The Fohens are a reptile-like people who evolved in a forested region of theFohen planet Fohia. They have small, but noticeable, scales. Their skin has some random camouflage pattern of green and other colors. The pattern, size, and color is an individual characteristic.

They are humanoid. Adults are 3.5 to 4 feet tall. Compared to human proportions, they could be said to have an oversized head, scrawny arms and legs, and pot bellies. They have 5 fingers (including opposable thumbs) and toes. Ears may vary in size, but tend to be elf-like (pointed.)

Although Fohens are reptilian, they do have
hair on their heads in a human pattern, except that there is no sexual dimorphism. Both sexes grow hair on their scalp and have facial moustaches and beards. Females, however, tend to wear their hair in styles different from males. Some females also remove their facial hair, especially their beards. Hair color is naturally greens and browns, but may be artificially colored.

Modern Fohen eat a variety of foods, but one of their favorites is a thick "soup." Actually, it is more like a stew but it contains no large pieces except for the "alphabet soup" which contains small letters and numbers made of pasta. Cooks sometimes serve this with a cute message spelled out for their children, lover, or other recipient.

The belly on both sexes appears to have a navel, but does not. This bellybutton-like feature is the Fohens' genital opening. During sexual activity, the penis of the male extends from his genital opening and penetrates the female's. Pregnant females give birth to a single infant after 6 Fohen-months gestation. At birth, the infant's head is smaller than the adult proportion (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny) and the birthing process is much easier than with humans.

Since no provision must be made biologically for the birth of a baby with a big head, the large hips seen in humans are not present in Fohen anatomy. Nor do they have breasts since newborns are able to eat semi-solid foods. (See the following paragraph for more information on this aspect.) As a result there is no external sexual dimorphism. Modern Fohens often show sexual differences by hair or clothing styles. Males and females can, however, be differentiated by distinct sexually specific scents. These are sometimes enhanced by the use of specific perfumes and herbal lotions.

Infant Fohen are able to east semi-solid foods. Modern Fohen often prepare these foods artificially, however newborns release a pheromone which stimulates its parents (or any other adult who spends too much time around it) to produce a semisolid called erst sou (first soup, commonly referred to simply as erst) in their stomachs. They regurgitate the erst to feed the newborn (analogous to terrestrial pigeons) for several months.

Fohens are identified by single, two-part names, like DerfRitt. Each part is capitalized. The individual is often called by just the first part - Derf. The second part is not a family name. The Fohens do not use family names. The second name is just something that the parents chose because they liked the sound and thought it went well with the first name. Both names are used together with emphasis when chastising an individual. (We do something similar: "Jack Ryan! I told you not to bring home a puppy from that farm auction!") The full name may be used without emphasis in formal occasions or between individuals who are not friends (something like the use of "Sie" in German.)

Fohen do not have a formal marriage ceremony, although there may be a wedding party and they may recite the traditional wedding exchange: "In the heartbeat of a desert clam, I, [name1] take [name2] as my [wife/husband]." A marriage has no legal contract--the participants simply agree to live together as a sharing pair. Divorce, however, is a legal process because it means dividing up property and other responsibilities (like children.)

At the time of my story, "The Porcelain Hourglass", the Fohen people have a semi-industrial society. In many ways, it resembles Medieval European society, but they do have some steam-powered machines and vehicles (steam punk?). Air travel is by blimps, zeppelins, or balloons. Wind- or steam-powered craft are used on the water.

Because the skies on Fohia are perpetually cloudy, all they can see during daytime is a "Daily Glare." Because the Daily Glare produces only indistinct shadows at best, the Fohen have no sun dials. They have never discovered glass and have no mechanical timepieces. They use an hourglass-like item, the porcelain horologe, to keep track of time.

Another consequence of not having glass is that there is no glass in windows. Buildings do have windows, but they are open to the outer environment. Some may have a screen to keep out small life forms. Most have shutters that can be closed.

"Fohen" was derived from the WordWeb random word selection, Foehn (A warm dry wind that blows down the northern slopes of theĀ Alps). The only anagram that the program created was "hen of," which I saw no use for. So I swapped the h and e in Foehn to get Fohen.

"Erst Sou" was derived from the WordWeb random word selection, estrous. I liked the anagram, "erst sou" because it sounded like "first soup."

Other Fohen life forms include:

Desert Clam: A Fohen animal which resembles a terrestrial clam, except that it lives under the surface of deserts where it preys on passing animals with a long, sticky tongue. They can get about as big as an American-style football. Because they live in hot environments, they have a very rapid heartbeat which helps the blood to disperse heat.

SnopoSoup/Snopo: Fohen. A small reptilian species common in The Seaward Valley and many other Fohen environments. Treasured because it is easily domesticated and because it makes a delicious stew or soup (hence its second name). They are about the size of a terrestrial house cat. Snopos are covered with almost unnoticeable scales and small hairs. They have evolved to have a skin pigmented with camouflage patterns that makes them hard to see in the wild. Hair on snopos from arctic regions tends to be long and furry, and may change from its summer camouflage pattern to a white winter coat. Click here for an IMAGE of a snopo as seen near The Seaward Valley.(The Porcelain Hourglass)

WordWeb Random Word: "soup spoon" > Anagram: Snoop Soup. But I thought "Snoop" might give readers the notion that they were some sort of spy, so I altered the spelling to "Snopo."

Page updated: 21 July 2020
Page created: 11 May 2015