Other hypothetical types of life

  • #1
is there any sci-fi that would rerate a life based on ammonia or silicon or any other type of life?
 

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  • #2
.Scott
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I am not sure what you mean by "rerate".
The Start Trek crews have certainly run into a lot of "non-carbon" life forms.
As far as Silicon-based, there was an episode in the original series about "Hortas".

http://www.startrek.com/database_article/horta
 
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  • #3
phinds
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is there any sci-fi that would rerate a life based on ammonia or silicon or any other type of life?
I don't recall any specifics but I'm sure there have been sci fic stories with silicon based life forms.
 
  • #4
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I seem to recall Kurt Vonnegut having one of his characters (most likely the steadfastly unsuccessful SF writer, Kilgore Trout) positing "an intelligent gas from Pluto". (just checked: it's from 'Breakfast of Champions').
 
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  • #5
stefan r
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The trolls in Terry Pratchett's disc world series are silicon based.
 
  • #6
RPinPA
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I think Asimov was the first to point out the similarities between carbon and silicon, and to write about silicon-based life. The Talking Stone was published in 1955.

I recall another story about life which evolved inside the sun and can only exist at high temperature, but can't recall any details except that I think they decide to explore the solar system eventually, with disastrous results.
 
  • #7
anorlunda
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Flatland? Not sure if that's the right book. About neutron life on a neutron star.
 
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  • #8
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From Hal Clement the Mission of Gravity had a life-form with methane instead of water as I recall (based on carbon but still an interesting twist I think).
 
  • #10
DaveC426913
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You're thinking of "The Dragon's Egg."
Just read that three weeks ago. Great story.
I love first contact stories.

Flatland was great too.
 
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  • #11
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IIRC, Clarke did a plasmoid-ish whatever from the Sun which, like Icarus, flew too high and died of it...

Brin's 'Sundiver' had plasmoid related life in the Sun. The anthropomorphic shapes often observed were a cruel hoax, intended to discredit the scientists studying the real thing. Much galactic / uplift politics involved...

Back in 'Golden Age' SciFi, there was a short series where 'star dwellers' took up residence in fusion reactors. IIRC, they sealed a treaty with Earth by laser-etching below a famous inscription, traditionally inscribed. Same font, too. Second book had uppity Terrans' delegation summoned to face the Galactic Council near the core. Seems the Council had 'broken bad' since the 'Star Dwellers' last dealt with them. The delegates' escaping ship was being 'run down' by a fleet of enforcers when the covert star-dweller in their fusion reactor boosted the output and took them clear. SW Leia could have used such...

Added: James Blish, 1) the star dwellers 2) mission to the heart stars
;-)
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And, yes, the 'Lensman' book, where whatsits adopted atomic reactors as incubators --Think megapodes-- to the dismay of their owners...

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Regarding silicon-based, there's a lot of woo currently circulating about a hexasilane (Si6H14) isomer that is unexpectedly stable. Dr. Peter Plichta's scheme to use it in place of hydrocarbon fuels seems too good to be true. YMMV.
 
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  • #12
stefan r
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...

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Regarding silicon-based, there's a lot of woo currently circulating about a hexasilane (Si6H14) isomer that is unexpectedly stable. Dr. Peter Plichta's scheme to use it in place of hydrocarbon fuels seems too good to be true. YMMV.
There is no reason to doubt that silane would burn fantastically. I believe most of the exhaust would be fumed silica. Certainly some sort of silica. A build up of quartz inside an engine cylinder is not likely to be a good thing. Silica can be abrasive.
 
  • #13
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Micronised diesel soot is bad, the same in silica would be much worse. Silicosis aka 'Miners Lung' is kin to asbestosis for lethality...
 
  • #14
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I think Asimov was the first to point out the similarities between carbon and silicon, and to write about silicon-based life. The Talking Stone was published in 1955.

I recall another story about life which evolved inside the sun and can only exist at high temperature, but can't recall any details except that I think they decide to explore the solar system eventually, with disastrous results.
It's not "Flatland" that describes life on the surface of Neutron Star, but "The Dragon's Egg" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Egg
 
  • #15
DaveC426913
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Just finished reading Dragon's Egg a few weeks ago.
Awesome book.
 
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