Author Deborah Walker has an interesting post up at SFWA about Creating Aliens. The process she uses to dream them up for her science fiction stories. I found it an interesting read.
In How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Orson Scott Card discusses developing the evolution of the distinct biology of an alien species, and how that imagined evolutionary process informs both an individual’s thoughts and actions and the aliens’ culture.
I’ve written a fair few aliens since reading it, always thinking about that advice, but with an added aspect: stealing blatantly from Mother Nature.
My aliens are based on science we currently understand. The starting point is often an earth creature. The diversity of Earth’s species is astonishing. There are, to my mind, some truly strange creatures out there.
Earth Organisms I’ve Used in My Alien Building
Vampire squid: in a story in a SFComet story.
Sea slug/slug: The Kanzai in my Dark Expanse stories including “Betrayal, Clear as Kanzai Glass.”
Conan bacterium: in the Nature’s Future’s story “Glass Future” (a post-human rather than an alien).
Coyote and a Locust/Hamster mix: The Kyoti and Logorasch races in my upcoming Dark Expanse novel: As Good As Bad Can Get