Starting Point: Gardeners of Paradise

This week’s story starting point is a response to all the recent talk about utopian sci-fi.


As we explored this strange new world, we began to notice an unusual trend. The animal life here tends not to devour and destroy in the way that it does on Earth. Instead, most creatures have evolved to nurture plant-life and feed only on the waste or over-abundance that results from their careful stewardship. Herbivores are gardeners and farmers, and even large carnivores are instinctively driven to protect the creatures that inhabit their territories, preferring to scavenge the dead than prey on the living.

Everywhere we looked, life was flourishing. The ecosystem was not so much balanced as it was biased in favour of abundance.

As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Paulo R. Mendes


  • Kirov

    Perhaps the ecosystem was engineered by some advanced species?

  • John H Reiher Jr

    It sort of reminds me of “The Sleepwalkers” from Dresden Codak.

    Altruistic lifeforms that benefit from helping others, not by fighting others. It sounds like a form of symbiosis has formed: The animals only eat the plants that are ready to seed, fertilizing the seeds with their waste matter. Carnivores only cull the sick and dying, ensuring that the herbivores’ gene pool remains robust. I wager even the microbes are part of the web, only decomposing dead material for the great cycle to begin again.

    In a system like this, there are no predators of any sort, everyone is a form of carrion/decayed plant material consumer. The plants are the masters of this world I wager. Instead of waging war on animals via poisons and tough fibers, they fought with mood altering chemicals that led to the animals we see today.

  • Steve Bowers

    This ecology could be regulated with pheromones that are emitted by the plants when they are ready to be trimmed or fertilised. Any species that evolves to disregard these signals could be poisoned by the plants that are not ready to be devoured.