6 comments on “Effects of Environment

  1. Very interesting. You should consider writing an article for a writing magazine, science fiction magazine etc. When you have more time of course.

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  2. Lots of nice info here. Certainly, regardless of genre the nature of one’s world has a profound effect on all elements of the story. I’d just add though that here you’ve covered many possibilities from the point of view of “life as we know it” and it might be interesting to speculate similarly on the types of environments that might lead to life as we don’t know it…a world without water, for example, or one extremely distant from its sun.
    Even though I don’t really write science fiction, these things are sometimes relevant for fantasy as well; when I created the Argran race for my Universe of the Nine Roads I tried to gather a bit of info on what a species that lives mainly in mountainous regions would be like. I tend to focus on the mystic aspects of my work most strongly, and often find myself a bit intimidated by things like geography, economics etc, so I find posts and articles like this most helpful.

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    • I could probably do a whole series of posts about types of environments and effects on society. This turned into more of an overview of it. I’m glad it was helpful for you.

      As for ‘life as we know it,’ I focused this post on the habitable zones of various stars. Each star has one, and it’s a large section of space that is at just the right distance and receives just the right amount of energy for life to be present on a planet. For a writer, that’s the best area for life. Otherwise, you’re going to need to craft a base that is entirely self-contained and probably has heavy shielding. I come from a scientific background when I approach these sorts of things – since I have a degree in physics. So I can provide you with all sorts of fun information about how things may work physics wise.

      However, in fantasy, all bets are off since it’s not as restricted by the laws of physics as science fiction is. So it’s a bit easier to speculate about fun things like what you mentioned.

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  3. Well, I do think that even the “laws” of physics allow for “life as we don’t know it”, all depending, I suppose, on the definition of “life.” And some branches of science fiction play a lot faster and looser…or, perhaps simply more speculatively…with those “laws.” The silicon-based creature in the original Star Trek for example or the “non-organic” lifeforms they encounter in The Next Generation. I actually approach my fantasy in a similarly meticulous fashion, but from the perspective of my belief that essentially anything is possible…but many things do tend to follow certain patterns.

    Someday we may have to have a discussion about voids and vacuums.

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    • Boron and silicon are one of the best possible elements for new types of lifeforms. There’s also the possibility of life arising from methane rich worlds. However, I wasn’t saying that ‘life as we don’t know it’ can’t exist by the laws of physics. Only that I focused on the habitable zones of stars and the more familiar type of life, which is carbon based lifeforms. For carbon based lifeforms, the habitable zone is fairly strict and living outside of it would be much harder without the aid of technology. For Boron or silicon based lifeforms, the habitable zone would be different, though it would still exist. A habitable zone is merely an area of space around a star that allows for life to exist – regardless of the type of life and whether we’d recognize it or not.

      There is possibility of life existing in unusual environments such as on one of Jupiter’s moons – Europa is covered in ice and has an ocean of sorts beneath that ice. The stress from the gas giant’s massive gravity well causes interesting effects on the inside of Europa, and this may be enough to allow some heat from its core to heat parts of the ocean. So maybe lifeforms other than bacteria might develop in a place like that. Another fun example is Saturn’s moon, Titan, which has a thick atmosphere of methane and methane lakes, rivers, and rain. There’s a possibility life could exist there, but it certainly wouldn’t be in a form we’re used to.

      This is why there’s sub categories in science fiction actually. There’s the soft sci-fi, where authors really speculate and twist and subvert the laws and theories of physics; they have more freedom to speculate with whether or not the laws of physics as we currently know them is complete or not and whether we’ll have more discoveries that allow for physics theories that may differ from the laws of today. Then there’s hard sci-fi, that really stick with the laws and theories of physics, and the most they do is just extrapolate what technology would be like if those laws and theories were still true in the future.

      Voids and vacuums are interesting places. A conversation about them would be quite interesting.

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  4. Regarding climate versus culture, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the mythological monsters from cultures in harsh climates tend to be more malevolent. Compare vampires and werewolves to the fey, for example.

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