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bylinebree
09-14-2008, 09:52 AM
Ok, I didn't say that very well in the heading; but here's what I'm working on in the third revision of my first WIP which is a Fantasy-Medieval:

The main race of characters in this story have ancestors who came "from the stars" is about all they know, as well as the name of the star (the rest of the ancestor's memory was lost when he "fell" to earth) As time has gone by, they've intermingled with humans on earth - to a point.

Now, they must live within the boundaries of their kingdom of islands on an inland lake, which is the crash-site of their ancestors craft (unknown to the current characters). If they travel or stay outside their kingdom for long, they weaken, grow ill and eventually die. There's a mystical barrier that allows them to enter but keeps all others out of their kingdom.

I decided it's the radiation emanating out of the water-filled crater that keeps them alive, though they don't have the scientific foundation to think of this "energy" that way.

How would it alter their bodies, do you think? Would they run "hotter" than we do, would their body temps be higher? But what else? They can make arrows they've shot burst into flame, if they want.

What other differences could they have physically? They don't harm other races of people with their "differences." They don't have a scientific word for it either, their society is equivalent to the Late-Medieval period.

Thanks for helping out.

Keyan
09-14-2008, 12:43 PM
I think the concept is fictional enough that you could pretty much say anything you wanted here, as long as you made it sound convincing. They could be a different color. Glow in the dark. Absorb sunlight completely so they looked like deep shadows.

I was a bit confused, though - you say they mingled with humans, but no one can get into their lands, and they can't leave it for long.

Are you doing a science fic version of fairyland or something like that?

Histry Nerd
09-14-2008, 06:57 PM
Bree -

As I understand, prolonged exposure to radiation causes more or less random mutations, so you can go just about wherever you want with this--especially in a fantasy/medieval context. Just remember that any unusual characteristics would have to help them live in their environment; maybe darker skin on their lower bodies to help them absorb the radiation that keeps them alive, or skin flaps around areas with high blood flow (neck, head, armpits, etc) to perform the same function. A swimming or diving adaptation would probably be beneficial, as well.

Also, it sounds like some humans can survive the radiation, and/or some of the alien descendants can survive outside their lake. Otherwise, how could they have interbred? I think this characteristic would become more pronounced as time goes by, allowing each generation to travel farther and longer from the lake (or survive longer within it) than the one before.

I like this concept. Good luck with this!

HN

RJK
09-15-2008, 10:32 PM
How about a mineral in the water? They need the mineral to survive. It was brought with them on the spaceship and exists in the lake water. You could make it radioactive if you want to add that complication, but it would act like a vitamin. If these people don't get it, they will sicken and die.

A merging civilization would have no idea what the cause was. Possibly, they may not even tie in the idea that they have to drink the water to get the mineral that keeps them alive.

If outsiders get too much of it, they OD and get sick maybe?

MelancholyMan
09-15-2008, 10:58 PM
It is very simple. The remains of their spacecraft is emanating neutrons which have combined with the hydrogen in the lake water to form deuterium. Because of this the water in the lake has a high concentration of 'heavy water'. Heavy water has a very slightly altered chemistry from normal water because the hydrogen bonds form at a slightly different angle.

It isn't enough to notice in most situations, but just as a normal human will die if the concentration of heavy water in their tissues gets above a certain level, this race will die if it falls beneath a certain level. And because your body is constantly exchanging the water in your tissues for new water, getting away from the lake will result in a drop in heavy water concentration over a period of time.

Naturally their forebearers knew this because their planet had a naturally high concentration of heavy water so they took the machinery to form heavy water with them. But without it they are screwed. It's sad really because they are a curious, inquisitive race and being confined to this blasted lake has stressed their culture to the breaking point. And everytime strangers come in and stay, they begin to sicken and eventually die.

The interesting thing about heavy water (water with deuterium instead of hydrogen) is that it can be made through radioactive processes but isn't itself radioactive. Of course water with trituim would be an entirely different story...

As far as your race having 'powers' there is of course no radiation or chemical or procedure that could do that (except of course for midi-chlorians :e2hammer:) so you would be better off not saying how the heavy water allows them to do these things, only that it does.

That what you were looking for?

-MM

Sarpedon
09-16-2008, 05:23 PM
Radiation damages DNA. This can lead to mutations (possibly beneficial), or cancer, or even cell death.

Possibly, they use a more robust molecule than DNA to store their genes. Perhaps they need a certain amount of radiation to get their whatever it is molecule to function. DNA only works if it periodically becomes 'unzipped' from itself to allow RNA to form on it. Perhaps their molecule needs a certain level of radiation to make that happen.

RJK
09-16-2008, 05:38 PM
That is fascinating Sarpedon. I wonder what the probability of spontaneous life forming on that planet might have been.

Now the only problem is how would Byline integrate this (or any of our suggestions) into a Fantasy-Medieval story.

bylinebree
09-17-2008, 10:23 AM
You guys have some intriguing ideas here - thanks. I'll go back to this earlier post to start with:


I was a bit confused, though - you say they mingled with humans, but no one can get into their lands, and they can't leave it for long.


My original concept was mostly "mystical" & not scientific. I'm just exploring more ideas to strengthen the background/world-building. The original pair of males (not brothers so inbreeding wouldn't be an issue) married human women. They establish their own kingdom, where people NOT of their special blood are kept out by a "mystical barrier" originally.

Also, I had them dependent on each other's "energy" to survive (not dependent on some power in their land) If they journeyed out alone, they'd weaken and die in time.

But how is their special "energy" renewed or maintained, I had to ask?

So I thought of radiation. And maybe, tying this idea to the land instead of each other, though there is some kind of energy-exchange between them.

It's tricky, trying to blend pseudo-science with fantasy-mysticism. Not sure if I can make this work yet, but wanted to play with the radiation idea.

bylinebree
09-17-2008, 10:52 AM
It is very simple. The remains of their spacecraft is emanating neutrons which have combined with the hydrogen in the lake water to form deuterium. Because of this the water in the lake has a high concentration of 'heavy water'.

Right, simple... ;)


It isn't enough to notice in most situations, but just as a normal human will die if the concentration of heavy water in their tissues gets above a certain level, this race will die if it falls beneath a certain level.

As far as your race having 'powers' there is of course no radiation or chemical or procedure that could do that (except of course for midi-chlorians :e2hammer:) so you would be better off not saying how the heavy water allows them to do these things, only that it does.

That what you were looking for?
-MMYou SO remind me of my father, God rest his soul, who was a nuclear chemist! He also would've loved midi-chlorians, I think. :snoopy:

The water being different is a great idea. Since the craft could have broken into pieces - with one that landed in a pool of water not far from where they are found. They find that the water makes them feel better though it causes sickness in their adopted human tribe. But the supply isn't endless...so they have to move on, strangely drawn in a certain direction towards the major part of the where the craft landed...where a large lake formed with the kind of water that sustains them. I wonder if they could retrieve a piece of the melted metal of the ship and carry it with them....


Now the only problem is how would Byline integrate this (or any of our suggestions) into a Fantasy-Medieval story.

Exactly. Most of the conjecture is for me as author; the story is written in the terms and lore of that world. My modern scientific mind craves some justification behind the space-ancestors concept, yet my mystical self runs with the ideas of strange powers, deities, and such!

Sarpedon
09-17-2008, 04:46 PM
Of course, if they use a molecule other than DNA to hold their genes, it puts the idea of being 'Half human' right out the window.

bylinebree
11-20-2008, 08:53 PM
I took a break while I revised the synopsis (the book's written) and submitted it to a major contest...we'll see how that goes!

Still revising...and revising..and working on another, lighter story in-betwixt. You know how that goes.

You know, Melancholy Man's idea about the water is awesome; thank you, MM! I'm going to use that, because I couldn't think of a reasonable way (even in a fantasy-medieval setting) to show how/why they need each other to stay alive outside of their kingdom...an object is easier to incorporate.

So the heavy-deuterium-whatever "from-space water" works. They can't carry that much with them when they travel, and when it runs out...so do they. Their life-force weakens. They could also hide caches of it in places to replenish themselves to some extent.

I like it! Now to put that in the revisions, too... (runs off to eat carbs and replenish her own life-force)
:tongue

HeronW
11-20-2008, 11:57 PM
What about the aliens retrieving bits of the radiating emitting ship and wearing the bits in jewelry/ clothing/ weapons that would enable them to travel? They can pour water over the bit and drink it to reenergize in a differnet manner. Alternately, they could have small radioactive metal beads embedded in their skin much like the Goths and Punk crowds. That would also allow them to leave home base.

RainyDayNinja
11-21-2008, 01:37 AM
There are some fungi that use melanin to convert gamma radiation into energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus), whereas gamma rays are harmful to most organisms. So if your guys were really, really dark-skinned, that could be another possibility.

bylinebree
11-22-2008, 01:04 AM
What about the aliens retrieving bits of the radiating emitting ship and wearing the bits in jewelry/ clothing/ weapons that would enable them to travel? They can pour water over the bit and drink it to reenergize in a differnet manner. Alternately, they could have small radioactive metal beads embedded in their skin much like the Goths and Punk crowds. That would also allow them to leave home base.

This is really cool idea too. OK, now I have to pick.

Or use both, like this:
In Bk 1 they are using the water when they travel outside of Vanyl.
In Bk 2, the queen (who is a healer and their verson of a scientist) does some investigating about the lake water; there's a spot in the lake that's always been "forbidden" to go near for "mystical" reasons - but she doesn't buy this idea. And their enemies are closing in, and the barrier around their kingdom is in danger of being destroyed; how will they survive then?

So perhaps they bring up pieces of the Skyship and start making them into jewelry. The idea of embedding them in the skin is creepy...but I kinda like it. Edgy.

Ok...made you suffer enough for one day with my rambling (but gee it's fun)

Off to run the errands I didn't get done until today! Hopefully to write this weekend - hey, soccer is over! *grins*

bylinebree
11-22-2008, 01:16 AM
There are some fungi that use melanin to convert gamma radiation into energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus), whereas gamma rays are harmful to most organisms. So if your guys were really, really dark-skinned, that could be another possibility.

Well, this race is mixed with various human tribes, so they are all colors of hair and eyes - though not dark-skinned. They tend to "run hot" so they seek cooler climes.

But you have a point: why NOT dark-skinned? Hmmm.

Speaking of Coloring: I have been miffed with films in ignoring Blondes in their heroines (though there was Stardust) - silly it may seem, but I've read several bks where the heroine is fair-haired, and in the movie they make her a brunette. What's with the prejudice (LOL)?

So my reaction was to make all the ruling dynasty varying shades of blonde. Ha. Take that.

But the idea of the fair kingship versus a "dark" enemy has been done, you are right on. I think I'll incorporate more diversity & turn it upside down more. It means revising an awful lot, though...!

And thanks for the fungi fact, 'tis very interesting. I think somebody ought to use that.