I’ve been working on some short stories recently, and interestingly (at least to me), they are coming out in very different styles and voices. The last one I completed, called ‘The Observer’ had really quite a Wellsian feel (think ‘ The Invisible Man’), because that slightly self-important, pompous first person voice fit the character the best. Some of the ones I’ve posted on here have been much darker than my usual writing.
The one I’m about to start, will probably be in the third person, and will feel quite different. It’s focussed entirely on an alien world, and I’m grappling with the question of whether or not humans are necessary to the story. I’d really prefer not to have to have them, although they will be able to reflect on the social and cultural differences between the species. I’m rather hoping that people are able to draw those conclusions themselves though, without me having to point them out, and without the species in question seeming psychologically unrealistic. I suppose that human reflections may also be able to bring out some of the features of the world, in contrast to what we are used to on Earth.
So many stories are written from the point of view of human invaders / scientists / miners / traders encountering new life, and boldly going where no man has gone before, but are they really necessary?
I would genuinely be very interested to hear what others thoughts are on this issue. Do you think that having humans in a story helps us to understand contact with another species and worlds? Or are they there just to be conventional?