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?
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?