Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Aliens Need to be Human

Aliens need to be human.

I've been reading Robert J Sawyer's Far-Seer. A sci fi novel set in a dinosaur world. And I've decided that even if your main characters are aliens, they still need to be human. The reader still needs to relate to them.

Villains and monsters can be monstrous and inhuman as well as inhumane, but your protagonists must be human-ish. The reader must be able to relate to them at some level.

You may wish to distort or add or remove features, characteristics to make a species alien. But there must be something I can relate to. If I cannot relate to the characters, I may not want to read the book.

I guess Sawyer has managed to quite cleverly invent new characteristics for a territorial, carnivorous intelligent creatures. But I feel he hasn't done such a good job of painting emotions reactions and motivations I can relate too. The main character doesn't work for me. To be honest he feels more like a puppet to get the discoveries and revelations that Sawyer wants to discuss. AS a result, for me, it's an interesting book but not compelling.

No comments: