April 18, 2012 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend novels that deal with Uplifting sentient species, bootstrapping technology, a la David Brin's Upllift novels and Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought series.

I just finished Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge, after re-reading A Fire Upon the Deep. I've read all of Brin's Uplift War novels. Can you recommend some other Sci-Fi that deals with uplifting species to space faring technology, a group of settlers that have to re-invent the jump drive, or anything vaguely related.
posted by kittensofthenight to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Iain Banks's Culture novels are by far the best things in this subsubgenre.

Also putting a plug in for Tobias Buckell's trilogy Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:36 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Time, in which a squid is enhanced to pilot a spaceship.
posted by jamaro at 6:36 PM on April 18, 2012

Niven’s Ringworld series kind of deals with this. Either way, it is essential sci-fi reading. Check it out.
posted by vkxmai at 6:41 PM on April 18, 2012

+1 Ringworld. Really great series (and there's a new one coming out soon)!
posted by Strass at 6:42 PM on April 18, 2012

Tim Eldred's terrifically fun graphic novel, Grease Monkey, is a new-kid-in-town space adventure with a underlying premise that humans are now sharing the world with simians, with the day-to-day hijinks ensuing from the inevitable culture clash.
posted by redsparkler at 6:43 PM on April 18, 2012

It's been a while since I've read it, but Slow Train to Arcturus might be in the neighborhood of what you're looking for.
posted by Lexica at 6:48 PM on April 18, 2012

MeFi's own Charles Stross's book Accelerando is excellent. It includes uplifted lobsters, external memory and computer assisted thought processing, and all manner of other cool concepts. In the first chapter.

Things get a bit crazy after that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:59 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here's something that might work: Fiction with "Uplifted" Animals: An Annotated Bibliography
posted by caryatid at 7:02 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, in Le Guin's The Telling, a technologically backwards society is bootstrapped to spacefaring levels within a generation, with help and technology from the visiting aliens.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:13 PM on April 18, 2012

If you're a fan of videogames at all, uplift is a major underlying theme of the Mass Effect trilogy.
posted by Oktober at 7:25 PM on April 18, 2012

(the books are middling-to-terrible, but the actual writing of the games is top-notch)
posted by Oktober at 7:28 PM on April 18, 2012

Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music features an uplifted kangaroo.
posted by gnutron at 7:53 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood is genetically uplifting.
posted by freshwater at 8:34 PM on April 18, 2012

Niven & Barnes wrote "Saturn's Race" which has, as sub plot, enhanced marine animals.
posted by mce at 8:39 PM on April 18, 2012

Another Stross pick -- Singularity Sky. What happens when a group of wacky alien pranksters decide to start carpet bombing human planets with unlimited energy sources and 3-D replicators, thus wiping out scarcity? Tune in and find out!
posted by bardic at 9:44 PM on April 18, 2012

Best answer: John Barnes' A Million Open Doors series features cultures from Earth dispersed across the galaxy and encouraged to maintain a base level of technology/arts (and forgetting the home planet) until they're deemed advanced enough to join the rest of humanity in space.
posted by spunweb at 9:58 PM on April 18, 2012

If you haven't read Vinge's other work, intelligence enhancement is basically his theme, and basically no one does it as well.

I assume you've read Deepness in the Sky.

Another work that combines an off-world setting with themes of intelligence and an accelerated industrial revolution is Tasha Grimm's World.

If you look at his collected stories I believe there's a fair amount of other material on point, too.
posted by grobstein at 10:31 PM on April 18, 2012

Response by poster: Many wonderful recommendations. I'm excited about the answers I marked as 'best', but only because I haven't read them. Children of the Sky was so focused on building the tech from scratch that it made me realize how much I like that plot conceit-- I also haven't hated a villain as much in years. I'm particularly excited about Tobias Buckell.

Also, fuck the prime directive!
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:24 AM on April 19, 2012

If you enjoyed reading Brin, you should read his novel EARTH, it is also awesome.
posted by vkxmai at 6:52 AM on April 19, 2012

You might look into Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, which feature both an uplifted alien species (dragons) and uplifted dolphins.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:59 AM on April 19, 2012

The TVTropes page for Uplifted Animals has a literature section.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:51 AM on April 20, 2012

Olaf Stapledon's Sirius, Cordwainer Smith's stories featuring the Underpeople, and Heinlein's "Jerry Was a Man" are some early examples. Pat Murphy's "Rachel in Love" is a more recent one.
posted by Zed at 9:38 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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