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(io9)   What's the most believable alien in science fiction? Nerd fight, to the right   (io9.com) divider line 132
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5110 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jul 2013 at 8:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-27 12:18:15 PM
Uncle Tractor:

Plants are not symmetric. Just saying.

Actually plants display both radial (flowers, trunks) and bilateral (flat leaves) symmetry. Its just more complex and often combined.
 
2013-07-27 12:26:09 PM
i290.photobucket.com

Elephants ... in ... SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE
 
2013-07-27 12:34:23 PM
The space virus/bacteria from the Andromeda Strain.
 
2013-07-27 12:34:42 PM
We have no comparison, so most of them are just as believable as each other.
 
2013-07-27 12:46:20 PM
oldstersview.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-07-27 12:47:41 PM

FuturePastNow: Probably the Zerg.


In the grim darkness of the far future there is only ...plagiarism
 
2013-07-27 01:03:38 PM
encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com
 
2013-07-27 01:17:19 PM
www.morethings.com
 
2013-07-27 01:28:28 PM

Roller Bob: Super intelligent shade of the color blue.


I believe you mean "colour"...
 
2013-07-27 01:30:11 PM
images2.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2013-07-27 01:43:49 PM
images4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2013-07-27 01:47:24 PM
Klaatu
 
2013-07-27 01:47:26 PM
biffbampop.files.wordpress.com
/Because you know they're not coming here to spread peace, joy and cures for cancer any more than Cristoforo Colombo showed up to teach the Caribs state-of-the-art 15th century metallurgy.
 
2013-07-27 01:48:37 PM
2.bp.blogspot.com
(the one on the left)
 
2013-07-27 02:05:11 PM

hubiestubert: Niven did more than a decent job with his aliens. The Kzin, Puppeteers, the Outsiders--helium based intelligences with motives beyond the ken of life based on far warmer climes--and the Thrint and Tnuctipun and even came up with a good reason for so much of his aliens being based on similar chemistry, and the Bandersnatch.

The Moties, from his collaboration with Jerry Pournelle were impressive in not just their physical alien nature, but likewise an entirely different psychology. Niven doesn't postulate just alien critters, but what might drive these lifeforms.


I like the Puppeteers. The fact that their brains are not near their sensory organs and are well protected in the hump makes sense. And the various Moties seem to be derived from a former, base species and are the only animals left on a planet that experiences frequent global wars.
 
2013-07-27 02:06:07 PM
Believable ... because of their incredible acting.

images4.wikia.nocookie.net

1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-07-27 02:07:55 PM
I always thought that the Keks from Diane Duane's Wizard's Holiday were fairly believable.  The Demisiv, as well, especially if you read the short story that deals with their reproductive methods.  She makes a case for how mobile, sentient plantlife could evolve and it makes sense.  The Mesklinites from Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement are another plausible race, too.  In terms of humanoid ones....the Johrlac from Seanan McGuire's InCryptid books.  The biology is well thought-out, and it makes sense as to why they evolved to be humanoid after long contact with humans - they're stealth hunters, and need to blend in.
 
2013-07-27 02:22:01 PM

spankymacfarland2001: Actually plants display both radial (flowers, trunks) and bilateral (flat leaves) symmetry. Its just more complex and often combined.


...But the plant as a whole is not symmetric (unless we're talking some kind of fractal symmetry).
 
2013-07-27 02:33:55 PM

SpdrJay: Mork


4.bp.blogspot.com

/so much cocaine
 
2013-07-27 02:43:27 PM
cf.drafthouse.com
 
2013-07-27 02:54:07 PM
Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:

Xindi Aquatic (and any other aquatic race)
"God" from Star Trek V
Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)
the Space Dinosaurs from that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager
Kazon (L.A. Gangs in space, even with their back story of having stolen all their tech from the Trabe still isn't possible on a long term scale since they'd have no knowledge for repairs, or ability to refuel or rearm weapons)
Ocampa (females only have one child, and they mate with one person for life.  So barring any untimely accidents and if the population is perfectly 50% female and no homosexuality, each generation is 50% less than the previous generation.  Not to mention that 9 year life span thing).
Those bird people from the Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto" (A bird race that evolves to be mammalian who's only trace of avian roots are pointless feathers on the head.  Yes, I know at this point I've done a good job of trashing early Voyager).
Any race, ANY race from any science fiction series where the female isn't a mammal but has tits.
The race from Enterprise where the female got Trip pregnant.  Aliens can't get a gender that can't get pregnant pregnant.  Also, why would the female have tits when it was Trip who was growing nipples?
Xenomorph.  They are a silicon based life form who reproduces by getting the other races to reproduce.  Ignoring that stomach acid would destroy the egg, carbon based life forms can't support the growth of a silicon based life form.
Races with covered up mouths, stupid looking bumpy foreheads or silly noses (Cardassian, Klingon, Bajorians, plenty of Trek aliens of the week)
Crystaline Entity (a space born creature that evolves to travel space to eat planets, WTF?)
The Voyager alien race in the episode 'Cathexis' where they where an energy race living in a nebula that ate living neural energy (Look, why would an alien race evolve to eat a food that is not near where it evolves?).
Xindi Insectoid (too many limbs for an intelligent species.  More limbs means more brain power would be devoted to limb movement)


So, what would a more realistic alien look like?  Humanoid would pretty much be the way to go.  Warm blooded (sorry reptilians), dry environment (needed for technology), nothing that is there to look alien (forehead ridges for example), intelligent with fingers for tool manipulation.  So pretty much any sci-fi alien that looks human, including those with funny ears and different skin colors along with a language both verbal and written.  So:
Vulcans/Romulans
Orions
cat people
wookies
ewoks
Breen (Breen are great because they even look like they evolved on a planet that isn't quite as warm as Earth is, showing that you don't need to evolve in an Earth like atmosphere.  Though Weyoun did point out that the Breen homeworld was tropical not arctic.  Possible that he was lying since the Federation though they were from a frozen homeworld and you'd think the Federation would have at least sent a probe out that way at some point.  Still, another source did explain that Breen wasn't a race, but more of a collective like the Federation and that it was four other races all wearing those suits, one race was from a cold planet, another was dog like (hence the muzzle like snout on the helmet) and the Federation, Klingons and others just assumed since the all wore the same suit it was just one race, so maybe they identified the wrong planet as the homeworld meaning that it's possible the Dominion did the same thing).
I would even say the Ferengi would be possible until you figure in that their planet is very muddy and constantly rains, making technology growth slow (again, you would need a dry environment).
Borg and Cybermen (a collective race that abandons organics for machine in order to survive and ends up losing the ability for sexual reproduction so it forces members of compatible alien races to join to keep the cyborg race going is a possible end point for one race and birth of a new race).
Thals and Kaleds.

Not mentioned are races that are created in labs, like the Vorta, Jem'Hadar, Dalek, clone troopers, Sontarans since they aren't natural evolutions.

Extreme end of the evolutionary end that is possible not to ever come into being:
Q
TimeLord

Freaking impossible:
any energy being race even if they started out human like an transcended to energy.  As for why Q is more possible, it was pretty much hinted at in Voyager that Q was a race that evolved both organically and technologically to the point that they appear god like with them being on the extreme end of evolution and technology which would explain their powers, their immortality and why they stopped talking and having sex.  Once you're immortal why sexually reproduce since it's purpose is to keep the species going?
 
2013-07-27 02:54:16 PM
A super-intelligent shade of the colour blue
 
2013-07-27 03:13:42 PM

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Uncle Bester: Asimov's extra dimensional aliens that had 3 distinct sexes until maturity.
From a very unique first contact short story that I can't remember the name of.

If I read you right, that would be Asimov's novel "Whom Gods Destroy".


Actually it's entitled "The Gods Themselves" It won both the Hugo and the Nebula in 1972.
 
2013-07-27 03:40:26 PM

Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:

Xindi Aquatic (and any other aquatic race)
"God" from Star Trek V
Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)
the Space Dinosaurs from that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager
Kazon (L.A. Gangs in space, even with their back story of having stolen all their tech from the Trabe still isn't possible on a long term scale since they'd have no knowledge for repairs, or ability to refuel or rearm weapons)
Ocampa (females only have one child, and they mate with one person for life.  So barring any untimely accidents and if the population is perfectly 50% female and no homosexuality, each generation is 50% less than the previous generation.  Not to mention that 9 year life span thing).
Those bird people from the Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto" (A bird race that evolves to be mammalian who's only trace of avian roots are pointless feathers on the head.  Yes, I know at this point I've done a good job of trashing early Voyager).
Any race, ANY race from any science fiction series where the female isn't a mammal but has tits.
The race from Enterprise where the female got Trip pregnant.  Aliens can't get a gender that can't get pregnant pregnant.  Also, why would the female have tits when it was Trip who was growing nipples?
Xenomorph.  They are a silicon based life form who reproduces by getting the other races to reproduce.  Ignoring that stomach acid would destroy the egg, carbon based life forms can't support the growth of a silicon based life form.
Races with covered up mouths, stupid looking bumpy foreheads or silly noses (Cardassian, Klingon, Bajorians, plenty of Trek aliens of the week)
Crystaline Entity (a space born creature that evolves to travel space to eat planets, WTF?)
The Voyager alien race in the episode 'Cathexis' where they where an energy race living in a nebula that ate living neural energy (Look, why wo ...


Your anti-tit agenda sickens me.
 
2013-07-27 03:54:50 PM

Lochsteppe: Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:

Xindi Aquatic (and any other aquatic race)
"God" from Star Trek V
Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)
the Space Dinosaurs from that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager
Kazon (L.A. Gangs in space, even with their back story of having stolen all their tech from the Trabe still isn't possible on a long term scale since they'd have no knowledge for repairs, or ability to refuel or rearm weapons)
Ocampa (females only have one child, and they mate with one person for life.  So barring any untimely accidents and if the population is perfectly 50% female and no homosexuality, each generation is 50% less than the previous generation.  Not to mention that 9 year life span thing).
Those bird people from the Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto" (A bird race that evolves to be mammalian who's only trace of avian roots are pointless feathers on the head.  Yes, I know at this point I've done a good job of trashing early Voyager).
Any race, ANY race from any science fiction series where the female isn't a mammal but has tits.
The race from Enterprise where the female got Trip pregnant.  Aliens can't get a gender that can't get pregnant pregnant.  Also, why would the female have tits when it was Trip who was growing nipples?
Xenomorph.  They are a silicon based life form who reproduces by getting the other races to reproduce.  Ignoring that stomach acid would destroy the egg, carbon based life forms can't support the growth of a silicon based life form.
Races with covered up mouths, stupid looking bumpy foreheads or silly noses (Cardassian, Klingon, Bajorians, plenty of Trek aliens of the week)
Crystaline Entity (a space born creature that evolves to travel space to eat planets, WTF?)
The Voyager alien race in the episode 'Cathexis' where they where an energy race living in a nebula that ate living neural energ ...


Your anti-tit agenda sickens me.

I'm very pro-tit.  It just doesn't make sense for non-mammals to have mammary glands.
 
2013-07-27 04:05:25 PM

Uncle Tractor: Anything that has no resemblance to anything that ever existed on earth.


I dunno... Let's face it: speed is a pretty positive survival trait, for both predators and prey, and having two pairs of legs, connected with a springy spine, is about the best way to be fast. I suppose, if you found a planet where there were no predators, you might not need that speed, but I wouldn't be surprised if (in the future) we discovered planets evolve four-limbed creatures much more often than we would think.
 
2013-07-27 04:13:18 PM

Great Janitor: Lochsteppe: Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:


Your anti-tit agenda sickens me.

I'm very pro-tit.  It just doesn't make sense for non-mammals to have mammary glands.


Did any of the characters/sources you cited ever say "These are mammary glands"?  No.  Avian/reptilian/amphibian/robotic species are just as entitled as we are to have two sexy, symmetrically-placed lumps on their females' chests. What they're used for is none of our business.  Check your mammalian privilege.

;)
 
2013-07-27 04:19:41 PM

Dadoo: Uncle Tractor: Anything that has no resemblance to anything that ever existed on earth.

I dunno... Let's face it: speed is a pretty positive survival trait, for both predators and prey, and having two pairs of legs, connected with a springy spine, is about the best way to be fast. I suppose, if you found a planet where there were no predators, you might not need that speed, but I wouldn't be surprised if (in the future) we discovered planets evolve four-limbed creatures much more often than we would think.


Well, as I pointed out, four limbs (two arms and two legs) is the optimum since it allows the brain to spend less resources focusing on limb movement.  Look at it here on Earth, there aren't any advanced animals with more than four limbs and a tail.  Your cat or dog is far more advanced than your spider or centipede.  As far as predator or prey goes, any intelligent life we may encounter is going to be an omnivore.  Kind of hard to climb to the top of the evolutionary ladder when your the prey, and herbivores are prey.  I also don't think speed is going to be a requirement.  Look at how slow humans are to other animals, even compared to those that would enjoy a human snack.  We survived due to our large brain being able to outwit faster animals by climbing into trees and using weapons.  Again, we'll see the same in other intelligent alien races.  Now, we could see intelligent amphibians such as Admiral Akbar.
 
2013-07-27 04:22:10 PM

Lochsteppe: Great Janitor: Lochsteppe: Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:

Your anti-tit agenda sickens me.

I'm very pro-tit.  It just doesn't make sense for non-mammals to have mammary glands.

Did any of the characters/sources you cited ever say "These are mammary glands"?  No.  Avian/reptilian/amphibian/robotic species are just as entitled as we are to have two sexy, symmetrically-placed lumps on their females' chests. What they're used for is none of our business.  Check your mammalian privilege.

;)


When it comes to breasts, I don't believe in separate but equal for all.  I believe that only mammals should have breasts.  A cat having six breasts is better than a reptile having two.
 
2013-07-27 04:23:34 PM
I know people have blocked it out, but really? I would have thought there would be one
 
2013-07-27 04:24:10 PM
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-07-27 04:24:50 PM

Piizzadude: I know people have blocked it out, but really? I would have thought there would be one


www.nypost.com

it was there in the preview....
 
2013-07-27 04:44:23 PM
media.tumblr.com

Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.
 
2013-07-27 04:52:35 PM
Great Janitor:Well, as I pointed out, four limbs (two arms and two legs) is the optimum since it allows the brain to spend less resoures focusing on limb movement.  Look at it here on Earth, there aren't any advanced animals with more than four limbs and a tail.  Your cat or dog is far more advanced than your spider or centipede.  As far as predator or prey goes, any intelligent life we may encounter is going to be an omnivore.  Kind of hard to climb to the top of the evolutionary ladder when your the prey, and herbivores are prey.  I also don't think speed is going to be a requirement.  Look at how slow humans are to other animals, even compared to those that would enjoy a human snack.  We survived due to our large brain being able to outwit faster animals by climbing into trees and using weapons.  Again, we'll see the same in other intelligent alien races.  Now, we could see intelligent amphibians such as Admiral Akbar.

Number of legs correlates to "advanced" evolution, but not in the way that you are implying.  It's not that the number of legs imposes significant overhead costs on the brain, but that everything that had 6 legs or more was also paired with a less adaptable, less efficient respiratory system (gas transfer via spiracles).  Once you exceed a certain (and relatively puny) size, the spiracles can't cycle enough oxygen in to keep you alive. Also, the oxygen content of our atmosphere has changed pretty dramatically from the era of giant bugs. It became less and less optimal for giant-sized 6-legged bugs, and they croaked.


So it's very possible that you *might* find species with more than 4 limbs out on other planets, but their ratios of atmospheric gases will have to have been stable and optimal for any 6-legged species (insect, mammalian or otherwise).  And it would help if the ancestors of the alien 6-legged species had a track record of strong, positive evolutionary developments, like an endoskeleton, large lungs, etc.  That's why our large mammals have 4 limbs today--their ancestors did, and extra limb mutations are exceedingly rare.  Shared genetic heritage, not the innate superiority of 4 limbs.
 
2013-07-27 04:53:43 PM

Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:

Xindi Aquatic (and any other aquatic race)
"God" from Star Trek V
Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)
the Space Dinosaurs from that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager
Kazon (L.A. Gangs in space, even with their back story of having stolen all their tech from the Trabe still isn't possible on a long term scale since they'd have no knowledge for repairs, or ability to refuel or rearm weapons)
Ocampa (females only have one child, and they mate with one person for life.  So barring any untimely accidents and if the population is perfectly 50% female and no homosexuality, each generation is 50% less than the previous generation.  Not to mention that 9 year life span thing).
Those bird people from the Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto" (A bird race that evolves to be mammalian who's only trace of avian roots are pointless feathers on the head.  Yes, I know at this point I've done a good job of trashing early Voyager).
Any race, ANY race from any science fiction series where the female isn't a mammal but has tits.
The race from Enterprise where the female got Trip pregnant.  Aliens can't get a gender that can't get pregnant pregnant.  Also, why would the female have tits when it was Trip who was growing nipples?
Xenomorph.  They are a silicon based life form who reproduces by getting the other races to reproduce.  Ignoring that stomach acid would destroy the egg, carbon based life forms can't support the growth of a silicon based life form.
Races with covered up mouths, stupid looking bumpy foreheads or silly noses (Cardassian, Klingon, Bajorians, plenty of Trek aliens of the week)
Crystaline Entity (a space born creature that evolves to travel space to eat planets, WTF?)
The Voyager alien race in the episode 'Cathexis' where they where an energy race living in a nebula that ate living neural energy (Look, why would an alien race evolve to eat a food that is not near where it evolves?).
Xindi Insectoid (too many limbs for an intelligent species.  More limbs means more brain power would be devoted to limb movement)


So, what would a more realistic alien look like?  Humanoid would pretty much be the way to go.  Warm blooded (sorry reptilians), dry environment (needed for technology), nothing that is there to look alien (forehead ridges for example), intelligent with fingers for tool manipulation.  So pretty much any sci-fi alien that looks human, including those with funny ears and different skin colors along with a language both verbal and written.  So:
Vulcans/Romulans
Orions
cat people
wookies
ewoks
Breen (Breen are great because they even look like they evolved on a planet that isn't quite as warm as Earth is, showing that you don't need to evolve in an Earth like atmosphere.  Though Weyoun did point out that the Breen homeworld was tropical not arctic.  Possible that he was lying since the Federation though they were from a frozen homeworld and you'd think the Federation would have at least sent a probe out that way at some point.  Still, another source did explain that Breen wasn't a race, but more of a collective like the Federation and that it was four other races all wearing those suits, one race was from a cold planet, another was dog like (hence the muzzle like snout on the helmet) and the Federation, Klingons and others just assumed since the all wore the same suit it was just one race, so maybe they identified the wrong planet as the homeworld meaning that it's possible the Dominion did the same thing).
I would even say the Ferengi would be possible until you figure in that their planet is very muddy and constantly rains, making technology growth slow (again, you would need a dry environment).
Borg and Cybermen (a collective race that abandons organics for machine in order to survive and ends up losing the ability for sexual reproduction so it forces members of compatible alien races to join to keep the cyborg race going is a possible end point for one race and birth of a new race).
Thals and Kaleds.

Not mentioned are races that are created in labs, like the Vorta, Jem'Hadar, Dalek, clone troopers, Sontarans since they aren't natural evolutions.

Extreme end of the evolutionary end that is possible not to ever come into being:
Q
TimeLord

Freaking impossible:
any energy being race even if they started out human like an transcended to energy.  As for why Q is more possible, it was pretty much hinted at in Voyager that Q was a race that evolved both organically and technologically to the point that they appear god like with them being on the extreme end of evolution and technology which would explain their powers, their immortality and why they stopped talking and having sex.  Once you're immortal why sexually reproduce since it's purpose is to keep the species going?


I'm genuinely curious. Why would life from "wet" climates have trouble creating technology?

For my part I think that, until we learn otherwise, life will follow the patterns we've already seen. So it follows that there could be:

Insectoid
Mammalian
Reptilian
Saurian/Avian
Bacterial
Plants
Fish
Mollusks
Jellyfish
Amphibian
Probably a few more I'm forgetting . . .

We are already absolutely certain life forms of this type exist. Given a different planet with a different set of environmental variables one of them have come out on top of the evolutionary heap. An evolved-tool using race is something else entirely, beyond having opposable digitalia to use for grasping who can say?
 
2013-07-27 04:54:01 PM
Thread fails without:

static.tvtropes.org
 
2013-07-27 04:57:44 PM

Tommy Moo: Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.


As long as it has an emerrrrrgency induction porrrt (*hic!*)
 
2013-07-27 05:04:42 PM
Assuming supersymmetry is a valid model of the universe and supersymmetric partners of fundamental particles exist, probably the most alien aliens are the "photino birds" of the Xeelee Sequence books (which are lifeforms made of leptino-based "dark matter" who are attempting to xenoform their habitats--the gravity wells of stars--to make them not susceptible to destruction by supernovae; alas, this also tends to be fatal to the possibility of baryonic life like, oh, pretty much everything based on protons and electrons and hadrons and leptons in general).

If we don't go into bionta based on supersymmetric partners, probably my favourite (and a good candidate for "most alien aliens ever depicted that one might run into in space") would be pretty much all of the methanopulmonic (methane-breathing) species in the Chanur Saga books.  About the only ones the oxypulmonics can really talk to in a sense are the t'ca, which are basically methane-breathing worm-like things that apparently have pentaradial symmetry (up to and including having five brain-analogues connected in a ring--like a biological Beowulf cluster) and who speak entirely in matrices of five (via harmonics, and yes, all the words in a "word matrix" can be read as sentences going forward, backward, up, down, and diagonally--and all the readings are equally valid); because of the unique way t'ca talk, translator computers of a sort are needed to render T'ca Matrix Talk to something folks with one non-networked brain can understand :D  (Oh, and they also tend to give birth whilst stressed.  The books do not go into t'ca sex or if t'ca (or any of the other methanopulmonics) even have analogues to gender; for all we know, t'ca could reproduce by budding when stressed.)  The chii tend to hang out with the t'ca, resemble a mess of sticks in constant motion, and nobody is sure if they are a client race or pets of the t'ca (they're apparently so alien that if they're sentient only the t'ca can talk with them); the k'nnn (one of my favourite alien races depicted, hands down) resemble giant dust bunnies/hairballs with spidery legs, have the most advanced tech among the races in the trade compact they're in...and are so damn alien that only the t'ca can talk with them in any sense (and apparently it is EXTREMELY rudimentary at that), did not understand the concept of trade when first discovered (when k'nnn ships would raid other ships and take what they wanted) and still do not entirely understand the whole "trade" concept (the most they've gotten it down is "we take what we want off your ship and we'll leave random old crap behind that we don't want"; fortunately for the k'nnn, their "crap" is pretty awesome according to the other races)...and have long, long, epic whalesong-esque songs they sing whilst in transit that could be epic ballads or could just be navigational instructions for all anyone knows.

If methanopulmonic races aren't considered likely...Puppeteers and Moties tend to be among my favourites for "races you can have a conversation with", and I'm also unreasonably fond of Nemo Ramjet's "Snaiad" speculative xenoevolution art series (basically he's created an entire world of non-namegiving species with a very different base than chordate-analogues--he's also enough of a biologist he can manage to make something plausible...and some of what he's come up with is wonderfully weird :D).

(I'll also admit to one of my favourite alien races in popular art being the Orz in the Star Control series.  Their/its actual nature is interesting as hell to me, but for those who haven't played the series...I'd rather not spoil the surprise too much.  Suffice it to say that they start out amusing (thanks to a translator machine that must be trying to work with the local equivalent of K'nnn) and turn out downright Lovecraftian...that said, I'm not so sure they're plausible alien aliens without, well, some particular assumptions re M-theory.)
 
2013-07-27 05:17:08 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-07-27 05:23:36 PM

Tommy Moo: [media.tumblr.com image 418x500]

Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.


I do have to admit the Quarians pleased me for exactly this reason :D  (Then again, I also liked how they had levorotary and dextrorotary amino-acid-based species :D)

(Then again, I'm also a bit of a fan of "books that deal with aliens that do NOT exactly fit within the standard chordate model".  I'm not so convinced evolution on all planets would go towards bilateral life forms with mouth-first sensory-organs-first, for one.)

Continuing Exotic Aliens--Not 100% sure it would be plausible, but one of the more fun sci-fi series (as far as truly alien aliens that we try to make contact with) are in the Dragon's Egg series...basically human observers see the cheela (very tiny--sesame seed sized, even--aliens that evolved from degenerate matter on the surface of a neutron star) evolve, go through an entire major civilisation cycle (from the "bang the rocks together, guys" stage to first contact via laser communication) in a month...and since cheela live too darn fast to really talk with humans, we end up communicating with them via information packets sent back and forth (essentially sending each other our respective archived versions of the Internet).  Eventually the cheela develop grav-manipulation (in advance of humans) for face-to-face first contact...and then cut off communications (after leaving the rough equivalent of geocaches in multiple parts of their galaxy) because in comparison to THEM we're too primitive... :D  And then in the sequel a massive starquake (a phenomenon actually documented with neutron stars) pretty much throws the non-spacefaring parts of the cheela civilisation into a deep Dark Ages analogue thanks to a major population crash on the surface (and the spacefarers losing the tech to live on surface), complete with the cheela equivalent of Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun attempting to TAKE OVER ALL THE THINGS.  Again, pretty much in the span of a month. :D

/have I mentioned I like alien aliens? :D
//why yes, I DO tend to play the lizard scum in RPGs where this is a possibility
 
2013-07-27 05:35:50 PM

Great Janitor: Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)


For the Klingons, the warrior culture is recent, post spaceships.
For the Pakleds, they aren't stupid, they just suck at communication.
 
2013-07-27 05:37:29 PM

Tommy Moo: [media.tumblr.com image 418x500]

Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.


Most people consider that a flawed idea  They may indeed have no immunity, but Earth viruses and bacteria did not evolve to take advantage of them either.  If you goggle it, you can find some interesting articles about it as a discredited idea.
 
2013-07-27 05:50:48 PM

Boudyro: 'm genuinely curious. Why would life from "wet" climates have trouble creating technology?

For my part I think that, until we learn otherwise, life will follow the patterns we've already seen. So it follows that there could be:

Insectoid
Mammalian
Reptilian
Saurian/Avian
Bacterial
Plants
Fish
Mollusks
Jellyfish
Amphibian
Probably a few more I'm forgetting . . .

We are already absolutely certain life forms of this type exist. Given a different planet with a different set of environmental variables one of them have come out on top of the evolutionary heap. An evolved-tool using race is something else entirely, beyond having opposable digitalia to use for grasping who can say?


The reason why wet environments would suck for creating technology: try to smelt anything underwater.  There is the strong belief that dolphins may be more intelligent than humans, but their living in the ocean and lack of ability to use or create tools is going to hold them back and keep them out of the stars.  The Ferengi, even though their planet is a muddy swamp with constant rain, they can still develop clean rooms to allow them to create advanced technology, and that's going to be needed before their technology can develop really.  Try taking apart a computer, dumping the parts into a mud puddle and then rebuild it, how well do you think it's going to function?
 
2013-07-27 05:51:25 PM
Really interesting thread, I wish there were more like these.
 
2013-07-27 06:12:13 PM

Free Radical:


Two plants having an argument?
 
2013-07-27 06:46:10 PM
I still get a kick out of the concept of "Talking Meat"


http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page 6.html
 
2013-07-27 07:06:43 PM
I always thought the aliens from Far scape were the most believable, not so much from a biological standpoint (too many humanoids) but they all *acted* alien. Their logic, judgement, and entire thought process was distinctly non-human. And it was the first show I saw where every new location wasn't a "planet of hats".
 
2013-07-27 07:12:30 PM
Jebus?
 
2013-07-27 07:14:12 PM

starsrift: The Horta.


Agreed.
 
2013-07-27 07:31:37 PM
i88.photobucket.com
 
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