Artificial Life | E. Christopher Clark

Artificial Life


Artificial Life is an umbrella term in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe, used to describe any synthetic sapient being—regardless of the specific magic or technology used to create said being. But while the phrase was originally created for the purposes of dispassionate scientific classification, an abbreviation—“artie”—has come to be used as pejorative in some iterations of reality and in the purgatorial paradise of Eden. That said, synthetic beings in Eden have sought to reclaim the epithet in recent years and many proclaim themselves as “arties” with great pride.


Notable Examples


Ranging from the vaguely person-shaped to individuals indistinguishable from the species they were designed to simulate, androids are self-powered and self-sustaining artificial intelligences. Many begin life as disembodied beings confined by the computers and networks where they were programmed, and most delight in being given a physical form—relishing the experience.


Most, but not all.



Automatons are similar to androids, but they do not possess as self-sustaining fuel source. As such, they are far more dependent upon the whims of their creators or other friendly lifeforms. Whether they are coin-operated, cranked on, or wound up, automatons need help to get going and keep going.



Golems are sculpted from clay or stone and given life when the name of a deity is etched onto the underside of their tongues. You can read a whole article about them here.



Also called Stringless, living puppets are created by a pact between a fairy and another sapient being. They are each characterized by a so-called “fatal flaw,” introduced as part of the fairy’s bargain. Famous examples of these flaws include noses which grow under stress, insatiable cravings for chocolate chip cookies, or an obsession with counting things.



Living scarecrows are the accidental byproducts of strange Munchkin ritual where mundane, lifeless scarecrows are covered in blood to keep vampires away from inhabited areas.


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Dec 4, 2023 03:33 by Emily Armstrong

Ooooo really diggin' the species in this article! I loooved the Stringless when you came out with that article and it's awesome getting to read about all the artificial life in your world! So freakin' creative my dude, keep at it!

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Dec 4, 2023 11:47 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! This is one stub I've been meaning to turn into a full-fledged article for a while.

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Dec 4, 2023 13:51 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Great overview. I love that they are reclaiming 'arties' for themselves! :)   The Stringless still give me the creeps though.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 4, 2023 17:33 by E. Christopher Clark

Haha, thanks. Yeah, the stringless kinda creep me out too sometimes—and I created them, lol!

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Dec 4, 2023 23:08 by jyliet of the house

These people are so creative! I think it's great to write about this more collective dynamic between these lifeforms with so much in common. I also love the illustration! Fantastic.

Dec 5, 2023 01:08 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks so much! I'm really happy to start sharing the illustrations I created for this month, and I'm glad folks are liking the grouping of these lifeforms together. I was a little unsure of it at first, but I went with my gut.

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Dec 5, 2023 00:05 by Chris L

Ok, I'm super happy with this one! I love the Stringless with their "fatal flaws" most of all!

For your consideration, my submissions for the WorldAnvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024. (I've also included some of my favorites other worldbuilders.)

Dec 5, 2023 01:09 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks, man! I'm happy to finally be sharing some of the art I worked all November on. More soon!

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