Some idle mental meanderings over the weekend piqued my curiosity on this topic, so I figured my best best would be to open it to the collective intelligence of the SDMB. (I tried a search to see if it had been discussed before, but words like “aliens” bring up unrelated discussions – say, of tiny spaceships on the moon – so I’m forging ahead.)
I’m looking for examples of science fiction in which there are no human characters, and the entire cast, so to speak, is made up of alien beings. There are lots of very good alien characters in SF (the Amnion in Donaldson’s Gap series come to mind), but they’re almost always paired with or against humans. Obviously, for purposes of reader identification, it’s a lot easier working with humans, but it seems to me that shouldn’t be a requirement for solid storytelling.
But off the top of my head, I can come up with only a few pseudo-examples, books where long sequences are conducted without human involvement:
[ul][li]The middle section in Asimov’s The Gods Themselves[/li][li]All the stuff about the alien army in Zahn’s Conquerors Trilogy before anybody figures out the communication thing[/li][li]That crap Piers Anthony wrote about the intelligent musical lawn mowers or whatever the hell it was[/ul][/li]I also thought of the creepy Ray Bradbury story about the unoccupied robo-house, but that doesn’t have any characters at all (except for Time and Regret and other metaphorical presences).
I think maybe the closest example I can think of is Watership Down, which very successfully takes the point of view of a nonhuman intelligence, albeit a familiar one. I expect there are other examples in the science-fiction realm, but I can’t think of a single one. Even the stories that take place on alien worlds and that have nothing to do with Earth – e.g., the Asimov/Silverberg classic Nightfall – assume basically human characters for their cast. You could say the same thing about Disney’s Dinosaur movie, which despite its all-reptile-and-lemur ensemble anthropomorphizes the characters so much as to make the alternative setting basically meaningless.
So: Any suggestions? I would prefer good examples, if possible, partly because it’s bugging me that I can’t think of any. I’ll kick myself if I’m overlooking something obvious.
P.S. If you want to take this as an opportunity to get your jollies knocking somebody’s style of writing ("…but Heinlein never has any human characters, har har…"), feel free, but don’t expect me to pay attention to you.