Domesticated Animals

Back to the sketchbooks –

This one was probably done in 2003. Part of the fun of world building is creating the details of a planet, a species, a culture. What do they eat? What do they wear? What kind of manners and religions do they have. What are the differences between the various cultures. Of the species in the Sentient 39 universe the Burrabb are the ones I’ve spent the most time thinking about and there’s still so much room in the picture for me to find color and nuance.

This sketch is the result of considering what sort of beasts of burden the Burrabb might have. A civilization is likely to need domestic animals in order to become a civilization. Species probably don’t go from hunter gatherers to space farers without a lot of steps in between.

4 thoughts on “Domesticated Animals

  1. I feel duly chastised; I don’t usually pay much attention to this when putting together hard sci-fi (except the one time I went overboard and based an entire species’ technology on domesticated, mentally linked, parasitic animals), but I sure will from now on, golly gosh. Also, those critters are really hard to see. Are they bipeds? Quadrupeds? What wild animal are they based on?

  2. There are a lot of good SF stories with aliens that don’t give a lot of detail on the aliens evolution or cultural background. Too much detail can bog a story down. I just happen to love those details so I pay attention to them for my own amusement.

    The critters are quadrupeds. They’re not based on any particular terrestrial animal though I figured they’d fit in cattle niche – large herd dwelling, easily tamed herbivores.

  3. Even if I’m working on something that will only explore or even show a small facet of something, I’m anal retentive enough to want to build vast infrastructures that will never be seen or be important to the plot. I like to have a lot happening backstage, since it makes things seem more real to me. This strikes me as a backstage element that I haven’t been paying attention to with SF.

  4. I understand. I’m the same way! A fantasy world is much more real if you know what your characters eat, what they sleep on (or if they sleep) and where they go to the toilet. That may be more that you’d want to include in the story but it’s a good idea to have thought about it.

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