1. notleia says:

    Another pinterest link, apparently we show signs of having already been domesticated by plants: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/44050902590148312/

    Realistically, people breeds would be more like cat breeds than dog breeds, because dog genetics are ridiculous flexible. It’s only very, very recently that we’ve been making weird potato breeds of cat because cats had only one job (to murder) and they were already very good at it as-is.

    It’s a different kind of fun than making up crazy doglike people breeds, but domestic cats are a lot more complicated, socially, than the non-cat-nerds give them credit for. European wildcats are loners, but domestic cats are sourced from African wildcats, which when there is sufficient food, live in somewhat pride-like colonies based around a group of related females who generally raise their kittens in common. They have cat friends and sometimes do cooperative hunting and will bring back excess kills to the colony. It could map as a basis for a loose matriarchal tribal society, where women are focused on the permanent settlements and the men fart around as their farts take them.

    One way of dividing up cat breeds is by their relative level of extroversion/introversion. Siamese-based breeds are typically high-energy and thrill-seeking, and northern and Persian-based breeds are less spastic, more shy and cautious. I’ve got one of each with Hauspanzer and Potato, which is mostly why they hate each other. It’s easier when there’s a midpoint, chill cat to help buffer, which my Oldcat only kinda did, because she didn’t give a sh!t, but her presence was something of a buffer before she passed.

    So I could conceivably write a story about a party of dysfunctional adventurers based on my cats. Hauspanzer would be a rogue or assassin who was smart but gets bored easily and won’t focus, Potato would be a mess of a caster who was overprepared yet horribly organized but with a squishy soft heart underneath it all. Oldcat would be a grumpy tank who keeps them on track and prefers to solve problems by smashing them.

    • notleia says:

      Most of my favorite tomcats on the farm were big chill orange boys, so Tigger and Swirls would be surfer bro-type bards who were, at the end of the day, f**kboys and not to be counted on for any responsibilities. They were nice to the kids, tho, which is better than other f**kboys were.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Cats haven’t been domesticated as long as dogs (supposedly) and haven’t been deliberately bred into as many different working types as dogs. Still, there’s a variety among domestic cats that far exceeds the varieties among human beings.

      Humans as varied as cats–or horses–or any number of domesticated animals–would be far more varied than human beings are today.

    • Autumn Grayson says:

      The more social tendencies of certain cat breeds does justify the clans in the Warrior Cats series, at least. Or anyone that wants to write social groups of housecats.

  2. A.K. Preston says:

    This sort of reminds me of something I read about in one of Michio Kaku’s books. Basically, AI becomes so ubiquitous and deeply embedded in our physical environment that it leads to a revival of animistic nature mysticism—in a sense, these beliefs would now be literally true since virtually every place on earth has an AI fulfilling the role of a spirit. This could add a religious element to your scenario, with domesticated humans worshipping their AI masters as gods. Once the AIs are gone, it could produce extreme shock and dismay as the humans try to figure out “why have the gods abandoned us?” Maybe it’s only revealed later in the story that they were never gods at all? Maybe this leads to despair for some, but a search for the true God among others?

    • Travis Perry says:

      Seeing the AIs as stand-ins for God or gods would be a very interesting approach to take. I would myself probably only make some of the humans feel that way, but a very interesting idea. Thanks for bringing it up!

  3. Autumn Grayson says:

    Something that would probably have to be addressed, either directly or indirectly, would be health problems and quite a few downsides to vastly different breeds developing. Many modern dog breeds have quite a few health problems. Some can’t really even survive long term without humans. Maybe a bunch of AIs would keep this from happening to humans through genetic engineering, but that would assume they wanted to or even felt like it. Several genetic traits that we think are cool could have major downsides or be caused by a health problem in some cases. This is even a bit true with cats in some cases, though I hear of less health problems with them.

    All that would be interesting to explore. Several health issues that we are trying to cure now could actually be bred for by an AI that found them interesting. Several forms of gigantism can cause health issues, but if AIs wanted an unusually large human, they might not worry about it so much, or at the very least keep breeding individuals with that trait even before the problem was solved…much like humans have treated dogs.

    One thing I tend to think with AI is that developers probably shouldn’t give it emotion, a sense of goals, purpose, beliefs, etc. Those things would make it more likely that AI might want to take over in the first place. But in a story world like you mentioned, giving AI some emotion, sense of goals, etc would have probably partly saved humanity, since they would have wanted to keep humans around for fun.

    As far as stories where humans are pets and selectively bred, Bryan Davis’ series, Dragons of Starlight, features such a world. But it’s a fantasy story with sci fi aspects, and although the dragons prefer to breed the humans for certain traits, it doesn’t seem to be enough that they’ve started to diverge into several breeds.

    Several of my stories have humans kept as pets, but mainly by angel or demon descendants. I guess technically those humans diverged into several breeds, but they aren’t called that. And though some of the differences are pretty notable, they aren’t as visually stark as, say, the differences between a chihuahua and a husky.

    Humans being captive and bred is a trope in vampire stories from what I understand, though I don’t really read enough in the vampire genre to have specifics to mention. I think Castlevania might do that a little, but I haven’t actually seen that show yet(maybe I will some day, though. I hear good things about it and it looks high quality) But unfortunately there’s going to be a lot of trashy stuff in that genre that just fetishizes the scenario, which does bring up another thing.

    This kind of scenario has a high likelyhood of being fetishized at least a bit, even if the author writes it very cleanly. That can happen with any story, so as long as the author writes the story world seriously and avoids fetishizing it it’s probably fine. But they shouldn’t be surprised if people still fetishize it anyway.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Yes, health issues would be an issue.

      I haven’t read Dragons of Starlight, but it sounds like I should!

      Yeah, it make sense vampire writers would come up with the idea of humans being kept as livestock to supply blood. Yeah, they’d be in “breeds” maybe–but more like blood-type groups… (“A negative is definitely my favorite, even though AB negative is the most expensive”…)

      Yeah, fetishizing would be a danger of this idea “in the wrong hands.” Another danger, which I touched on a bit, is some people could claim that some “breeds” really are inferior and attempt to use a story like this to justify racism. I would deliberately go the opposite of that.

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        Yeah, though if done right I agree that a story like this could be very effective for proving that racism is wrong and needless. That people shouldn’t be prejudiced and cruel no matter how stark the physical differences are.

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        Bryan Davis has quite a few interesting and even unusual story ideas, so you might like several of his books. His next one is going to be a sci fi that kind of has some resemblances to story ideas you’ve mentioned in the past, in fact.

What do you think?