29 April 2012

"X" is for...

XENOZOOLOGY

   Xenozoology is the study of animal lifeforms not of terrestrial origin. It encompasses many species across the solar system, where native life has been located on three other bodies so far (Luna, Mars, and Venus). It also includes the sapient humanoids of those planets, in all their variety.

   Like all science fiction, Victorian science fiction revels in a plethora of "strange new worlds... new life and new civilizations," to paraphrase Captain Kirk. (Speaking of which, I simply must have an aethership captain named that - Picard is far too French - oh, maybe have him captain the French vessel? Yes!) And so we have a lot of different ideas for inhabitants of these worlds.

Barsoom Burroughs's vision of Mars had a dying planet with four truly sentient races, the Red, Green, Black, and White Martians. I do not count the plantmen, since they seemed more like animals than people, even if humanoid. Other creatures mentioned include the thoats, calots, and the great white apes.

Space: 1889 Chadwick developed a different set of Martians, the civilized Canal, nomadic Hill/Steppe, and barbaric High Martians. High Martians have wings and lifting glands which allow them to fly. In addition, a variety of animal life, especially for Mars, is described. He also places insectoid Selenites on Luna, and primitive Lizardmen on Venus.

Wells H.G. Wells postulated an invasion of Earth by Martians which were definitely alien. Beaked, furred, and tentacled, they used far superior technology and dastardly devices like poison gas to try and subdue Britain and the rest of the world.

   In my own universe, I combine Space:1889 and Barsoom for red Martians, with both civilised and barbaric flying martians as well. Venus is teeming with life, and a variety of different sorts of lizardmen, sentient mobile plants, and parrotmen. Dinosaurs wander the Venusian jungles, and a variety of dangerous creatures prowl the Martian deserts.

No comments: