in exactly the same way: "Gays are pedophiles" "Blacks are thugs" "Women are bossy" "Poor people are lazy" "Muslims are terrorists" "Jews are greedy" "Mexicans are rapists"

    Our Hat is that we believe Hats to be more important than they really are.
     
  10. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    fantasy is particularly bad for the stereotyping .. trolls and giants are stupid, dwarves live in holes and are obsessed with gold, elves are at one with the forest and so forth (and thats witout getting on to the simple beggar girl who turns out to be a princess , of the muscluar warrior hero who is an expert swordsman , or the kindly white wizard.

    IMO every fantasy writer should have a bit of tape stuck to their shaving/make up mirror that says "you are not Tolkein or Pratchett" . I don't generally write fantasy but if i did i'd have to have an elves who were bent on destroying the natural environment, or a highly litterate troll , or a beggar girl who is nothing more than she seems.

    Scifi is the same principal FFS write something different
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @big soft moose I wrote a short that is in the writing prompts somewhere, that flips the alien abducting human thing the other way around. :p
     
  12. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    The idea that mankind ultimately alone in the universe is both under explored in fiction, and really quite terrifying. The idea that, amongst the trillions of stars and quadrillion of planets that there's nothing else out there. That we made it through the gauntlet of our self destructive tendencies to find out there's nothing beyond it.
     
  13. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. That is horrifying.

    Except that it wouldn't last long ;)

    If humanity starts out as the only intelligent species colonizing planets, then given a couple million years our descendants won't be a single species anymore :D
     
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  14. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then the self destructive tendencies get a little less self, and a lot more destructive. No point not nuking land you can't inhabit that others can.
     
  15. Xathule
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    Xathule New Member

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    That's why I like the concept, working more with alien beasts and even creatures living within the void of space. When you watch things like Independence day humans always win by being creative, but I like the idea that there things out there that with simple instinct.
     
  16. Xathule
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    Xathule New Member

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    This is my first time posting on this site and have been to other sites with questions in the past, I've never had this much of a response. XD
     
  17. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Realistically, most galactic life will probably end up being intelligent machines. In the long term evolution of the universe, it's probably inevitable. Lifeforms died out easily, but machines are immortal. Even if an entire civilization only creates one immortal space-faring AI before it's destroyed, the size and duration of the universe would quickly become populated. As to whether humans are an early starter or that machine world is already going beyond our perception is unknown. Either way, I find the odds of other upright beings like us to be quite low, there is no reason that intelligent creatures must walk upright that we can determine. There is only the circumstantial evidence that the only creature we know of at that level (us) happens to be the only one we know of that walks up right. It's likely that our brain evolved while our hands were busy making tools, but that's based on the pre-existing configuration of four limbs, which evolved in the sea.
     
  18. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, some evolutionary biologist believe that alien life might look more like us than we imagine, specifically because it is the most adaptable species that thrives. If a something wants to build, it needs to be able to manipulate objects, and often multiple objects. That means that it needs to grab onto things, and, when it comes to that, you can't beat hands. The reason our brains are more developed than other creatures is because we needed to be able to adapt, to be able to use said tools.
     
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  19. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I'm aware of the fact that any intelligence civilizing species must have something that resembles hands. Hands are a late evolutionary adaption, go back further. There is no reason that an intelligent species has to evolve from a four finned fish. Six legs is perfectly fine, so is eight. Those stay small on Earth because of how their cardiovascular system works. Wings also work very nicely.

    Our body plan is efficient though. It's also entirely possible that almost all space-faring creatures look like us. With a sample size of one and the diversity of other life on this planet, there is no way to even hypothesize.

    Size would likely be based purely on the amount of sunlight the planet gets and the chemistry of the atmosphere. Lots of energy available always translates to larger animals. Keep in mind that small animals will exist too and can be equally likely to become intelligent. The size of the brain matters, but not as much as configuration. Crows are just as cognitive as whales despite having a minute brain.
     
  20. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    @newjerseyrunner Many macaws have the intellegence of a five year old which is something I find facinating. Birds such as crows and other corvids are also intellegent as you say, solving problems that some young humans couldn't solve which opens up another possibility.
    An alien species evolved from the class Aves would have a brilliant head start on flight (and then space). Their light bones, flight capablities, maniuplation with claws rather than hands, intellegence and adaptabilty would be brilliant for being a success in general as a species.

    Edit: Can I just say I love Astro-biology? It gets everything I love into one place- animals, evolution, space and fantasy. Love this question.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  21. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Human problems and cultural differences provide enough room for drama and interpretation without having to refer to blue headed space amazons.
     
  22. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Then again the Empress in my novels sequel is considered to be quite attractive despite being a silicon based being, that just so happens to be a deep shade of blue with midnight black eyes. Although the male persuasion of her subjects are no joke when it comes to kicking some serious ass. And I mean that literally, cause one does take kindly to a Terran allies joke about his panties being in a bunch. And the quote of the quad armed being in reply is thus:

    “Not that is any of your concern the nature of my under garb, but they are not in a ‘bunch’”

    So don't underestimate an aliens ability to add a bit of humor in the fact that they do not always understand things. And comedy is always a good way to fall in love with those that do not have the grasp of what another is saying. :p
     
  23. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Be careful of silicon based life, it has some limitations that carbon based life doesn't. For example, the silicon atoms must be separated by on oxygen atom, or not use water as it's mixing compound. S-S bonds break apart easily in water. They'll also be more sensitive to heat and radiation, silicon has a hard time forming double bonds like carbon does, so its molecules are more unstable. Silicon based life is usually theorized about in very very cold environments, using something like nitrogen to perform the function of water in our bodies. Their metabolism would be glacial. I've never considered intelligent silicon based life before, at least not at this stage of the universe.

    Personally, I'd avoid any major details like that. Those of us who understand how atoms work are few and far between. I try to always come up with a background for my alien individuals and species, but I have no problem with hand-waving at things only people with advanced degrees would even notice.
     
  24. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Will you BETA my WIP?
     
  25. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Sure, but I'm not sure how useful I'll be: I'm not much of a writer yet :( I could certainly advise you on the science though.
     

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