Friday, December 4, 2009

Domain Loss

So I lost my domain to my official website. It sucks. For a while I thought that I'd lose my website entirely, but it's all still there, just under a new name. Here's a link to the Nereus page:

I should have some updates on there before too long...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Filling out the Vehoprolians

I'm gonna give a link to my updates this time...


In an effort to see some diversity in my nereid life I decided to take this vehoprolian into a new direction. Instead of a squirrelly little seed gatherer I wanted to see something big and dangerous, akin to a gorilla in shape, but I couldn't shake the image in my mind of something resembling a saber tooth tiger. So, as usual, I mixed the two. How did I do?

Blueback Chaparro

This nereid is inspired directly by an encounter I had with a magpie. Corvids have always fascinated me, not only with their intelligence, but also with something I can only call mystique; a sharp confidence that makes me feel like a true intelligence is looking back at me. I hope I've translated some of this into the chaparro...

Cavalier Kentro

This was actually an early creation in my process, and I think it shows. The body form is very unique, realized before I'd locked down exactly where evolution had been going up to this point. It was too interesting to discard, and having it within the cladogram has forced me to explain its inclusion, thus creating whole new body types and adding to the organic creativity of the project!

Colossus Carm

I always wanted to see some elephantine life on Nereus, but for a long time I couldn't figure out what it looked like. I had originally called this the emperor carm, but wasn't pleased enough with how it turned out for it to have such a regal name. So I upped its size a little, changed its name, and the colossus was born! Now if only I can figure out what that other one looks like...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Five Bees, a Gee, and a Kay

Here's a bit more 'making of' for recent entries:

Dwarf Bundler

After I posted this guy I began to wonder if I should put up a NSFW warning. Or maybe I should put one of those black censorship blocks on the images... Just kidding. It's an animal, and not even a real one. Take a look at what some real animals are sporting and tell me which is more disturbing. If anybody has a problem with it they can write me a comment or something to complain.


The artwork on this one isn't my best. At the time I was more interested in getting on with other critters, so I just rushed through this guy so I could say he was done. One of these days I might just update it...

Banded Conker

My pseudocoles have been popular among the community of speculators that has seen them. Chalk it up to their general vibe of "super-smart theropods rule!", or just that they're pretty unique in their construction, but the banded conker already seems on the fast track to the nereid hall of fame.

Bearded Drake

I'm very pleased with the apparent elegance of this creature, despite the fact that the best it can do to move around on land is to awkwardly hop around. I was inspired by sea birds, obviously, but I was having trouble figuring out a solution for one of the inherent obstacles in nereid design: they often have these long, flexible necks, but unlike Earth life they don't have something on there that can see natural use as something to grab prey. So I have to get creative now and then...


I never really got the "nasty slime" texture of the skin I wanted. I looked at so many pictures of hagfish and how their insides seemed to just show through their skin. Close enough, I guess...


Yet another example of me pushing the envelope of plausibility. I had to resort to giving it a feature I had planned not to include in the nereid phylogeny: feathers. I had imposed the limitation to force me to come up with unique solutions to solve what feathers do on Earth, but I relented. It made too much sense for an alien already covered in scales to adapt them into a soft layer of insulation against the cold. Now if I can just keep from adding hair to anything...


We have some friends with Japanese heritage in their family, so we are priveleged to hear about their culture and unique mythologies. I've always been interested in the focus they place on the fox in particular, so I thought I'd pay homage to them in my project. I can't say there's very much directly drawn from the mythological namesake, but there's something about it that's always reminded me of the stories our friends have told us...

And there we have it for another sizable installment of nereids onto the website! Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Contributions

I've put the first few entries onto the site, and I thought I'd add a little bit of behind the scenes commentary for each critter.

Banana Streak

I had a hard time coming up with exactly how this guy works. I figured out the unique body form of the tetrabrachs, and am pretty satisfied with how that phylum had turned out. Unfortunately, I don't think I had the same stroke of originality with the planet's insectoids; at least, I doubt I'll be able to squeeze the same amount of diversity out of the body shape as terrestrial insects have done with their general body type. That said, I've managed to come up with something that is at least unique and plausible. (Still not happy with those wings, though. :) )


The general tetrabrach body shape breaks a rule that a lot of speculative biologists hold as immutable: "Eyes, mouth and brain all have to be placed at the front of the animal." Now, there are reasons that this rule should be considered, but what rule doesn't have exceptions (even on Earth)? But as I started putting aliens together for Nereus I began to realize that not only were there some that would benefit from a mouth at the front of their bodies, but that there were methods to bring it about without violating evolutionary precedent. The basker is one of these critters that has done some physiological gymnastics in order to meet design requirements. To get a better idea of what's going on with the basker, imagine your mouth is down by your stomach, and your lower jaw extends from down there all the way up to your face. Weird...

Flag Raptor

Here's another nereid that's twisted itself up to fit its design; most have a sensory stalk oriented either toward the front or straight up, but pseudocoles make use of a sensory stalk pointed straight back. While this swings the mouth to the front it also means that all of those sense organs are pointed away from fleeing prey. To counteract the deficit I decided the flag raptor used its tongues as sensitive chemoreceptors, much like the Jacobson's organ in snakes. And I didn't want to leave those eyes uselessly at the back, so I decided to throw in the visual signaling, making the flag raptor one of the most popular nereids I've made yet.

Magnificent Strider

Okay, I admit I have a sickness. When I hear somebody make some statement of scientific fact I take it as a challenge to come up with an exception to refute the statement (like some of the things my teacher was telling me about Jupiter in my astrobiology class), but one that I chose to tackle with the magnificent strider was the question of size. There are all sorts of issues that come up when you have 150 tons of body mass though, and I had a lot of fun figuring it all out!


One of the aspects of the magnificent strider I discovered is that it's just too big to deal with most other life on Nereus, and I got the idea that it would probably function as an ecological feature all its own and some animals would not only benefit from its presence but would develop a symbiotic lifestyle with it. Enter the gargoyle.

Any way, that's enough patting myself on the back for now. Hope I didn't disappoint any readers with my boring commentary.

- Evan

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A New Home

When I started my xenobiology project last summer it was with the intention of sharing it online. I can fully admit that I enjoy hearing feedback about the things I work on, and that interest helps to fuel my drive to continue with the project. So when I had enough groundwork laid to begin churning out critters I was so eager to share what I had that instead of putting together a website to showcase what I had I scoured the internet to find a community that would have an interest in speculative biology.

Well, I eventually found one. I looked through it and was impressed by the sophisticated ideas discussed and the variety of worlds created. I felt like this was the place I could get the ball rolling with Nereus, and I dove right in with my contribution to the community.

Now, months later, I'm ready to move on. I can't say that there aren't things I'm going to miss about the place, but I am eager to get my site going where I can have a bit more control over the environment where I publish my work. So now I'm refocusing my efforts to finally see my site come together!

- Evan