The great and mighty Dan will be signing books with other authors at Bookswap of Carrollwood this December 3rd from 12-4. This is a cozy little book shop in Tampa you should be visiting even if I wasn't there. Now you will have no excuse.
I'm not sure which of my 23 planets I'm going to add these to yet. These are spongefish. The doodle above represents the common ancestor of all spongefish. The central stalk contains muscle fibers to allow the animal to swim. It also contains dozens of simple eyes that see right through the transparent jelly surrounding it. The stalk serves as brain, skeleton, muscles, and contains the bulk of the sensory organs. The transparent jelly around it contains tiny pockets and tubes (making it spongy) to capture and digest plankton. The more advanced forms of spongefish eat other fish by swimming into them. The prey gets stuck and digested. When spongefish encounter each other, their cells naturally try to digest each other. Predators must have sophisticated and highly specialized immune systems to shut down the digestion and immune systems of their prey. They must also be careful not to swim into anything not prey. On this planet who eats whom has less to do with size and more to do with antibodies.
After billions of years of evolution, spongefish develop protective shells everywhere except specialized spots that become mouths and gills. This keeps them from being digested by others and should they place the wrong food in their mouths they can always spit it out. The spongefish above has one large gill that can be retracted into a sausage-shaped pouch for protection. When extended, the gill also acts as a propulsion tail or will wrap around prey to digest it. On the other end, the outer shell has formed horns and the inner stalk has breached the surface so that the eyes can see out (eyes imbedded inside the body and gill have been lost).
The spongefish below has its mouth/gill on the same end as its eyes. The rest of it is covered in a tough, flexible shell. It picks up food in its trunk and digests it right at the end. The trunk has two other uses as well. It can be used as a periscope to see above the ice in winter and it can grasp stones that are used to build nests. Since the trunk contains all of the eyes and at least ninety percent of the brain matter, it makes it the animal's most vulnerable spot and predators know this.
Patzi Gil runs a radio show on WTAN (AM 1340) out of Clearwater, Florida where interviews authors and others in the writing industry. She knows how to keep people focused and ask good questions, filling up the time and keeping things interesting. Listen to her interview me about my book, The Spider, The Witch, And The Spaceship.
Other great author interviews by Patzi
More about my book
My other published work
These creatures belong to a group of animals whole legs only come in a single row. Most live in the trees and use their highly flexible legs to grasp branches. The one above is different. It moves on a layer of mucus like a snail and keeps its balance by having wide feet. The legs are long to keep it off the hot ground and it is thin to dissipate excess heat faster. The fangs are for piercing fallen fruit and sucking the juices.
The squid above has evolved to become whale-like, its body becoming longer, its side fins becoming a fluke at the end, all but two of its tentacles becoming reduced. The two remaining tentacles have become steering fins and should probably be smaller if I ever do this one over. The beak of this squid has grown large and developed teeth. I am not the first to come up with cephalopod descendants or even a whale-squid design. Salpfish1 draws a couple good ones here and here.
The squid below is a filter feeder. It uses its spiny combs to catch food particles and to scare away larger animals. Most of its tentacles have become reduced as well.
This resident of planet Seelx has the eyes and brain opposite the mouth. This allows it to keep a lookout for predators while feeding, but also means that it cannot see what it is licking up. Its long, sticky tongue is used to enter burrows in tree trunks made by tiny insect-like animals. It can eat thousands in an hour. It is called the slimy anteater because it travels on a trail of mucus just like Earth slugs. They are one of the more ubiquitous creatures on planet Seelx.
The Silent Sky by Lloyd Biggle Junior is the best book I’ve read in a while. Published in 1967, it is an anthology of short science fiction stories of a style that reminds me of the Twilight Zone. There are often strange and satisfying twists at the end. There are usually lessons in morals – or at least something to make you think about afterwards and wonder. There are different cultures and social systems presented. Sometimes it is quite funny. This is one book I’m going to keep in my bookcase.
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Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.