Sometime within the not-too-distant destiny ... unbeknownst to Earth, the Galaxy is domestic to a few spacefaring societies. This confederation enforces a strict protocol forbidding any touch with civilizations that experience no longer but completed either a considerable spacefaring strength and enough adulthood to manage the expertise explosion ahead of triggering their very own extinction.
While this coverage is meant to simply herald peaceable new participants, concerns swap completely whilst the confederation is threatened by way of a few unknown entity - is the threat actual or imagined? The confederation comes to a decision to wreck with the foundations and sends a delegate to Earth to rent one of many supposedly belligerent Earthlings to enquire and to restore the confederation’s long-unused starfleet. The Earthman concurs, yet calls for a excessive expense: may still he prevail, the confederation should settle for Earth as a brand new member. because the hazard turns into ever extra acute, the query quickly turns into which venture will turn out more durable - saving the confederation or convincing it to just accept the deal!
The broad appendix, written in non-technical language, studies the clinical and technological issues underlying the plot - starting from the Fermi paradox, house commute and artificial/collective intelligence to theories on attainable common convergences in technological and organic development.