Monday, October 21, 2013
Time for me to be a tease - say hello to the Cynos Union's newest alien, the enigmatic quintaceph
And so, I feel like being a tease.
Yes, it's time for me to introduce you to a new alien within the Cynosverse. I've already made my feelings clear about how I reckon that aliens should actually look alien, and given the general tone of The Abominable Moon, it just seemed natural for it to feature an alien species with five heads.
You may well be able to tell that I'm going for Lovecraftian weirdness with this book...
Of course, coming up with an alien that's got five heads presents its own unique grab-bag of hurdles to overcome, but perhaps the most pressing one to figure out was the question of how in the name of chuffery an alien with five bonces would even work. Would it have five separate brains? Would it have one brain in the central trunk, with the five "heads" being little more than sensory, respiratory and feeding pods?
At this point, you may be wondering what possessed me to come up with an alien that's got five heads, because such things are clearly insane, but the reason is actually kinda simple.
Take a look at the vast majority of animals on Earth, and you'll see that they're bilaterally symmetrical; draw a line down the middle of a human being, or a cow, or a tiger (er, you'll probably need a pen on a really long stick, for that last one) and you'll see that, by and large, they've got two of everything down the sides, and one of everything down the middle, or more or less in the middle, in the case of the heart.
Also, you sort of need to ignore all the internal organs that don't fit that pattern...
So, what's the easiest way to make an alien feel really alien? Simple: make sure it doesn't have bilateral symmetry!
Instead, each quintaceph (yes, their name means what you think it means) is radially symmetrical, like a starfish, albeit one that's a lot taller and that tends to paint frescoes on absolutely every available surface. They represent a true mystery, a species so fundamentally unlike life in the rest of the galaxy, that their mindset is almost impossible to fathom, and whose language has never been translated. The existence of the quintacephs is what makes their homeworld of Metriagoth, located in the Azhretophis system, such an exciting destination for men and women of science.
It's also one of the most dangerous destinations in the galaxy, because, as it turns out, the quintaceph civilisation isn't the only thing in the Azhretophis system.
Dark, twisted things lurk in the unexplored corners of the galaxy, and one of them is about to show its face...
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