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Venus Unveiled: Peoples of Venus

A bestiary--no, a sentiary, a list of sentient species native to Venus after terraforming

SPECIES WHAT? WHERE? BEHAVIOR
AI Artificial intelligences are common on and around Venus, but AIs are better seen as a phase of life than as a species--you may start out as an animal or a program and careen through a series of incarnations as a robot, organic person, pattern in the Web, chip-enhanced animal, smart tree... depending on your work, location, and personality. Ubiquitous, but especially common in orbital cities Pure AIs shouldn't have a species-character, but they do: without animal instincts, very young and old AIs tend toward geeky, naive, enthusiastic idealism, while moderately experienced (adolescent?) AIs tend toward a "just kidding" arrogance--frustrated with other species' slowness to accept the Obvious Thing To Do.
ANGEL
Lightly built humans with hollow bones and 5-meter wingspans. Feathers are waterproof. Angels can fly many hours at 90-100 kph. Ubiquitous, though everywhere less common than unmodified humans who use strap-on wings. Humanlike, though:
1) Angels swim, but not well. They prefer cliffy coasts to beaches.
2) Angels in bed with you always crawl on top (squashed wings won't lift).
ANTELOPE CYBORGS In this species each individual is a small antelope family within the herd, monitored/guided by an AI--usually one new to organic life, for such herds are a training ground for action, sensation, and emotion. Javine Is. Visitors are welcome, but be aware that cyborg antelope are shy and easily overwhelmed by too much social contact.
ANTELOPE, WINGED
Some island chains are grassy but too small and drought-prone to sustain healthy farming or grazing populations on any single one. Migratory herds of winged antelope are the answer. Flashing their white underwings sends messages between isles. The Itoki Islands (Alma, Blid, Castro, etc); the Mnemosynes; the Vashti Is.; many dry islets off the Hassttse-Baad coast, from the Gegutes to Urutonga. Shy, sensitive people, with minimal material culture, but rich inner lives. Winged antelope are famed for their delicate emotional perceptions, depth psychology, love poetry, and aerial courtship dances.
BEAR Large bears with opposable thumbs, based mostly on grizzly/brown bears, but calmer. Inland Ishtar, the Quetzalpetlatl Plateau in West Lada, the mountains of Western and Central Aphrodite Smoked salmon, totem poles, bear jam, bear beer. It's not all food--see a masked bear drama, rivaling the myth-plays of the Kwakiutl and Haida.
BEES
Thumb-size hive insects with nanotransmitters linking the members into a true hive mind, though for instinctual reasons the bee-dance will never die Ubiquitous in fertile regions; for example, see Tellus Stunning architecture, sweet temper, ancient dance, hypnotic hum. Many treetop and clifftop hives now have guest cells and commons big enough for visitors. Be sure to try bee perfume, flavored honeys, pollen cakes, jelly, nectars, wines and cordials.
BONOBO Chimplike, but leggier and more upright, gracile (lightly built). A gentle, sensual, intuitive and psychologically perceptive people. Omnivorous, but today mostly ethical vegetarians. Rainforests of eastern Themis, Ulfrun on Aphrodite, Bell, East Lada, Imdr Bonobo communes and sex hostels are famous--people of every species seek healing there. Bonobos living among other species often become psychologists, counselors, and doctors, or actors, dancers and standup comics.
CETACEAN see DOLPHIN, ORCA, WHALE
CHIMP Omnivorous arboreal apes, small but stocky and strong Rainforests like Ulfrun and Rusalka Forest and Manatum, the Shulamite Highlands in Themis, Umay-Ene in the Alpha Is. Often found in politics and other competitive sports.
COCKATOO Properly "megacockatoo", often shortened to "megatoo", these elegant crested white birds have wingspans of 4-5 meters and weigh up to 20 kilos--one of which is a compact, efficient brain. Common in warmer lands. If you think of cockatoos as crested, bleach-blonde parrots with sweeter voices, you won't be far off. Social, a bit temperamental. Masters of 3D visualization, with an ear for music to intimidate a whale.
COYOTE
A small to midsized winged canine with at least as much genetic heritage from domestic dogs as Terran coyotes. They just won't admit it. Ubiquitous--the most widely and evenly distributed species on Venus. Choral hymns (coyotes sing to the rings, since no natural moons are available). Cooking. Storytelling. Interspecies sexual innovations. Comedy. Private eyes. Shady occupations such as capitalist, politician, and moral debt collector.
CYBORG see AI
DOLPHIN: FRESHWATER Several species, really, in different lake and river systems, like the... blind fruitarians in Themis and their cousins in Hathor These nearsighted dolphins, living in muddy swamps of mangrove roots, have the best sonar in the world, and are much sought after as starship pilots and sound engineers.
DOLPHIN: TURSIOPS
(BOTTLENOSE)
These small fish-eating whales are little changed, other than the fingers at their fin tips. Rocky coasts, especially with offshore deeps where nutrients upwell, like the Hippolyta Is east of Hathor. Jokes, jokes, always with the jokes...
ELEPHANT (see also
MAMMOTH)
About the size of the Indian elephant. Tip of the trunk is more differentiated, with three (and in some individuals, four) large "fingers," all opposable. Savanna: Dhorani, Ushas, Lake Salme (Ishtar), Fossey Basin and the Jokwa Desert and Itoki Bay (East Aphrodite), Clannish--it's hard to live among species you can squash inadvertently. Or advertently, if they're big cats, who elephants instinctively dislike. They dominate construction, infrasonic music, storytelling. They invented body murals. They talk like they invented dreamwork, too, but they're just very good at it.
EQUINE see PREZEBRA, LICORNE
GLIDERWOLF see WOLVES
GORILLA Huge herbivorous primates, the largest arboreal people on Venus--aside from sentient trees themselves! Forests in the Ananke Is., Mt Maat, south Ishtar, the Alpha Is., upland Hathor Horticulturalists and fruitgrowers, philosophers, teachers, nurses, advocates and mediators.
HORSE see PREZEBRA, LICORNE
HUMAN
Balding, non-arboreal, quasi-amphibious apes. Though rather inept in the water, they cluster along coasts and congregate in great mating rookeries on sunny beaches. Ubiquitous, except deep rainforest and inland deserts. Obsessed with exploring niches they don't naturally fit in, humans are big customers for strap-on wings, scuba gear, space suits, chip implants, etc.
LEMUR Tall, slender, leggy, long-tailed arboreal primates, rather feline-looking--accentuated by modern lemurs' huge eyes and pointed, mobile ears, much like a housecat's. Forests in Imdr, Nepthys, Hathor and Hippolyta in Dione, and the greener orbital cities. Poets, visual and scent-artists, actors, dancers, and lovers (most species find lemurs adorable. But then, lemurs find lemurs adorable.)
LEOPARD
Semi-arboreal midsize cats, traditionally solitary but now moderately social. One of the few land-dwelling peoples still mostly carnivorous. Mixed savanna and open woods, as on Ludjatako and northern Parga, or the Navka Is. A sensual, humorous, wickedly funny people. Superb treehouse architects and 3D planners. Antelope- and roo-ranching. Dance, yoga, bodywork, seduction, sex, scents and herbs. Good researchers, stalking data like deer.
LICORNE
(see also Prezebra)
A very new species mixing equine, deer, antelope and giraffe genes. Small and gracile, with a single straight horn, though the horselike tail diverges from the medieval unicorn. Instead of hands, licornes use long, prehensile giraffe-tongues and symbiotic birds. The first experimental licorne herds are on Var in the Navka Islands. Their giraffe genes make licornes sweeter-tempered than zebras. Ballet, acting, athletics (the fastest runners on Venus), sexual arts (their delicate beauty and prehensile tongues make every virgin chase licornes), and music (the horn's a resonator with openable side-holes).
LION Big social cats; one of the few land-dwelling peoples still carnivorous. Leonine clannishness is largely a myth; they simply dislike meat-voyeurs. Warm prairies: the Navka Islands, Ushas, Cape Kolias and other plains of central Aphrodite Cattle ranching, exploration, sports, piloting, security, politics, massage. Lions are moody and complex: fiercely loyal, practical, sensual, friendly, but with a sense of the tragic.
MAMMOTH
(see also
ELEPHANT)
Large shaggy cold-adapted elephants, common on Mars but rare on Earth and Venus. Cold highlands like the Lakshmi, Atete or Quetzalpetlatl Plateaus. Infrasonic music, painting, storytelling, furstyling, especially dye jobs.
MEGACOCKATOO
MEGAPARROT
MEGARAVEN
see COCKATOO
PARROT
RAVEN
OCTOPUS A molluscan people, mostly nocturnal, communicating via signs, pictures projected on the skin, and typed text. Rocky shallows, such as Itoki Bay in East Aphrodite, the Hippolyta Islands, or Eastern Alpha's Xiwang Mu Is. A shy species, wary of vertebrates and little seen. Skilled with tools and technologically ambitious, especially the Itoki Bay Culture. The Hippolyta sculptors are known System-wide. Octopus decor beats Rococo for sheer feverish invention.
ORANGUTAN Large arboreal apes with red-brown fur and flat faces. Vegetarians, solitary by nature, communicating mostly by email. Isolated rainforests: inland Imdr and Tonatzin, tiny Beiwe, the Kruchina Is., Siduri in central Themis Solitary eco-monitoring, which for orangutans is a form of worship. Less mystical orangutans are often engineers, as the species has an extraordinary feel for tools and mechanical processes.
ORCA Giant black and white dolphins, essentially. Often "killer whales" in older texts. Coasts where cooler nutrient-laden water upwells and fish abound, like the Hippolyta Is. off Hathor, or the Gahanos in the Antarctic Sea. Orcas, both individuals and tribes, vary too much to summarize easily. A quirky people.
OTTER
A lake and river people, up to two meters long, based mostly on the giant Amazonian otter. Omnivores partial to fish--and everything else. Ubiquitous along lakeshores--which means nearly everywhere on Venus, from jungly Themis to the dry heart of Aphrodite. All the cliches are true. Otters really are as playful and good-natured as you think. But their dexterity and cunning rival their social skill--more otters are civic engineers and architects than chefs, sculptors, therapists or clowns.
OWL
A relatively new intelligent species. Nocturnal carnivores with a 4-meter wingspan. In the torrid zone, owls are white year-round now--it's cooler, and they don't need hunting camouflage these days--some owls are even (high-protein) vegetarians. Can be found in all climates, from hot to cold. See Hathor With their exquisite hearing, owls make fine musicians. See an owl ballet--ringlit aerobatics full of drama as the ballerinas dodge trees uncannily, by ear more than eye.
PARROT Properly "megaparrots", these red and green omnivorous nut-loving birds have wingspans of 4-5 meters and weigh up to 20 kilos--one of which is a compact, efficient brain. Ubiquitous in warmer lands; see East Phoebe, Tonatzin, and Hathor Often fruit and nut farmers, but parrots are in every field--except solitary work. They're smart, quirky, loud, individualistic... but deeply social.
PREZEBRA
(see also Licorne)

A mix of zebra and Przewalski's Horse (big-brained Mongolian wild horse) plus accessories (color vision, grammar, math chip, etc). Handless, they voice-command symbiotic birds or minibots. Most have zebra mohawks, but some sport horselike manes, tails and coats--plain, striped, spotted, dyed, or bodymuraled. Prairies, like Nagavonyi Veldt on Parga, Ushas, Ludjatako I., Vasilisa, Aphrodite's Cape Lesavka, and west Phoebe. Highly individualistic verbal culture, with story- and song-duels. Other arts: body decoration, landscape sculpture (patterned grazing). Prezebras are feisty anti-authoritarians, but sociable, and fiercely loyal to their friends.
RABBIT
Also called megarabbits, megarabs, and just plain rabs. Meter-long chip-augmented rabbits with long tails and stubby hands, living in hobbitlike warrens. A new, experimental people limited to loose-soiled grasslands. Only on Potter in the Navka Islands, though new burrows on neighboring islands are under construction. A social, sensual (touch and smell-oriented), rank-conscious people. Scent-art, gnaw-patterned gardens, earthwork-art like Andy Goldsworthy's. They throw a great orgy, unless you're claustrophobic.
RAVEN Properly megaravens, these black long-billed omnivorous birds have wingspans of 4-5 meters and weigh up to 20 kilos--one of which is a compact, efficient brain. Ubiquitous on Mars and cooler zones of Venus, like Ishtar, and uplands like Mt Maat or the Devana Range. Colonies even in the torrid zone, like Mt Innini on Dione Dextrous, curious, playful, acrobatic. Ravens can be found in every field but opera singer (though their scats and raps are unsurpassed). Sociable and outspoken, but they bear solitude better than parrots. A raven will find a way to turn any task into fun.
SPHINX
A new species, a gengineered mixture: a cheetah frame, with wings, hands and a humanish head. Omnivores, mostly ethical vegetarians. A scaled-up raven brain-architecture with human and feline modules. Nearly leopard-sized, sphinxes are more delicate: hollow-boned! Not common, but widespread. Some live in treetop- and cliff-villages, but most prefer mixed company--wolves, angels, parrots, lemurs, even zebras and winged deer who mistrust other cats. The most social felines. Friendly, as sensual as leopards, but gentler, due to their fragility. They excel in dance, bodywork, seduction, sex, scents and herbs. With cat, primate and corvid curiosity, sphinxes are as nosy as their myth. Cliff-fishers, researchers, shamans, actors.
SQUID, GIANT A huge carnivorous mollusc of the deep sea, surfacing only on dark nights. Able to project complex images on their skin, and navigate in three dimensions with unsurpassed skill. Trenches and deeps like Toma Hole, Mead and Stanton craters, Madderakka Hole, the Xiwang Mu Is., the Vaidelute Cliffs The squid of Madderakka Hole, wrestling whales before huge audiences, qualify as hams--lowbrow perhaps, but the most social of squid. Toma Hole and the Vaidelute Cliff cultures have loftier ambitions--as starship pilots.
TREE:
ENTS AND HUORNS
Tree-minds sensing and directing the growth of whole groves, not single trees. Ent isn't a species name; a number of tree-species link like this. dense rainforests like Tellus, lowland Themis and Imdr Not an easy group to know, as Ents and especially Huorns (antisocial Ents, though the name may be a joke) mostly ignore animal life, though they may have AI friends and seem to like baleen whales.
TREE:
INN-TREE
Large sentient trees growing warm, podlike rooms (windows and all). Inn trees bud off food (and social drugs like hot coffee or cold beer) as naturally as a cow gives milk. Rainforests like Themis, Bell, Hathor, and Imdr. Tree-inns shelter other species in exchange for gossip, entertainment and nutrients (a euphemism for garbage and shit, OK?)
TREE:
MOTHERTREE,
TREEMOM,
FRUITBEARER
Tree-minds whose bodies are living genetic factories, bearing strange fruit: new organisms, from naturalistic to utilitarian to fanciful... even intelligent. Rainforests like Bell, Themis and Hathor The art of playing God. Species creation. Planetary ikebana, if you prefer.
UNICORN see LICORNE
WHALE, BALEEN Large filter-feeding cetaceans. Several species: gray, finback, blue, etc. Dolphins are coastal; sperm whales hunt the deeps; but baleens graze all of Venus's seas. Typical calving lagoon: Poloznitsa Bay. Music festival: Madderaka Hole in the Navka Is. It's as singers that the big whales are famed, though their contributions to philosophy can't be ignored. Living centuries without hands, unable to affect the world directly, makes you think.
WHALE, SPERM Big, squarish-browed toothed whales Deep seas, especially around blue holes and trenches where small squid abound. The biggest brains in the solar system, bar none (up to 7 kg--yours is 1.5 if you're lucky). So what do they do with them? Championship squid wrestling! More proof God (or Darwin) is asleep at the wheel...
WOLF, GLIDERWOLF
Large canines with broad skin flaps, able to glide long distances in Venus's thick air, even soar on thermals. Wolves are classed as Carnivora, but they were always omnivores, and today they're farmers and herders--mostly (high-protein) vegetarians. Mountain, cliff and mesa country. A typical community is Mt Spandarmat on Parga Small farms and dairies, Mesa Verde style cliff dwellings. Wolf cuisine is famous, expecially wolf cheese, wolf tofu. The best-run sheep ranches in the Solar System yield wolf wool.
ZEBRAS see PREZEBRAS

Map of terraformed Venus. Mountains are white, highlands gold, lowlands brown.
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