Fictional Octopus Looking for Volunteers

Level_Head

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#1
Sort of, at least: Volunteer readers.

I've been an unregistered lurker on the forum for a year, and an occasional visitor from long before that. I've been delighted by the wealth of knowledge and experience here, and the tremendous resources the group has gathered and organized.

More than three decades ago, I kept a Caribbean Reef octopus for several months, and was fascinated with the creature. I'd always been a science enthusiast, and caught this one while diving. The roughly 20-inch armspan animal his in a submerged Clorox bottle, making capture simple -- and we already had a reef tank setup running.

For years, since, my appreciation of these intelligent beings has continued. Last year, I began to do something about it, which brought me back here in earnest. I dug into various papers and articles by folks here or linked from here and elsewhere, and then ... wrote a novel.

It is a fictional story about a society of further-evolved octopuses, set in the sea of a future Earth. I've tried to stick to hard science; this society is intelligent, but they have never discovered fire for example, and have no experience with metal or even wood.

It is yet unpublished, and I am looking for one or more "beta readers" to make sure that it sounds plausible enough to people who really know octopuses and marine biology. These beings -- "octans" in the story -- would still be recognizable as octopuses; their brains are much larger, but their bodies are not much bigger than GPO-sized. I've taken some liberties with attributes of a few different species, and given them color vision which seems to be rare in research so far.

There is a fair amount of involvement with coral, and I could use help/commentary in this area as well. I've had excellent feedback from non-cephalopod beta readers (awkwardly phrased, that -- none of the readers have actually been cephalopods) -- but that's people aspects, not the science side.

My desire is to represent octopuses well, to entertain while implanting information in the reader, sparking additional interest. I'm looking for help. The novel is about 100,000 words; standard science fiction-sized, in other words, and not a Colossal (or even a Giant) book.

Sorry for the verbose first post; I promise to be well-behaved.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#3
I can't be of much help on the science side and would likely miss glaring errors there but love sci-fi and have kept several octopuses (:wink:) and raised two (hopefully going on thee) sets of hatchlings. If you don't get enough takers from our biology heavy group or feel I can help, please include me as a "beta tester"
 

Level_Head

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#4
Thanks! I've seen your posts, and am delighted. If you would, send me a private message with an email address. The Word document is about 1.5mb, and I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

I've kept a 300 gallon reef tank for about twelve years (up until last April) but I did not have octopuses in it -- though I was always tempted, I knew that I could not take proper care of them -- not to mention having to depopulate the rest of the tank.

It was very enjoyable to vicariously follow along on Creepy, HP Lovecraft, Waldo, Kooah (babies!) and the rest of the gang, and join you in sadness when these short-lived wonders pass away.
 

tonmo

Titanites
Staff member
Webmaster
Moderator
#5
Nice to meet you Level_Head and thanks to the offer. I'd love to be in your beta group but I want the spots to go to our most knowledgeable TONMO'ers (I've never owned a tank, and am not a marine biologist... funny situation I've found myself in here! :smile:)... Good luck, I hope you publish!
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#6
:welcome: I'm curious, too... like Tony, I've never actually had an octo pet, though, so I'm also willing to yield to the more experienced folks if there are a limited number of copies going out.
 

Level_Head

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#7
Thank you, folks.

It's not a question of "limited number of copies" -- this is not a published book, though I certainly hope to fix that one day.

I'm also hoping to get your observations and commentary, and improve the thing before publishing. What I need are people who fit two categories: They enjoy science fiction, and they have respect for and interest in octopuses. I'm going to guess that anyone who is on this forum, and volunteers to read the story, fits both categories.

Knowledge of marine biology is definitely a plus, especially octopus anatomy -- it figures into the story quite a bit.

All I need is a solemn promise that, after you read it, you will tell me what you think. You can do this in a single-word email, or by making extensive commentary in the document itself, or anything in between.
 

Level_Head

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#8
If you would, please send me a private message with your email addresses, so that I can send you the document. It's in Microsoft Word (DOC format rather than DOCX) and is about a megabyte and a half.
 

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