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Completely non-human cast of characters? What book?

  1. May 6, 2017 #1
    What scifi have you read that has NO reference to humans, is completely distant from human-space?

    Did the book work? Or were they all/mostly humans with six legs?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2017 #2

    fresh_42

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    I assume this would be a bad idea for a plot. Readers usually (want to?!) identify themselves to a certain extend with the main character - hero - or at least want to be alike. I guess this is the reason why Spock was such a successful character. So introducing an all alien cast would unnecessarily make this identification more difficult and as a consequence the story less successful. Humans with six legs sounds funny and already rather extraterrestrial. I guess more promising might be and were a all alien, but still human like society like the various species on star trek, which although alien, are still merely a projection of certain types of human characters: testosterone driven Klingons, greedy Ferengi or logical Vulcans. S. Lem as well as D. Adams solved this with a human pilot, resp. naive human explorer, traveling from one strange world to an even stranger next one.

    My conclusion is: As authors know this mechanism, and successful concepts heavily rely on this principle, it would be sort of foolish to invest energy in such a plot and might be the reason why either there are none or they were flops and nobody knows them.

    Correction. I've found one: Duckburg. However, I think that wasn't what you meant. The more as it even adds more not less evidence to my hypothesis.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  4. May 6, 2017 #3
    I'm in the comfortable position of being able to write without worrying about needing to feed myself via that most risky of pursuits. Given that an experiment would be fun and, as my wife puts it, keep me from running around the neighborhood and peeing on fire hydrants. ;)

    ETA: The mechanism will be journal entries for each character. It's a multi-species mission with each member chose for its particular skill/proclivity. The reader will be required to sort out who's who as the journals unfold.
     
  5. May 6, 2017 #4

    BillTre

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    I like experiments. Good Luck!

    I was trying to think of something like what you described.
    All I could think of was Flatland, which I have heard and read about, but never read myself.
    I believe it has no human characters in it.
    Like @fresh_42 implied, they're a lot of stories with many non-humans and a single human to interpret things (Alice in Wonderland, many human meets alien films).

    Maybe you could do a story of molecules in a cell. There are hierarchies and boss molecules to make conflicts!
     
  6. May 6, 2017 #5
    The story is for a group of highly militant pinnipeds, so the bacteria won't work. They'll be grading it on realism in line with their chosen field of endeavor. They don't know it yet but each of the critters will be a (through a glass darkly) reflection of their group members.
     
  7. May 7, 2017 #6

    fresh_42

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    Sounds like an essay about Sparta would do.
     
  8. May 7, 2017 #7
    Interesting. How do you see that?
     
  9. May 7, 2017 #8

    fresh_42

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    I'm not quite sure, what this means or if "for" should have been "of", but the Spartanian society had been a highly militant one in which basically everything had been subordinated military needs and goals and ...
    ... sounds like the classic concept of a parable.
     
  10. May 7, 2017 #9
    These guys are US military. The story will be a play on the personnel of that team. They're really just Ordinary Joes who happen to be very good their jobs.
     
  11. May 7, 2017 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    There have certainly been Doctor Who episodes without any human characters - e.g. State of Decay. However, the "non-humans" look human, act human, and even speak English with British accents.
     
  12. May 7, 2017 #11
    And wear discards from hardware stores.
     
  13. May 9, 2017 #12
    The Redwall series utilized a cast of highly anthropomorphized small mammals. Like fuzzy humans with whiskers?
    I feel like you're asking for something different, though. Something...

    If we found life out there, it might be very difficult to recognize. Would they have eyes or ears for example? There's no particular reason to think so. They may not even possess bilateral symmetry.

    Books contain stories that engage our imaginations, and emotions. Could a book about completely non-human creatures move you? If they had desires or emotions whatsoever, but you couldn't recognize them, could you still imagine yourself in that place? A story without fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... those things are human, excluded. I'm not sure it would work.

    A slightly fun exercise might be to imagine that the events of the Star Wars universe, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, happened in a universe completely devoid of humans. The movies cast humans to make certain characters more relatable, but they were all really as alien as the tiny creatures Jabba eats out of the bowl.
     
  14. May 9, 2017 #13
    I've asked since Ep. 4 came out why so many races far, far away looked liked upgraded Star Trek characters.
     
  15. May 9, 2017 #14

    Vanadium 50

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    A third of Asimov's The Gods Themselves involves only non-humans. Since that was originally published as three serials, it's possible that one of them is alien-only.
     
  16. May 9, 2017 #15

    russ_watters

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    And how about Star Wars?
     
  17. May 9, 2017 #16

    Vanadium 50

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    Kind of a weird request, but I'll try:

    Been Doctor Who episodes without any human characters, there have. State of Decay, one example is. However, the "Non-humans" look human they do , act human they do, and with British accents they speak.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  18. May 9, 2017 #17
    Not all that weird, Just looking for alternative forms for the protagonists. Not every hero has to have bright yellow skin and a long chrome-coloured queue.
     
  19. May 10, 2017 #18

    jim hardy

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    Try Robert Sheckley's collection of short stories "Untouched by Human Hands" , in particular the one "'Specialist". I see it's out on Kindle now. .
     
  20. May 10, 2017 #19
    How about "Nightfall" from Asimov/Silverberg?
     
  21. May 10, 2017 #20
    Ah, good one. Also "Rescue Party" short story.
     
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