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Blue Ghost June 17th, 2013 05:35 PM

Alien biospheres
 
Can anyone reccomend a good book or reference on possible alien biospheres, and speculation of what kinds of animals might in habit it?

Limburger59 June 17th, 2013 07:34 PM

I'm trying to recall, but Iceworld by Hal Clement has the main character from a high temperature biosphere based on sulfur. The alien biosphere he encounters is the iceworld, where life exists and H2O is a liquid!

Blue Ghost June 19th, 2013 08:16 AM

I was thinking more of a science book. Something with speculation in it.

tjoneslo June 19th, 2013 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Ghost (Post 440660)
I was thinking more of a science book. Something with speculation in it.

I would second the recommendation of Hal Clement as an author. He's as much a science writer as a science fiction author. I've met him on several occasions and been at panels at a con where he's done world building based upon real science for SF writing.

Second suggestion would be Robert Forward (Rocheworld and Dragon's Egg) are two interesting novels from their exploration of alien world, with science and explanations. The latter is about intelligent life on a neutron star.

Final suggestion: Science of Aliens by Clifford Pickover. Science writer exploring science fiction. It may give you ideas of where to look further.

Blue Ghost June 19th, 2013 12:25 PM

Thanks much, tj. I'll check out both.

Doyle Hunt June 19th, 2013 01:48 PM

Writer's Digest Books published a couple of excellent guides:
Aliens and Alien Societies
World Building

Both are available from Amazon.

altasilvapuer June 20th, 2013 08:16 AM

I'm also a fan of the Niven short story, "Flare Time." I think I read it in Limits, though I'm sure it's elsewhere, as well. It's a planet in a system with two (I think?) class M giant stars, at least one of whom flares somewhat regularly closer into a G spectrum. Different species have evolved for each solar condition, with the G-spectrum species being extremely virulent due to living, breeding, and dying in the matter of hours available during the flare.

It was a fun read, as was much of Limits.

-asp

HG_B June 20th, 2013 12:34 PM

Here's an odd one that caught my attention decades ago.

TRENCO


excerpt from Galactic Patrol - 1937


Judged by any earthly standards the planet Trenco was—and is—a peculiar one indeed. Its atmosphere, which is not air, and its liquid, which is not water, are its two outstanding peculiarities and the sources of most of its others. Almost half of that atmosphere and by far the greater part of the liquid phase of the planet is a substance of extremely low latent heat of vaporization, with a boiling-point such that during the daytime it is a vapor and at night a liquid. To make matters worse, the other constituents of Trenco's gaseous envelope are of very feeble blanketing power, low specific heat, and of high permeability, so that its days are intensely hot and its nights are bitterly cold.


At night, therefore, it rains. Words are entirely inadequate to describe to anyone who has never been there just how it does rain during Trenco's nights. Upon Earth one inch of rainfall in an hour is a terrific downpour. Upon Trenco that amount of precipitation would scarcely be considered a mist; for along the equatorial belt, in less than thirteen Tellurian hours, it rains exactly forty-seven feet and five inches every night—no more no less, each and every night of every year.



Also there is lightning. Not in Terra's occasional flashes, but in one continuous, blinding glare which makes night as we know it unknown there; in nerve-wracking, battering, sense-destroying discharges which make ether and sub-ether alike impenetrable to any ray or signal short of a full-driven power beam. The days are practically as bad. The lightning is not violent then, but the bombardment of Trenco's monstrous sun, through that outlandishly peculiar atmosphere, produces almost the same effect.



Because of the difference in pressure set up by the enormous precipitation, always and everywhere upon Trenco there is wind—and what a wind! Except at the very poles, where it is too cold for even Trenconian life to exist, there is hardly a spot in which or a time at which an Earthly gale would not be considered a dead calm; and along the equator, at every sunrise and at every sunset, the wind blows from the day side to the night side at the rate of well over eight hundred miles an hour!



Through countless thousands of years wind and wave have planed and scoured the planet Trenco to a geometrically perfect oblate spheroid. It has no elevations and no depressions. Nothing fixed in an Earthly sense grows or exists upon its surface; no structure has ever been built there able to stay in one place through one whole day of the cataclysmic meteorological phenomena which constitute the natural Trenconian environment.



There live upon Trenco two types of vegetation, each type having innumerable sub-divisions. One type sprouts in the mud of morning; flourishes flatly, by dint of deeply sent and powerful roots, during the wind and the heat of the day; comes to full fruit in later afternoon; and at sunset dies and is swept away by the flood. The other type is free-floating. Some of its genera are remotely like footballs, others resemble tumble weeds, still others thistledowns, hundreds of others have not their remotest counterparts upon Earth.



Essentially, however, they are alike in habits of life. They can sink in the "water" of Trenco; then can burrow in its mud, from which they derive part of their sustenance; they can emerge therefrom into the sunlight; they can, undamaged float in or roll along before the ever-present Trenconian wind; and they can enwrap, entangle, or otherwise seize and hold anything with which they come in contact which by any chance may prove edible.



Animal life, too, while abundant and diverse, is characterized by three qualities. From lowest to very highest it is amphibious, it is streamlined, and it is omnivorous. Life upon Trenco is hard, and any form of life to evolve there must of stern necessity be willing, yes, even anxious, to eat literally anything available. And for that reason all surviving forms of life, vegetable and animal, have a voracity and a fecundity almost unknown anywhere else in the galaxy.



Thionite, the noxious drug referred to earlier in this narrative, is the sole reason for Trenco's galactic importance. As chlorophyll is to Earthly vegetation, so is thionite to that of Trenco. Trenco is the only planet thus far known upon which this substance occurs, nor have our scientists even yet been able either to analyze or to synthesize it. Thionite is capable of affecting only those races who breathe oxygen and possess warm blood, red with hemoglobin.

Thlaylie July 19th, 2013 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by altasilvapuer (Post 440819)
I'm also a fan of the Niven short story, "Flare Time." I think I read it in Limits, though I'm sure it's elsewhere, as well. It's a planet in a system with two (I think?) class M giant stars, at least one of whom flares somewhat regularly closer into a G spectrum. Different species have evolved for each solar condition, with the G-spectrum species being extremely virulent due to living, breeding, and dying in the matter of hours available during the flare.

It was a fun read, as was much of Limits.

-asp

This is a story from the colection, "Medea, Harlan's World."

A good book with a Hal Clemet style weird world in it.

I can't think how they could have made it stranger. Tidally locked moon of a Brown Dwarf in a Binary system with two class M Flare Stars. There is even a bit of Helliconia in the sentient's reproduction.

Spinward Scout July 19th, 2013 07:09 PM

For sci-fi, check out Expedition by Wayne Barlow. He designed an interesting ecosystem for the book. He also designed the alien ecosystem/creatures in Avatar.


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