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Alien Eyes - Here On Earth!
Telescopefish are small, deep-sea aulopiform fish. Rarely seen, they are found in cold, deep tropical to subtropical waters worldwide.
Science fiction authors do not have the constraints of being able to use only Earth DNA; they are free to imagine light-sensing cells in wildly different ways. Here is a small sample of the variety found in sf:
They were on a gallery high above a large circular chamber, perhaps a hundred meters across...
It was lifeless... staring up at him. It filled almost all that great circular space, and the ruby light gleamed and shifted in its crystal depths.
It was a single giant eye.
From the Overlord's description, Jan built up a picture of a cyclopean beast living among the asteroidal rubble of some distant sun, its growth uninhibited by gravity, depending for food and life upon the resolving power of its single eye.
From Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.
His sense organs were gathered in clusters at the site of a man's ears; his visage... was corrugated muscle, not dissimilar to the look of the uncovered human brain.
The Meks from The Last Castle by Jack Vance
Facing him from the middle of the room was something neither human nor
humanoid. It stood on three legs, and it regarded Louis Wu from
two directions, from two flat heads mounted on flexible, slender necks.
Over most of its startling frame, the skin was white and glovesoft; but
a thick, coarse brown mane ran from between the beasts necks, back along
its spine, to cover the complex-looking hip joint of the hind leg. The
two forelegs were set wide apart, so that the beast's small, clawed
hooves formed almost an equilateral triangle.
Louis guessed that the thing was an alien animal. In those flat
heads there would be no room for brains. But he noticed the hump that
rose between the bases of the necks, where the mane became a thick
protective mop... and a memory floated up from eighteen decades behind him.
This was a puppeteer, a Pierson's puppeteer. Its brain and skull
were under the hump. It was not an animal; it was at least as intelligent as
a man. And its eyes, one to a head in deep bone sockets, stared fixedly
at Louis Wu from two directions.
The Puppeteers from Ringworld by Larry Niven
"Its body architecture has been redesigned for greater efficiency, our useless simian hangovers have been left out, and its organs have been rearranged in a more sensible fashion...You can't say its not human, for it is .. an improved model. Take that extra appendage at the wrist. That's another hand, a miniature one... backed up by a microscopic eye. You can see how useful that would be, once you get used to the idea..."
The genetically-modified humans from Methuselah's Children by Robert Heinlein
In John Campbell's THE ULTIMATE WEAPON, the aliens had two eyes, but they were mounted one above the other. The top one was capable of telescopic focus and the bottom had microscopic focus. (contributed by @nyrath)
('The Ultimate Weapon' by John Campbell)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/25/2022)
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