THE DESIGN OF ALIEN ECOLOGIES
THE INVENTION OF REALITY-BASED ALIENS
I have been involved in the invention of many fictional life forms (e.g. McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern, Harrison's Yilane of West of Eden, several by Niven and White). We should remain true to real biology, to invent a new series of peculiarities which could replace our human lot (airway-crossing-food way, the excretory/genital mix-up which generates so many neuroses - and fiction-plots, of course - hair, haemoglobin, teeth-from-scales, and so on). The "universal" evolutionary solu tions must be retained (like homeothermy, waterproof skin, limbs, sex, and - some kinds of - intelligence). The real difficulty is artistic, not primarily biological; it is to lose the anthropomorphism without losing communication with the audience.