26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
James D. DeWitt
- Published on Amazon.com
David Brin's Uplift series extends across six books now - Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, and the Brightness Trilogy. The premise is simple: the universe is not only full of life, it is old beyond belief, and as caste-ridden as India. Since the fabled Progenitors, one race after another has "uplifted" other races, by direct genetic manipulation or selective breeding. Each race has it patron, each has its clients who must discharge an multi-millenium period of servitude as repayment for their uplift, and each aspires to its own clan.
Except the earthling clan, which stumbles into this universe just before the beginning of Sundiver. And not only do the earthlings not have a patron, they have cheekily uplifted neo-dolphins and neo-chimps, creating their own client races. They are wolflings. It's an moral affront and a religious insult to other races that can trace their lines back a billion years.
So when one of the earthling ships, captained by a neo-dolphin and crewed by the three earthling peoples, stumbles across evidence of the fabled progenitors, the race that started uplift, well, it's just too much for the older races. Interstellar chaos ensues. Religious, economic and social wars break out, almost all of it aimed at the wolfling earth clan.
The earthling ship is chased across the five universes. The first book, Startide Rising is the story of the ship's attempt to hide itself on an oceanic world. A gripping plot, vivid characters, aliens that are really alien, and neo-dolphins that are everything you could want them to be. It's a wonderful story, with a stand up and cheer ending.
The second book, The Uplift War is the story of just one minor consequence of the earthlings discovery. Essentially the story of a counter-revolution, it's the triumph of low technology against high technology on an ecologically damaged world, of a band of Tymbrimi aliens, neo-chimps and humans against aliens who are really and truly alien. Told from the shifting perspectives of Tymbrimi, bad guy Jiburu, human and chimp, the story is clever, devious and captivating.
Brin's physicist training shines through his writing. But in Brin's hands the science is a means rather than an end. There's not the razzle-dazzle of the old pulps, or the machine gun pacing of, say, Ian Banks, but instead highly satisfying yarns with subtle themes, good plotting and strong characterizations. Of course the dolphins speak in haikus; how else would they talk?
This two in one volume has the Uplift Universe stories to start with. If the loose ends don't force you to read the Brightness Trilogy next, well, we _really_ don't like the same books. Highly recommended.