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The Best Non-Human and Xenofiction Literature

“What are the best stories told from the point of view of an animal or non-human being?” We found and ranked 113 books in an attempt to answer that very question!

Xenofiction, for those who don’t know the term (like us prior to making this list), is a story told from the point of view of an animal or non-human-like alien/being. For the most part, the list we came up with is mostly from the point of view of animals or creatures from Earths past (Dinosaurs rar!). However, there were a few other entries that snuck in, mostly in the fantasy genera, where the point of view is definitely not something that exists on Earth (looking at you Lord Of The Rings).

Putting yourself in the mind of another being can help you see the world from different unique points of view. Sometimes the stories told are allegorical to the real world, while other times they are nothing more than a fun escape into a different land. Either way, non-human and Xenofiction books offer up an experience you can only truly have with the written word.

We ranked the top 18 xenofiction books with brief summaries, images, and links below. The additional 101 books (all appearing on a single list each), as well as the 12 sources we consulted can be found at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top Non-Human and Xenofiction Fiction



18 .) Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

mrs-frisby-and-the-rats-of-nimh-rats-of-nimh-1-by-robert-c-obrien
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Reading Room

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.

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17 .) Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle.

planet-of-the-apes-by-pierre-boulle
Lists It Appears On:

  • Best Science Fiction Books
  • USA Today

In the not-too-distant future, three astronauts land on what appears to be a planet just like Earth, with lush forests, a temperate climate, and breathable air. But while it appears to be a paradise, nothing is what it seems.

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16 .) Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker.

raptor-red-by-robert-t-bakker
Lists It Appears On:

  • Best Science Fiction Books
  • Traci Loudin

Painting a rich and colorful picture of a lush prehistoric world, leading paleontologist Robert T. Bakker tells his story from within Raptor Red’s extraordinary mind, dramatizing his revolutionary theories in this exciting tale. From a tragic loss to the fierce struggle for survival to a daring migration to the Pacific Ocean to escape a deadly new predator, Raptor Red combines fact an fiction to capture for the first time the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of the most magnificent, enigmatic creatures ever to walk the face of the earth.

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15 .) Redwall by Brian Jacques

redwall-redwall-1-by-brian-jacques
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Flavorwire

The question in this first volume is resoundingly clear: What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten-except, that is, by the bumbling young apprentice Matthias, who becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. Teeming with riddles, humor, unforgettable characters, and high-bounding adventure, the original Redwall, the launching point for a series that has captured the world’s attention, features seven full-color illustrations by renowned illustrator Troy Howell. This new paperback edition is a must-have for both longtime fans and first-time readers.

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14 .) The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain-by-garth-stein
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Flavorwire

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope–a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

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13 .) The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe-the-chronicles-of-narnia-publication-order-1-by-c-s-lewis
Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Polygamist
  • For Reading Addicts

Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years.

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12 .) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

the-lord-of-the-rings-the-lord-of-the-rings-1-3-by-j-r-r-tolkien
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Glowing Edge

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11 .) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

the-metamorphosis-by-franz-kafka
Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Flavorwire

“The Metamorphosis” (original German title: “Die Verwandlung”) is a short novel by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into an insect.

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10 .) The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

the-story-of-edgar-sawtelle-by-david-wroblewski
Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • Flavorwire

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family’s traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.

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9 .) The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

the-tale-of-despereaux-by-kate-dicamillo
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Barnes & Noble

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

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8 .) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

the-wind-in-the-willows-by-kenneth-grahame
Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • For Reading Addicts

The Wind in the Willows is a children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley. In 1908 Grahame retired from his position as secretary of the Bank of England. He moved back to Cookham, Berkshire, where he had been brought up and spent his time by the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do—namely, as one of the phrases from the book says, “simply messing about in boats”—and wrote down the bed-time stories he had been telling his son Alistair.

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7 .) Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

three-bags-full-sheep-detective-story-1-by-leonie-swann-anthea-bell-translator
Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Guardian

On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, the members of the flock gather around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade. George has cared for the sheep, reading them a plethora of books every night. The daily exposure to literature has made them far savvier about the workings of the human mind than your average sheep. Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George’s killer.

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6 .) Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter

warriors-by-erin-hunter
Lists It Appears On:

  • The Book Eaters
  • For Reading Addicts

“For many moons, ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan have lived in peace in their territories around the lake. But now they must decipher a mysterious prophecy—a message that will send one young medicine cat apprentice on a quest to determine the fate of all the warrior Clans.

Full of epic adventure and thrilling intrigue, the beginning of this fifth Warriors series is the perfect introduction for readers new to the Warriors world, while for dedicated fans, it’s a long-awaited return to the era of Bramblestar’s ThunderClan, after the events of Omen of the Stars.”

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5 .) White Fang by Jack London

white-fang-by-jack-london
Lists It Appears On:

  • Flavorwire
  • For Reading Addicts

White Fang is a novel by American author Jack London (1876–1916) — and the name of the book’s eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang’s journey to domestication. It is a companion novel (and a thematic mirror) to London’s best-known work, The Call of the Wild, which is about a kidnapped, domesticated dog embracing his wild ancestry to survive and thrive in the wild. Much of White Fang is written from the viewpoint of the titular canine character, enabling London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang examines the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans. The book also explores complex themes including morality and redemption.

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4 .) Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal-farm-by-george-orwell
Lists It Appears On:

  • Flavorwire
  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Guardian

Manor Farm is like any other English farm, expect for a drunken owner, Mr Jones, incompetent workers and oppressed animals. Fed up with the ignorance of their human masters, the animals rise up in rebellion and take over the farm. Led by intellectually superior pigs like Snowball and Napoleon, the animals how to take charge of their destiny and remove the inequities of their lives. But as time passes, the realize that things aren’t happening quite as expected. Animal Farm is, one level, a simple story about barnyard animals. On a much deeper level, it is a savage political satire on corrupted ideals, misdirected revolutions and class conflict-themes as valid today as they were sixty years ago.

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3 .) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak
Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Polygamist
  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Reading Room

“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. “

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2 .) The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

the-plague-dogs-by-richard-adams
Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble (Again)
  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Book Eaters

A lyrical, engrossing tale, by the author of WATERSHIP DOWN, Richard Adams creates a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf, fugitives from the horrors of an animal research center who escape into the isolation–and terror–of the wilderness.

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1 .) Watership Down by Richard Adams

watership-down-watership-down-1-by-richard-adams
Lists It Appears On:

  • Flavorwire
  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Book Eaters
  • The Glowing Edge
  • The Guardian
  • The Reading Room

Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

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101 Additional Non-Human Novels



 

A Canticle for LeibowitzWalter Miller, Jr.The Glowing Edge
Apprentice Adept seriesPiers AnthonyThe Glowing Edge
Autobiography of RedAnne CarsonFlavorwire
Barsk: The Elephant’s GraveyardLawrence M. SchoenBarnes & Noble (Again)
Beasts of New YorkJon Evans and Jim WestgardBarnes & Noble (Again)
Black BeautyAnna SewellFor Reading Addicts
Call of the WildJack LondonFor Reading Addicts
Carmen DogCarol EmshwillerThe Guardian
Chanur SagaC.J. CherryhTraci Loudin
Charlotte’s WebE. B. WhiteFor Reading Addicts
Code of the LifemakerJames P. HoganTraci Loudin
CosmicomicsItalo CalvinoFlavorwire
Dear Miss Proctologist Lady in the Bushes”Sam LipstyeFlavorwire
Delicious FoodsJames HannahamThe Reading Room
Discworld – The Colour of Magic; The Light Fantastic and SourceryTerry PratchettBook Polygamist
DogsbodyDianna Wynne JonesThe Reading Room
DraculaBram StokerFor Reading Addicts
E.TWilliam KotzwinkleFor Reading Addicts
EvolutionStephen Baxter.Best Science Fiction Books
ExcessionIain M. Bank.Best Science Fiction Books
Far-SeerRobert J. SawyerTraci Loudin
FelidaeAkif PirincciThe Book Eaters
FirminSam SavageFlavorwire
First CycleH. Beam PiperTraci Loudin
FlatlandEdwin A. AbbottTraci Loudin
FlukeJames HerbertFor Reading Addicts
Foundation trilogy,Isaac AsimovThe Glowing Edge
Freddy the Pig (series)Walter R. BrooksFor Reading Addicts
FudokiKij JohnsonThe Guardian
Gods Behaving BadlyMarie PhillipsBarnes & Noble
Good OmensNeil Gaiman and Terry PratchettBook Polygamist
GrendelJohn GardnerFlavorwire
Harper Hall and Crystal Singer booksAnne McCaffreyThe Glowing Edge
Heart of a DogMikhail BulgakovFlavorwire
Horse HeavenJane SmileyThe Guardian
HostStephenie MeyerFor Reading Addicts
How We Are HungryDave EggersFlavorwire
Howl’s Castle SeriesDiana Wynne JonesBook Polygamist
I Am a CatSoseki NatsumeFlavorwire
IncandescenceGreg Egan.Best Science Fiction Books
Jacob’s Folly,Rebecca MillerThe Reading Room
KingJohn BergerFlavorwire
Lad a DogAlbert Payson TerhuneFor Reading Addicts
Maus; Maus IIArt SpiegelmanFlavorwire
Memnoch the DevilAnne RiceBarnes & Noble
MetamorphosesOvidFlavorwire
Moby-DickHerman MelvilleThe Guardian
Mort(e)Robert Repino.The Reading Room
My Name is RedOrhan PamukBarnes & Noble
My Predicament”Benjamin KunkelFlavorwire
NekropolisTim WaggonerBook Polygamist
NeuromancerWilliam GibsonThe Glowing Edge
On the BeachNevil ShuteThe Glowing Edge
Oryx and CrakeMargaret AtwoodUSA Today
Oy (Dark Tower Series)Stephen KingFor Reading Addicts
Pattern RecognitionWilliam GibsonThe Glowing Edge
Sad Robot StoriesMason JohnsonThe Reading Room
Saturn’s ChildrenUSA Today
SeagullJonathon LivingstoneFor Reading Addicts
Shadow the SheepdogEnid BlytonFor Reading Addicts
Skulduggery PleasantDerek LandyBook Polygamist
So Long, See You TomorrowWilliam MaxwellFlavorwire
Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott Card.Best Science Fiction Books
Star MakerOlaf StapledonTraci Loudin
Stuart LittleE.B WhiteFor Reading Addicts
Swan SongRobert R. McCammonThe Glowing Edge
Tailchaser’s Song,Tad WilliamsBarnes & Noble (Again)
The Alien DarkDiana G. GallagherTraci Loudin
The Arbai trilogy: Grass, Raising the Stones, SideshowSherri S. TepperThe Glowing Edge
The Bane ChroniclesClarissa ClaireFor Reading Addicts
The BeesLaline PaullBarnes & Noble (Again)
The Belgariad seriesDavid EddingsThe Glowing Edge
The Black StallionWalter FarleyFor Reading Addicts
The Book of Night with MoonDiane DuaneBarnes & Noble (Again)
The Books of AbaratClive BarkerBook Polygamist
The Bug WarsRobert Lynn AsprinTraci Loudin
The Chronicles of AmberRoger ZelaznyThe Glowing Edge
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the UnbelieverStephen R. DonaldsonThe Glowing Edge
The Crucible of TimeJohn BrunnerTraci Loudin
The Einstein IntersectionSamuel R. DelanyTraci Loudin
The Faded Sun TrilogyC.J. CherryhBest Science Fiction Books
The Farseer trilogy, The Tawny Man trilogy, & the Liveship Traders trilogyRobin HobbThe Glowing Edge
The Firebringer TrilogyMeredith Ann Pierce.Best Science Fiction Books
The Gods ThemselvesIsaac Asimov.Best Science Fiction Books
The Hyperion Cantos: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of EndymionDan SimmonsThe Glowing Edge
The Improbability of LoveHannah RothschildThe Reading Room
The Incredible JourneySheila BurnfordFor Reading Addicts
The London Pigeon WarsPatrick NeateFlavorwire
The Martian ChroniclesRay BradburyThe Glowing Edge
The Miracle on Monhegan Island,Elizabeth KellyThe Reading Room
The Once and Future KingTH WhiteThe Guardian
The Rifters trilogy: Starfish, Maelstrom, BehemothPeter WattsThe Glowing Edge
The Secret Goldfish”David MeansFlavorwire
The SparrowUSA Today
The StandSteven KingThe Glowing Edge
TimbuktuPaul AusterFlavorwire
Twilight SagaStephenie MayerFor Reading Addicts
Uplift seriesDavid Brin.Best Science Fiction Books
WatchersDean KoontzFor Reading Addicts
Where the Redfern GrowsWilson RawlsFor Reading Addicts
White is for WitchingHelen OyeyemiThe Reading Room


Xenofiction and Non-human Literature Sources



SourceArticle
Barnes & Noble 5 Awesome Books With Non-Human Narrators
Barnes & Noble (Again) In the Wild: 6 Books from an Animal’s Point of View
Best Science Fiction Books Xenofiction
Book Polygamist Top 10 Non-Human Characters
Flavorwire The Birds and the Bees: Our Favorite Animal Point-of-View Fiction
For Reading Addicts The 33 Best Books with a non-human protagonist
The Book Eaters THE XENOFICTION FILES
The Glowing Edge My All-Time Favorite Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Xenofiction, and Post-Apocalyptic Novels and Series
The Guardian Top 10 books about intelligent animals
The Reading Room The Best Books with Non-Human Narrators
Traci Loudin Fiction From Nonhuman Viewpoints
USA Today Sci-fi novels with the 4 best ‘alien’ narrators

 



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