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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Moldies  
  Autonomous, intelligent, artificial life forms.  

Monique was shaped more or less like a chessman with arms, like a pawn or a queen or a knight. The exact appearance of her humanoid head and arms was something she could tweak...In [her] alternate "pelican" mode, Monique became a set of great flapping wings attached to a tapered big-eyed body... Monique's tissues had at least three other basic attractor modes as well: the spread-out "puddle" shape she used for soaking up sun, the seagoing "shark" shape, and the rarely used "rocket" shape that moldies could use to fly back and forth between the Earth and the Moon.
From Freeware, by Rudy Rucker.
Published by HarperCollins in 1997
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Freeware
  More Ideas and Technology by Rudy Rucker
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  - DARPA M3 Soft Camo Robots
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