Friday, 20 September 2013

The Sigman

OK. That last post quoted an example of characteristically flamboyant Andersonian characterization from The Long Way Home. Now let's get down with summarizing the description of the physically nauseating alien "Sigman" in Andersion's The Byworlder (London, 1974):

a 3 meter long, 130 centimeter wide, spongy black, flexible ellipsoid, covered by three layers of golden-brown plates independently mounted on muscular stalks, permanently glistening with moisture and excreted slime, occasionally revealing the black inner sponginess when the Sigman stretches;

four legs near the middle, two arms at each end, four claws each surrounded by six tentacle fingers, several tendrils with sensors including four eyes;

no front or back;

claws macerate food, then hold it against the spongy surface of the sheathed arms where digestive juices break it down until it is absorbed up the arms;

a booming voice from vibrating tympani;

many human observers are physically sickened.

Like Larry Niven's Pierson's Puppeteers, a laudable attempt to envisage a non-human alien, although not one that we would like to meet. I have yet to reread far enough to learn anything about Sigman psychology.

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