24
$\begingroup$

Water does not exist. The two main liquids are lava, and some kind of "life essence" (let's call it mana).

One random day, a rock solidified with the ability to produce mana through photosynthesis, and life appeared (only mineral lifeforms, nothing organic). Every living thing pretty much looks like a rock patchwork, glued and animated by mana.

Life evolved, humanoids appear, and reach an age where they are able to produce, extract, and use mana as energy through industrialization.

However, since nothing is organic, there's no wool or anything to produce fabric.

What would be an easy, cheap way to produce a fabric-like material ?

I'm fine with magic, but it needs to be plausible.

$\endgroup$
  • 22
    $\begingroup$ What's plausible in "living things made up of rock animated by mana"? But OK, they would use clothes made up of mineral wool softened with mana. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 2 '17 at 15:16
  • 20
    $\begingroup$ Asbestos. Fiberglass. Mica. Slag wool. Basalt fiber. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Mar 2 '17 at 15:17
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ If you have mineral based life forms do they even need clothing? Seems like they would have some pretty tough skin. $\endgroup$ – Josh King Mar 2 '17 at 15:28
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ What I think is weird is why an animated rock species(golem) would adapt to a humanoid appereance. They can manipulate there bodies with mana without joints, it would make more sense to have wheels. Also, would they be earth golems, lava golems or metal golems. Though perhaps if they are similar to humans they should have metal bones, lava blood and rock skin. That would be cool and explain the humanoid appearance if they had a similar body structure. $\endgroup$ – Necessity Mar 2 '17 at 22:54
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If your dry rocks can evolve into fully-fledged humanoids, I don't see why sheep are an issue. Why can't rock sheep evolve along the way too, and why do rocks need fabric? $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Mar 3 '17 at 2:15
35
$\begingroup$

Asbestos

Sure, we're familiar with asbestos for its carcinogenic tendencies, but that's only the case in organic life forms; your silicon-based ones probably wouldn't have a problem with it.

Asbestos is a set of naturally occurring minerals that produce long, flexible fibres. These fibres can be spun or woven into fabric with relative easy (easier with some forms than with others).

Glass fibre

Much like asbestos, glass fibre consists of long, thin, flexible strands. It too can be woven into a fabric or wool - indeed, if you've ever looked at the insulation in your walls or your attic, you've probably got plenty of glass fibre right there. It's flexible and very practical, and it can either occur naturally or be manufactured.

$\endgroup$
  • 20
    $\begingroup$ "Come human, try our fantastic alien clothing. It's made from the best mana infused....mineral threads. Nothing to worry about at all." $\endgroup$ – Virusbomb Mar 2 '17 at 15:33
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ I'm not a geologist, but I don't think asbestos can form in the absence of water. All forms of asbestos have hydroxyl (OH) groups in their chemical structure, which are formed when precursor minerals are exposed to water. If there's no water, it's hard to see where the hydroxyl groups come from (if there's free oxygen and hydrogen, then there will very soon be water). See for example this Wikipedia article on serpentinite, from which we get the commonest form of asbestos. $\endgroup$ – Mike Scott Mar 2 '17 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ PSA: fiberglass insulation will leave your hands with zillions of tiny, itchy cuts, so be careful. $\endgroup$ – MissMonicaE Mar 3 '17 at 18:01
36
$\begingroup$

Basalt fiber

It is a common material, found anywhere there are volcanoes on Earth. It is stronger than fiberglass, requires only melting and extruding as preparation (no chemical processes), and has a filament size 2-3 times that of asbestos so it doesn't cause cancer (may or may not be problem as Werrf said).

Plus it makes everyone on your world look like they are wire shielded against EMP.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wish I could accept multiple answers, I'm going to make use of yours too $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Irhala No worries, my answer was just a followup to Werrf's anyways. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 3 '17 at 16:28
12
$\begingroup$

Metal fibres

A fabric is something woven or knitted out of fibres. We as humans prefer fibres from animal or vegetal sources for various reasons, but mineral (like Werff proposed) or metal fibers can be made into a fabric just as easily.

To some degree, you could say that chainmail is already a fabric made of metal.

$\endgroup$
11
$\begingroup$

They are living rocks. What use would they have for a fabric?

If they they want to make themselves look pretty, maybe use paint. Heck, if they have some electrical knowledge, they could use electroplating to cover part or all of themselves with gold or some other metal.

If you absolutely need a fabric, asbestos wouldn't work well. The fibers would break pretty quickly. I would go with glass fibers (they can take a bit of bending) or, better yet, metal fibers. I'd use gold or steel since they can both take a lot of repeated bending.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "They are living rocks - What use do they have for fabric?" -- You might ask the same about humans. Why do you assume rock beings to not have a feel of shame about their body as we do? $\endgroup$ – F.P Mar 3 '17 at 9:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @FlorianPeschka: Originally speaking fabric is more used for protection (weather, underbush, ...). If you look at indigenous in tropical/equatorial climates you'll note they have little to no cloths. $\endgroup$ – Matthieu M. Mar 3 '17 at 10:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MatthieuM. "Man, the sulphur winds are chilly today, amirite?" "Yeah, but at least it keeps the Vent Adders from nippin' at yer gonads." "Too right. Up for some lava surfing, mate?" $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Mar 3 '17 at 12:09
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I have no idea why the rockmen are Australian, but they'll want protection from Mother Nature even if their Mother Nature is five hundred degrees hotter than ours. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Mar 3 '17 at 12:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs Their ability to speak is TBD, but if they can, I can guarantee at least one of them will have an Australian accent, just for you $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 3 '17 at 13:46
6
$\begingroup$

The animals themselves have some kind of flexible outer skin, right? To suppliment their own skin, intelligent beings will first turn to animal skins and leather.

What kind of chemistry+magic allows this skin to exist? Living animals and plants might serve as feedstock, e.g. primitive humans learned to extract collogen and produce geleton from it. They made ropes from animal tendons, and other internal parts.

More advanced cultures will take advantage of the same stuff (whatever chemistry+magic forms permit the existence of these materials) to refine and eventually synthesize their own with desired properties.

So, the details depend on the rules of that universe. But consider an analogy of boiling bones or connective tissues between the hard plates of killed animals, to get the fiberous component out.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ What would that skin be made of ? I can hardly imagine it. They don't really need it, so the evolutionary process shouldn't give them one $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Also, their body is very simple, just imagine bricks mashed together with magic glue. The bricks aren't living, but the glue is, and makes use of the bricks as a medium to live in the physical world $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Irhala can their limbs move? The skin needs to conform to the body’s movements. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 2 '17 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, they're humanoid (I mean, head, torso, 2 legs and arms) and they can move, but I don't think they should have any skin $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 22:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The surface where the animal ends so there is air or whatever on the outside: even if you don't consider it to be skin, I'm pointing out that it has properties of conforming to the underlying shape, and would serve as a useful hide or yield the way to produce conformal (flexible) substances. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 3 '17 at 0:24
1
$\begingroup$

Maybe there could be asteroids made out of wool or cotton, and the rock people have to launch rockets to do space mining so that they can wear clothes. As an added bonus, this would enable you to add a cool subplot about space mining.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ There's no spacecraft in their technology yet, just the beginning of industrialization. By the way, those asteroids would have to harbor life if they were to have cotton or wool $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 19:44
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you can have living rocks and mana, you can have cotton asteroids. Same level of plausibility. $\endgroup$ – Darth Egregious Mar 2 '17 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ Not really. Mana has its reason to exist in this world I haven't explained here, but cotton doesn't. That's the point I made, it needs to have a reason $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 19:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah but if you're fabricating reasons for mana why not fabricate a reason for fabric while you're at it? $\endgroup$ – Darth Egregious Mar 2 '17 at 19:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The point is, fabricating reasons is what makes a world incoherent. I'd like to minimize my decisions, and build a world that stems from deeper, hidden decisions. Just like how the sky is blue : It's not blue because it was decided it would be blue, but because of the atmosphere's effect on sunlight. Presence of water on Earth is also partly because of its atmosphere, and our world is coherent because Earth's atmosphere matches both of these criteria. $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 2 '17 at 20:21
1
$\begingroup$

Light-weight carbon fiber acts like cloth.

Kevlar or similar materials might also be possible.

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fiber

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiberglass

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallic_fiber

for more potential ideas.

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Hi @peaceoutside - welcome to Worldbuilding! For answers with links, please provide a brief description as links might go dead in the future (although I know it's unlikely for Wikipedia). $\endgroup$ – Mikey Mar 2 '17 at 23:26
1
$\begingroup$

If the issue is about garments; for status, affiliations, and the like, then why not simply state so? In the pulps, Burroughs' Barsoom had people going about completely naked save for jewelry and weapons, which served as symbols of power and status; no mention of clothing to cover the body, just accessories for social purposes...

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ No, it's about fabric in general. Clothes, decorations, tools... pretty much everything you would use fabric for. $\endgroup$ – Irhala Mar 4 '17 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, MrNemo, sorry your answer was given a tough reception. Please understand answering and asking questions here is a tricky art. It takes time to learn how to do it right. This happens to us all. Your answer provides an alternative to what the OP asked, but the focus is on fabric making. Have fun here. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 4 '17 at 1:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I believe this answer was reviewed BEFORE (based on MY comment above). Is there a reasonable limit on reviewing answers/questions? Otherwise, eventually every question & answer could be closed. $\endgroup$ – a4android Apr 26 '17 at 4:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.