Some of you probably discovered after you married that you now had a few (or many) weird in-laws or other family members. This comes as a bit of a shock, but happens a lot, and not just to Americans. It occurs around the world.
A main reason is that, even in a fairly homogeneous population such as Canada or the USA, we find a wide variety of presuppositions which conflict with each other. Our backgrounds make it hard to get a handle on what another person means or expects. True especially with spouses who are supposed to be a very tight connection.
Such observations has always attracted me, crying out for answers. This is why Anthropology (a minor) with Sociology and Psychology (double major) fascinated me in college.
Well, if it is hard to get such things understood among homo sapiens, can you imagine the challenge a person would face if faced with aliens? Someday it will become a discipline among scholars, I am sure.
Although conventional wisdom holds that writing with another author is quite difficult, and rarely done successfully, Flint has many co-authors. Only one of the co-authored stories failed to grip me as did the others works he produced. Eric Flint and his co-author K. D. Wentworth deal with this idea in spades in their writing.
A bit about Eric Flint – he has produced the most widely read series published today among fantasy, alternate history, and science fiction writers. The Ring of Fire series began with 1632. In this story the small West Virginia town of Grantville and some of its surrounding geography is somehow removed to the year 1632. They find that they have replaced a hunk of territory in central Germany (which territory has replaced Grantville in West Virginia). The series then deals with 20th century Americans with limited resources dealing with their new environment and neighbors. I highly recommend the series and other works of his.
The reason for this post is his book with K.D. Wentworth titled The Crucible of Empire, A Baen Book, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4391-3338-5. Not only are two alien peoples in conflict, but they in turn must discover how to work together (after the Jao conquer Earth)! Several decades later, the Ekhat arrive. These beings wish to be the only intelligence in existence, so they simply exterminate any other civilizations they discover. Only with the military help of Earthlings, and their new ideas, lacking generally among the Jao, enable them to finally beat off the Ekhat. A fourth alien group is then added to the mix. The four groups are radically, and often not understandable, different from each other.
This book is more about the characters and their experiences in coping with each other. It is an excellent description of and resolution (or non-resolution) of cultural blinders and differences. If you like to see things from different viewpoints, this is a journey for you.