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Old 09-01-2017   #1
Speaking Mute
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Recommended Xenofiction?

I've recently been trying to find horror/science fiction stories told from the point of view of animals/aliens/monsters without human-like intelligence or psychology. The internet has provided the nifty label "Xenofiction" to this type of fiction and I've found lists that usually start with Richard Adams' Watership Down, but for the most part these lists contain Young Adult and/or Low Fantasy novels like ‎Brian Jacques that just seem to place human minds in animal bodies. So I'm curious if TLO members can recommend horror (not just Weird) and/or SF (particularly short stories) where the primary characters are aliens/animals with minimal anthropomorphism?

For my own part, it was Fritz Leiber's Gummitch cycle that inspired me to look for such stories - aside from Gummitch's supernatural abilities, he's very much a real house cat and thinks like I imagine house cats actually do. I also seem to recall that Mark Samuels wrote a much lauded story told from the point of view of a Colour Out of Space type entity - if I've remembered this correctly, what was the story?
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Old 09-02-2017   #2
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

It's not exactly what you're looking for (since it's still from the perspective of humans), but you might be interested in the short story "Swarm" by Bruce Sterling, which deals with some of those themes and ideas. I know you can find it collected in Sterling's Schismatrix Plus volume, but not sure where else it appears.
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Old 09-02-2017   #3
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

"The Things" by Peter Watts

Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction Fantasy : The Things by Peter Watts
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Old 09-02-2017   #4
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
I also seem to recall that Mark Samuels wrote a much lauded story told from the point of view of a Colour Out of Space type entity - if I've remembered this correctly, what was the story?
The Black Mould?

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-02-2017   #5
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

"The Red Brain" by Donald Wandrei tries to capture an utterly alien viewpoint. It may well have influenced "The Black Mold." I remember Mark once told me that he considered it Wandrei's most notable story.
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Old 09-02-2017   #6
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

I'm not sure any of these would qualify as 'horror', and I am skeptical as to the authenticity of humanity's translation of experience of the nonhuman perspective, but the attempt to empathize is praiseworthy. A few that I have enjoyed:










Ligotti has a story in the 'Notebooks of the Night' section of Noctuary similar to Raptor Red if I am not mistaken. The title escapes me.
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Old 09-02-2017   #7
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
"The Red Brain" by Donald Wandrei tries to capture an utterly alien viewpoint. It may well have influenced "The Black Mold." I remember Mark once told me that he considered it Wandrei's most notable story.
Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
I also seem to recall that Mark Samuels wrote a much lauded story told from the point of view of a Colour Out of Space type entity - if I've remembered this correctly, what was the story?
The Black Mould?
Yes, it was The Black Mold I was thinking of. I recall it being recommended by Ligotti on one of the occasions when he showed up here, but I couldn't remember the name.

I'll also have to track down the Wandrei story.
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Old 09-02-2017   #8
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

I'm surprised more stories haven't been written focused on animal perspectives - it's a common trope in horror for animals to be more aware of supernatural presences and disturbances, and given that animals have access to places that humans can't venture, it would seem a great basis for story. Imagine, for instance, what the rats or cat in The Rats In The Walls witnessed...

Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
...I am skeptical as to the authenticity of humanity's translation of experience of the nonhuman perspective, but the attempt to empathize is praiseworthy.
I agree - I'm thinking mainly in terms of interesting reading, and I expect some degree of anthropomorphism is necessary just to carry a plot along. That said, there has been a spat of popular science books lately that try to get into the minds of other animals, with a few making my reading list - they may not tell us "what it's like to be" a given animal, but definitely reveal how much we underestimate animal intelligence and self-awareness:




Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
This story just convinced to follow up on more by Peter Watts - I saw him recommended in the recent contemporary SF thread, and now I see why.
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Old 09-05-2017   #9
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

How about "Love is the Plan and the Plan is Death," by Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.? As a science fiction writer her fiction is often closer horror than science.

"A Mad World, MY Masters"
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Old 09-06-2017   #10
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Re: Recommended Xenofiction?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
How about "Love is the Plan and the Plan is Death," by Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.? As a science fiction writer her fiction is often closer horror than science.
Did she write anything else in this vein?

I found the story online, too:

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fi...plan-is-death/
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