main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Fantastic Sapient Species Tropes
If there's a race of non-human, non-monster sapient beings in your fiction, you're most likely looking at either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Further, the race probably has characteristics drawn from a common set of tropes. These are some of those tropes.

Writing an entirely different race is hard. There's a lot of detail to manage, and to communicate to the reader. Some writers go to extreme lengths in inventive originality — this tends to become the focus of the work, whether intentionally or otherwise. Strategies adopted by writers for dealing with these difficulties include drawing the race more or less directly from some stock template with which the audience will be familiar, going to the Planet of Hats, or, at the furthest extreme, just giving up on the "fantastic" part of this trope altogether. Original Star Trek Klingons, supposedly an "alien race", famously look and act almost perfectly human.

Races defined by their sheer unintelligent monstrosity generally don't fall under this set of tropes. Mythical creatures are covered by Our Monsters Are Different.


Statler: I wonder why they keep mentioning life on other planets.
Waldorf: Why should they care? They don't have lives on this one!
Both: Dohohohoho!

Attraction To OutliersOtherness TropesIndex of Fictional Creatures
    Index of Fictional CreaturesOur Monsters Are Different
EldersCharacters as DeviceGender Dynamics Index
Angelic TropesSpeculative Fiction TropesIndex of Fictional Creatures

alternative title(s): Fantastic Species Tropes
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy