Does anyone remember which novel included these aliens?


Books

Scarab Sages

I remember an odd alien species, but I've forgotten which novel they come from.

In the novel, a race of robots is moving through our galactic neighborhood, enslaving a series of other races as they go.

In one scene, one of the viewpoint characters witnesses the race that created the robots. They're small mammal-like creatures whose brains are roughly on par with rats or squirrels. They developed tool use, but they never evolved true sentience/sapience/"person-hood".

Over millions of years, these creatures built simple tools, then more complex tools. Eventually, their tools built even better tools, and the complexity increased until it resulted in a race of fully-sentient robots.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Edit: For some reason, my memory suggests that it might have been a C.S. Friedman book, but I could easily be wrong about that.


'Flame Winds', by Norvell W. Page, in which Prester John beats several city guards to death by picking up their captain by the ankles and using him as a giant club, strangles a tiger, strangles a boa constrictor, kills thousands of wizards' soldiers with burning carpets and informs us that salt dissolves rapidly in boiling water.

A ridiculous book. I loved it.


Whoops - wrong thread..

Scarab Sages

Limeylongears wrote:
Whoops - wrong thread..

That's okay, "Flame Winds" sounds like a fun book.


Sounded more fun when it was also the one with with non-sapient robot builders. :)


They sound a bit like the Inhibitors from Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE novels, but they don't enslave other races. They stop them from colonising other stars and try to avoid widespread genocide, but will do it when necessary.

Scarab Sages

Werthead wrote:
They sound a bit like the Inhibitors from Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE novels, but they don't enslave other races. They stop them from colonising other stars and try to avoid widespread genocide, but will do it when necessary.

Interesting. That could be them, if I'm mixing up two different universes. I'll look up the Inhibitors and see if that's it.

Scarab Sages

KarlBob wrote:
Werthead wrote:
They sound a bit like the Inhibitors from Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE novels, but they don't enslave other races. They stop them from colonising other stars and try to avoid widespread genocide, but will do it when necessary.
Interesting. That could be them, if I'm mixing up two different universes. I'll look up the Inhibitors and see if that's it.

Nope,it wasn't them. That sounds like a neat series, though. Maybe I'll give it a try soon.


Does not sound like any of the C.S. Friedman books I am familiar with.

Sounds a bit like several books, but the part about never achieving sapience is throwing me.


Hmm. Not a CJ Cherryh book?

The only other thing that comes to mind is Fred Saberhagen's BESERKER series, and I'm pretty sure the creators of the robots never really get any development in that series.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The never acquiring sapience thing reminds me of Blindsight, where that is an important bit of the plot. but those guys didn't build robots, and they were more similar to starfish than anything else.

Scarab Sages

Werthead wrote:
Hmm. Not a CJ Cherryh book?

It could be a CJ Cherryh book, but it's not one of the Chanur series.

MMCJawa wrote:
The never acquiring sapience thing reminds me of Blindsight

I ran across Blindsight while searching for the story. It's really good, but it's not the novel I'm looking for.


the Animorphs?


Knoq Nixoy wrote:
the Animorphs?

See, I was about to say the same thing until I read all of the OP. Yerks did not have robots, just good spaceships. Also were flat tapeworm like creatures, not small mammals.

Tempted to derail the thread with a collaboration to make stats for Hork-Bajir, but will take the high ground.

Scarab Sages

One more detail that might jog someone's memory: The robot "shepherds" that accompany the animals occasionally leak wisps of vapor. It's possible that they might be using a liquefied gas as a coolant. The character who sees them speculates that these particular robots might be quite primitive (if they use components like vacuum tubes that produce a lot of waste heat), or very advanced (if they use low temperature superconductors).


That rings a bell. It's not something from THE HERITAGE UNIVERSE books by Charles Sheffield?

It also sounds a bit David Brin-ian, but I don't think it's anything from the UPLIFT series.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Definitely not Cherryh. Unless it's some of her fantasy. I've read 99% of her SF, I think.


Werthead wrote:

That rings a bell. It's not something from THE HERITAGE UNIVERSE books by Charles Sheffield?

It's been a while since I read the Heritage series, but I'm pretty sure there weren't any robots. At least none that match this description.

Scarab Sages

Werthead wrote:

That rings a bell. It's not something from THE HERITAGE UNIVERSE books by Charles Sheffield?

It also sounds a bit David Brin-ian, but I don't think it's anything from the UPLIFT series.

I haven't read the Heritage Universe series, but I'll add them to my "read this sometime" list.

It could be a Brin story, but I agree that it's probably not from any of the Uplift books.

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