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Alien Environments

October 11, 2011

Alien worlds are a staple of science fiction, planets with a variety of strange beings, ecologies and topographies. Still, in most books these worlds are usually roughly spherical, orbit a star, and satisfy the laws of orbital mechanics. I am currently exploring ideas that go outside this paradigm, “worlds” that break these conventions.

I always admired Larry Niven‘s imagination in this regard. Many of his books explore worlds so different from our own that they require rereading to gain perspective of his vision. From the engineered band around a star in Ringworld to the floating trees of Integral Trees, Niven has a knack of making the reader reconsider the whole concept of what a world is and what is possible. Peter Hamilton’s Eden in The Night’s Dawn Trilogy, a living world existing in mutualism with its inhabitants is another fascinating conception. Stephen Baxter‘s Manifold World novels also go beyond the paradigm.

In my current project, Suscitatio Astrum, I am endeavoring to create my own new conceptions of alien life and their environment. I am attempting to stretch the laws of physics and biology in a new way to create a “place” that is unique.

I would love to hear your ideas on this.


  1. Yolanda permalink

    It always seems you and I are in the same neighborhood of our creation process. I am in the process of also creating a few worlds. One of which includes people who are “plantlike” in their characteristics; i.e. the need for UV light, planting themselves in a type of water based nutrition bath, etc… I find that I want to make sure that the aliens that I create aren’t typical and stretch not only my imagination, but my readers as well. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. It should be really amazing.

    • Norman LaFave permalink

      I am looking at a world of quantum pathways connecting alternate worlds inhabited by a society of beings that can weave and control these pathways to control their environment. I am also looking at a universe of traversible wormholes inhabited by wormlike entities that move energy from one location to another as part of their metabolic processes.

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