I started reading The Aliens of the Flaming Red Sun by Proxima Centauri. I'll admit right at the start, I have a selfish motivation for reading this story which can be summed up by: "I’m not sure what to do about the characters of the aliens. If I make them very different from people then human readers will find it difficult to identify with them."
The first science fiction story I ever read was The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. In that story there are aliens who exist in a "parallel" universe where there are different physical laws. The "soft" aliens absorb energy from sun light and reproduce by merging their "bodies". I found it hard to comprehend and relate to those aliens.
I'm dealing with similar issues in The Start of Eternity. My first attempt to write about an alien (see Manmahtiti Bebobinmahtiti) was a cop out because poor Man Bin went through an extensive program of "humanization" before appearing in that story. Further, the fundamental essence of that character is that he is a capitalist pig, which is easy for many humans to relate to. In The Start of Eternity I am trying to write about an inter-galactic culture that includes millions of different intelligent species. Once again, I'm cheating because all of these species (including humans) are "made in the image" of one particular species, the first that ever evolved human-like intelligence and spread between the stars.
Edward Osborne Wilson, a biologist, has commented on the fact that if an intelligent species evolved from a social insect lineage then it would have very different instincts, ethics and culture than do humans. Not only different, but different in ways that would disgust and enrage most humans, particularly those who speak for God when making statements about what is sinful.
If we adopt Asimov's definition of science fiction, that it explores human responses to changing science and technology, then any story with aliens has to be primarily about humans. Maybe a story could be written so that humans can learn a lesson from aliens, but it is not clear that humans care to learn from freaky aliens. Based on the output of Hollywood, many people like the idea of exterminating aliens. Are humans intrinsically xenophobic? Are we the only remaining type of human on Earth because we killed off all the others? If so, can the human reaction to aliens be anything other than an instinctive desire to kill?
Talking star. I agree that it is shocking to see the introduction from the point of view of a star.
Well, I'm crawling back to the slime for more....where is my robe?