Alien Chemistries and Ecologies
Many authors invent "histories" of past or future times and fill them with imagined worlds. Some are better at it than others. Here you will find discussions concerning alien ecologies which I found interesting for one reason or another. So some of this material may not interest you. In that case, enjoy the pictures!

Meet the comet-infesting nuclear termites of Camelor! They are engagingly discussed in Robert Forward's "Camelot 30K." That means that this is a world whose ecology runs at 30 degrees Kelvin above absolute zero. How do those little critters manage to use energy flows to cycle materials, the essence of an ecology? There is not enough sunlight for energy inputs via photosynthesis, so SOMETHING ELSE MUST BE GOING ON... This is a delightfully written tale in the tradition of Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs), who created a series of alien ecologies in "Mission of Gravity," "Iceworld," Close to Critical" and "Cycle of Fire."

I will quote from the jacket of "Camelot 30K" and let you enjoy the story!

"Out on the boundaries of the solar system, in the Oort cloud, intelligent life has been discovered by humanity's space probes. Now the first humans to venture beyond the planetary system have been sent to make contact with this incredibly strange race and to tour the center of their civilization. What they discover is explosive beyond their wildest dreams!"

Click on this image to view at full size.

LEFT - Camelot 30K. I wanted a cover different from the one on the book, so I did my own rendering of the cities on the cometoid 1999ZX. There is a similar semi spherical cometoid on the horizon. Camalor's streets are supposed to radiate outward from the central tower like spokes (maybe I'll fix that detail at a later date...). I showed summer when it is "warm" enough for there to be some atmosphere in Camalor (nitrogen is usually a solid on that world). The Tower o'Queen is at the Plaza center with the Garden o'Pleasure to the right. The "bushes" are in the story and bear very strange "berries" indeed! Anyway, the whole thing kinda looks like a bomb, doesn't it? An obvious sign of intelligence.

Image created by NLNicholson using Bryce 2 by MetaCreations.

Could humans colonize comets? Read "Heart of the Comet" by Gregory Benford and David Brin to find out.

As the jacket says "an odyssey of discovery from a shattered society through the solar system with a handful of men and women on a hurtling ball of ice to the shaky promise of a distant, unknowable future..."