Review: Startide Rising and The Uplift War, by David Brin
Published in 1983 and 1987, respectively, I stumbled across these novels in an omnibus edition entitled Earthclan
, while seeking a mouse for my computer at a local Sally Ann. I have read some of Brin's short fiction over the years and was aware that he has been a very big name in "the New Space Opera" for a long time, but had somehow missed reading any of his novels. Judging by these two, Brin's Uplift
are excellent examples of many of the strengths, along with a few of the weaknesses, of the galaxy-spanning, big-picture SF that arguably began with Olaf Stapleton's Last and First Men
These books, which are in fact the second and third of (so far) six novels set in the same universe, are set several hundred years in the future. Humanity (or "mankind", the term Brin mostly uses, along with a self-conscious explanation for the sexist term; I wonder whether, after a further 20 years of feminism, he still does) has reached the stars in "slowships" (sub-light speed starships), only to discover that there is not only life beyond our solar system, but that our galaxy, along with four of our galactic neighbours, is positively teeming with life. Humanity has, in fact, encountered a three billion year-old civilization encompassing almost uncounted species, all of which - with the exception of "Man" "himself" - were "uplifted" by an earlier civilization. In galactic legend, only one civilization, the Progenitors, had reached the stars without the aid of another. ( read moreCollapse )Cross-posted to _bookish, bookreview_lj, books, mere_review, review_o_rama, sf_book_reviews, you_review and (of course) to my own journal.