= alien n.
To describe the biology, psychology and history of a whole world in a few pages is as difficult as it would be to give the Martians themselves in the same compass a true idea of man. Encyclopædias, libraries, would be needed in either case. Yet, somehow, I must contrive to suggest the alien sufferings and delights, and the many aeons of struggle, which went to the making of these strange nonhuman intelligences, in some ways so inferior yet in others definitely superior to the human species which they encountered.
I must now try to give some idea of the main types of these ‘non-human’ intelligent worlds.
Of the eugenical enterprise of these worlds I shall report little, because much of it would be unintelligible without a minute knowledge of the biological and biochemical nature of each of these non-human world-populations.
The distribution of life through the physical universe, for example, and the possibility that other, nonhuman intelligences existed somewhere. If there were such, then it was possible, with an extremely high degree of mathematical probability, that some of them, at least, were more advanced than men.
The court takes judicial notice that members of non-human races may give evidence. But nothing has been presented to show that this particular extra-terrestrial is competent.
The presence of Dr. Ftaeml on Earth had tipped Greenberg that something was up with a non-humanoid people…non-human in mentality, creatures so different psychologically that communication was difficult.
I was knocked out the first time when we finally put the eetees—Venusians and Martians and Outer Jovians—into the Grand Assembly. But the non-human peoples are still there and I came back.
Janov, you want a nonhuman intelligence and you will have one.
In all his life in the Slow Zone, he had known three nonhuman races.
You probably wouldn’t be surprised by how often people—even modern rightminded people, even nonhuman people—fail to do what’s sensible.
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men
The OED has "non-human" cites back to 1839 for the sense "not of the human race; not a human being". To distinguish an sf sense from this it is probably necessary to focus on cites that use "non-human" to refer to other sapient aliens. For example, here is the cite Enoch Forrester sent in from "Star Maker": "I must now try to give some idea of the main types of these 'non-human' intelligent worlds."
OED entry updated in December 2003 with the adjective sense widened to include the SF usage.
Last modified 2021-04-17 03:16:29
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.