Wednesday, July 29, 2015

So Could Humans Have Tentacles?

When researching my new novel, The Klockwerk Kraken, I looked into the science of tentacles. And really, the biggest question in my mind was whether or not humans could actually have tentacles. 

After all, the bartender in my novel does. He’s an ex-pat from a planet full of people with tentacles. 

In my future, the first settlers of Celos willingly submitted to genetic modification to make it easier for them and their children to live and work in a place not easily habitable for humans. 

In essence, instead of changing the planet, they changed the inhabitants—to have tentacles (and a few other modifications) to give them an advantage in a water-heavy environment and anti-gravity.

So how far-fetched is the idea that humans have tentacles?
Not so impossible, I found.

New research has uncovered that a very early ancestor of humans (and all other animals on Earth) likely had a tentacle or tentacles to aid them with catching food and moving around. An ancient brachiopod that lived more than 500 million years ago gave rise to mammals, birds, fish, and indeed had a tentacle. So tentacles are in our history.

Likewise, futurists theorize that developing tentacles might be awaiting us in the future. 

Neuroscientist Dr. Dean Burnett thinks it entirely possible that humans will develop tentacles in order to interact quicker and more efficiently with computer keyboards. Our fingers would lose their rigid structure and become more flexible and quicker when interfacing with technology.

And then we have what we know about tentacles on animals today. An octopus tentacle is basically a muscular hydrostat. That means it’s an organ made entirely of muscle with no bones for support. A muscular hydrostat relies on the fact that you can’t compress water. The muscle tissue that it is made of is mostly water as well, also making it incompressible. Therefore, it can wiggle and move and sometimes pick up things, feel around and explore.

In fact, humans already have a muscular hydrostat…you call it a tongue.

So, can humans have tentacles? If you get down to the nitty-gritty, we already do. Science fiction in this case is already science fact. :)

I'm pleased to announce that this summer, my first novel, "The Klockwerk Kraken" has been published by MLR Press.

When the supply shipments stop coming, Teo Houdin needs all his tentacles to keep his bar on Switchpoint Waystation open. Desperate to restock or face a riot from the miners stranded on the backwater edge of the galaxy, Teo helps a greenie space pilot buy a ship in return for a regular haul of liquor. But he longs for the courage to invite the enigmatic spacer to fill his lonely bed as well.

Still smarting from the newly implanted navigational ports, Jimenez knows owning his own ship will prevent him from ever being bought and sold again. For a former slave, transporting cargo through the emptiness of space sounds like paradise. But after meeting the compassionate and sexy Teo, his heart feels empty, too.

At the end of the galaxy's spiral arm, can Teo convince Jimenez that the heart has its own tentacles and theirs should be entwined forever?

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