uplift n.

the making of a sentient species from a non-sentient one, esp. by genetic engineering

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1980 D. Brin Sundiver 11 David Brin

    And from now on the work here at the Center for Uplift would be evenmore routine.

  • 1990 S. Jones GURPS Uplift 7

    Galactic civilization spreads life through terraforming, colonization, and (especially) the process of uplift, the creation of new sentient species from animal stock.

  • 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. Instant genetic uplift was beyond them—but the implants solved that.

  • 2000 D. Freer & E. Flint Rats, Bats & Vats 387 Eric Flint Dave Freer bibliography

    The device secretes microfilaments into the brain to obtain raw data, whereafter it acts as an enhancement and logic coprocessor, enabling instant ‘uplift’ of various nonsentient animals.

  • 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 B. Stableford Year Zero 116 Brian Stableford

    That much of what the Devil had said was true—but as for the rest of it…well, he seemed to know about her little excursion to Altair, but he hadn’t said a word about the impending uplift of humankind by the greys' psychotropic viruses.

  • 2007 J. Scalzi Ghost Brigades 269

    Although the word uplift by its nature implies good intentions on the part of the uplifter, which is not in evidence here. From what I can get from the Obin, the Consu one day wondered what would happen if you made some species smart. So they came to Obinur, found an omnivore in a minor ecological niche, and gave it intelligence. You know, just to see what would happen next.


Research requirements

antedating 1980

Earliest cite

David Brin 'Sundiver'

Research History
Steve Jackson submitted a 1990 cite from Stefan Jones' "GURPS Uplift".
Ralf Brown submitted a cite from a 1985 reprint of David Brin's "Sundiver" which Rick Hauptmann verified in the 1980 first edition.
Douglas Winston submitted a 2001 cite from James Alan Gardner's "Ascending".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2000 cite from Dave Freer and Eric Flint's "Rats, Bats & Vats"
Douglas Winston submitted a 2007 cite from John Scalzi's "The Ghost Brigades"
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 2003 reprint of Brian Stableford's "Year Zero" (20000

The term appears to have originated with David Brin: we would be interested in evidence of earlier use by Brin, or any other author.

Last modified 2021-01-04 12:01:43
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.