uplift v.

to transform a non-sentient species into a sentient species, esp. by genetic engineering

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1980 D. Brin Sundiver 22 David Brin

    A young man on the left, wrapped in silver sateen from the throat to toe, held up a placard that said, ‘Mankind Was Uplifted Too: let our E.T. Cousins Out!’

  • 1989 Nova Express Spring 12/1

    I eat chicken and fish, not only because its [sic] more ecologically sound, but because there’s no chance that they might be Uplifted.

  • 1997 J. A. Gardner Expendable (1997) xiv. 226 James Alan Gardner

    That’s an AI for you: probably trying to ‘uplift’ me by setting an example of ‘correct’ speech.

  • 2000 G. Bear in Nature 13 Jan. 141/3 Greg Bear

    Some researchers suggest that the seeding of provocative artefacts (‘Clarkeing’) below the deep ice may encourage condensation of concentrated intelligences, or, at the very least, induce some interesting emergent properties. The design of these artefacts is currently stimulating intense debate. As one chief communications researcher has asked, ‘How do you uplift slime?’

  • 2000 D. Freer & E. Flint Rats, Bats & Vats iii. 27 Eric Flint Dave Freer bibliography

    The Korozhet also had slowshields, and the wondrous soft-cyber implants which had uplifted the rats and bats. The genetic engineers of the colony had ‘built’ the rats and latterly the bats, to flesh out the ranks of the pitifully small human army.

  • 2001 J. A. Gardner Ascending xix. 235 James Alan Gardner

    Nimbus spoke of diverse alien races—Earthlings and Divians and Cashlings and several other species whose names did not stick in my mind—but they all had two qualities in common. First, they had been ‘uplifted’ by the Shaddill: approached in their native star systems, given new homes elsewhere in the galaxy, and presented with sophisticated Science Gifts as a welcome to the League of Peoples. Second, ever since their uplift, these species had all grown more decadent, temperamental, and culturally sterile…particularly those uplifted for the longest period.

  • 2003 K. MacLeod Engine City 84 Ken MacLeod

    —genetically uplifted the ancestors of the saurs, and culturally—at least—uplifted the krakens.

  • 2004 C. Stross Singularity Sky 370 Charles Stross

    They milled about downslope, debating the ideological necessity of uplifting non-human species to sapience—one of them had taken heated exception to a proposal to giving opposable thumbs and the power of speech to cats—and comparing their increasingly baroque implants.


Research requirements

antedating 1980

Earliest cite

D. Brin 'Sundiver'

Research History
Matthew Hoyt submitted a cite from a reprint of David Brin's "Sundiver"; Rick Hauptmann verified this cite in the 1980 first edition. We suspect this is the first cite and would like citations from other authors after this date, as well as any earlier cites from Brin.

Steve Jackson submitted a 2001 cite from Robert Metzger in the SFWA Bulletin. Malcolm Farmer submitted a 2000 cite from Greg Bear's "Deep Ice and DNA Languages". Douglas Winston submitted a 2001 cite from James Alan Gardner's "Ascending". Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 2003 reprint of Ken MacLeod's 2002 "Engine City". Jeff Prucher submitted cites from Dave Freer and Eric Flint's 2000 "Rats, Bats & Vats". Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 2004 reprint of Charles Stross's 2003 "Singularity Sky"

Last modified 2021-01-17 18:32:22
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.