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I'm having trouble forming the plot of a Sci-Fi story. I can't really come up with characters and what they would do, how they would interact ect, but I know what overall themes and the setting should be. Is there some way I could write about the world without having all these stupid characters and their lives?
You can, but it would only ever be interesting to you. I remember in a submission guide to some sci-fi magazine, what you're describing was listed as the #1 thing they did not want in submissions, trumping even obviously unproofread documents. What the people want is a story.
Is there any 'art form' that does this though?
There is. I forget what it's called.
Oh, and trying to figure out what that word was by looking up related fiction I remember like that which has been published, I figured out how I'm wrong. What you're hoping to do has been accomplished by formatting the narrative as a third party observer commenting on aspects of this culture. You still need to develop characters, but the characters of observer/audience are developed through their criticisms and personal bias. Still, the examples I thought up were all bloody ancient except for one, which used an incredible gimmick that can't be imitated. They were also all (very) short fiction.
That sounds like what Orson Scott Card called 'milieu fiction,' where a viewpoint protagonist travels to strange place(s), sees the sights, and then goes home. Gulliver's Travels would be an example. The important things in that kind of story are the places and cultures that are encountered, and the viewpoint character has almost no characterization at all. The author still needs to populate the work with characters, but it is not a character driven kind of story.
I'm not sure that is what the OP was getting at though. World building without any characters doesn't make for much of a story.
The term he's looking for... I remember reading about it combined with stuff on romantic era literature. There's a perfect word for what he's looking for... It's out there... somewhere...
Picaresque? I know it took me like ten minutes to remember that word last time I needed it.
You may remember the word, but you clearly don't remember the definition if you think it applies here.