In the Xenogenisis series by Octavia Butler (which I highly recommend even though I'm only middle of book 2), the alien race the Oankali show up just in time to "rescue" humanity, who have destroyed most of Earth and human fertility in a nuclear war.

How did the Oankali happen to time it that way? Were they tracking human progress from afar and only came to Earth when humans went to the brink of destruction? Did they somehow trigger the war so they could set humanity up to need rescue? Was it just an astronomical coincidence? Something else?

Related thought is -- the Oankali continually justify their trading with humans and the injustices therein by pointing out that the humans had nearly destroyed themselves. So... is that also the case with other species they trade with? And if so, again it begs the question of how they can know when a trade-worthy species is at the point of needing rescue/trade?

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    Bonus: Do we know if they ever "trade" with species who are not on endangered? It seems like "humans would have died out" is their main justification for... what they do to us. – zipquincy Oct 22 '15 at 16:27
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    The answers to this are in Book 3, if I remember correctly (but it's been a while since I read this book). Keep reading. – lunchmeat317 Oct 22 '15 at 20:53
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    @lunchmeat317 just finished Book 3 and if the answer was in there, I missed it. But I don't think so because I was waiting for it. – zipquincy Nov 18 '15 at 14:15
  • I just finished the trilogy, and I don't see any answer to the original question either. – Joe L. Nov 23 '15 at 13:41
  • Given that no timing efforts were mentioned, I got the impression that it was just a coincidence. They do mention that humans were a special case and trade is generally less… forcibly volunteered … than it was for us. Part of the reason was that our contradictory makeup was too irresistible for them, so they ended up being a bit heavy-handed with their own normal notions of equal standing and consent in trade. – melboiko Mar 22 at 12:46

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