In The Gods Themselves, the second part deals with what are (metaphorically, at least) the gods referenced in the title. These are the soft ones and the hard ones. The soft ones have a quite unusual biological nature, with three sexes and an extremely, strikingly unusual life cycle. What is most obviously peculiar about them, though, is their very softness.
They can, to some extent, pass through solid matter. The different sexes had different characteristic degrees of solidity, with the energy-collecting emotionals being the softest. The softness also varies between parts of the body and over time. (One emotional apparently has an unusually hard corner that provokes some gossip.)
Another key fact about the soft ones is that they live in a different universe, with somewhat different physical laws.** What I have begun to wonder is whether the peculiar nature of the soft ones is related to this in some way. A couple things suggest otherwise: the existence of hard ones that (however thinly described) sound like much more Earth-like organisms; and the fact that the difference in physics between the two universes is primarily in the strong interactions that hold nuclei together. On the other hand, the fact that the soft ones do not seem like they could exist within the framework of physics as we know it gives me pause.
So, is there anything in the book that I missed, that suggests the different physics are related to the soft ones' nature? Or did Asimov have anything to say about the matter?
**Asimov's notion of how the different physical laws would affect stars is totally wrong, but that's not really that important.