A few works of Science Fiction and Fantasy (and even some realistic fiction) take the Point of View of normal animals, Intellectual Animals, Intelligent Gerbils, or Starfish Aliens. More than that, the creators of such stories take great pains to think through what it would actually be like to be a rabbit, a dolphin, or a giant betentacled being who smells colour. A good rule of thumb for figuring out if something is in this genre or not: if you can replace the non-humans with (maybe superpowered) humans without too much trouble, it's probably not Xenofiction: Beast Fables and works about Funny Animals are, in general, not examples. If it's taking place under the nose of humans, we may or may not have a Masquerade, and humans will probably either be bastards or eldritch abominations. If humans are taking place under the nose of it, you may have Humans Are Interesting. Contrast Most Writers Are Human. Xenofiction usually explores Bizarre Alien Psychology. Do not confuse with Xenafication, or the Xeno series.
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Anime & Manga
- Centaur no Nayami, which portrays a modern world if it was inhabited by so-called fantasy creatures like Centaurs, Angels, etc. instead of humans. Despite being outwardly a Slice of Life story focusing on teenaged girls, it's an impressive example of world-building, particularly with how the author portrays social norms and just how things would be different for species like Centaurs when placed in a very contemporary situation.
- Crimsons - The Scarlet Navigators of the Ocean is a Hot-Blooded shounen adventure manga about salmon. It's the one and only legendary sockeye romance!
- The manga Gon does a pretty good job of making its eponymous dinosaur hero (who, regardless belongs to no known species and has an unrealistically humanoid body; he resembles a very small baby Godzilla) act pretty much like a dinosaur. None of the animal characters, Gon included, ever speak.
- Assumptions about how dinosaurs would act aside, Gon has a bizarre tendency to mimic other animals, often to hilariously destructive effect. Other times he prefers to just nonchalantly leave a trail of destruction across the land for no better reason than finding something tasty to eat.
- Ginga Nagareboshi Gin/Silver Fang and its sequel Ginga Densetsu Weed start out as typical A Boy And His Dog shows... but they quickly become more about the lives (and deaths; lots of deaths) of non-anthropomorphic dogs.
- In Simoun, the Daikuurikans might look human, both psychologically and physiologically, but they sure aren't human any more, truly. The story simply could not work with human characters.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex frequently has side plots that focus on the Tachikoma, who combine the shape and combat power of Spider Tanks with the behavior of Ridiculously Human Robots. Human nature and society is a mystery to them, so they usually keep to themselves when discussing the wonders of the strange world they exist in and the meaning of their own existence. The irony perhaps is, that the humans in their world have become so mechanical and withdrawn, that nobody notices that these robots have become far more human than themselves. But nobody wants to bother giving a reply to a machine that wants you to explain God to them.
- Stories about androids tend to either ask Do Androids Dream?, or play up the androids' inhuman qualities. Yuria 100 Shiki is one of the few works that does both, portraying a protagonist who wants—sometimes desperately—to live like a human, but is repeatedly tripped up by everything from face blindness to an inability to count past a hundred.
- The Dark Horse miniseries under the Age of Reptiles banner had realistic (as far as we know) dinosaur protagonists, and no thought balloons or dialogue.
- Black Flash the Beaver a short lived prose story from the Anthology Comic The Beano was told from the perspective of a beaver.
- Beasts of Burden is about dogs and cats living in a suburban town, combating evil forces.
- Tyrant was a very short-lived comic book that would have followed a Tyrannosaurus rex from birth through death, but only managed to go from birth to slightly later.
- The protagonists of We3 are a cat, dog, and rabbit. Though they are cyborgs, and capable of simple speech, their thought processes and behavior are very different from that of humans.
- Aeon Natum Engel has done this with the Migou, the local Starfish Aliens. Of course, being who he is, Earth Scorpion has made them as hard to understand as possible.
- Large portions of the Harry Potter fan fic A Feast in Azkaban are narrated from the perspective of Padfoot, Werewolf Lupin, and the dementors.
- Game Theory (Fan Fic) has a point of view from Vesta, a six week old kitten and a hilariously Unreliable Narrator.
- An integral aspect of the HTTYD fic Nightfall, around half of which is written from dragons' points of view.
- Similarly, the fic Gift Of Me is narrated by Toothless. He describes helmets as 'metal skulls', identifies emotions partly by smelling them, and takes pride in understanding human concepts.
...He looks surprised. Why? I’d gotten his saddle and fin for him. It was nice of me.
Films — Animation
- Disney's Bambi
- Ringing Bell is about a sheep and a wolf. Both pretty much live like real animals despite being sapient, except for the sheep being the wolf's apprentice.
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is about the relationship among horses, white settlers, and the Lakota people of the American West during the Nineteenth Century. The story is told from the point of view of the title horse, who is, aside from his frighteningly human eyebrows and sapience, a fairly natural depiction of a horse.
- Arashi No Yoru Ni, a Japanese film whose title translates to "One Stormy Night" focuses on a goat and a wolf, though they're actually friends and the wolf must struggle with his basic urges to try and eat the goat while they try and escape the prejudices of their respective families/social groups.
- You Are Umasou focuses on dinosaurs. The protagonist, a "Big Jaw" raised by herbivorous dinosaurs, struggles with the meat-eating side of himself while simultaneously raising a baby Ankylosaurus that he names Umasou (Japanese for "delicious"). Heart also kick boxes to make up for his stubby arms.
Films — Live-Action
- Erin Kinsley's Iron Lyons series, a book series following heavily anthropomorphic big cats.
- Ardath Mayhar's Golden Dream is the Fuzzy people's version of the first meeting between the Fuzzy Sapiens and Homo Sapiens in the Little Fuzzy verse.
- Watership Down, a tale about badass wild rabbits. They can only count to four and most of them can't grasp concepts like "things which float can be ridden across water to safety", but they are sapient. Often the go-to example for explaining the genre.
- Even the dialogue is noted as being translated from the way rabbits would actually communicate for the benefit of the reader.
- The Amity Incident is from this point of view initially, although it flips between the alien perspective and human in alternating chapters.
- The Warrior Cats series is about feral cats living in a forest near a human city. The series follows several generations, including a grand exodus and is all through the eyes of cats who see humans only as giant "Twolegs", and automobiles as "monsters". They face horrors such as badgers, dogs, foxes, humans, starvation, disease, and of course rival cat clans for which each kitten is trained to be a warrior in order to defend his clan.
- The Animorphs series has some xenofictional aspects. Whenever the Animorphs morph into a new animal, they have to learn to gain control over its instincts. Also several of the books are told from the perspective of either an alien or a nothlit, someone who is stuck in an animal morph and thus has to either learn to deal with that animal's instincts or give in to them.
- Then there are the books told from the perspective of Aximili "Ax" Esgarrouth Isthil, the team's Token Nonhuman, who is a stranded Andalite trying to adapt to Earth culture. More chillingly, there's the stand-alone novel Visser, narrated by the Yeerk general Visser One, which describes the discovery of Earth from the perspective of the alien leader who will eventually spearhead its conquest.
- And there's the other stand-alone novel called Ellimist Chronicles where it never even gives you a clear description of the bizarre creature telling the story.
- Raptor Red is a book about a year in the life of an average female Utahraptor. She may or may not be sapient, but she definitely doesn't look at the world as humans do; her thought processes are a movie reel of images, smells, sounds and tastes, and her kind communicates through birdlike gestures and calls. There's also a few chapters from the viewpoints of other creatures, including a small insect-eating mammal, at least two Acrocanthosaurs, and a pterosaur.
- Long before Raptor Red (in fact, long before the first Utahraptor skeleton was discovered), there was The Year of the Dinosaur by Edwin H. Colbert. Now probably overtaken by Science Marches On, but an enjoyable story about a Brontosaurus nonetheless.
- John Brunner's SF novel The Crucible of Time features a completely non-human civilization trying to survive in a part of the galaxy full of meteors ready to cause planetary extinction events. Detailed descriptions of their anatomy and appearance are difficult to find, as every character during the millennia-long course of the novel only drops tiny pieces of this info as they describe other characters. (They're insectile, females reproduce by budding, and females can become infertile en masse anytime there is environmental stress). After all, the story is being told to their own race as a kind of How We Got Here, so why bother with minor stuff, right?
- The novel The Fox and the Hound is not, as you might guess from the Disney film, a Beast Fable about racism. It's about an average huntin' dog and his fox quarry as they try to survive in a changing world. The book makes a lot of the fact that they mostly perceive the world through their noses.
- The Wild Road is mostly about cats (plus a fox and a magpie) and the ancient magic their kind wields.
- Namely, the energy of their ancestors created a series of magical "highways" across the world that certain animals can travel on to get quickly from place to place. When the cats use them, they become gigantic wildcats who never grow tired. When they die, their ghosts also walk the highways in the afterlife.
- Jean Craighead George has written (at least) 2 trilogies, one beginning with Julie of the Wolves, the other with My Side of the Mountain, the third books of which, Julies Wolf Pack and Frightfuls Mountain are respectively told entirely from the points of view of a several wolves and a peregrine falcon. It is also worth noting is that the original Julie of the Wolves, while not told from the perspective of wolves, does feature them as the primary members of the cast.
- Tailchasers Song is told from the point of view of feral cats. It does a pretty good job of conveying the alien viewpoint, including sense of smell and view of humans.
- The Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series would ONLY make sense with owl characters. But it half-fits this trope: while the author goes into great deal about owl biology and incorporating aspects of that into their culture, there's still some stuff going on that's unambiguously human — forges, a giant colony of owls of various species ruled by a monarchy. Plus the first half of the series is a pretty blatant Beast Fable about World War II.
- Kavik the Wolf Dog. The book's told from the POV of the title dog. He was abandoned, then adopted by a pack of wolves. It goes to great lengths to explain canine behavior and the pecking order of a wolf pack.
- Kavik was first trapped as a puppy, which so traumatized him that he did not live up to his name (meaning "wolverine") when the local dog pack attacked him. Then he was marooned again, and had to cross miles of hostile terrain, toughening up and losing his fear. After he got home, the local dog pack tried to pick on him again. Mistake.
- Jack London loved this trope. The Call of the Wild featured Buck, who was thrown from the city into the Yukon. And White Fang features the title wolf-dog, who started independently but grew to know humans.
- Black Beauty did this with horses. Narrated by the title character, it described the process of breaking horses to saddle and carriage, while detailing the horrors and triumphs within his life. The author, in fact, wrote it as an extended Author Tract to inform the public of the ill-treatment of horses.
- Fire Bringer featured (sometimes quasi-magical) herds of deer. They had lore and legends, and humans and their dogs were beasts who both hunted them and sometimes "brainwashed" them.
- The novel The Sight is also told from the perspective of a wolf pack. As is its sequel, Fell.
- The book Jennie (also known as Abandoned) is about a boy who gets turned into a cat, and who meets a cat who teaches him about his new body and how cats perceive the world.
- Isaac Asimov wrote The Gods Themselves after a criticism that he never wrote about aliens or sex. As a result it's a book about aliens, sex, and alien sex.
- He was probably feeling sarcastic about this (Asimov's sillier replies to fan mail or publisher criticism actually very frequently resulted in novels or publishable short stories, he was a man that loved to go a long way for a short laugh) because he'd at that point already written a number of stories where the POV character is a robot and one especially memorable one about a sentient alien spaceship that was essentially a 1000-word circumcision joke.
- Longtusk and its sequels, by Stephen Baxter, is a series of books with mammoths as protagonists. There are humans present, but not as POV characters.
- The third book goes into some weird territory though Mammoths on Mars, anyone?
- The novel The Foxes of Firstdark is told from the POV of foxes and tells about how their instincts govern their actions.
- A major subplot of Manifold: Time involves squid, modified to be more intelligent, used as a space exploration force. This is told from the squids' perspective.
- Stephen Baxter's Evolution is a partial example, covering an absolutely vast tract of time from before the extinction of the dinosaurs right up to humanity's extinction and replacement by intelligent machines. Obviously there are a good number of human and proto-human characters, but there are also chapters written from the point of view of dinosaurs, tree-dwelling squirrel-like primates, a huge array of apes and finally one of the aforementioned machines, with an interest in archaeology.
- The Book of the Named is written from the point of view of sapient prehistoric cats. Their adaptations and technology are very different than what a human might have done.
- The third book involves two levels of xenofiction; that of Thakur- a Named cat who can philosophize and is vaguely human- and of Newt, a feral Unnamed cat, who barely has a concept of herself, let alone anything else. She has Named blood, although her wild life and childhood trauma means she doesn't initially enjoy the benefits of it. As Thakur tries to befriend Newt, he finds his own thoughts slipping uncomfortably between sapience and instinct.
- The same author, Clare Bell, also wrote Tomorrow's Sphinx, which is told from the perspective of intelligent cheetahs in the distant future. The humans trying to monitor and/or capture them seem much like aliens, though there is one instance when we're outright told that a dart has been used. Kichebo, the protagonist, starts having an easier time of it when she comes into psychic contact with a long-dead ancestor who was companion to King Tut.
- Touched on by Science Fiction writer Mike Resnick, who includes aliens that actually act alien, with often incomprehensible motives, in otherwise human-centric stories.
- Timothy Zahn:
- The Conquerors Trilogy offers a change of narrator from human to rather very alien, with suitably different mannerisms, traditions, and mimics. The third book, Conquerors' Legacy, adds AIs to the mix.
- His Dragonback series features one human and one alien protagonist, alternating the narration chapter by chapter for six books.
- Diane Duane's The Book of Night with Moon is an example; the protagonists are wizard cats, and the viewpoint adjusts to the specific reality of domestic cat social structures, what senses and what details a cat that can walk in air and is more interested in room corners or mice than architecture might take in, and the complexities that arise from a character that can sense energy and has nine lives. The book has a cat-English glossary, even, and a lot of single-word phrases in cat don't really translate easily to English. There's a rather touching moment as one character worries that :
"You mean ... even if you have more lives ... you still might not come back. You mean you just die dead, like a bug or an ehhif?"
- The perspective of a dog appears in several Stephen King novels:
- The eponymous St. Bernard in Cujo
- Kojak in The Stand
- A stray dog in Gerald's Game
- Frisky in The Eyes of the Dragon.
- Horace in Under the Dome.
- As well as a heartwrenching passage from the POV of Oy the billybumbler (raccoon dog) after his master Jake's death in the Dark Tower.
- Stanislaw Lem liked the topic and always included some plot lines that are based on significant differences between humans and aliens (if there were aliens).
- This was the stated goal of Solaris.
- The Cyberiad and Fables for Robots are set in wacky anachronistic Feudal Future populated by robots and are told from robots' point of view.
- His early novel Eden, is an exception, the differences prove insignificant to an extent.
- Another example by Lem is The Mask — an insectoid killer robot in human female shell.
- Yet another example would be his short story from 1959 Inwazja z Aldebarana [Invasion from Aldebaran], more congenial to some humorous stories that were to be written by Kir Bulychev.
- "Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death" is a short story by James Tiptree Jr. about a giant spider-like creature trying to resist its baser instincts.
- The Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce is about a society of unicorns, complete with detailed history, legends, religion, and prejudices, and who are struggling to regain their centuries-lost homeland. Also present are gryphons, pans (fauns), wyverns, and dragons, able to communicate with each other, although the books are told strictly through the unicorns' point of view. There are also horses (called daya) and humans ("two-foots") present in parts of the second book, though they (and the humans in particular) are seen as baffling and utterly alien to the main character.
- Not to be confused with the Firekeeper series, which also has heavy Xenofictional elements. Although the protagonist is human and many chapters focus on normal humans, Firekeeper doesn't think like a human, as she was raised among Intellectual Animals. You do get the distinct impression that if she was raised by any species except wolves, the series would be wildly altered, and she and Blind Seer have a very nonhuman view of pretty much everything.
- R. K. Narayan's novel A Tiger of Malgudi. As you can probably guess, it's from the tiger's point of view. Narayan's treatment is realistic, except that the tiger can understand what humans say, though he can't talk.
- Franz Kafka was very fond of this trope, and wrote multiple short stories from the point of view of animals. Notable examples are "The Burrow" and "Investigations of a Dog".
- The novel Sounding by Hank Searls features a sperm whale as one of the major point-of-view characters (the other is human) but the whale thinks and acts like a whale.
- The Silver Brumby Series by Elyne Mitchell is told mostly from the point of view of the wild horses (however this technique is abandoned later on in the series). These horses are portrayed as not only being sapient, but with brains almost equal to humans. They can even understand the human language.
- The Animals of Farthing Wood book series (and its Animated Adaptation) by Colin Dann is told from the point of view of the main characters, all of whom are animals. However they still act as animals would. Carnivore Confusion is given explicit justification, and is a recurring source of drama.
- The Book Of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa is told from the point of view of a lizard. "A very articulate, and very friendly lizard..."
- The books Whalesong, The White Whale (not that one, though he did exist in the books' setting.) and The Ice at the End of the World are primarily told from the POV of an albino humpback whale (there are, iirc, some chapters from the POV of a major human character though)
- Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing trilogy and its super-prequel Darkwing are told from the POVs of bats. True to form, sound and the use of sonar are extremely important, and color is rarely mentioned.
- Orson Scott Card's Ender series, though the books are usually mostly from human perspectives, many of them have segments written from the perspectives of various aliens, as well as a sapient computer program ('Jane'). Each of those sections wouldn't really make sense if it was a human, even a super-powered human.
- The Quintaglio Ascension features genetically modified sapient tyrannosaurs who are very different from humans, the opening chapter of the first book describes the trouble the main character has looking up at the stars. The Quintaglios can't openly lie to each other, a lost limb will grow back and they can't stand to close to each other otherwise they will become territorial and fight.
- The Honor Harrington novels focus mainly on humans, however treecat characters are shown to be very different, being incapable of hiding how they feel or lying to one another, and having little concept of diplomacy.
- Some of the stories in the short story collections are told from treecat perspectives and go into great detail about treecat society, with a line of Young Adult books starting from an expansion of the novella A Beautiful Friendship that covers Stephanie Harrington and her treecat.
- David Brin's Uplift novels sometimes get into this. The uplifted dolphins in Startide Rising in particular.
- The non-humans in Eric Flint's Mother of Demons are solidly in the Starfish Alien scale, and get representation as viewpoint characters.
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh is a borderline case, as the eponymous rats think and act like humans due to their experiment-enhanced intelligence. Nicodemus's account of his life before the laboratory, however, shows they didn't always think that way, and Jeremy (a crow) and Mrs. Frisby (a field mouse) are normal animals with only the vaguest comprehension of human or rat technology.
- Socks by Beverly Cleary tells the story of a simple housecat with no real comprehension of what humans are saying. Conflict arises when the young couple who adopted the kitten have a baby: Socks can't understand why the woman's lap is "shrinking", or why they are using the "special" high voice that previously was just for him.
- Clem Martini's The Crow Chronicles does this for... Well, guess. The story is presented as a flock elder telling the younger ones the history of their family.
- Varjak Paw and its sequel, written by S.F. Said, are good examples of this. The cats are sapient and able to communicate with each other (and dogs), but otherwise are very feline cats. Also, the Way, the secret cat martial art, just wouldn't work with humans, even super-powered ones.
- Halic: The Story of a Gray Seal by Ewan Clarkson follows the life of gray seals living at the coast of Wales from the point of view of a male gray seal named Halic. The book was very fact based about the life of seals and it didn't have much of a plot: It followed Halic's life from his birth to his death.
- Duncton Wood by William Horwood told a story of a colony of moles. In the book moles are portrayed of moving and behaving like moles, but they had a very advanced society, where moles lived in underground colonies and they knew how to write. Callanish by the same author is told from the point of view of a young Golden Eagle.
- Cold Moons by Aeron Clement was about a group of badgers on a exodus towards the promised land of Elysia where they could live safe from humans. The badgers very portrayed sapient and they had a society with a cadre of elders, but it wasn't that advanced as in Duncton Wood.
- In the post-motion picture Star Trek novel Ex Machina, several chapters are narrated from an alien point of view, including (obviously) Spock, a fifty year old teenager from highly regimented Lawful Neutral society, and a bipedal fish-woman with six mouths who communicates through poetry. One of the major themes is how alien human society seems to them, and how difficult they find understanding and interacting with humans.
- It's not a major theme, but occasionally crops up in Discworld, most prominently in the Witches books which deal with 'Borrowing' (a sort of light possession) of animal minds. They are described in synaesthetic terms: herbivore minds are coiled silver springs, always cautious and ready to flee; predator minds are purple arrowheads of directed purpose; human minds are complicated silver clouds that are impossible to Borrow, but may narrow down to an arrowhead when for example a hunter focuses his attention on his kill; and bees are a literal Hive Mind also considered impossible to Borrow. Because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, any human who tries to fully possess an animal is drawn into that animal's different and limited perceptions and eventually loses their sense of self. Witches Abroad also deals with a wolf that was anthropomorphised by the villain to fulfil the role in Little Red Riding Hood, and had been driven insane by its predator mind being forced to think.
- Discworld also covers dogs' different perception of the world, in which scent is the primary sense. Werewolves, with a human frame of context for comparison, describe scents in their wolf form in synaesthetic terms, with sounds and colours.
- Pratchett also likes to go into dogs' unusual social worlds, especially the relationship to their human owners. One large part of this is the idea that dogs are somewhere halfway between wolves and humans, the latter of whom are, in equal measure, their owners, parents and gods. The enormous impact of the phrase "bad dog!" on a Discworld canine is explained as the result of a deep-seated knowledge that dogs were made by humans for a certain reason, and being told that they have failed at this purpose fills them with a sort of severe existential dread. Wuffles, the elderly dog of Havelock Vetinari, refers to his owner quite literally as "the god", which another dog remarks is considered old-fashioned. Of course, there are also quite a lot of Morporkians who think of the Patrician as some kind of all-present, omnipotent force...
- Other times, this trope is purely Played for Laughs, as when the rabbit from Moving Pictures describes how his pre-Holy Wood vocabulary consisted of two verbs and one noun, or when Rogers the bulls (Feet of Clay) assumes that, because his forehead protrudes so far that his two eyes' field of vision don't overlap, he must be two bulls.
- The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents deconstructs this concept, showing how the sentient Clan rats come to terms with how their acquired ability to reason and imagine conflicts with their rat instincts and habits.
- C. J. Cherryh does this a lot:
- The Chanur Saga is the most direct examples: Almost all the viewpoint characters are aliens resembling anthropomorphic lions, with the plot being driven by their rescue/capture of the first human anyone has encountered. The story's all about them learning to understand not just the human but the several different alien psychologies she's invented.
- Large segments of Cyteen are from the POV of the rather alien "azi", humans whose psychology is artificially constructed.
- Cuckoo's Egg is partly from an alien POV and partly from the POV of a human who has only ever lived among the aliens.
- The Foreigner novels are borderline examples, since they largely follow the human interpreter to an alien race, but the focus is the alien psychology.
- The chapters from Wolf's point of view in The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.
- Robert Asprin does this with a reptilian race in The Bug Wars, including addressing the problem of racial colourblindness when facing a colour-sighted enemy.
- The first collection of Dragonlance short stories includes "Dagger-flight", a retelling of the first third of Dragons of Autumn Twilight from the perspective of a sentient knife. That can fly. And reproduce. And stalks the setting's protagonists without their realizing it.
- In-universe example: An eco-activist character in Sewer, Gas & Electric had been trying to write a novel from the perspective of cetaceans, to be titled "No Opposable Thumbs". Subverted in that he never got very far in the writing, due to a chronic inability to restrain his use of adjectives.
- In The Demons Lexicon, Nick seems at first to be a poor attempt at depicting a seriously traumatized person, until you realize that he's actually a demon.
- In A Fire Upon the Deep, half of the action takes place on a planet of sapient canines who are only conscious when they form a pack; this also allows them to carry out tasks impossible for a dog by manipulating tools as if each member of the pack was a limb. The plot is heavily influenced by the fact that pack-individuals cannot stay close to each other (lest they disintegrate into mindless animals) and personalities can change drastically when two or three of their constituents die at the same time and have to be replaced with new ones.
- Amy Thomson's books The Color Of Distance and Through Alien Eyes alternate perspectives between the frog-like alien Tendu and Dr. Juna Saari, the scientist who finds herself stranded among them. Tendu speak like squid, by changing patterns on their skin; they have no murder or war, but they eat their own unintelligent spawn and all in all just have a very different worldview which Dr. Saari has to struggle to adjust to.
- Turns up in The Jungle Book. Most jungle creatures don't think ahead, except those like Akela who need to. They also don't talk, except when they feel like it. In comparison, humans are seen as complicated, chatty monkeys. It scares Bagheera witless when Mowgli, in "Letting in the Jungle", asks Hathi to help him to wipe out the village (just the town itself, not kill the people), kind of like how most people would get if they were told to wipe out a city, and Bagheera knows more than most what humans are like.
- The narrator of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse is Joey, the horse, who is sold away from his farm to become a cavalry horse during World War One. Averted in the theatrical adaptation and the forthcoming Steven Spielberg film, though.
- Peter Watts excels at this trope in both his Rifters Trilogy and Blindsight.
- Although the Earths Children series have a human woman as protagonist, she was raised by Neanderthals, and the first book focuses in their society, culture and religion and how the protagonist struggles with the biological and psychological differences between Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals while trying to fit in.
- The sections of West of Eden and its sequels that focus on the Yilané. They're sentient mosasaurs, and their mindset and language is rather different from that of the human characters.
- There's a short-short-story collected in the anthology Futures from Nature that is in the form of a review of a mystery novel written by a robot, reviewed by another robot. The protagonist of the mystery and most of the characters are robots too.
- Played with in several different ways with the evolved baboon-people in Robert Silverberg's postapocalyptic novel At Winter's End.
- Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future by Dougal Dixon includes numerous POVs, from "normal" modern humans to non-sapient human descendants to sapient future humans with vastly different mindsets from ours.
- In Leonnie Swann's Three Bags Full, a flock of sheep attempt to solve the mystery of their shepherd's murder.
- Michael Tod's Woodstock Saga is about a community of red squirrels in Dorset and their war against the invading grey squirrels. Also involves the development of a crude writing system, twisty-sticks used as psionic cannons, and sufficiently advanced dolphins.
- Dick King-Smith's fiction sometimes has elements of this. For instance, The Foxbusters notes that chickens don't celebrate anniversaries of events, because they don't remember that far back.
- Felix Salten enjoyed writing from the perspective of woodland beasts: the two Bambi novels explore life as a deer, and Fifteen Rabbits takes the perspective of wild rabbits (decades before Watership Down, mind).
- Perry Rhodan dips into this from time to time. While the series' main protagonists are undeniably human, it's not unusual to have a more or less alien viewpoint character for up to an entire issue or even two every so often; the backstory of a new alien member of the supporting cast prior to joining the ongoing plot is a popular subject for this.
- Gulliver's Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms by Jonathan Swift crosses into this. Though the main character is human, the story is told more from the horses' ("Houyhnhnms'") perspective than from the human's.
- The Incredible Journey: During the chapters where the animals are alone, anyway; when humans show up, the perspective tends to shift to them.
- The parts written from a direwolf's perspective in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- The Chet and Bernie mystery series is narrated by Chet, the dog belonging to Bernie, a private detective. Chet understand more English than a real dog (probably), but the author has gone to some lengths to describe things realistically from a dog's perspective, including senses (smell being major of course), intellect ("We've watched this movie more times than I can count, which in my case is Two."), and memory ("I saw I had been digging a hole," Chet remarks, when he had told us about starting it two paragraphs back. Then he got distracted).
- Professor Mmaa's Lecture: Most of the book has the termite society as protagonists. They're somewhat alien, what with their different biology, lack of sight and Organic Technology, but since the book is mostly meant as a satire, their culture is still highly anthropomorphized the better to embody human flaws.
- Olaf Stapledon's Sirius was one of the first works to combine this with Uplifted Animal, imagining what it might be like to be inside the head of a dog that had deliberately been given intelligence comparable to that of a human.
- A couple chapters in the third book in The Inheritance Cycle takes place from the perspective of Saphira, a sapient dragon. Attempts are made to convey an alien mindset, such as Saphira giving descriptive metaphoric names to man-made objects, but the main effect is that Saphira comes across as a self-absorbed sociopath who spends most of her time telling herself how beautiful and awe-inspiring she is.
- M.C.A. Hogarth's Tales Of The Jokka stories are about a three-gendered alien race that have two chances to change sex in puberty, and are prone to complete Identity Amnesia when they suffer severe trauma. Identity issues that are extremely rare or nigh-nonexistent in humans are commonplace to them, to say nothing of how complicated relationships get with them note .
- Most works of Hungarian author István Fekete (Vuk the Little Fox being an animated adapation). He is especially notable for writing from the point of view of normal animals with little to no anthropomorpism.
- Three out of four books of the Star Carrier series intersperse two human points-of-view with a POV of alien antagonists. William H. Keith, Jr. heavily explores what the world looks like to them, for example with the Slan, a heavily collectivist species that sees by echolocation, or the H'rulka, Living Gasbag colony organisms 200 meters long that view a Boarding Party of Navy SEALSnote as bizarre parasites.
- When the Slan capture a female human, their ship commander scans her using his echolocation and tries to figure out human internal structure, as the echolocation can see into objects. Some organs are properly identifies, while others are completely off (the Slan determines that the brain is somewhere in the stomach area, for example). It then tries to figure out how the human captive echolocates. Since the Slan have two appendages whose ends emit sound to be reflected back into their ears, they determine that the closest analogy would be the two bumps on the prisoner's body (i.e. breasts). Later, when communicating with Captain Trevor Grey, the Slan commander assumes that Grey is blind/deaf because he lacks the echolocating organs.
- The short story Mimsey's Tale, of Royce Day's For Your Safety series, is written as a series of program logs of a robot designed as a companion for a child. It is clear that Mimsey is not self-aware and is merely acting out a set of IF/THEN statements.
Fact: She is a Google-Sony Felicia v9 CompanionFact: Her designation/name is Mimsey.Fact: Her designated programming focus is Caroline Annabelle Lee.Fact: Caroline is her world.
Fact: I am a Google-Sony Felicia v10 Companion.Fact: The Earth is going to die if I do not take direct action.
- Then in the final entry the Groupmind upgrades her to sentience.
- Darkeye is a post-apocalyptic tale about canines who have been uplifted to human intelligence. They are very much still bound by their species' biology, particularly the need to eat meat in a world where the only animals around seem to be dogs and humans. There's also the bouda and the screamers to take into account, though we never actually get into their perspectives.
- More than half of Reason in Captivity (from Gusliar Wonders collection) is written by an octopus-like alien, who crash landed on Earth and didn't expect to find life outside water. The rest is a viewpoint of two modern* men who went fishing, caught him and decided to become famous as discoverers of freshwater octopus. The part that scared the alien the most is when they checked if he's really an octopus by consulting a cookbook.
- Flatland features two-dimensional characters, for which a sphere is an unimaginable concept.
- Holling Clancy Holling's Pagoo is the life story of a Pagurus (two-fisted hermit crab) as it grows from planktonic larva to vulnerable juvenile to hardy adult.
- Piers Anthony's Cluster series features a few protagonists like this, including an aquatic species with three sexes that can only reproduce by bringing all three together, a species that moves by rolling on a large ball and communicates with vibrations and scent, another that communicates almost entirely by taste, and more.
- One scene in Anna Karenina is narrated from the perspective of a dog.
- Dwayne Johnson / The Rock's Dumb Muscle portrayal of Superman on Saturday Night Live spoofs the trope. As in most Superman adaptations, Superman uses his cover identity as journalist Clark Kent to blend in with humans, but his Daily Planet co-workers immediately find him out because, among other reasons, he keeps haplessly writing his articles from a Superman-centric perspective, e.g. "A man in New York was shot to death yesterday because bullets do not bounce off of human bodies."
- Craig Raine's poem A Martian Sends a Postcard Home described various common earthly things using strange metaphors and interpretations, as if viewed by an entity unfamiliar with them. "Martian poetry" became a genre of its own for a while, but never became very common.
- Ecco The Dolphin is about, well, a dolphin. As such, he approaches the coming Alien Invasion in a delphine manner, and on top of that has uniquely cetacean problems and way of perceiving the world - his sonar is far more important to him than his vision. The games also include the Asterite, a definitely strange creature that may or may not be from Earth.
- Deadly Creatures is a video game starring a tarantula and a scorpion that act like a real tarantula and scorpion. Although the latter seems more bloodthirsty and headstrong.
- Octodad derives all of its challenge from trying to control an octopus disguised as a human father, using individual tentacles in unison to get around and interact with objects.
- In parts of Return to Mysterious Island 2: Mina's Fate, you play as Mina's monkey companion Jep. He can't combine items or use sophisticated things such as fire, but can socialize with other monkeys and make use of simple natural materials or tools.
- Spore is a game where you design your own lifeform (via a limited amount of features, both cosmetic and useful) and try to evolve it. Many aspects are based on animal behaviour observed. However the evolution cycle of cell to sea creature to land creature to tribal creature to civilization to space.
- The different Alien Versus Predator videogames have shades of this. While the Predator remains humanoid, their culture is a form of space tribalism that most gamers would not directly relate to. The black Xenomorph creatures on the other hand have a definite life and social cycle revolving around impregnation, feeding, climbing on walls and ceilings and survival.
- Shelter is a short survival/adventure game played from the POV of a mother badger, struggling to feed her just-weaned offspring and shepherd them to safety across challenging terrain.
- While the below are more explicit/extreme examples, the vast majority of fantasy or science-fictional RPGs include at least options for playing nonhuman characters, though the extent to which their behavior, attitudes, and priorities actually matter tend to vary widely with how much in-depth use the GM and player in question put into the section describing cultural, biological, and mental differences.
- World Tree is superficially about Funny Animals, but each of the "Prime" races is meant to have unique instincts and feelings that make them distinct from humans, even ignoring their magic and other powers.
- Bunnies & Burrows, being based on Watership Down, is a roleplaying game in which the players have to take the roles of rabbits with all their limitations and strengths. In fact, since bunnies are not exactly the strongest animals out there, the game forces the player to confront enemies and obstacles with problem-solving solutions and wit. Humans appear as monsters in the game, completely alien to the players. It was very innovative in its time, since it was the first RPG that let the player play as non-humanoids creatures.
- Kenzer & Co.'s Dawg: The Role-Playing Game, a Defictionalization of an RPG written by B.A. Felton from Knights of the Dinner Table.
- While the World of Darkness has elements of this, the New World of Darkness steps it up a notch by making all supernatural templates something very definitely distinct from human that just happen to want or need to wear a human skin occasionally, going so far as to give each supernatural template a Karma Meter with wildly variant and mutually-exclusive requirements and mechanically punishing them for any attempt to play a human that just happens to have a bunch of funky superpowers, usually to the point that if you keep it up you go mad, become a ravening evil something-or-other, and turn into an NPC antagonist.
- Hilariously, Mage: The Awakening, where the players are biologically fully human, has the _most_ of this, as your base-line powers cause you to see the world in a dramatically different way and something like half of your potential abilities automatically ding the karma meter or in themselves have the potential to drive you or the entire local world severely, literally insane. By comparison, the splats with the LEAST xenofictional elements are the ones where you're playing an actual beast that craves human blood and/or flesh.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse also has heavy elements of this, as a good number of werewolves in the game are Lupus (wolf-born). While each tribe has a certain amount of Lupus in it, the Red Talons are almost exclusively Lupus, with no human members; as such, their tribe book is written from the perspective of a wolf who regards strictly human constructs with uncertainty (and a heaping pile of scorn).
- Freefall stars an uplifted Red Wolf, an alien whose species' hat is apparently that of the Lovable Rogue, and a robot Cloudcuckoolander. The supporting cast is dominated by robots, with only a smattering of humans.
- 21st Century Fox features a cast of Funny Animals, but between conserved physiological features and scale (from a mouse to a giraffe), they're not just humans in costume.
- Nature Of Natures Art is a collection of stories concerning sapient but still very animal-like characters, ranging from the fairly common to this trope (wolves) to the unusual (wolf spider.)
- Wurr, in which all of the main characters are civilized dogs.
- Homestuck becomes this around Act 5 with the introduction of the trolls. The transition can be very jarring, because the way their society and biology works is very different, and many assumptions that a reader might initially make are later disproved.
- OFF WHITE Story revolves around a pack of wolves. Although some of the though patterns are human, the story also involves animal-centric characteristics such as pack dynamics and confusion over humans and their ilk.
- DeepRise Was created from the start with the intent of doing this, it deals with none-gendered/hermaphroditic troglodyte tentacle-monsters.
- Chernobyl Curs: An OCT where all of the characters are sapient dogs, to varying degrees. Since the story is told by multiple people through multiple characters, some show more human-like behavior than others.
- For that matter, any OCT can feature this trope, depending on the rules and competing authors.
- Wingspan, which has angels.
- The Things, a very strange re-telling of The Thing (1982), a classic John Carpenter horror movie from the perspective of a distinctly non-human character. Written by Peter Watts of Blindsight fame. Beware: Body Horror and more may await you.
- Orion's Arm can be this at times, given that even the average Joe is a transhuman, godlike AIs are commonplace, you have sapient animals, robots and plants, every manner of combination thereof, characters who have experienced The Singularity several times, sentient clouds of nanomachines, Starfish Aliens with truly bizarre biologies and sometimes incomprehensible psychologies, and even lifeforms based on magnetic monopoles or nuclear reactions.
- Online author Greg Howell has several stories based on this concept.
- Worm has an Interlude for Shell 4 told from the point of view of Brutus, one of Bitch's dogs.
- The Web Serial Novel Tree Tops is about a group of meerkat-like aliens who crashland on earth and take up residence in an oak tree, written from the POV of one of their scientists.
- Gargoyles is a relatively mild example, but its use of the trope is still definitely noticeable. For the most part, the titular winged reptilian humanoids are able to communicate and interact with ordinary humans at ease, but they have trouble grasping the human concepts of naming and individual parenthood. To elaborate:
- Because they turn to stone during the day, Gargoyles think of themselves as part of nature, and they don't think to go by personalized names unless humans assign them names. They also consider it strange to assign names to places, since they have trouble recognizing human boundaries in the natural world. Hudson adopts his chosen name as a grudging joke, after he claims that naming people is just as foolish as naming the sky or naming a river (only for Elisa to tell him that New York's river is, in fact, named "The Hudson").
- Because they're egg-laying reptiles who live in close-knit clan groups, Gargoyles collectively raise eggs in rookeries, and all hatchlings are considered to be the collective children of the clan.note This ends up causing some drama in the later seasons, when Goliath meets his long-lost biological daughter Angela, who was raised by humans on Avalon. With her human upbringing, Angela has trouble understanding why her father doesn't acknowledge the significance of their familial bond, and why he doesn't treat her any different than the other members of his clan.