MERMAIDS and other creature stuff

DottieLK

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this is in the right forum, right? sweating intensifies...

HEY GUYS! I'm wondering, what is your guys takes on popular Sci-Fi/Fantasy creatures? Like mermaids- Fantasy POV they could basically be straight up humans with fish lower-bodies. From a Sci-Fi POV they could be pale silver skinned, have scales on their backs, and have huge shark-like tails or something.

From my logical brain but childish illogical behavior and way of life mermaids and creatures are a pretty mixed around idea. Like putting all the condiments in a bowl together but not actually mixing them. (That's why my universe has so much lore), there are 81 different types of mermaids so far in my universe, sometimes one species is on multiple worlds. How?? It just is, you know?

Any who! Wondering what your guy's different takes on this stuff is, how do you perceive/write them?
 

Brightdreamer

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Ever read Mira Grant's Into the Drowning Deep? A nice, dark take on the mermaid idea (and remembering that, traditionally, they often weren't happy sparkly friendly beings...).

Like with most fantastic beings, write them however works for your story, and keep them internally consistent.
 

DottieLK

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Ever read Mira Grant's Into the Drowning Deep? A nice, dark take on the mermaid idea (and remembering that, traditionally, they often weren't happy sparkly friendly beings...).

Like with most fantastic beings, write them however works for your story, and keep them internally consistent.
I just googled it and read some summaries; it sounds wonderful! I might just ask my mom to buy me it! I love the idea of "evil/wild" versions of the creatures people love. Who says a sorta humanoid fish thing would like people? If weird things came to my home, took my friend, and stuck machines in my house I'd attack them too!
 
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Friendly Frog

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Oooh, Into the Drowning Deep was glorious! It was not just a dark but also a very naturalistic take on mermaids that I have yet have to see someone else do. Grant's mermaids really fitted in the ecosystem. Unfortunately for the humans in the book, it was the mermaids that were the apex predator...

My creatures tend to be fairly traditional, mostly out of ease but when the right inspiration strikes I do like to turn a concept on its head. But I don't think I ever tried Grant's realistic approach yet.
 
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CMBright

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I started with sirenomelia and genetic modification in a sci-fi to get sirens. Appear to be mermaids, but the legs are fused at the muscle/skin level with false joints and a kind of bone "loop" along each leg to hold two secondary spinal cords down to the ankles. And scales for aesthetic reasons, because, why not? One problem is they had to be altered for a diet of sashimi (raw fish), algae and aquatic plants. Neither fire nor electric appliances do very well immersed in water. Raw food diet, unless they find a dock-side restaurant that has facilities for them.

Similar process for unicorns. Someone wanted them. Someone was able to create them. Start with equines and caprines. Bit of artificial hybridization. Fuse two goat horns side by side and spiraling together from the central base at the forehead. Add a bit of oyster dna to add a layer of pearl along the outside of the single horn. Bit more genetic tinkering to stabilize the dna so the result is fertile with others like it.

I am a bit of an ecology geek...
 

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I love world building! I also really dislike species that are "human but x." So naga/lamia, centaurs, mermaids, dwarves, elves...very boring and also don't make a lot of diegetic sense why they all exist together in the world. So I don't have anything like that in my story, the only really human-looking thing running around are humans.

I have "phoenixes" but they're based on lots of different mythological birds (many which The West™️ conflates with the phoenix, much like how they say the qilin is a "unicorn."), and there's a couple different kinds from different parts of the world. The northern ones are heron-y (like the Egyptian Bennu bird) and the southern are more hawk/eagle-y (like a lot of European mythological firebird). The royal family is most like the fenghuang/ho-o, but most people are gonna see the peacock-y tail and go "ooo I know that!" because most modern depictions of phoenixes give them peacock tail feathers. And there's different real-world birds thrown in there, too, so they can physically do the things I want them to lol.

I have another thing with a bird, she was originally going to be a thunderbird then I realized that wasn't a very good idea, so now she's a gagana bird (from Russian folklore), so instead of "magically" doing lightning, she's redirecting it using her metal beak/claws. Fits a lot better into the world building and feels more like something I made up instead of lifting straight ouf of someone else's culture.
 

CMBright

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I don't have a problem with multiple homonid species. At one time, there were at least four hominids of the Homo genus. All but one are extinct other than traces of their DNA in Homo sapiens sapiens.
 

dickson

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I don't have a problem with multiple homonid species. At one time, there were at least four hominids of the Homo genus. All but one are extinct other than traces of their DNA in Homo sapiens sapiens.
And thereby hangs a tale, I’m sure.

ETA: I just remembered I wrote a sketch for an SF novel in which reproductive barriers are discovered between inhabitants of Earth and Mars, thereby raising the specter of kicking things up a rung in the Linnaean scheme. As I recall, it was to be multigenerational. Ended up writing something completely different.
 
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CMBright

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And thereby hangs a tale, I’m sure.

ETA: I just remembered I wrote a sketch for an SF novel in which reproductive barriers are discovered between inhabitants of Earth and Mars, thereby raising the specter of kicking things up a rung in the Linnaean scheme. As I recall, it was to be multigenerational. Ended up writing something completely different.

It is amazing that enough can be sampled to run DNA scans on fossils a hundred thousand to three hundred thousand years old. One was not only a Denisovian-Neanderthal hybrid, but there were traces indicating that a thousand or so years before, this individual came from another Denisovian-Neanderthal hybrid. Wild.

Denisovian DNA is found in Nepal. Totally different method of keeping O2 levels up than the adaptation found in the Andes.

I have wondered if DNA on Earth is universal. Not the space seed theory, though there is compelling info from various disciplines that life went extinct on Earth but survived in meteors sling shot around the solar system to re-inoculate the Earth with bacteria in the first half billion or so years after it settled down enough to have oceans.

My musings involve whether the DNA molecule itself is the most lowest metabolic energy molecule. If so, it might have developed on various Goldilocks planets in solar systems around the galaxy and the universe. If not, what would that genetic info transfer molecule look like?

If RNA was the first genetic transfer molecule, protein molecule and enzyme (it can function as any of the three), did the first DNA organisms outcompete it and reduce RNA to a parasitic reproductive strategy? Basically, DNA is a more stable version of RNA.

Did I mention biology/ecology geek? My spouse daydreams of using machines to terraform Mars. I daydream of creating biological webs fed by gas harvested from the gas giants to terraform the planet.
 
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Norsebard

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DottieLK said:
Wondering what your guy's different takes on this stuff is, how do you perceive/write them?

:unsure: Hmmm, well, it depends on the genre and the tone. Since I lean toward being a Fantasy / Mytho Action Adventure kinda guy, most of the monstrous creatures I've created over the years have only been there to 1) threaten the hero*ine, and 2) be wiped out by the hero*ine - i.e. typical B-movie critters with all the typical traits and tropes.

The creatures get to take center-stage in the more humorous works, but then I humanize 'em as much as possible so they're really just guys and gals in monster-skin. I've never tried to write Mermaids, and... hmmm... I honestly don't think I could pull it off.

Mankind in general is typically still the worst monster, though.


Norsebard
 

ironmikezero

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Random genetic mutations, tested within environmental parameters, constitute the essential methodologies of evolution. If something works, continued survival, while not assured, is likely to further evolve in successive generations. So, from a writer's perspective, isn't almost anything possible? Imagination knows no bounds; so, have some fun with it . . . a lot of fun.
 

CMBright

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Random genetic mutations, tested within environmental parameters, constitute the essential methodologies of evolution. If something works, continued survival, while not assured, is likely to further evolve in successive generations. So, from a writer's perspective, isn't almost anything possible? Imagination knows no bounds; so, have some fun with it . . . a lot of fun.

It doesn't even have to necessarily be an advantage in a given environment, sexual selection where a random trait is advantagous is also a thing. If you don't believe me, look up stalk-eyed flies, although pea fowl are a better known example.
 

ironmikezero

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Oh, of course, if it works to entice and subsequently engage more sexual partners . . . well, you know . . .
 

DottieLK

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Oh, of course, if it works to entice and subsequently engage more sexual partners . . . well, you know . . .
I can't quite tell if I should be laughing or be scared.
So, from a writer's perspective, isn't almost anything possible? Imagination knows no bounds; so, have some fun with it
Excluding that last bit, it was a little strange, I guess so! Plus I am writing fantasy so magic can also fly around with evolution, that's what makes it fun to me!
I love world building! I also really dislike species that are "human but x." So naga/lamia, centaurs, mermaids, dwarves, elves...very boring and also don't make a lot of diegetic sense why they all exist together in the world. So I don't have anything like that in my story, the only really human-looking thing running around are humans.
That's fun! "Humans but add/change this little bit" has always been a bit boring for me. I do love Lamia though, reminds me of when I was younger and was a HUGE fan of the 'Mage and Demon Queen' webcomic. I do think stuff like elves and mermaids are fun in themselves for really casual works, like comic strips with little to no greater plot. 'Cuz they're just cute!
 

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Personally, I love the freedom and challenge of interpreting fantastical creatures into different settings. As demonstrated by this thread, there are so many potential explanations to play with! Did the myths come first, or the creatures themselves? Did humans create them through belief or technology? Did they evolve, with or without magical influence, or have they somehow always been here? Do we even know?

And the potential gravity those explanations could exert on the story is very compelling as well. Let's say 'mermaids' evolved due to magical influences in a certain sea. How does that affect human interactions with that sea? Is the magic dangerous or useful to them somehow? How did it first come to be? Or, if they're created via advanced technology - what drives a person to choose that vast alteration of their body and, by necessity, their lifestyle? Is it always a choice? How gracious do people tend to be about interacting with people so very different from themselves?

Questions and scenarios like these are why I expect to never fall out of love with genre fiction.
 

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Amabie. The mermaid who protects you from the Epidemic.

アマビエ
(ah-mah-bee-ehh)

You can look up the wikipedia article which is very infoy but the pictures do not do justice to how rainbowy she is.

Wikipedia. Wikipedia on Amabie
 
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DottieLK

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Amabie. The mermaid who protects you from the Epidemic
I unfortunately couldn't look at the link you had since my school has blocked it. (Yeah, I know, I'm on a school issued laptop isn't it strange?). BUT! I went onto Yokai.com and read up a bit- It's a really unique take so thanks for sharing :)
 
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Twenty-Eight

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Sorry. I am new here and technology and me have a history of not getting on well together. I will replace it with a better link.

Here you can see her on a site for free graphics for new years greetings cards.

I hope you can see it.

This is actually a very good guage of how something is trending in any given year in Japan, because the nengajyo industry is huge. Also, although I dislike stereotypes, innocuous rainbowy cute things are also very big business in Japan.

In 1846 (an?) Amabie reportedly appeared from the sea and said "If disease spreads, draw a picture of me ." Then somewhow, when the pandemic started, it became draw a picture of amabie and put her everywhere to protect everyone.

I have seen her on masks, towels, official government posters about covid, and even a statue of her in front of an underground waterfall in a cave which must have taken some serious effort to get down there.

Here is a link of that waterfall on someone's site. I don't know them or the site but I have been down that cave and seen the waterfall twice. (But no mermaids.)


I guess she is quite similar in the prophesy aspect, because lots of sea cretures are prophetic. However, I feel like mermaids generally prophesy doom whereas she is trying to help. (1846 in Japan is right before the turbulent times of the end of the shogunate and there would have possibly been a background climate of unrest and uncertainty.)

For me, I find the beak and three legs the most interesting part. Yes, some fish have beaks, like parrotfish, and so do squid. so it is not so odd on a mermaid. The three legs though seem almost reminiscent of the Chinese tripedal crow. (Often conflated with the yatagarasu, which is popularly shown with three legs at times.)
 
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I am a fantasy writer but I can honestly say I never used mermaids yet. I rather like the more scaly cousins...nagas. Never was too fond of mermaids for some reason. Actually I mostly use standard races like elves and dwarves and the same go for supernaturals...vampires and werewolves....however if the chance comes I might use the mermaids...though their more evil look suits me better.
 
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DottieLK

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I am a fantasy writer but I can honestly say I never used mermaids yet. I rather like the more scaly cousins...nagas. Never was too fond of mermaids for some reason. Actually I mostly use standard races like elves and dwarves and the same go for supernaturals...vampires and werewolves....however if the chance comes I might use the mermaids...though their more evil look suits me better.
That's definitely a unique take, Nagas are pretty cool tho, so I get it. I see you have your wattpad linked, I'll check it out right now :3
 

StarsForScales

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I am a fantasy writer but I can honestly say I never used mermaids yet. I rather like the more scaly cousins...nagas. Never was too fond of mermaids for some reason. Actually I mostly use standard races like elves and dwarves and the same go for supernaturals...vampires and werewolves....however if the chance comes I might use the mermaids...though their more evil look suits me better.

Oh, I love nagas, and characters with serpentine features in general! It is definitely interesting to think how they might fit into different settings and societies, almost as a sort of logistical midpoint between humans and merfolk - they can participate more easily in the land-based parts of the setting, but what allowances and adaptions are still necessary for them to do so? (And, of course, similar fascinating questions about their origins!)
 
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