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Sapient species in sci-fi settings by LavaBat

sentient, adjective \ˈsen(t)-sh(ē-)ənt, ˈsen-tē-ənt\

Able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste. Responsive to or conscious of sense impressions. Aware.

When it comes to science fiction, it's a given that there will be non-human sentient species.

Most science fiction writers limit the number of sentient species that evolved on any given world to one or two. While this seems to make sense at first, current genetic studies on the evolution of humans suggest that there may have been four or five different species of human to begin with, of which only one species survived to the present day.

This makes me wonder - is it better to intentionally limit the number of sentient species native to a particular world for science fiction settings? Or do you think it is more fun to play around with a handful of different species?

From all the reading I've been doing, science fiction writers tend to limit themselves to one sentient species per planet nowadays. But I am really curious to see what people think about this issue. Especially if there is a point where the number of species begins to undermined the willful suspension of disbelief for the reader.

Sapient species in sci-fi settings


18 June 2017 at 05:18:44 MDT

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    It's a good question, but I don't think I'm qualified to answer.

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      I might keep asking around - and I really should have said sapient rather than sentient.

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    I wouldnt say there is only one specie of humans around today, There are still difference in where a person lives and that leaves detailes that can be even found in the bones.
    Before we all got it easier to travel around in the world, I would say 3 different species of human exist and I am not going after the color of the skin.

    This post might be a bit old but still note worthy

    And sentient species ... there are more than humans on this world that can feel emotions and use tools
    : z
    But in fantasy/Scifi setting, it makes sense to see more species that have civilations.
    Since it can be so diverse in alot quicker way.

    Tho in real life ... it might take more than decades before we meet another "sentient" beings and need even more space travel and settlings outside our world ... tho I pity the universe of the cancer, we humans can be.