1. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    To Human or Not to Human!

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Seraph751, Jul 6, 2016.

    As a fantasy junkie, I get a kick out of all the different species, their histories, and cultures that dwell, war, and love with this genre. I love it plain and simple. The book I am working on has no straight up humans. In many ways I want to push the boundaries of what is 'humanity' vs 'being human' if that makes any sense for my characters. Something alien to us, but something we can still connect with to a degree. I know the idea is viable because I am a nut and I love the concept however, loving the concept and people to connecting to it are two different things. By the way, they are humanoid in appearance if that helps. Thoughts???
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I think people can connect with non-human things as long as they have recognizably human traits. You can write about animals or aliens or fantasy creatures or robots or toys and as long as they're relatable people will pretty much be fine with it.
     
  3. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    @izzybot What would you define as human traits as that is quite a broad spectrum.
     
  4. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Well, yes. It is a broad spectrum, so it's hard to define. Compassion for others? Curiosity? Fear? Unless you're purposefully trying to make something emotionally alien, there's a good chance that any kind of characterization can be read as 'human'.
     
  5. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    It would be incredibly difficult to write something without human characteristics. We can't truly comprehend anything else. By nature, we will write it that way.

    But I'm with izzybot. In order for there to be an emotional connection, we need to be able to identify with the emotions of the characters. Without said connection, I'm not sure, as writers, we can expect anyone to relate, and from a bond with a fictional character.
     
  6. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    @Spencer1990
    @izzybot
    Okay, then let us say that one of my characters is emotionally flat. There is nothing to really connect with in that aspect, however if I were to tie the connecting point to her actions/situations she finds herself in and use that 'flatness' as a jumping board to create emotion based reactions to her issues/circumstances/reactions then would that would also be way for the reader to connect with?
     
  7. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Even emotional flatness is an emotion. I think some would call it being despondent, dejected, numb. Where you'll run into a problem is trying to dehumanize your characters for the sake of dehumanizing them.

    I will stick with my original statement in that I couldn't come up with an example of writing about characters without base human qualities, or qualities that humans can relate to. We don't know anything else, right? If you're writing characters, they are doing things, readers will superimpose reasons.

    Examples would help me to better understand exactly what it is you're getting at.
     
  8. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Take the average of humanity- what is socially/emotionally acceptable and or not use that as a base to deviate from or build on. Maybe through their actions would be a better way to go about 'de-humanizing' the characters to some extent.
    For example:

    "When Cherry blandly answered, “I only stabbed you once, nothing get to your panties in a wad over.” Xanthe started to climb over the table to strangle the little twat before being grabbed by [a comrade]. “That hurt you fucking bitch!” Xanthe roared as she struggled to free herself so she could kill the little toe rag. “Well it’s not my fault that you cannot take a little pain.” Cherry stated as she daintily sipped her tea."
     
  9. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Emotionally you would need to have been conditioned to or raised in a way that make an action such as that acceptable, but if you have an entire society based on that then does that not make it kind foreign to us? At least as we are now as species. Such a culture would be considered barbaric. So then if I took that thought process from that passage alone and built on it. Designed an entire culture about that kind of barbarism then it would indeed be not human or at least not civilized for sure.
     
  10. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    I once read a first-person story about an Artificial Intelligence. I loved it. Thing that made me relate? The AI was so advanced it showed human emotions and thought-patterns combined with an AI's intelligence and multitasking capabilities. In that context, I think anything goes as long as a reader can relate to the characters. And the readers are all human. (Or so we think...)
     
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  11. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Think that no more! I Zeeglebrock have came to read all of Earth's books!:D
    To the point. I think that, like everyone else, making a non-human is going to be exceedingly hard as even if human qualities aren't there, you'll add them in. I'm not going to get into a debate about animals (I personally believe that all vertebrates and many invertebrates can feel pain and emotion) but even with lower life forms such as worms and zoo-plankton people add emotions and feelings in. Children's books actively encourage this behaviour with smiling flowers and things. Humans have made a film about ants feeling love, guilt, anger and pride! (Officially ants can not feel any emotions.) If you do wish to make non-humans you have a very hard task.
     
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  12. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    By all means I agree. However the loophole in your statement is that if all creatures have emotions then we cannot say that because something has emotions we've 'humanized'. We only just realized (generally speaking, compared to the amount of time our species has existed) that other living thinks have a emotions etc. However if you take us a species, what defines us as humans as of the way we look and alter and that. Then that is doable. Yes it will be a lot of work but if I provide a more human foil I think they would balance or could balance each other out nicely.
     
  13. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Seraph751

    I've found an entire system for generating non-human psychologies that I've had a great deal of success in using :) Would you be interested?
     
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  14. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    I am definitely interested!
     
  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the "Craziest group/race in your story?" thread, my answer was:

    Since then, I have developed an Urban Fantasy world where the main races are

    Humans: our Maslow's Hierarchy hasn't changed ;) Survival-Security-Relationships-Contribution-Security

    Vampires: Survival-Specialness-Security-Relationships-Contribution

    Psoglavi: Relationships-Specialness-Contribution-Survival-Security

    Orcs: Survival-Relationships-Contribution-Specialness-Security
     
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