Another interesting book with interesting aliens that I have recently read is A Call To Arms by Alan Dean Foster.
Some of us may remember Alan Dean Foster’s terrible Star Wars book The Splinter of the Minds Eye. But it was a long time since I read that book. What I still remember about it was that it didn’t really fit into the Star Wars canon very well. So maybe it was just that problem and it may not have been that poorly written.
Anyway, I decided to give his “The Damned” series a chance. A Call To Arms is the first book. The cover looked cool, but it turned out that the aliens in this book was quite poor warriors. Most aliens was quite poor at most things. They were like 0-points aliens from GURPS Aliens. All aliens had disadvantages. No aliens was good at warfare.
The reason given for the aliens to be bad at warfare was that an advanced race would (normally) have to abandon all sorts of violence to become an advances race. This is something that would normally happen in the race’s prehistory. This is a quite interesting idea.
The problem was that there was a big interstellar war going on… A race called the Amplitur wanted all other galactic races to join what they call the Amplitur Purpose. A number of races think this is a bad idea and has formed what they call the Weave. Neither side has any good soldiers. Then the Weave find the Earth… This is just the start of the book.
The book is really good and the different races are well describes. The plot is interesting. I think there are lots of ideas that can be mined for your Traveller setting here. This may even inspire you to come up with a new Traveller setting.
This book is the first one in The Damned Trilogy. I will try to find and read the other two.
The Mote in God’s Eye is a classic Science Fiction book by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. When I read it on the bus home from work, one person (that I don’t know) started talking to me about the book. That is very unusual behavior in Sweden.
The book is about the first contact with an alien race (the Moties) that lives in a star-system in the Coalsack Nebula. They don’t have FTL drives, but the humans does. Their location in the nebula has prevented them from inventing an FTL drive, but other than that they are very clever.
The book is mainly about how the humans learn more about this race and eventually their secrets.
The Moties are not only clever. They are also very interesting in other ways. They are asymmetric. Just like the Droyne, they are divided into different castes that physically look different from each other.
The Kzinti is a tiger-like alien race of warriors from the planet Kzin. They may look a bit like Aslan from Traveller, but they are not Aslan. The Kzinti males are intelligent but the females are not.
The Kzinti is a race created by the author Larry Niven. In this book he has written the first of three short stories. The other stories are written by Paul Anderson and Dean Ing.
The first story is about the first meeting between the Humans and the Kzin. It doesn’t end well for one of the races…
The second story is about a Kzinti base at an old metal-poor star racing through the galaxy. The interesting thing about this story is that these old stars really exist. However, the story felt like it was set in a sandbox, to not upset the canon of Larry Niven’s work.
The third story is even worse. This is a sandbox. The human hero is stuck in some kind of zoo that was built by some kind of ancients.
But even though two of the stories are set in sandboxes, I enjoyed reading this book by three great authors.