Aliens, AIs and BEMs

Although humans are the predominant sentient species in the galaxy, Dumarest occasionally encounters non-human intelligence in his travels. Machine intelligence that has survived the demise of its creators is a recurring premise, although in some cases the qualifier of "artificial" life almost ceases to have meaning. Another recurring theme is that of the gestalt: composite organisms that are very much more than the sum of their individual parts. Notable examples include:

Likewise, much plant and animal life on the worlds where humans dwell is also of terrestrial origin, albeit often mutated, genetically engineered, or highly evolved into a specific niche in the local ecology, but there are a few memorable, apprently indigenous exceptions.

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