Thoughts on Non-human Perspective

When the opportunity presents itself, it is sometimes wise to throw your reader a curve. A few years ago I wrote a book well grounded in everyday reality, but took a chance in introducing a short segment involving an alien view of things. In the book, one of the bad guys, a dull witted denizen of the Ozark area, gathered spiders in Styrofoam cups in an attempt to intimidate the lead female character who he believed had “done him wrong.”

The spiders in question are a type of tarantula common in some areas of the Ozark Mountain range with the scientific name Aphonotelma Hentzi. They are commonly called “Missouri Browns.” In the book they are known as “Missouri Travelers” because of the yearly migration of the males to find mates. At times, they can be seen crossing rural roads by the dozen:

His reality was radically different from ours. His was a world of minutia, of leaf litter and dappled bellies, of towering stones and dank mold, of dark crevices and scuttling suspicion. His was not an existence of thought and decision preceding action. He lived in a reactive mode, a life absent of fear or regret, guilt or sorrow. He had never been happy, he had never been sad. He did not love, he did not hate. His mission was to survive. He did not associate with others of his kind, for others of his kind were competition for food and space. He spent his days and nights alone, hunting, feeding, being.

When the autumn compulsion came, he did not question. His modus operandi changed completely, and yet he gave it no thought or acknowledgement. He simply did what he was compelled to do. He stopped eating. He left his lifetime surroundings. He began his trek. Anything that had come before did not matter. He was overwhelmed with the need to mate and nothing else made any difference. Feeling for vibration, questing for pheromones, he roamed, looking for females. While his quarry might live for another ten years or more, his life was over. All that was left was the search, the satisfaction, and death.

He crossed through blades of grass and onto a stretch of gravel before easing out onto the dark expanse that stretched before him, far exceeding his tiny horizon, outstripping his limited vision. He stopped, questing a bit at the strangeness of the new terrain. An immense shadow flitted past him, cast by an entity a million times his mass. He crouched at the passing and might have been blown away by the rush of the following wind had he not. Undeterred, he began to run, a zigzagging scamper across the black surface beneath him, and made it nearly halfway across before a new vibration reached his feet. It had a regular cadence and he searched for it, seeing a shape approaching. He reared and threatened with his fangs and front legs, but was suddenly surrounded by white, flipped over onto his back, and watched while more white closed off his confused view of the blue above. He turned himself back onto his feet, but was completely encompassed by an endless, featureless field the color of new snow. He might as well have been inside a ping-pong ball.

He felt his environment shift and swing, twist and jerk, and the light about him darkened a bit. He did not rage, he did not question, he did not panic, he did not fear. Instead, he did the only thing he could do. He crouched, folded his eight legs under himself, and waited with patience independent of realization or the awareness of self.

excerpt from


by David R Lewis

In this case, introducing an alien perspective into a work that has nothing to do with aliens can be fun.

At least, that’s how it seems to me.



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