The Great Spindle Kings were aliens who lived 400 million years before the events detailed in the science fiction book Strata by Terry Pratchett.

Because they evolved on a low gravity world they were tall, 3 metres or more (~10 feet) and thin, weighing only 90 pounds. They had legs banded with purple and orange, and big clown-size feet . Each of their hands had two thumbs. Their faces were adorned with long snouts. The entire Spindle body functioned as a brain. Finding internal organs other than the brain had proved difficult.

Nobody had been able to work out how the Great Spindle Kings reproduced. It must have been difficult for Spindles because they were so intensely telepathic that they could not stand to be within fifty miles of another Spindle. They found the mental “noise” unbearable.

They don’t sound much like gods, but they almost were.

They used strata machines, terraforming machines of huge size and unimaginable power, to turn Venuses into Earths. They created Earth. Our Earth. They communicated by modulating the hydrogen line in the spectrum of a local star. They ruled the Universe.

Then they discovered the crushed ruins of a city under miles of bedrock. It was 500 million years old. It contained strata machines.

It wasn’t a Spindle city.

It had been built and inhabited by the Wheelers, silicon based lifeforms with hemispherical shells that moved on three natural wheels. The Spindles discovered that they weren’t the best, and they weren’t the first. Over the next few thousand years the Great Spindle Kings died out from injured pride.

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