This book was strongly recommended by a friend, and has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for a while. Its my first real taste of “hard” science fiction, and I enjoyed it. The story is surprisingly fast moving given it has to cover the entire development of an intelligent species, and the process is interesting. There are strong parallels with our own past, which I guess isn’t that surprising a thing for an author to do. I’ve seen complaints that the human characters in this book are a bit one dimensional, but I think that’s unfair. The book isn’t about the humans, and they are there only to progress the plot. I think the human characters are fine. If you want to see poor character development, checkout Robot City and Robots and Aliens series.