Jan 31 2007

Startide Rising

Published by at 8:51 pm under Books

by David Brin

This is the second book in Brin’s six book Uplift series. In some review of the series, I read that the first three books are only loosely connected, but that the final three form a tightly linked trilogy. Previously, I read the first book, Sundiver. Sundiver was a mystery story set in a far distant future. Startide rising is more of an adventure story set in an apparently different far distant future. Characters and plot details do not overlap between the two books, but there are a few references that very weakly tie the second to the first.

Startide Rising is the tale of a ‘scout ship’ from a future earth. The space ship is staffed with a crew of dolphins, a few humans, and one chimpanzee geologist. Sounds goofy and out of context, it is. The “uplift” concept for which the series is named accounts for the presences of dolphins and the chimp. Both species are ‘clients’ of humans and through genetic engineering and training they have become highly intelligent. The ship and it’s crew accidentally make a discovery that many other older and generally more advanced races perceive as a potential key to unraveling the start of the uplift phenomena. This discovery makes the humans and their associates the prey in a hunt. All the other ‘spacefaring’ races want to capture the humans in order to learn the location of their discovery. Escaping such capture drives the book’s adventure story.

When evaluated against my criteria of how well does it explore a novel set of conjectures, I’d have to give it at best a C. However once I started, I wanted to see how the story developed, and how Brin would bring the various story lines together. Not profound or significant, but it was pleasant to read.

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