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SCIENCE: Is This “Hairy Ogre” Microbe A Whole New Branch on the Tree of Life?

Hairy Ogre Microbe

Who needs aliens when there are bizarre life forms still to be discovered in Canada? Scientists recently detected two previously unknown species of microbes in a Canadian dirt sample, and the specimens were so unusual that the researchers had to reorganize the tree of life to make room for them. The microbes, also known as protists, belong to a group with the tongue-twisting name hemimastigotes, and the first-ever genetic analysis of these peculiar microorganisms revealed that they were even stranger than anyone suspected. Hemimastigotes, first observed in the 1800s, were previously classified as a phylum within a much larger group … Read more

SPACE: Why Haven’t We Found Aliens Yet? Scientists Have Some Theories

alien - pixabay

One night about 60 years ago, physicist Enrico Fermi looked up into the sky and asked, “Where is everybody?” He was talking about aliens. Today, scientists know that there are millions, perhaps billions of planets in the universe that could sustain life. So, in the long history of everything, why hasn’t any of this life made it far enough into space to shake hands (or claws … or tentacles) with humans? It could be that the universe is just too big to traverse. It could be that the aliens are deliberately ignoring us. It could even be that every growing … Read more

FOR READERS: Alien Terms

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FOR READERS Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Christine Wright: Do you prefer a writer to stick with terms you can easily identify with or new terms for alien/fantasy items, government systems, titles etc. Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks! This is a legacy chat. Join the chat


alien - pixabay

FOR READERS Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Brian Cherry: What are some of your favorite queer characters with a truly alien point of view? I see a lot of gay vampires and werewolves that are just humans with extra issues, but what about the ones that aren’t just special humans? Please note, this is alien in the sense of vastly different, so in addition to actual aliens, it can also include all kinds of other sentient creatures. Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. … Read more

For Writers: Alien Politics

Boris alien

FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Justine Bonczek: How do ya’ll create/translate politics – a very human framework for organizing society – into alien/magical societies? Do you take what exists in human history and tweak it, or do you start from the ground up to create something new? Curious minds want to know! Join the chat

For Writers: Alien Ace

Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Matthew J. Metzger: For ace: is the tendency of asexual characters to be non-human actually damaging perceptions of asexuality rather than providing positive representation? That’s an interesting question. Yes, I know it may be a shock to some of you, but there are asexual people among us. Ace ranks way down the totem pole on LGBTIQA rights and awareness. I didn’t even know that I knew any ace folks until fairly recently. So my questions today: Why is there such a scarcity of ace characters in queer fiction? And why are so many aliens? … Read more