In Sue Burke's Semiosis, the characters arrived from Earth with relatively minimal supplies. But as the story progresses there are numerous examples of Earth names being used for plants and animals: tulips, oranges, pineapple, cats, bats, wheat, etc.

Some of these, such as ground eagles, clearly are of extraterrestrial origin. But in other cases it is not as clear. Which, if any, were terrestrial in origin?

1 Answer 1


None of them. The colonists just used Earth names for things that superficially resembled the namesake on Earth -- much the same way that the bird called "robin" in Britain and "robin" in the US are totally different birds except for the colors.

Sorry for not making this clearer. Thanks for asking.

Sue Burke (author) https://semiosispax.com/

  • I guess this can't get clearer and more definite than the author's word on it. Welcome to the site!
    – Jenayah
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:31
  • I'm honored to get a genuinely authoritative answer! My question was not meant to be critical of the storytelling however, I thought the admixture of Earthen language and Pax's ecology cleverly described the human's experience of their environment, and brought the reader right along with the generations. I thought I had remembered an early part of the story mentioning wheat which could have been from Earth, so it was just a clarification. Jan 28, 2019 at 20:16
  • 1
    I'm glad you asked it, and I'm even happier that you enjoyed the book!
    – Sue Burke
    Jan 28, 2019 at 22:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.