I took a Science Fiction class in college a few years ago (2005 or 2006) and one of the stories we read in a collection really struck me and I don't know how to track it down. The professor who taught the class isn't able to locate the syllabus and can't recall the specific book

The story that caught my attention was about a mammalian species that recently had to destroy some "terraforming robots" that were making their worlds "safe for habitation" but there was a plot twist that the "aliens" who sent the terraforming robots were actually humans who had modified themselves to become disgusting, vapid beasts.

The species in the story that was in the process of being colonized ends up voting for a politician to go to war against humanity instead of turning over the locations of their other colonies, but the previous leader comes back to Earth with the "human" who was sent to negotiate after the negotiations fail, resigned to the fate of her species.

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    Were the mammals regular humans? Was the world being terraformed earth? Are there regular humans left or are they all beasts? The beasts are "vapid", meaning that they are boring? The policitian is going to war? You mean he supports going to war? – DCShannon Oct 7 '16 at 0:35
  • If you can remember ANY other story in the collection, it would help... maybe especially if it's one that you think is probably a classic that everyone would know, because then people can look up the collections that story was in and narrow down the actual book. – starpilotsix Oct 7 '16 at 0:41
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    Your professor can't recall what the book was, but maybe the college bookstores have a record of what books were required for the class? If a copy of the book was put on reserve in the college library, the library may have a record of it. – user14111 Oct 7 '16 at 0:42
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    I once read a somewhat similar story (title and author escape me) but one key difference was this: The "terraforming robot ships" were basically unstoppable killing machines. This other species couldn't destroy them. The robots could sterilize the surface of a planet so that no non-approved life was on it (i.e. not on the list of "my masters, and the other races with which they have diplomatic relations." Robots did this to 2 or 3worlds of the smaller interstellar civilization which the viewpoint character was trying to negotiate a truce with. Does that sound like it could be your story? – Lorendiac Oct 7 '16 at 0:51
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    @Lorendiac - I believe that you're referring to the story Dinosaurs, by Walter Jon Williams; it's previously been asked about here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/23407/… – andrewsi Oct 7 '16 at 1:58

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