Here is a section created especially for YOU, dear Alien !
In 10 simple points Clary Antome explains what most current literary fiction is all about, where to look for valuable information about humans (a difficult task, be warned) and what to make of the endless redundancies in between.
Just follow these Reading Tips for Aliens:
1 - Human apes are mad about narratives, which give them the soothing impression that life makes sense. For ages now theyíve been telling each other the wildest tales to justify their puzzling existence and actions. Some of those tales turned out to be particularly appealing. So humans became experts in repeating and improving them. Modern literature is the latest milestone in that long adventure.
2 - Since there really isnít much to life (apart from lots of conflict, squalor and confusion), literature concentrates on a handful of themes that concern just about any organism on planet Earth: fights for resources and territory, sexual competition, reproduction.
3 - However, human apes believe they are special. Unique. Totally different from all other species. They even like to imagine that they are NOT just another animal. Most literary fiction confirms this for them: it turns banal necessities and drives into adventure, romance and the pursuit of happiness.
4 - Writers who create thrilling accounts of improbable situations are highly appreciated by reading humans, whose everyday existence is less exciting than that of fictional characters.
5 - Modern human apes are not very eager to acknowledge that reality is mainly dreary, disappointing and difficult.
6 - Reading about idealized events and persons provides humans with a totally different reality, far from what they experience every day at their working places and blocks of flats. This helps them believe that in some unknown future also they may come across something other than boredom and unpaid bills.
7 - Dull jobs and depressing blocks, boredom and unpaid bills are NOT gripping literary themes - unless the hero overcomes them by page 5. The writer can achieve this by introducing a combination of motifs: sex, crime, paranormal phenomena, extreme fun and action, unimaginable gestures of kindness and understanding and love (or contempt and cruelty and hatred) between characters.
8 - Literary heroes are never as unremarkably normal as the readers. Any outstanding physical or personality feature can be explored - so long as the characters remain mysteriously superficial and provide the reassuring feeling that something extraordinary is happening.
9 - Although they possess big brains, human apes are not particularly fond of using them excessively. Therefore successful fiction appeals instead to feelings and emotions, which are a vast source of enjoyment and relief. This provokes far less headaches and heartbreak than reflection or (worse) mockery.
10 - Current literary fiction is just one of the many fantastic means the human species has found to produce beautified images of itself and its surrounding environment. Turning life upside down makes everything not only more entertaining but also endurable.
If you want reality, why donít you go back to where you came from?
Do not despair, dear Alien.
Human big brains can produce so much variety that even in literature there have been a few attempts to deal with the complexities of spooky reality.