14

The 'blurb' on the back of the book was that something had boosted the intelligence of every creature on earth, to the point that at least some animals were on par with humans. I'm not sure if humans were similarly enhanced or just animals. I'm not sure whether it was done by aliens, or a side effect of something humans did, or what.

This book was on the shelves in the mid/late 1980's, so it's nothing more recent than that.

  • Are you sure it was every species, not just a few? What else do you remember? Boosted animals are a fairly common theme, your question doesn't feel specific enough. Were there different classes of animals (mammals, insects, etc)? Were the main characters human, not, both? Was there ambiguity as to who was human? Was there debate regarding who had human rights? – user56 Jun 20 '11 at 23:48
  • @Gilles - i know some of the examples were mammals; i cannot rule out that insects were not similarly enhanced. i think there may have been a tease line to the effect that baboons would be especially troublesome. – JustJeff Jun 20 '11 at 23:59
  • @Gilles - not sure either, on the sentient-rights front. i had the general impression that human intelligence had not been raised, that the animals were aware of the event before the humans, and that the focus of the story would be about the ensuing reorganization of the world. but i'm not 100% sure about that. – JustJeff Jun 21 '11 at 0:02
  • 2
    This sort of concept is known as "Uplift", named after the Uplift series. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_(science_fiction) – Asmor Jun 21 '11 at 7:05
21

It sounds like Poul Anderson's Brain Wave, a minor classic. The book first came out in 1954, but has been reprinted many times.

  • Here's the Wikipedia article. Does this sound like the plot?
  • And an isfdb link. This is the cover I remember from the 70s (It's probably the cover from the 80s as well, since the artist is the same.) Does this look like the cover?
  • +1 b/c you have nailed it, thanks! wish it could be +2 b/c before your answer i'd never heard of isfdb! – JustJeff Jun 21 '11 at 9:40

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