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Top 10 SF & Fantasy Books without Humans or Human Characters - Animals in Fiction

 Animals and creatures of all sorts can talk and carry the story as well as humans can. Some very interesting (and award-winning) books have carried their weight without the help of human hands. Here are the top 10 books without humans as the main characters. We restricted the list to books with talking animals and also to adult books (or young adult) and not children books.

1 - Watership Down by Richard Adams is the most famous non-human novel. Here rabbits play the story out. Hazel and his warren are followed in a fantastic tale. A bit violent, and definitely not for kids.

2 - Redwall (The Redwall books) by Brian Jacques. Mice fight with swords! What more could one want? A well-written fantasy tale, which also includes moles, badgers and hares.

3 - Animal Farm by George Orwell, a classic tale with loads of social commentary

4 - Circle of Light by Neil Hancock. Bear, Otter and Dwarf travel from Lorini in a 4-book series that will satisfy most fans of the Lord of the Rings or Earthsea.

5 - The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy. Told from the point of view of a herd of African Elephants. Those who love Watership Down should give this one a look. 

6 - All Flesh is Grass by Clifford D. Simak  This is the only entry where the non-humans are plants instead of animals. Aliens have come to Earth in the form of plant life, specifically a patch of purple flowers.

7 - Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies, the novel is from a deer's perspective

8 - Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.  Life as a cockroach.

9 - Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. As the title suggests, dogs.

10 - Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada


A sidebar for younger audiences:

- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Mole, rat, toad and badger in England. This might be the least adult of the list, but it's a classic.

 - Stuart Little by E.B. White. More mice! This short novel is timeless, but for a younger audience that our first seven picks.


Back to adult fantasy and sci-fi - Honorable Mentions:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien has Ents (talking trees), Balrogs, Orcs and loads of other non-human characters, but we did not include it, as it has a fair number of humans and humanoids controlling Middle Earth. Animals and plants are not the main characters.

 Revenge of the Spiders by Rod Little. In a battle for Earth at the end of the world, the spiders are sentient beings who form an army to fend off the aliens. A good science fiction series. We did not include it, because the spiders do not talk and — to be fair — the humans are the main characters.

 Dragonflight - The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey  Yes, there are humans, too, and they are the main characters - but the stars of the show are the dragons. 

Likewise, The Golden Compass and Narnia have talking animals, but the humans seem to run the show.

Maus by Art Spiegelman - mice and cats and pigs, but a bit controversial in their political views

That's your list of books with talking animals, plants and non-human characters - books from the point of view of rabbits, hares, elephants and more. Who says humans are such a big deal? Fantasy and science fictions books have proved otherwise.

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