[personal profile] polydad
I'm trying to write an SF short, and need to compromise more between 'Aliens Are Weird' and the famed Star Trek error of making all aliens be humans with corrugated foreheads.

Context is a young human having relationship problems making some friends at an intergalactic dance club and sharing those problems with them. They are friendly and want to help, but the swarm intelligence grows by concatenation of more insect-like elements, and trying to explain the emotional consequences of sexual reproduction are a lost cause, there. And to the octopoid, sex is exciting, but fatal.

Hmm, writing to yez is helping generate ideas. I'm imagining a species with two sexes and two body forms, and relationships can occur between different-sexed or same-sexed members of either form, and they have different concepts for male-hard/female-soft, female-hard/male-soft, female-hard/female-soft, and male-hard/male-soft relationships. Whether you're male or female can change at each molt (you can *influence*, but not *control*, your possible gender change) but you're hard or soft for life. Parents can produce offspring of same or different hardness, and there are substantial cultural mythos about the problems of soft parents raising hard kids, and so on.

Ah, detail develops. They live near a galactic core, and hard people are much more radiation resistant, where softfolk are much better at negotiating the cave and tunnel networks they live in. The couple that our human meets are female-hard/male-soft, causing the first of several mild confusions as the hards are spiky and aggressive-looking, where softs look somewhat like lumpfish.

What are the effects re evolution with being civilized for a *long* time? We grew boobs as a way of differentiating females from males at spear-throwing ranges, and that's only in a few hundred thousand years.

More soon, I hope.

Date: 2017-04-17 03:17 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
let's see, there should be 16 possible combos:

Lets use m & f for male & female and h & s for hard & soft, that gives a 4x4 array.
(too lazy to code it up as a proper table)

| m-h | f-h | m-s | f-s
m-h | | | |
f-h | | | |
m-s | | | |
f-s | | | |

Argh. Never mind...

Date: 2017-04-20 02:34 pm (UTC)
maize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maize
I'm facing some similar challenges in an RPG that I'm running. The party has stumbled upon a crashed alien spacecraft. The party consists of humans at about a medieval tech level, but who are aware that space and aliens exist. Describing modern technology in the abstract to humans at that tech level, especially in text-only, renders most things unrecognizable to begin with. How "alien" do I make it from there? If it's too alien, they'll never be able to form any comprehension of what it might be and how to interact with it. If it's too recognizable then it doesn't feel interestingly alien.



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