Two Eyes?  Really?

  A Neti, Tree Species

 So just a thought on alien species.  What do you think they would look like?  Science fiction writers have always been great about pointing out how their thinking and values might seem strange or even backward to ours.  Of the masters, Clarke had the most amazing ideas on perspectives and appearance.  Childhood’s End had a race that looked like devils, and the Rama series had some nifty descriptions.  I especially enjoyed the creatures with three eyes, three arms, and three legs.

But it makes me wonder, could an intelligent being work with three eyes?  Spiders operate with multiple eyes.  What would have happened if they’d become the dominant species on the planet?  How about bats.  For all intents and purposes they can’t see.  What would things have been like if they had been forced to adapt or die?  How about if a species didn’t have eyes the way we would understand them?  Something that registered heat, radioactivity, or elements?

Is two or four legs a necessity.  Four gives greater speed but reduced mobility.  Would six legs have its own advantages?  Does it need to be a multiple of two.  Are fingers necessary for the development of higher functioning?  Our technology couldn’t be worked by hoofs or tentacles, but could a race develop technology that could be?  Gears, dials, buttons – all larger for less sophisticated digits?  Could they ever work with miniaturized technology?  Or would their deficiency force them to develop intelligent robots to do it for them?

 A Lyran

 I’ve often wondered about skin colors.  Would our race have a different color on a planet other than brown, black, pale, and yellow?  Different sun, different radiation, different chemical compounds in the air?  In time would develop more efficient lungs for a low oxygen planet, more efficient muscles for a higher gravity?

Would a sentient life form have different sense organs than us?  Maybe a species living in space could have an organ to detect gravity?  Or time in a way foreign to us?  I wonder if there is any evolutionary reason why a species might develop microscopic or x-ray vision.

Must all life forms be aware of at least four dimensions?  Would it be seriously neat if one was aware of more than four?  I keep coming back to the wormhole beings in Deep Space Nine.  I wonder if something like living without linear time is even possible.

That brings up another question.  Does life need to have a tactile form?  Does it need to be a solid, liquid, or gas?  I know science fiction is filled with creatures of light, but really?  I find it hard to believe that a gas could be intelligent.

Just a thought.  Have any?

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
This entry was posted in Comic book heroes, Frank Herbert, George Lucas, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sci Fi/Fantasy, Science Fiction, Stan Lee, Star Trek, Star Wars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Two Eyes?  Really?

  1. Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game, et al) had a lot to say about this. Insects as a dominant species … like ants with a group mind. I can imagine all kinds of variants of intelligent life, but all of them resemble something on earth. What’s inpossible for me is to picture something utterly different than anything on earth.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      I have the same problem. I also have a problem grasping a species that would live in high gravity, low gravity, different atmospheric densities, in space, in a black hole. With the wide range of possibilities we have on this planet I have to accept that it is all possible, but …
      One of my key characters is a creature from a black hole. I have no idea how to portray her.

      • Good luck with that! I would have no idea where to begin. How do you envision something utterly alien? Not like any existing earth creature?

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        And working from her perspective, how do you explain her outlook on life? It has been a challenge I have been pondering for a long while now.

      • I can see in my mind’s eye all kinds of creatures that perhaps combine some of the more bizarre forms of earth … but it seems impossible to picture something I’ve never seen, not even as a prototype. For example, a sentient being entirely made of light or minerals or gases … and then to try to give this thing a point of view and reason as we understand it? Not me 🙂

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        Oh there’s no arrogance on my part. There are four basic states of being – gas, liquid, plasma, and solids. I’m not sure if a creature from there wouldn’t be a fifth. How would they see the universe if they had spent their lives in tidal gravity where space-time was extended and possibly warped. How could they interact with us? It is a difficult project, but she is integral to the universe I am building so I will have to make a good guess.

      • Just make it up as you go along. That’s what everyone else does 🙂

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I will, I just want to think the character through before I try to write about her.

      • Thinking first is a good process. Though for me, sometimes just writing, then seeing what falls out of my fingers actually works better.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        My brain isn’t all together yet. EEG on Tuesday, we’ll see if I am at 90% capacity at least.

      • Good luck with that. I’m pretty sure they would discover my head is hollow inside.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I’m actually concerned. My nose only started working, sporadically, a year ago. My finger tips have never had a sense of touch that I can remember. And then there’s that wicked top vertebra that was dislocated and floating for decades.

      • I’m sure you are and so would I be. I have been in your shoes a whole bunch of times. But worrying about it does not change the outcome. It just wears you down. Whatever is, is. No amount of worry will alter it one way or the other. I’m not going to say something mindlessly comforting because I know nothing about what’s going on with you, but I do know about worry.

        Life is a long series of bumps, jolts, potholes, and trolls hanging out under the bridge waiting to eat you. We have no control over any of them. Try to not make yourself crazy until and unless you know you have something to get crazy about. Even then, getting crazy doesn’t help. There’s absolutely NOTHING to be gained by fretting.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        You are right. It will change nothing, except of course I will know. I would like to know.

      • Meanwhile, until you have information, don’t waste your energy worrying. Write about aliens.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        They are more entertaining anyway!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s