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Xenology

Aden Castle
Image from Anders Sandberg

Xenology is the study of non-terragen life forms (including intelligent life and any artificial life forms created by xenosophonts), as well as their biology (or equivalent processes), psychology, culture, technology, and so on. It has many subdisciplines, including archaeoxenology, xenobiology, xenophysiology, xenopsychology, exopaleontology, xenotechnology, xenosociology, xenohistory, xenolinguistics, xenocybernetics. The Eden Institute is perhaps the largest center of xenological studies in the Civilized Galaxy.

 
Sub-Topics
 
Articles
  • AI, Alien  - Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers
    There is much speculation, but rather less knowledge, on the psychology of ais from from non-Terragen races extinct or extant.
  • Ban of Silence, The  - Text by John B
    This Hider clade has publicly announced its goal of preventing powerful signals from leaving the known galaxy, regardless of the cost, for fear of drawing attention of beings with technology beyond Terragen ken. They are adamant in their belief of the threat posed by such beings as the supposed Dawn Hunters and the Leviathan.
  • Chahipho Collection  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Major art collection in the Vast Endeavour system gathered by the AI godlet Chahipho in the Era of Fragmentation.
  • Conchsquid  - Text by Steve Bowers
    An apparently naturally evolved species of space-dwelling lifeform, confined to a single gas giant's ring system.
  • Deathjungle of Kalii  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    An extremely hostile xenobiological sensestem, an environmental mind contained within a naturally evolved jungle ecosystem
  • Deep Traveller, The - Text by Todd Drashner
    Mobile Dyson shell recently discovered by IR astronomy in intergalactic space approximately 23 million ly away. The Traveller is moving through intergalactic space at a rate of 0.5 c on a heading of roughly 87 degrees perpendicular to a line drawn between the Milky Way and the Virgo Cluster. No signals or non-infrared emissions have been detected. The origin, purpose or destination of the Traveller are unknown.
  • Drake Equation  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An early (pre-interstellar age) attempt to estimate the number of civilizations in the galaxy, according to the statement that the fraction of stars harboring intelligent life equals the number of all stars times a sequence of fractions, such as the fraction of all stars having planets, the fraction of planets that are habitable, and so on.
  • Energy Emissions and Civilization Types  - Text by Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
    A common method for classifying xenosophont civilizations by their energy emissions.
  • Ethology  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from the original by Robert J. Hall
    Originally the study of animal behavior and psychology, especially in the wild; later came to mean the study of the behaviour of any sentient creature of at least one toposophic node below the level of the observer.
  • Fargate, The - Text by Todd Drashner
    Wormhole of presumably alien manufacture discovered in the Metasoft volume in 10233. Travel through the gate transports one to a location in intergalactic space. The exact location in relation to the Milky Way galaxy is unknown since instruments sent through the portal have been unable to pinpoint any familiar configurations of galaxies. It is hypothesized that the Fargate may exit beyond the current universal Event Horizon or even into another universe. There is of course no evidence for this and most serious researchers are confident that the coordinates for The Other Side, as it is called, will be pinpointed eventually.
  • Fermi Paradox  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Essentially the question: "If there are other intelligent beings in the Universe, why aren't they here?" After the discovery of alien races this was rephrased as "Why haven't such civilizations that did appear continue to expand until they colonized the entire galaxy?"
  • Garden of Paradise Cluster  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Not a real cluster, but a collection of sun-like stars near Rho Puppis, many of which have worlds which have been terraformed by a long vanished alien race to almost perfect human standards.
  • Great Toposophic Filter, The  - Text by David Jackson, some comments by Steve Bowers
    Why are there apparently no greater minds than the S:6 Archailects? No evidence of the emergence of greater minds in the past can be found in the archaeological record, and there is little indication of such minds elsewhere in the universe. Is there some barrier or filter which prevents the emergence of such minds, or do such minds become undetectable when and if they emerge?
  • Homorph, Alien - Text by Steve Bowers
    Xenosophonts who deliberately adopt human (or general terragen hominid) form, morphology, or biochemistry. While homomorphism is fairly popular among some alien races and clades, many alien societies are under embargo to avoid cross-cultural pollution, so the homorph is often illegal. See also Toulhuman.
  • Kappa Khitai VI-J  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Terraformed by HIE236PPE (extinct xenosophont race).
  • Kardaschev Types  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Classification of civilization types according to energy usage.
  • Macroameoboid  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Rhizopodus enigmaticus, a highly intelligent but uncommunicative amoeboid aquatic lifeform native to New Poseidon.
  • Omicron Hygeras Object, The  - Text by Aaron Hamilton
    Mysterious alien artifact.
  • Ozymandias Institute, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A wealthy and widespread organization that studies the eventual fates of all structures, Terragen and otherwise.
  • Perfect Mirror, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Alien artifact discovered on the fifth moon of the gas giant T'tul in the Carina Rush.
  • Polemovore - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A creature that eats war, or more specifically the self-replicating weapons left behind advanced wars. They were postulated as an explanation of why the whole universe has not been overrun by autowars or turned into strange matter viruses by now.
  • Polmusic - Text by Anders Sandberg
    To'ul'hs of the Ho'mth'u culture view politics and music as an indivisible unity, and have developed political music as an art form. Over time polmusic has become a nearly universal political language across To'ul'h and post-To'ul'h clades within the MPA, as well as an elaborate academic-artistic discipline.
  • Porrima  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Twin star, where the first high technology non-terragen artifact - a derelict alien starship - was discovered in 3752 by the Virginis Combine ship Fra Angelico. The system is currently Solar Dominion protectorate inhabited by a number of bioid and cyborg clades. There is a small but well-equipped Exoarcheology Institute, and a nanoaccurate reconstruction of the Fra Angelico, along with a superficial reconstruction of the artifact, is a popular tourist attraction.
  • Progenitism  - Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers
    Movement that seeks to demonstrate that all intelligent species have been provolved.
  • RG Vijayanta III  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Terraformed by HIE236PPE.
  • Screethraw, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Alien presapient mechology which has evolved within Ishtar's Necklace
  • Search For Non-Terragen Intelligence, The  - Text by Steve Bowers, additions by Stephen Inniss
    A large number of xenosophont civilizations have been detected by their emissions but have not been contacted due to light-speed lags. Some seem to be comparable to the Terragen Sphere in extent.
  • Sextans Swarmers - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Nanecology / nanoswarm detected across much of Sextans A (Irregular galaxy - Local Group). It's origin and toposophic nature is unknown. What seem to be a smaller number of similar nanecologies have been detected in Sextans B, showing they were able to make the journey of some million light years separating the two small galaxies.
  • Steelcliff - Text by Tony Jones
    The first alien BGC system, discovered in 7852. Steelcliff is an isolated world towards galactic anti-spinward in what is now the Negentropy Alliance Outer Volumes. It appears to be running some kind of virch world, and certainly has sufficient computing resources to run at least millions of entities. It seems to have been put into place some forty million years ago, but as yet no attempt has been made to contact who or whatever may exist inside it.
  • Tau Felis Minoris II - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A cold planet altered by the unnamed species HIE236PPE (an extinct xenosophont race) so that it supports an ecology of cold-adapted lifeforms. These lifeforms share a common ancestry with those found on 12 other worlds.
  • Transcendent Burn-out Theory  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Theory that states that that Fermi's Paradox arises from civilisations transcending right out of the universe before they have a chance to expand across cosmologically significant distances.
  • World of Meditating Idols  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    BD +56°1954 / (774 Sagrei VI) - Inner Sphere Gaian Type world; first planet to be discovered with alien ruins (17th century AT).
  • Xenobiont  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for alien (non-terragen) lifeform. May be animal-like, plant-like, protistan, exotic chemistry, or any other possibility. Does not have to be sophont. In fact just as on Earth, very few alien species ever evolve any measure of cognitive intelligence.
  • Xenosophont Gallery  - Text by Various Artists
    Images of the various Xenosophonts (Alien Species) in the Orion's Arm Volume
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 13 December 2001.