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Even animals adapted to living in the oceans have difficulty living in the open ocean.











































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Ocean Living in SciFi

The oceans are the last great raw frontier of the planet. In our deserts and our Arctic zones human beings jostle with the environment. But within our oceans, humanity clusters only at the borders.

The problem is the hostility of the ocean environment and the raw energy that can be released during storms. Macro structures such as oceangoing trees would be pounded to destruction. Ocean life remains microscopic. But the ocean is a very fertile environment indeed.


Our proposal rests on two basic solutions:

  • Using biology to create an economic habitat, suitable to the needs of its human inhabitants.
  • Using technology to bypass the energy of storms and the oceans by going beneath the waves for limited periods of time.

Our metallic structures and boats all wear out. But a living structure continues to grow and adapt and become stronger with age and size. Boats made from metal or concrete or ceramics need to be replaced. Living organic structures adapt and repair themselves, becoming more able to sustain life not less so with ongoing physical stress and trauma.



Examples from science fiction referring to the technology of Ocean Colonisation:

Credeiki from David Brin’s novel “Star tide Rising”: the dolphin crewmen are able to live within the oceans and use technology, in effect becoming part of their environment. Bio- engineering humans to live in the oceans has long been dreamt of.

Glinnes Hulden from Jack Vance‘s Alastor cluster series, shows what it may be like to share a marine environment with hostile intelligent life forms. Humanity has the upper hand with its technology, but it has a responsibility for preserving life and biodiversity.
Glinnes Punting on River SigmaPsiGlinnes Hulden


The sea folk of Poul Anderson’s “War of the Wingmen” come closest to representing a boat based civilisation. Of interest here is the imposition of the way of life on the boats, onto the social structure that sustains the sea people. There need to be social as well as technological adaptations to new ways of life.

David Brin: Star Tide Rising. One of the main species featuring in the novel are the dolphins. The human gene crafted neo-dolphins are derived from Tursiops amicus and Stenos bredanensis dolphin species.

Although the neo-dolphins have been modified for greater intelligence, communication skills and ability to interact with and manipulate machinery, they are colonists in the traditional sense – sea mammals living in the sea as these mammals have for millions of years. Humans remain interlopers in this environment in much the same relationship that we have with our oceans on this planet.



Allan Dean Foster: Cachalot. Humans on the planet Cachalot are strictly confined to a few islands and the floating towns, exploiting the wealth of the Seas.

The cetaceans that have been ceded the planet as a perpetual refuge seem to have forgiven thousands of years of terror and slaughter they had suffered at the hands of the humans. Some had even befriended humans.

Julian May: Orion Arm. Our protagonist Helmut Icicle returns to his rustic home of keys and atolls. Humans use small submarines to travel amidst the shoals and reefs between the islands. Whilst an idyllic existence, it becomes obvious that it is hard to maintain the technology.

In our current world, submarines represent a high pinnacle of technology with multiple backup systems to ensure safety. This makes them expensive to build, expensive to run and expensive to maintain. Simple economics may be the main reason that humanity is banned from exploiting the oceans using colonisation.
Helmut Icicle SigmaPsiHelmut Icicle

Neil Asher: The Skinner. The oceans of ScatterJay are dangerous to life and humanity. Humanity exists based on the few small islands dotting the planet. Humanity has colonised this world.

The native ship captains are colonised by the ScatterJay virus conferring longevity but at a price. The virus also creates an unusual cycle of life and death on the planet. Humanity is a participant in this world akin to being a spectator at the Coliseum in Rome.
ErlinLifeResearcher SigmaPsiErlin

Kinkajou..... Kinkajou Tells It True


What does this technology remind me of in Brisbane? :

The drawcards are the beaches of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. The Gold Coast is south of Brisbane. The Sunshine Coast is north or Brisbane. And for a real treat, book yourself a few days at Stradbroke as well.



Clever New Applications:

  • Mangrove Treeships
  • Organic Electronics (Examples existing in science fiction include Harry Harrison’s: West of Eden and Allen Dean Foster: The Man Who Used the Universe ((the Nueell).

    In mature technology, longer lead times for design and construction using a difficult technology such as DNA organics can be justified by the end product remaining useful for a long period of time. Organic Electronics bypasses the problem of seawater and corrosion of metallic electronic components.

  • Membrane Breathers. A technology promoted in David Brin: Star Tide Rising. They extract oxygen from water and pass it on to everything marine creatures such as humans and perhaps even dolphins in oceanic environments. A human caught in a storm could survive within the ocean if able to breathe.


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