I'm trying to find a novel written in American English that I read about twenty years ago. It might have been published about thirty years ago. It has the following details:

The aliens are land based, very long lived and communicate via large numbers of cilia on their tentacle tips. They are Masters at biological sciences and are able to recreate the human race based on the radio messages sent long ago by humans. The message contains genetic information as well as cultural information and recordings.

The human race is a short lived, less capable minority compared to the aliens. Some humans become rebellious to the point of violence as a result.

After that is resolved, some humans embark on a return trip to Earth's solar system in a biologically based (giant tree) ship. Earth has meanwhile evolved a new dominant, technological race that they are in instant conflict with. They also find a devolved remnant of humanity similar to ferrets or rats.

I can provide more details if required, just don't want to give too many spoilers.

marked as duplicate by Mike Scott, amflare, Dave Johnson, Ward, Blackwood Oct 10 '17 at 17:49

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  • 3
    Please see scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/a/9337/4918 on how to ask story-identification questions better. When did you read this novel, and in what language? Giving additional details that are spoilers can help. If you wish, you can hide them in spoiler boxes, see scifi.stackexchange.com/editing-help . – b_jonas Oct 10 '17 at 16:00
  • Until I reread the description of the aliens, I thought this was Contact and Converse by L. Neil Smith -- but his aliens were water-dwelling nautiloids. – Zeiss Ikon Oct 10 '17 at 16:26

It’s actually two novels, The Genesis Quest and Second Genesis by Donald Moffat.

The Genesis Quest gets around the problems involved with intergalactic travel, namely the distance, by avoiding the traditional staple of science fiction, faster than light travel. Instead Moffitt opts for a different tactic, that of having an alien race (The Nar) assemble humans from a stream of genetic information transmitted by radio from the Milky Way Galaxy. The resulting colony of humans spend some time integrated into the Nar society before growing restless, discovering the secret of human longevity, and embarking on the seemingly impossible millennia-long mission of a physical journey back to Earth. This epic journey is made in a gigantic space-grown semi-sentient Dyson tree known as Yggdrasil.

  • That's it! Thank you. – C Teegarden Oct 10 '17 at 16:47

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