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Non-human characters in fiction?

I was just thinking about Nokwahl, my non-human main character in three different novels (one of which - "I'll Tell You No Lies" - has been published), and it occurred to me to wonder how often scifi authors use non-human main characters. Like, THE main character is non-human, such as I did; Nokwahl is an Ah'Koi Bahnis. Humanoid, but non-human, and with a culture very much unlike ours. I knew when I first started those stories that it was unusual to have non-human main characters. But I still don't know quite how unusual.

Also, and this sort of counts, Lyria isn't the same species of human as us anymore, she's changed herself so much. And the rest of her children... some of them aren't human at all, or are barely human. (All her children are made in a lab, or from two or more lab-created children breeding with each other. Lyria has the ability to get pregnant, but finds the process personally distasteful.) And my first attempt to write the Playground of the Gods story before Lyria was around had me telling the tale from the point of view of an energy being with an abrasive personality (who is still in the story. His name is Zyalin.)

Oh, and there's the graphic novel series "Hellboy." Hellboy, raised by humans, but he's a demon.

So... any other examples of main characters who are non-human? (And I don't count elves or fairies unless their thought processes and/or culture is VERY unusual from that of humans.)

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 18th, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC)
Neat. :-)
Jul. 18th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
One of the sF classics is Needle by Hal Clement. It's mostly from the viewpoint of an alien. Another of his is Mission of Gravity which has the main character being very alien physically.

C.J. Cherryh has done several books with aliens as characters. Best known is probably the Chanur Books. Pride of Chanur was the original. Later she wrote a Trilogy set in the same setting (with many of the same characters. Then even later was Chanur's Homecoming, set a generation later.

Pride of Chanur is fun because it's set in the Compact which is a sort of union of five (or six depending on how you count) species.

It's told from the viewpoint of some Hani (felinoid aliens with a culture somewhat similar to lions). There's *one* human in the book and for a good chunk of it they can barely talk to him.
Jul. 18th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
The Omniverse Tales' main characters are all non-human. The intergalactic Empire that is the center of the Tales is also based not on the Roman Empire (and thus with shades of Asimov and Lucas) but on the long history of Imperial China. The only series like it where none of the main characters are human are the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintaglio_Ascension_Trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer, which focus on sapient evolved Tyrannosaurs and are really a morality play about the emergence of science.

The only thing the Omniverse-aliens Xaderavcal and Yezharnin have in common with humans is that they are bipedal tetrapods. Everything else is alien, and Imperial China as an influence gives the actual Empire of the Tales an overtone of alien-ness distinct from the Roman/East Roman/Caliphate inspired mainstream Sci-Fi.
Jul. 18th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)

I tried reading that book you mentioned. I usually like Sawyer's stuff, but that one was a rotten egg.
Jul. 18th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
Asprin's The Bug Wars

Main character is a big alien lizard.

Jul. 18th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Neat. Thanks!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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