Humans colonize dozens of systems, then get partioned among stronger empires


Active Member
Nov 18, 2021
I THINK the book is from the 1970s or 1980s.

The premise is that humans start spreading through the systems comparatively-near Sol, and we are not "noticed" until we have been out in space and colonizing form quite some time. I do not recall WHY we are not noticed.

One we are noticed, we come to learn that "our" territories are all already component parts of much larger and much more-powerful interstellar polities/empires. As I recall, "our" space is partitioned among three different polities/empires, and the cultures of each develop in ways that resemble those of our three overlord empires. My best recollection is that one is a very laissez-faire, capitalist -type arrangement and that other is somewhat totalitarian and "rational" in a uber-Vulcan sort of way. I THINK that the novel was about interaction among individual humans raised in each of the three "overlord" societies.

Any help?