The Violinists are an alien race who are allied with humans in the science fiction serial Spots the Space Marine. They are also informally called Fiddlers.
The original Violinists are marine creatures, more like shrimp than praying mantises. However, their primary sciences have been bio-engineering, and they have created versions of themselves that can exist on land in order to interact with humanity. These versions are vaguely insectoid in appearance. Human interaction has been almost solely with King models, which are slender and tall with three sets of arms--one manipulative, one defensive, and one communicative--with streamlined heads and tails.
Because of the emphasis on bioengineering, there are different "strains" of Fiddlers, which can look very different depending on their purpose.
Kings. Queens. (Queens never without escort.) Maidens versus Mothers.
Notes here say: "Kings have distributed nervous system. Fiddling, some scent and visceral memory stored in the second node." Note here about double-headaches." From the book: "Two neural nodes, a brain and a nexus at the base of the thorax. The second node handles music and scent, and retains memories related to those senses."
Eyes: faceted, large. With lids. Change colors within a limited spectrum.
Making sounds: spiracles and bowing.
The importance of scent. Phenomenal links and commands. Scent-linkage of mothers with their escorts. Biological programming against going outside one's role.
Hearing with the whole body: very accurate hearing.
Sensitivity to magnetic fields.
Note that the bio-engineering is also done on the individual level, with individuals snapping off limbs and regrowing them for specific purposes.
Chitin is added from the inside, so any markings on the outside will expand if a limb is in the process of growing.
Talk here about average lifespan: human versions versus sea versions, and Queens versus Kings (about 20 years).
Talk about molt-state (during which light and most noises are stressful). About injury leading to an unconscious version of the molt-state.Waking up in need of a great deal of fuel.
"Fertilization of a Mother's eggs requires the death of the male in question. When a Mother consumes a male, she gives his personality and memories to the eggs. Which would raise up a generation of clones. It stifles evolution, both individually and as a species. So we have developed a special set of males—blanks—without personalities or higher-functioning minds. They fertilize the eggs, the Mothers consume them and the babies are therefore born with unprinted minds."
"When I am old, I will return to the homeworld where I will retire to a maturation chamber with an egg. In the two weeks it takes for it to grow to its adult form, it will consume my body and finally my brain, completing its adolescence."
Two weeks from egg to adult form. Average Fiddler "clutches" are 10-12 eggs.
Passage of MemoryEdit
Talk here about eating brains, and lineage/memory/personalities being passed on. Note here about booby-trapping enemy heads.
Alcohol is too strong, as blood volume by size is lower than in humans. Earthbound fiddlers prefer to inhale their intoxicants, usually in the form of incenses.
The Fiddler language is written as a series of dots and lines, with signs above and below them to indicate musical intonation. Information intended as factual is often written without musical inflection ("science writing"). Musical inflection may also be left out if the writer wishes the emotional content of the writing to remain ambiguous.
The use of "we" versus "I" when talking as an individual versus as someone-and-their-lineage.
Information here about humorists/performance and other forms of recreation, like surfing.
Information here about different kinds of relationships and roles (mother's escort, mother's guardian, peer, liaison, etc).
Talk here about allowing human names, and about the importance of titles.
Lineage and honors are painted on the thorax; the extremities are reserved for personal statements. Since they are painted by others, they sometimes express the relationship between peers.
They are mostly names: other Peers we have interacted with in service to humanity. The marks need to be renewed periodically to keep them from fading. If the male who applied them is still alive, we would seek him and ask him to redo them; since he may be the memory in a new body, it becomes a way to re-establish or re-state the importance of the relationship. If the peer is not alive, a Fiddler resorts to a professional refresher. Someone whose task is to repaint old marks, without emotional attachment. Note: this paint is fluorescent, and has a scent.
From the book:
"The first music we ever heard was a cappella. We learned music from our ocean's great sea mammals. Much like your whales, they sing. They are larger and more numerous than the Earth equivalent, and their songs are part of the ocean, like the texture of water and the color of light through waves. We were always aware of music. We always danced. But we did not realize that someone made the song until we grew older. And then... ah, everything changed. For generations, we followed the singers. They allowed us to cling to their sides as they traversed their great migration paths, journeys they undertook each season but that lasted several of our generations. We learned a great deal from them, living and dying and being born among them. Some of our theologians believe music taught us to order our thoughts."
(They call the perspective of creatures like humans and whales "warmblood view.")
Talk about the engineering of the defensive versions.