The People, culturally, could be divided into organic and inorganic. Even within these classifications there was great variation in the People. Many of the organic People were humanoid, though with greater variation than humans, ranging in skin colour, number of digits and other traits. Other People had vastly different forms, including the assimilated All of Us. The inorganic people were spherical drones and ships. They were typically much smarter than organic People. (PROSE: The Also People, PROSE: Walking to Babylon) There was overlap between the two categories, such as Clarence, who had a mechanical brain and an organic body. (PROSE: Ghost Devices)
The People's culture consisted of interest groups. These interests ranged from learning primitive cooking styles and studying other species to the study of time travel. (PROSE: Walking to Babylon, Ghost Devices)
At the end of the Millennium War of 150 million BC, the People feared the Mad Mind of Bophemeral becoming a god more powerful than their own God and revealed their existence to the outside universe to choreograph the final assault on the Mad Mind. The People's God worked with Time Lords led by Rassilon to generate the time loop that ended the Wars. It was God who communicated the victors' wish to the Six-Fold-God that the War be completely forgotten by the universe. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
Before 2564, the People fought a war with an insectoid species generally known as the Insects. About twenty-six billion sentient individuals were killed, and fifteen planets, three rings and fifteen asteroid habitats were completely destroyed. (PROSE: The Also People, PROSE: Walking to Babylon)
In 2594, God planned to investigate the Spire of Canopus IV and to cause/stop the paradox that surrounded it. Despite all his simulations showing that Bernice Summerfield would kill herself if she was involved, God sent Clarence to recruit her. Though Bernice did try to kill herself after the events, meddling by temporal forces allowed Clarence to save her. (PROSE: Ghost Devices)
In 2594, WiRgo!xu, !Ci!ci-tel and !qu-!qu-tala believed that the People had become complacent since the war with All of Us was too easy and used the time travel technology of the Path to travel to the ancient Earth city of Babylon, 570 BCE. Ostensibly there to rough it out and develop a sense of humility, they also were trying to break the treaty with the Time Lords and lead to a time war. This would give the People a sense of risk. Bernice Summerfield convinced them to give up this plan. (PROSE: Walking to Babylon) Despite the incident in Babylon, God knew that a conflict was inevitable. Since he believed that the People's lack of telepathy was the reason they hadn't mastered time travel, God planned to utilise the Oracle of the Lost to avoid the issue. (PROSE: Tears of the Oracle) Romana III sought future Time Lord technology to help with their "dispute" with the People. (PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon)
By the early posthuman era, the People were thought by some to be myth. Very shortly after her resurrection in the City of the Saved, Marinthe said that Dyson spheres were theoretical if one didn't believe in the People. (PROSE: Farewell to a World)
In the post-War universe, Ferran's teams recovered a crashed ship in the Librarinth; the ship's builders were "long since gone" and lived in "a time that may not even have happened." Ferran christened it Supremacy. (PROSE: Father Time) At the end of the universe, Helios speculated that the Needle People of the Librarinth were from the Accidentally Left Behind When Everyone Else Transcended This Reality Interest Group, reasoning it would explain their obsession with finding God. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors)
Behind the scenes
- The People have much in common with the Culture, featured in many of the novels of Iain M. Banks. The earlier books featuring the Culture predate the first appearance of the People.
- In Lance Parkin's early drafts for an epilogue to The Dying Days, he specified that the People were destroyed by the Daleks in the Final Dalek War.