Publisher Marketing on Alexander Jablokov's Deepdrive, 1998:

The twenty-first-century solar system is a smaller, more crowded place. Eleven extraterrestrial races have settled the planets and moons, sometimes interacting with human beings, sometimes ignoring them altogether in pursuit of their own enigmatic ends. On Venus, the massive Bgarth tunnel tirelessly beneath the soil, transforming the planet in strange and unpredictable ways. On Mercury, insectoid Gunners fire their isotopic cannon into the heart of the Sun for reasons no one can fathom. And on Earth, human clans struggle to possess the eggs of the Ulanyi, whose powerful placental minds confer social and political prominence.


image pair by lolumad

In Deepdrive (some crazed fan put up an entire scan of the book here--welcome to the future of publishing), the author envisions a perverse symbiotic relationship between future humans living in the North American Great Plains and the above-described aliens, the Ulanyi. When the Ulanyi eggs hatch, the crab-like Ulanyi are followed around the plains by semi-nomadic humans who watch carefully so that nothing will interfere with their mating to produce more embryos. (A clan's status is dependent on whether it possesses a sentient embro.) When adult Ulanyi mate, humans dive between their bodies to prevent them killing each other with "flailing, deadly limbs" before the moment of fertilization occurs.

This idea of Jablokov's of humans devolving to bond with the creepiest of Lovecraftian extraterrestrials stuck with me. Was thinking also of Robert E. Howard's writing about orientalized Other races making pacts with evil deities, when I made this post on dump.fm of a crab-monster pampered by Egyptian slaves. This could be a Howard-ized Ulanyi egg above after hatching:


The "slaves" are reduced in size to fit on the blog--please see the original. They should be closer to the scale of the alien. As envisioned by Jablokov the adult Ulanyi are about the size of a buffalo.

(thanks to the original artists who made the GIFs in these combos--the web remembers you)