Alien Profile: The Martians

The following alien profile was submitted by Eric Holland and Alex Hamrum (creators of the Dan’s Voyage webcomic) as an entry to the Alien August competition 2015.

These aliens were appeared in a brief unfinished webcomic by the duo entitled Forgotten Mars.

After the first fossils of martian life were discovered rumors began to circulate about there having once been a civilization of martian people. Truth be told there was some artefacts found early-on that hinted at the existence of the martian peoples, but there was no conclusive remains for a long time, so scientists and government officials kept quiet for a time.

Finally when actually martian remains were discovered everything that was known was revealed, this discovery of the ancient martian people profoundly shook the scientific community… which was to be expected. What was not expected was the tidal wave of mars immigration applications, the surge of scientific vessels, and the new life that this brought to Mars.

Surely when ancient fossils of other life was discovered on Mars it changed everything, but to discover an ancient extinct race of humanoid martians was on a completely different level.

The Martian civilization was a long and healthy one that spanned 11,000 years, from their earliest stone age at approximately 18500 BC to the end of martian life that occurred at 7,500 BC.

The martian civilization was fairly advanced near its end, but nowhere near advanced enough to halt the rapid decay of their planets magnetic field and atmosphere, martian civilization from its very beginnings was watching its planet wither and die.

There is some dispute over what the Martians actually called themselves, it is commonly accepted that by the end of their civilization they referred to themselves as the “Vensid” but there are various names throughout their history, not to mention the controversy over the accuracy of how scientists have “deciphered” martian language. Scientists have given the Martians the scientific name of Martem Sapiens, and colonists usually simply refer to them as Martians.

This is further complicated by the fact that the martian species was divided among racial lines. The majority race is the yellow skinned species called the “Allonay”, the red “Aken”, blue “Daseen”, orange “Varem”, and grey “Manovet”. Like humanity there was a long history of racial conflict between the various races of Mars, but most evidence suggests that near the end of martian civilization these conflicts were largely resolved.

martians-current

Biology

There is not a lot known about Martian biology, but significantly more is known about the Martians than would be expected for a fossilized species, this is because a lot of information and artwork from martian ruins has been recovered from martian ruins. The Martians were a humanoid species with many skin colors, they had spots, facial tendrils, and slightly oddly shaped legs.

Martians were a pseudo-mammalian species that evolved intelligence as a defense mechanism in response to their loss of natural bodily armor over time, where their rocky armor once was there was now only thickened skin on their heads and backs in the form of spots that vary in color between races. Curiously tracing the martian evolutionary history backwards the species only got larger all the way back to their ancient cruscentaur ancestors which were titanic beasts the size of dinosaurs.

Males and Females are largely the same, the curvature of the female body is slightly different, and by our standards more “feminine”. But the female martians are on average taller than males and their facial tendrils much longer and in different locations. Not much is known about martian reproductive habits but the fact the secondary sexual characteristics of the individual martian sexes were not overly prominent may have contributed to the overall lack of sexism found in their history.

Martians were a short people, and as Mars dwindled and died they only got shorter as an evolutionary response. If a martian was 5 feet five inches tall he or she was considered a giant amongst them, and these individuals were exceedingly rare.

Most martians were about four feet tall, with females being four feet four inches tall. There is an exception to the short height, a form of gigantism among martians was roughly as prominent as dwarfism is among humanity, producing 7-8 foot tall giants with horrible bone spurs that would grow painfully through muscle and flesh to stick out their skin. These “giants” lived such painful existences because of their condition that they typically went insane, but medical treatment in the latter days of martian civilization allowed most to live normal lives.

forgotten_mars__the_martians_by_scottahemi-d7vlvwg

Races

The Martian people were a single species but they did not have with a single appearance and culture like is so often depicted with aliens in science fiction. There were five racial sub-types of Martians, and each of these was further divided into smaller ethnic groups with minor variations.

Based on all that is known about martian biology these races were all largely identical physiologically, and were all genetically compatible with each other. The primary aspect of variation among the martians was their skin color and Dakula (spot) color, it is believed that the first skin color that evolved among the martians was the yellow skin color of the Allonay.

Primitive martians spread out from the Allonay homeland heading east, giving rise to the slightly darker orangish skinned Varem, the descendents of the Varem would go on to become the grey skinned Manovet and red skinned Aken. The racial history of the blue skinned Daseen is perhaps the most clear, being the descendants of a Manovet penal colony during the medieval days of Mars.

There are also secondary racial characteristics, the Aken for example are the tallest, and their primary toe has a hooked raptor-like claw. the Varem have a slightly more elongated skull. And the Allonay are the shortest of all of the races. Other features such as the prominence of degenerative bone disease among the Daseen were not so obvious.

It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that these differences led to many social problems among the martians, not to mention countless wars. For example the Allonay were the subject of genocide at the hands of the Manovet during the dark ages of martian history and were nearly driven extinct because of it. The wars the Manovet launched on the other races were not forgotten easily, and for centuries after the dark ages of Mars they received constant and sometimes even violent reminders.

Whole volumes could be filled on the history of each of the Martian races, and despite the centuries of war and hatred between them near the end of martian civilization there was some semblance of peace between them. As the planet reached its ecological tipping point and began to decay exponentially the races banded together to survive for as long as they could, its not known exactly what occurred during these last days of mars, but enough is known to know that these various races stood together and met their end as one.


Behind the Scenes

Martians went through… a lot of deigns, so many that I wont even begin to be able to cover them all here (but I will write about them in the future). The largest challenge was to create something that seemed scientifically plausible, could appeal to most conspiracy theorists, and have the spirit of old martian literature (think John Carter). What we came up with was a short humanoid species that was divided racially and culturally, a species hat had gone through many eras of war and suffering, a species that human beings can relate to on a fundamental level.

The Races were especially important, sapient species should have various racial sub-groups. In the writing I am trying to give each race their own unique feel, and in some ways I took a bit of inspiration from the different races of Burroughs martians. The image Alex Hamrum cooked up for this is one of my favorite things that he has produced, I feel that the little Manovet girl holding her pet Suris is particularly adorable.


Written by Eric Holland.

Artwork by Alex Hamrum.

Eric Holland and Alex Hamrum are the creators of the sci-fi webcomic Dan’s Voyage. These aliens were appeared in a brief unfinished webcomic by the duo entitled Forgotten Mars.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    Hmm… unfortunately, I never was very fond to the old science fiction works of the genre “sword and planet”, like John Carter of Mars or Flash Gordon. My preference always was by the works of Jack vance (the Demon Princes saga being my favorite), Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. 🙁

    • I personally liked the motiff of the recent john carter movie, I’m not sure whether to put it into cyberpunk, dieselpunk, steampunk or (i assume this exists) psypunk.

      • but I do like me some asimov! (Asimov happens to be how i gotten into scifi) but personally I enjoy some more Star-trek kind of sci-fi with the occasional obscure genre, I’ve been looking for an idea i can stick to, so far I’ve been jumping to and fro, I had a galdiatorial combat story based on the scifi ideas community, emperor marcus sphericus, Mikus of sothena, Ravena of Andromeda, (andromeda being the galaxhy normally shown to the “west” of the milky way) Mikus being a gladiatorial combatant that makes use of a spear that electrifies when activated via a remote, ravena had a robotic raven and a net, and marcus was the emperor of a galactic empire spanning the milky way, then I went on to a lovecraftian story, but now i’m toying with the idea of a traveller that explores alternate universes/alien plantes, by travelling with portals, an idea that i got from both rick and morty, a superb satire on bad science fiction and a minecraft mod involving books nthat create universes/worlds, the trouble is that i can’t think of a climax for the story and i refuse to start anything until I’ve scaffolded the crap out of my story, but once I’ve done it in normally takes two weeks to finish my draft, my computer is full of dead stories and shattered dreams.

        • Paulo R. Mendes

          Interesting. I am also trying to write a sci-fi story/setting: I called it “chronicles of the Great Network”. I still reuniting some ideas for it, but my entry in Alien August of this year, the Dishathi (http://www.scifiideas.com/sfi/alien-ideas/alien-profile-the-dishathi/) belongs to that setting.

        • Future-Bound-Entertainment

          I believe there actually was a sciencefiction series/story like that… and I believe it actually included John Carter of Mars on its list of worlds.

    • Future-Bound-Entertainment

      Well thank you for reading anyways. The intention I had when creating this species was to capture the “spirit of mars” as it has existed in culture, between conspiracy theories, old mars (John carter), and even a bit of real science (although not much).

      • Paulo R. Mendes

        It is really a shame that Mars never (?) was able to harbor intelligent life…:(

        • Future-Bound-Entertainment

          Funny thing, this is not even the only martian species we have submitted for Alien August on this site.

          You might find last years “Rovers” marginally more scientific.

          http://www.scifiideas.com/sfi/alien-ideas/alien-profiles/alien-profile-rovers/

          • Paulo R. Mendes

            Yes, the “Rovers” are a bit more scientific than the Martians, but unfortunately, I never was fan of your “Dan’s Voyage” web comic.

            • Future-Bound-Entertainment

              ouch XD

            • Paulo R. Mendes

              Sorry… :p

  • Pug Blade

    Hmm, I think a highly technological race would be more attractive…