Human-Centric Diversity in Science Fiction: Bands of Space Misfits

After talking about human-looking alien supremacy in Farscape and human-centric Cyborgs, I will speak about heterogeneous, albeit very human, bands of space misfits.


Where Farscape showed a multi-species main cast, even as the series evolved and made for several character turnovers, not all Science Fiction shows have been so willing to do the same. Farscape‘s precursor, Babylon 5, also provided a strong multi-species main cast throughout the seasons, especially with strong protagonists like G’Kar, Delenn and Kosh. Such franchises take into account how likely it is that space travel leads to encountering alien species, even if humankind was originally able to propel themselves into new territories by themselves.

While humans can be the core of a narrative arc, it seems surprising that fictional universes involving space travel as a primary aspect would reduce the interaction to human ones, but it is the case in some well-known fictional universes.

Firefly Cast.

Firefly Cast.

A fan favorite despite its short lifespan, Firefly, is an example of human-centric band of space misfits, who for the most part, chose to work together and coexist from the beginning. Though the franchise has a strong multicultural aspect of current civilization, it still remains all about humans – even the Reavers pushed back at the edge of space. Indeed, these are humans who returned to a savage state and even have cannibalistic ways.

As for the more recent Dark Matter, it also emerged as a strongly human-centric universe, with yet another band of space misfits – actually prisoners – thrown together, in a way much more akin to Farscape in terms of main cast’s premises.

Both Firefly and Dark Matter introduce a diverse cast, including in terms of representation in the lead group. Yet they both remain quite human-centric when the premises themselves could have allowed for a broader approach of world building.

How do you feel about such human-centric universes?

3 responses to “Human-Centric Diversity in Science Fiction: Bands of Space Misfits

  1. There’s definitely just these space-based science fiction stories where the author decided to not include aliens, it’s fascinating to me. I mean, there’s risks with aliens, just like with various fantasy races – risks of them becoming just archetypes or stereotypes. Probably safer to skip the aliens than to have them “all be like X.”

    Aliens also bring a lot of implications, I started my whole Science Fiction and Religion series based on that premise: https://comparativegeeks.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/science-fiction-and-religion-a-case-of-conscience/

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    • I love how you point out that there is a risk of stereotypes no matter what. In light of that, I’d love to see more aliens. I am excited to see more human diversity but I am frustrated when there are space-based stories that don’t have enough aliens. I guess I am always excited to see the possibilities.

      I loved your post about Science Fiction and religion. Looking forward to future posts in this series! This reminded me of a book idea I have pertaining to aliens, humans and Christianity. Thanks for feeding my muses. Really you always have to do that. 😉

      Like

  2. Pingback: Guest Blog Posts + New Author Interview – Natacha Guyot

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