I remember getting one or two of this trilogy from my local library when I was young, around the early 1990s.

The plot somehow involves humans from some sort of human navy or fleet infiltrating an alien society who have distinctly feline characteristics. I seem to remember that they have retractable claws. The aliens I think are at a pretty primitive level. The humans were more advanced but I remember that one of the 'advanced tech' of the humans is the ability to program memory.

I can't remember the plot too well, the humans could have crashed on the planet, or been sent there to deliberately infiltrate the society. Can anyone identify the books based on these fragments?

  • Iain M. Banks’ Look to Windward fits much of this, but it was only published in 2000. It’s not part of a trilogy, but there are a few books set in the same universe (the Culture series) that were available earlier. Could you have read some of these earlier books and then read Look to Windward when it was published, and are mixing up the dates a little?
    – matt
    Nov 8, 2015 at 23:09
  • Thanks for the try, I'm afraid they weren't from Iain M. Banks as i'm familiar with all his sci-fi work. It must be pretty obscure as i have not run across it again. the technology level wasn't really as advanced as any of Banks culture novels.
    – OmOmOm
    Oct 12, 2017 at 16:01
  • Do any of the man-kzin wars look familiar? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-Kzin_Wars
    – fectin
    Mar 3, 2018 at 21:01
  • Thanks for the suggestion. It also was definitely not those as the author wasn't Larry Niven as I'm fairly sure that the author didn't get any other books published outside this series. I'm also pretty sure that the author was British.
    – OmOmOm
    Mar 6, 2018 at 21:23
  • Getting a Chris Claremont vibe here!
    – Danny Mc G
    May 2, 2019 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


This is a bit of a long shot, but I'm going to suggest the Flandry series by Poul Anderson.

The first book in particular, Ensign Flandry, has the titular character aiding a technologically less-advanced society of cat-like aliens (called "Tigeries" of all things).

Cover of Ensign Flandry

There is a scene I vaguely recall where Flandry is greeting one of the aliens, and they touch hands (similar to a handshake) but she (I believe) partially extends her claws and gently pricks Flandry's wrist.

Poul Anderson was a U.S. author, but the sensibility of the series - grand empire and gunboat diplomacy - was much more British.

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