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Can anybody offer any for novels (or academic papers, or articles...) that do interesting things with or alien plant life? Particularly with regards to changes in how photosynthesis might utilize different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum for energy.

@JamieEllison have you read any Anne McCaffrey? I'm currently reading Dragonsdawn. She apparently did quite a bit of scientific research. More zoological than botanical though.

@Ohana_Education dragonsdawn is one of my favorite books! But yeah the plant life is pretty straightforward in the Pern books, and I'm looking for something that pushes the envelope a little more. Starship Troopers by Heinlein has a reference about how the sun of a certain "New Earth" planet has less radiation which leads to fewer mutations and slower evolution, which I found fascinating, for example. Though that's more of a throwaway line than anything, alas.

@JamieEllison hi there, are you looking for non-fiction works specifically or is this just a thing for you?

@geordie I'm looking for science fiction (or fantasy with strong botany underpinnings) mostly, but I'm interested in nonfiction speculative essays and papers as well.

@JamieEllison have you looked at Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? It's way old school, and a bit... er... incorrect? But it's a cool science fiction novel and the author gets quite into how everything - even tobacco - has an aquatic analogue

@geordie I haven't read many of the classics, mostly because as you say, the science isn't quite there anymore (one of the reasons I read SF is to get an introduction to science concepts I didn't get a lot of background on in school) and because books I read in school from the genre (like Brave New World) weren't really my cup of tea. Asimov is about as far back as I've voluntarily gone in the SF canon. I should probably give them another go now that I'm all grown up and stuff.

@JamieEllison One of my all-time favorites is Janet Kagan's Mirabile, a series of connected stories about what happens when a colony is sent out to settle a planet with a ship full of genetically "enhanced" terrestrial organisms: extra genomes are hidden in the embryos, which start expressing in an uncontrolled fashion. Mostly animals, but they do get tomatoes that seed mosquitoes and daffodils that hatch fireflies.

@delibrarian That sounds awesome! Adding it to my pile right now. Can't wait to pick it up. Genetic Engineering Gone Wrong is sort of a guilty pleasure for me, but this example of Weird Botany seems too neat to miss. :)

@JamieEllison have you read the diary of a space zucchini from NASA? It’s a short read but very worth it from both an entertainment and science pov !

@vis_viva I have not but with a title like that, how could I not want to?! Thanks for the tip!

@JamieEllison we had a discussion in my physics class today on something you might find interesting- why chlorophyll reflects green even though the sun emits mostly in green light.
Some engineers actually figured it out developing solar cells- It has to do with where the slope of the blackbody curve of the sun is greatest! This has really profound implications... any plantlife that may be around other stars could have different colored leaves depending on the temperature of the star!

@vis_viva Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I've been traveling and I wanted to give this my full attention, because I DO find it interesting. A Scientific American article on this topic -- -- is actually what inspired the initial question, so it's super cool to know it's showing up in modern physics classes! I haven't read the article you mentioned, but it's definitely on my to-do list even if I have to nag some physicists I know to interpret the denser bits.

@JamieEllison The paper is "Natural Regulation of Energy Flow in a Green Quantum Photocell" by Trevor B. Arp, Yafis Barlas, Vivek Aji, and Nathaniel M. Gabor.
The relationship to photosynthesis is mentioned in the last paragraph, and the relevant figure is 2b.
Hope you find this as interesting as I did!

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