The Tully Monster, Tullymonstrum gregarium, is an extinct creature from about 300 million years ago (That’s tens of millions of years before there were dinosaurs). It looks like a squid, has a single arm — elbow and all — and has a spinal cord, completely unlike a cephalopod.
It’s insanely weird.
Continue reading The Tully Monster is So Weird, It’s Hard to Draw
The Tokarahia is a small (about 6m long), extinct ancestor of the modern baleen whales. It has a few, probably vestigial, peg teeth in the front of its jaws, but the rest of its mouth was almost certainly filled in with baleen. I love its sleek shape.
Continue reading Tokarahia: a Sleek, Small Ancestor of the Largest Animal in History
Any traveller will recognize that the first sounds and smells of a town are those of the settlement’s ktesh. The birds stand only as tall as the knee, but, as the saying goes, “All cities are built of the bones of the ktesh.” They hunt as a flock, consuming the rats, mice, and toka of a settlement and, in return, the people of the settlement consume the flesh of the ktesh. The color of its feathers never fade and are used for spectacular artworks, and its bones are read by namedealers to read portents of the future.
The meat has a bolder flavor than that of any other bird, but is both more delicate and more abundant than that of sheep or goats. It bears well the spices that travel the Great Road and combines well with eggplant and garlic. In most cities, it can be purchased, heavily salted and spiced, grilled on sticks.
Continue reading The Ktesh: Delicious but Deadly
This is Tschu the Allel, a character from my Autumn of the Empire of the Thousand Petal Throne setting for Evan Rowland and Hannah Shaffer’s upcoming roleplaying game Noirlandia.
Continue reading Tschu the Allel
We’ve seen Radish Saumet’s spacecraft, Happy Delivery, before! Her spacecraft doesn’t have much of an aesthetic (except for the spraypainted Jolly Roger on the side) because it’s so modular; Radish swaps parts as needed, keeping the ISp and thrust as high as she can afford.
Her spacesuit, on the other hand, is another matter. Over time, she’s swapped dozens of parts in and out to match her tiny frame and her habits. Barring repairs, though, it’s remained the way it is for the last couple of years. Continue reading Captain Radish Saumet’s Spacesuit
Corvosapiens (or, as they call themselves, “people”) have a rich and varied physical culture. However, because of their greater mobility than earthbound humans, aesthetic principles and philosophical structures often spread more quickly than they did when primates were the custodians of the civilization meme.
Continue reading Corvosapien Physical Sophontology
A million years from now, Corvosapiens is the greatest intelligence on Earth. Humans are now a matter for their archaeologists to debate, while none yet realize that the Third Order Stars are the last remaining artificial satellites.
But they will soon. Their three-dimensional assumptions, in addition to the observations of the planet made by athletes flying at high altitudes, give them an easier philosophical route to space than humans ever had. Continue reading The Corvosapien
First contact stories, with their inherent and explicit contact with The Other, approach the Platonic ideal of Science Fiction. They highlight what we think is true about ourselves (for whatever value of “ourselves” the author cares about) and contrast it with an alien that possesses a critical difference in that dimension. Through the meeting of “us” and “them”, the author then gets to make an assertion about the society in which they live, for better and worse, and then get to stretch their imagination to do all the really fun, skiffy stuff, like determining how their aliens’ different physiological needs presents them with different cultural options.
Continue reading New World: Spike Trotman’s Bold Entry into Science Fiction Comics
Back to experiments in xenophysiology!
Continue reading Speculative Organs
The Happy Delivery is Captain “Radish” Saumet’s grudging pride and joy. Built out of discarded (and “discarded”) pieces of abandoned (or surrendered) spacecraft, she plies the asteroid belt for goods worth carrying.
Continue reading Tramp Freighter Happy Delivery