'Sundiver' By David Brin
Sundiver is the first installment in David Brin's classic Uplift Universe. The Uplift Universe is based on the principal that intelligent species in the universe go around to different worlds and find potentially sentient species. The intelligent species... the 'patron'... then performs genetic manipulation of their 'client' species to 'uplift' them to sentience... and a term of indenture then follows by the client to the patron.
David Brin, in Sundiver, throws a monkey wrench into the smoothly
running universal machine. The human race proves to be a problem for
other patron races in the universe because it has apparently reached
sentience without a patron and therefore does not fit into the model
of the universe. We are brought into the story as the patron races of the universe are trying desperately to place the human race in the universal order. The human race, has decided to split into two camps, the Shirts and Skins. Shirts believe that the human race was uplifted and needs to find it's patron, the Skins believe that mankind developed on it's own and owes allegiance to no patron.
The Sundiver project was established by mankind before contact was
made with the other sentient species of the universe, and is a shining example to the Skins. This project has found potentially intelligent species living within the chromosphere of the sun. Sundiver has now become the focus of all human-human, and human-alien tensions because it could prove that humans were either uplifted or not.
This is a classic science fiction tale about where the human race fits in an unknown universe. David Brin spins a wonderful tale of intergalactic intrigue, interpersonal relationships, and a truly baffling mystery. Along with the science fiction parts of his book, David Brin also brings along a solid basis in science fact. The reader will not need to believe in fantastic technology, because Brin uses current science to power his universe.
A fantastic read, a great book, and a must for all science fiction readers.