I've been working on an alien race for a while, and the look of them have changed a lot In the design process, but right now, I've stuck with metallic lifeforms.. essentially living machines, made possible by the strange elements and chemicals of their home world.

As another idea for these lifeforms, their form of technology is made from extremely modified carbon lifeforms, biologically similar to us! its' like.. if your computer was made from skin and organs and bones, y'know?? the idea is for the aliens to be completely inhuman, (as they should be,) and to look nothing like us, act nothing like us, yet have similar emotions and social lives, have similar political problems, they're even on the brink of extinction because of "manmade" climate change!

so, the questions..

  • what would these metallic lifeforms need for sustenance?

  • and from there, how would social traditions form? you know, how us humans have family dinners every night, would these lifeforms do weekly hardware checks together or something?

I'm thinking they'd have things like engines, computers for sensory input and higher thought, and interchangeable limbs or bodies! most prefer "form over function" looks, and might change throughout the day depending on what jobs they do! like how we change clothes for work, or social gatherings, or sleeping!

  • $\begingroup$ Hey @tlilly. Welcome to WB stack. I am looking for a question mark in your text. What question do you have about your metallic lifeforms? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 6, 2021 at 2:22
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    $\begingroup$ damn, you're right, I forgot all my questions.. well, how would the lifeforms work? what would their machine organs need for sustenance? if everything on the planet is a type of living machine, would it be easy to modify their bodies using other lifeforms? I was thinking that different aliens have different 'enhancements' for different jobs, and most of the richer people have bodies that are there to look pretty instead of have any function! like clothes, y'know? those goofy expensive outfits fashion models wear? $\endgroup$
    – tlilly
    Dec 6, 2021 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ metal oxide can form bonds with other molecules but the process is akin to welding with a torch ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 6, 2021 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ Edit your original post with the edit button. Add it at the end. The stuff you have can be backstory. Remember one question per post! You clearly have a lot of this already pictured. Figure out something where you are not sure how to make it work, then make that the question. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 6, 2021 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ I recommend referencing The Code of the Lifemaker by James P. Hogan, which features just such aliens--a whole ecology of machines, which have developed a limited form of organic technology. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2021 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


It's a self-replicating machine

There is no need for any special strange elements or biological components. It would be plausible enough (or perhaps even more plausible) for these aliens to simply be complex machines

These machines would, like pretty much all self-replicating systems, need two things: Energy and materials

The energy could come in many forms; they could likely use any source found in modern vehicles, though they would likely want a more stable source. The materials would simply have to be whatever these machines are made of; with these, they would need to be able to process and assemble new parts, either to implement into themselves or to use in a newly-made individual


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