Friday, April 04, 2014

Female Aliens, or: Why Do People Insist On Putting Ladybumps On Lizards?

Blimey it's been a busy old month, what with one thing and another. There's the writing on the next book to keep on top of (which is loads of fun), there's some super-secret artwork that you've not seen yet, but that you will, eventually (which is also loads of fun)... yes, alright, basically, I'm saying that I've been having fun for a month, although it's fun that's actually productive at the same time, so basically, the key point to remember is that everyone's a winner!


I had another crack at sketching out a sookas, one of the eight foot-tall, right-wing lizards that call the Cynos Union home, and a close friend said something to me that made me smile, as he spotted more or less exactly why I made the sookas the way they are. Y'see, the sookas in the pic is a female (as is the one in the pic just up there, above this paragraph), and he quite rightly pointed out that a lot of people would instantly think it's a male...

That, my friends, is kind of the point of the sookas. 

Yes, that design choice was entirely deliberate, and there's a very good reason why I've made the female of that species into an eight-foot, armoured, perpetually angry, civil rights-abusing tosser. I'll explain how I came to their design in a sec, but the why of it is this: I cannot stand female aliens that're basically just male aliens (and they're invariably too human, as well) with ladybumps super-glued onto 'em.

Seriously, it bugs the crap out of me, and it has nothing to do with any kind of spittle-flecked feminist-social-justice-smash-the-patriarchy-rawr ranting. None of this warbling about binary-gender-thinking, here, no sirree bobby; there's a cast-iron scientific reason why denoting female aliens through cunning use of chesticles is a massive load of old cobblers.

Quite simply, unless you can think of some really twisty story shenanigans to explain how aliens and humans have a common ancestor (which I may have done, a bit, with the vossarulls) or are basically exactly the same as terrestrial mammals (even though evolution doesn't work that way), female aliens don't have breasts.

It's especially bad when you see it done with aliens who are ostensibly supposed to be reptilian, 'cos reptiles definitely don't have them. I mean seriously, mammals are named after mammary glands, 'cos they're the only sodding class of animals that have them (well, female mammals, anyway). One cannot make a lizard into a lizardette by making it curvier.

No. Wrong. Stop it.

So, we come back to the sookas, and since they're reptiles, I based on things like dinosaurs and, even more than that, komodo dragons. In reptile species, the females tend to be bigger than the males due to the fact they're the egg-layers, as ye can see in the case of Sue the T. rex, who's called "Sue" precisely because she's such a big bugger.

And so, your average female sookas stands around eight feet tell, and is built like several brick outhouses stacked up into a roughly humanoid shape.

Here's where it gets interesting, though, because they're mainly based on komodo dragons, quite possibly the most awesome lizard alive on Earth today (crocodiles and alligators aren't lizards, they don't count). Komodo dragons are fascinating animals, too, because they've recently been shown to be capable of parthenogenesis, of reproducing without a male, and since no-one in the Cynos Union has ever seen a male sookas (and it's long been theorised that the sookas may in fact be a mono-gendered species), would you like to take a guess on how these big, ugly aliens reproduce?

This is why I love doing my research before I get down to writing; through following wherever real world science leads, it means that I can come up with an all-female species of quite monstrous bigots, all of them eight foot-tall killing machines who make life miserable for the poor little ampullas, the other species that shares their homeworld, and who sound like Tony Todd.

Most importantly, they do not have funbags.

And then, of course, there's the yowason, who all look exactly the same, because they're all egg-laying, seasonally-gender-swapping hermaphrodites. Yeah, that one was fun to come up with, and no mistake...

The ever-expanding and growing Cynos Union Series is available to buy now! Subscribe for more news from the world (and brain) of Mark W. Bonnett! 

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