Thursday, 16 October 2014


Osman, a white star twice as bright as Sol, is beyond Antares. Its one inhabited planet, Suleiman, is sub-Jovian with an atmosphere of hydrogen, helium, methane and ammonia and seas of ammonia. Life is based on hydrogen, ammonia and methane. Natives use the plant bluejack as a spice and tonic and collect it for the Solar Spice and Liquor Company which sells it to the hydrogen-breathing Baburites.

A Suleimanite city is built of ice. Suleimanites communicate by sound, gestures, ripples and scents. A Suleimanite has one large eye and two smaller ones for binocular and peripheral vision. (At last another alien without two eyes on the front of its head: the octopedal Baburites have four.)

Suleimanite leaders eat special food said to be poisonous to anyone else and killing a king is unthinkable, possibly because of pheromones. Suleimanites have abundant ceremonies but no discernible animism, magic or religion. The SSL employs trading base staff who double as xenologists and biologists, motivated by the scientific study of Suleimanite life and society.

Source: Poul Anderson, "Esau" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), pp. 519-553.

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