Universal Constructors are a name given to a form of machine life by the Morlock Nebogipfel.
Appearance and CultureEdit
The general appearance of a Universal Constructor is described by the Time Traveller as pyramidal in shape, but appearing as if it is covered in busy worker ants. The reason for the appearance is because the Constructor is covered in what are described as cilia, which resemble different nanocells.
Though this is their normal appearance, the Constructors can take any form that is necessary for the environment they are in and create tools from their cilia, as well as use them to repair both mechanical and biological entities.
By the year 1891 A.D. in an alternative timeline the Constructors have spread throughout most of the Milky Way galaxy, building spheres around most of the stars and using stellar and planetary material for major works. They communicate in a vast network that Nebogipfel refers to as a "Sea of Information," much like a galactic internet. Though not necessarily individual personalities, the sheer number of Constructors lead them to break off into different factions when it comes to debating facts or courses of action.
The Universal Constructors are the descendents of machines created by humans from an alternate timeline than ours. In this timeline, humans from an alternate 1944 were stranded in the Palaeocene era, and thus had far more time to evolve than humans of our time period. These humans built machines with artificial intelligence to explore the stars. This exploration continued long after the extinction of humanity, with the machines continuing on in their search for knowledge. This eventually culminated in the creation of the Time Ships, largely made of Constructors themselves, with a goal of exploring back to the beginnings of our universe.
Baxter, Stephen (1995) The Time Ships, Harper Collins