Biological Weirdness

I’m casting around for another topic to discuss.
How about alien biology?
Here’s a rundown on human biology as a place to start.
Humans and other mammals reproduce sexually. Each cell has two copies in each chromosome. We are diploid(2 copies) In the gonads, cells undergo miosis each chromosome shuffles and then splits in two, creating haploid cells(sperm or ovum). Human males have one chromosome half for maleness and the other for femaleness–the Y chromosome. Human females have both halves for female. So when a male cell undergoes miosis it produces one female sperm and one male sperm. Because of this, humans at birth are at about 50/50 male/female.
The sperm then swim to the ovum–try to anyway. If one makes it, the ovum and sperm combine, producing a diploid embryo. The mother gestates the embryo for 9 months. Her pelvis slits apart and the little human comes out. Then it sucks fluid from her chest. All very weird. Especially if we also talk about menstruation and placentas.
Non-human biology has all sorts of other weird variations.
What kind of biological weirdness have you used in your story?

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As a biologist, I’m using special neurotransmitters and receivers that can be charged by certain chemicals only some people can give off. Like pheromones.

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I created a joke alien species that has a type of facultative parthenogenesis reproductive system. It was basically crack where the alien was living as a human, didn’t know that, and got knocked up through self-pleasuring.

I was sleep deprived when I wrote it.

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I have yet to come up with anything original for this but would love to once I get to the right spot in my series to introduce this kind of stuff. Gonna bookmark this for later, excellent topic!
Also, I’m a huge fan of the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise and how they tackled this.

Laugh. Do you have it in a story?

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Yes, but it’s not posted here.

I’m following you so that I can find out when it’s available.

Not anything that explicit: more like genetic evolution in subtle ways. Ordinarily in stuff like Lord Of The Rings, it’s basically assumed that Elves and Fairies either already existed desperate from humans, or sometimes are not so subtle political messages.

What I prefer is Elves and Fairies that exist from either: (1. Genetic engineering, (2. Bred each other into a singular unit, both of which evolved out of humans over thousands of years.

The latter is where I went for Uploaded Fairy, where it’s a twin universe that split off from our own, and has its own shared historical genetics and stuff.

The game component stuff was our universe’s marketing gimmick for making essentially slaughter like Laser Tag. Though that doesn’t explain the whole being able to restart a game session thing.

:sweat_smile: That’s a bit useless. It’s told in short stories that jump around and isn’t something I can realistically see posting here.

Do you plan on publishing it somewhere else?

Elves and faires can be quite plausible if they are treated as species of the human genus. “Elves” and “fairies” could be labels applied to Hobbit humans, Homo floresiensis. My preference would be to give such species non-mythological names to be clear that they are Homo floresiensis(or other species) not figures from Norse and Celtic mythology.

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Well there is that and they speak separate dialects of Nihoncaise, which is itself a dialect of Japanese-Creole French I’m creating. So there are other merging factors.

Merci pour le pain, becomes Mercirigato pour le pain. Or for example: “Mercirigato, comutsu na ga vikimasu! Les femmes et les hommes manque du pain! Le deke fumuri de les independante!”.

But Fairiy Nihoncaise and Elf Nihoncaise are like British and American English now.

(Obviously written in English for the readers convenience.)

I’m not sure yet, honestly.

It’s a challenge figuring this out. The top SF magazines are brutally competitive. I’ve been using Submission Grinder to track my submissions. Sorry off topic. But maybe people here might comment on which publications are best for biological weirdness.

I thought you meant like other writing sites. :sweat_smile: No, no, I have zero plans to do any publishing publishing.

In at least one fantasy story I have pixies that reproduce in a symbiotic relationship with plants. (usually flowers). The idea is that male and female get together and do … something biological … with a seed, which they then plant. I’ve been leaving the “something biological” part of that in the “sex scene fade to black” part of that storyverse.

The plant grows, eventually produces a blossom, and when the first blossom blooms, the parents-to-be are waiting anxiously. And a new pixie child is inside the blossom.

Different pixies have different abilities, and lifespans, depending on what flower species they came from. Like, dandelion pixies only live for a year, and poison-ivy pixies have a toxic touch, and rose pixies have thorns and live for decades, etc.

I have headcanon that Dryads are the females of a very large form of pixie that do this with blooming/fruiting trees (the males are Leshies, which are a bit less famous). but that makes their gestation period pretty significantly long, 4 years at least I think until the first flowering on most kinds of tree.

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The pixies might be parasitic. It depends on what the plants get out of the relationship.

Sustenance, ongoing care, and protection from diseases was my main thought; the pixies are somewhat dependent on the plant they came from. Usually they die soon after their birth-plant. So natch, they care deeply about its welfare (and come into conflict with, eg, real estate developers, etc).

I’ve come across the idea that if a relationship between to organisms is parasitic or mutualist, depends on the convergence of their reproductive strategies. The reproductive strategies between humans and human mitochondria is so close that the relationship is mutualist. The relationship between humans and chickweed on the other hand is parasitic. The two reproductive strategies are at odds.
How symmetrical is the relationship between pixies and their host plants? Clearly the pixies benefit. They can’t live or reproduce without the plant. But what about the plants?

Um, did we talk past each other somehow? The plants get sustenance, ongoing care, and protection from diseases. The pixies do whatever they can to keep their birth-plants healthy because the plants have ongoing importance to their survival, even as adults. And even though individually they have only a tiny bit of strength, they can still be a lot of help.