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Thread: How about the most innovative alien life-form in sci-fi?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Originally Posted by Jim
    Well, the Moties have been mentioned. How about the Pak?

    Over here.
    Oops. Still a good one, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Originally Posted by Ilya
    Why? Is it so difficult to write about creative and ingenious aliens?

    Unless you make them think just like humans, I think it is, because the author would have to try to figure out what it's like to think creatively using an alien thought process.
    CJ Cherryh does a good job of it. How about the Shonunin from Cuckoo's Egg?
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    CJ Cherryh does a good job of it. How about the Shonunin from Cuckoo's Egg?

    Haven't read that one yet. Yes, it's difficult, but not impossible.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by stutefish View Post
    Larry Niven is one of those authors that goes a long way towards presenting aliens that are much less human-like, and much more inscrutable. One problem with creating truly inhuman characters, though, is that it's hard to tell a story that your (human) readers can relate to, if the characters in it are truly unlike anything we know.
    I would nominate a lot Niven's Know Universe aliens, such as the Puppeteers for innovative, well thought out non-humans, but ones that you can truely start to understand.

    Another one, the Flouwen, from Robert Forward's Rocheworld books.
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  4. #34
    Why? Is it so difficult to write about creative and ingenious aliens?
    I guess there are two reasons. One, it appears to be difficult to write about creative and ingenious humans, and two, the protagonist is usually human and it's the protagonist who gets to be innovative and creative. Even when the aliens are well thought out this often only provides background to the story.

  5. #35
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    Particularly innovative are Greg Egan's Wang's Carpets; a seafloor-dwelling colonial organism, a bit like a mobile coral, which contains a whole virtual world coded in the patterns it forms as it grows.

    I also like the Tines, from A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge; packs of rat-like dogs which form a colonial mind by communicatiing hypersonically. Vinge explores the Tine's mindset quite efficiently.

  6. #36
    I also like the Tines, from A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge; packs of rat-like dogs which form a colonial mind by communicatiing hypersonically. Vinge explores the Tine's mindset quite efficiently.
    Now that was interesting. I also loved the in jokes about Stalin and B.F. Skinner.

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