Are aliens needed?

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Henckel
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Are aliens needed?

Postby Henckel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:03 pm

So... I'm writing a Sci Fi. And for my cast of characters, I could use aliens... Or I can just as easily use a full human cast as if only humanistic creatures inhabited the universe.

Question. If using aliens in your Sci Fi neither hurt nor benefited your story, which way would you go?

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Jeremyteg
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby Jeremyteg » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:10 pm

Depends on the kind of story. Is it going for a realistic, hypothetically plausible near-future vibe? Something like The Expanse? If so, I wouldn't use aliens unless the story was about them.

Otherwise, I like me some creatures and aliens.

Aliens do, however, force you to spend words describing them and maybe even worldbuilding out their distinctness from humanity. Which can be super fun and enrich your story, but might distract from the story, depending on what its goals are.

Henckel
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby Henckel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:53 pm

My story isn't about the aliens at all.

I feel like introducing alien creatures and species would only be a distraction from the story I'm trying to tell. My story does not require any species to be anything other than human.

I guess my concern is that, if I didn't use aliens, that my story would meet criticism as "missing an essential component of Sci-Fi"

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:35 pm

Firefly doesn't have aliens, and it gets by just fine. If your story doesn't need them, don't use them. There's plenty of diversity in humanity.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Henckel
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby Henckel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:12 pm

Decision made. Thanks

jficke13
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby jficke13 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:17 pm

I think a good question to ask is: "What does {element} do?"

If the answer is "check a box" I'd suggest that's not sufficient. If the answer is "advance the timbre of 'speculative fiction' while allowing me to delve into [concept A and B that further my theme]" then heck and yes it's a good idea.

Aliens are a great canvas on which you can paint so very many things that "checking a box to make it seem more science-fiction-ey" seems like it does it a disservice. Call me crazy, but I'd say that best case scenario adding something "just to check a box" will end up a net neutral. Worst case scenario, it appears a transparent add that is actively detrimental to the story.
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Henckel
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Re: Are aliens needed?

Postby Henckel » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:38 pm

Sounds like a solid reason for me to leave them out.
Dissappointing on one hand... but liberating, on the other.


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