Hoon (fiction)

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The Hoon are a fictional extraterrestrial race from David Brin's Uplift Universe.

Hoon (ab-Guthatsa-ul-Rousit) Uplifted by their patrons, the Guthatsa. Uplifting their client race, the Rousit.

Physiology[edit]

Hoon are bipedal omnivores with pale scaly skin and woolly white leg fur. Their pre-uplift habitats were the Alpine mountains and valleys of Guthatsaphta. (See below.)

Arms and legs consist of three segments. There are two elbows per arm and two knees per leg. Every joint is hypermobile, or double jointed. The middle segment of an arm or leg can be twisted into a locked position, making carrying loads easy.

A Hoon's hand has a thumb and three fingers, the middle finger being the shortest. Both outer fingers are equal in dexterity.

Toe-hooks can be sheathed and un-sheaved. Their original use was in safely crossing frozen lakes and rivers. Though frowned upon in polite society, the hooks are powerful enough to let an adult Hoon hang upside-down from a wooden rafter.

Their twin spines are massive, hollow structures. One forms part of their circulatory system. An adolescent spine is replaced at maturity.

The Hoon's inflatable throat sacs, were originally used for mating display; the male's sac being larger than the female sac. Each sac consists of an inner and outer sac, with all air flow being controlled by the sucker pads. The sound produced by the throat sac is called an umble. The sac cannot operate as a bagpipe as umbling requires an exhale rate faster than the intake rate. As all Hoon can turn off their sense of hearing at will, a tribal umble was often used by the pre-contact Hoon to bring down dangerously unstable snow packs.

Camouflage in the snow is the reason for a Hoon's pale scaly skin and woolly white leg fur. But the leg fur only turns white upon maturity. With a massive head disproportionate to the baby's long arms and legs, a dropped infant will always fall head first. The darker fur makes it easier for the parent to find a child partially embedded in a snow bank--especially in a blizzard.

Galactic importance[edit]

Current Hoon leasehold planets, in order of settlement:

Guthatsaphta. Homeworld. (Literally Gal Six for "Leased to the Guthatsa.")

Huphoonthrum. (Gal Six for "Hoon's first planet.)

Pathrumphta. (Gal Six for "Third leased planet.")

Dinthrumphta. (Fourth leased planet.)

Twiithrumphta. (Fifth, etc.)

Arillarah. Rousit homeworld.

Hurumphta. (Seventh leased planet.)


Only the names Guthatsaphta and Arillarah are forever fixed, as both planets have brought forth pre-sapient races. Before the special case of Arillarah and the Rousit, the Hoon were always given a young planet with a long term very low potential for producing a pre-sapient.

Leaseholders are free to name/rename planets that have never produced a pre-sapient race.

Very unimaginative naming.

Galactic culture[edit]

Like many of the races that populate Jijo, their counterparts that are still a part of the Galactic culture are quite different from them.

"Although hoon have a reputation for officious stodginess (see below), this appears to have been more a result of culture than genetic predisposition. Influenced by contact with other races, small cults of hoon began experimenting with alternate lifestyles. Faced with repression, one of these took flight and went "sooner," joining an illegal colony of refugees hiding on the fallow world Jijo, in Galaxy Four. Like many of the races that populate Jijo, their social relations and culture vary considerably from counterparts who are still a part of the Galactic culture." --D.B. Those Hoon in Galactic culture are respected and feared bureaucrats in the service of many Institutions, and mortal enemies of the rather pro-natalist and dynamic Urs. Hoon have a reputation for being sober, impeccably proper, and insufferably officious.

Hoon, in their capacity as incorruptible bureaucrats working for the Institute of Migration, authorized the "depopulation" of the Human colony world of NuDawn in the first decade of Terra's encounter with Galactic civilization. They refused to accept ignorance of Tradition as a mitigating factor, and refused to exercise any discretionary power to grant pleas for mercy; this, despite the fact that these imperious bureaucrats readily admitted that the laws they had to apply in this particular case were unjust. The massacre of stubborn holdout colonists was carried out with astounding efficiency and a minimum of terror or pain. Such Hoon forces as participated in the "Extermination of Illegal Settler Infestations" displayed neither pleasure nor remorse. They were simply professionally efficient.

Terragen-Hoon relations can be described as -- at best -- cordial and correct and Terragen policy is to diplomatically back the Urs in any confrontation with Hoon.

Jijo settlers[edit]

They are known as seafarers and as musicians who are able to make musical tones with their throat sacs, “umbling”.

"Perhaps the most surprising aspects to the new hoon culture established on Jijo were skills acquired from the other six refugee races. First, adoption of a sense of humor, and then a love of ocean sailing. Given that hoon cannot swim and sink rapidly in water, all galactic hoon avoid the shore or large bodies of water, as a matter of reflex. On Jijo, one legendary hoonish hero was said to have accompanied Qheuen sailors, whereupon he fell in love with the sea and soon converted others." --D.B.


History and origins[edit]

Found by the Guthatsa, Hoons were raised to sentiency, but little else is known about their history except that they have at least uplifted one race, the Rousit. Their reason for journeying to Jijo was because an oracle had told them that they would find their lost birthright on a forbidden world. They became the fifth wave of settlers who set down on the planet.

See also[edit]

The Uplift series
Sundiver (1980) | Startide Rising (1983) | The Uplift War (1987)
Uplift Storm trilogy
Brightness Reef (1995) | Infinity's Shore (1996) | Heaven's Reach (1998)