The Uplift War - Uplift, Bk 3 Author:David Brin Originally 17 galaxies were linked by tubes of focus time. As the universe expanded these tubes snapped, isolating galaxies onto themselves. Three billion years ago, when 11 galaxies were still joined together, the mythical Progenitors arose to begin the cycle of Uplift, in which a Patron race aids a Client race to cross into full sentience. In ... more »return the Client gives the Patron 100,000 years of indentured servitude. Though the Progenitors have long since departed this plane of existence, before leaving they established the Library, other institutions and Galactic Law. (Or so the mythology goes.) Now after several billion years the Uplift Cycle remains unbroken and a myriad of Patron and Client races roam the remaining 5 linked galaxies believing that the Progenitors will some day return.
Now enters the Human race, who have themselves Uplifted two Client races, Dolphin and Chimpanzee. But the question remains - Who Uplifted Humans? Were they abandoned by some Galactic Patron when the job was only half done? Or did humans do what is thought to be impossible and Uplift themselves?
Many races in the Galaxy would like to take over where Humans' neglectful Patrons left off, thereby adding to their own clans three new client races. But other powerful Galactics argued successfully that Humans be given Patron status. Humans have been in contact with Galactic Society for only 300 years and exist in a very precarious balance with other Galactics. They can call only three races friends, and many more as vicious enemies who think of them as a semi-evolved barbaric wolfing upstarts.
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth, Earth humans and neo-chimps, must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies.
This was the first book that I read in the series, and I loved it. When I went and read the others, well, they didn't really do it for me. Funny how that works. I like this book because it has a lot about communicating with and relating to other alien species.
The Uplift War and Startide Rising take place simultaneously but at different locations in the galaxy and so should be read back-to-back or even at the same time alternating the internal chronology from one book to the next (I've done both). This pair of novels ranks as some of the greatest modern science fiction ever written. The characters are placed in impossible situations, massive space battles, a melange of cultures and alien races, centered around a mystery wrapped in an enigma and accompanied by some of the corniest yet most hilarious puns and double entendres to be found. Would you like to engage in a gorilla war in the jungle anyone?