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Startide Rising, by David Brin

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Posted by dormouse (31st May 2004, 20:17)

As a Hugo *and* Nebula winner, I expected this to be good. I liked this book, but right now I can't decide how much. It was certainly interesting, and I'll read the next one, The Uplift War (if nothing else, it will let me cross it off my list of award-winners-to-read). But it was very slow to read, taking until about half way through to really grab my attention.

It's based in an interesting universe - there are lots of aliens, and have been for a long long time - enough for different species to rise to intelligence and tutor others, and die out or leave (beyond the veil, B5-style), with a Library to maintain knowledge across a constantly changing backdrop. Humans are in a unique situation of having become a technological society without help from a patron species, and have subsequently 'uplifted' chimps and dolphins.

The book starts with a space battle raging above a planet where a dolphin/human ship is hiding. It ends with the battle still going on. It's a bit strange that the story meanders along for so many pages (and time; the story seems to cover at least a few weeks) when battles usually happen so quickly in science fiction.

Usually, you get a few fixed viewpoints from which the story is told, and once you've got into one you don't need to adjust your mindset for the rest of the chapter. In this book, Brin switches between *many* characters viewpoints, and the 'chapters' are often only a few pages long. I ended up spending an unusually high proportion of time switching modes and trying to remember how each piece fit in; it also took a lot longer for me to see enough of the characters to actually start caring about them. There's a lot of background philosophy, history, and filling-out of his universe - which is what I mainly read science fiction for, so I'm not complaining, but it also has the effect of making it very dense to read.

It's a meaty read, certainly feel like you've got your money's worth at the end (well it's the library but anyway...) - but it's one which deserves/needs? sitting down and paying proper attention to, rather than occasionally dipping into during coffee breaks.

Now I'm probably being exceedingly dim, but can someone tell me why it's called Startide Rising?

Also I should note - the library's version is the 10th Anniversary Edition, "with revisions by the author". I'd be interested to hear opinions from people who've read both?


About item:

- Uplift 2: Startide Rising

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About author:

- Brin, David

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read biography for - Redstar

 Redstar ( 8th Oct 2004, 00:51, Rank: Tribble )  reply

If you have not yet read "The Uplift War", do it. It is similar in structure, but with a slightly less number of viewpoints, and I would say that there is more character development.

I believe the book is called "Startide Rising" since the events in the book are presumably creating huge changes in the Brin universe. Remember what the "Niss machine" talks about towards the end of the book?


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 8th Oct 2004, 10:45, Rank: Jedi )  reply

Yes, I have read "The Uplift War" now, and enjoyed it a lot :) I did find that the structure worked much better, and it's a fun universe he's playing with. This reminds me, I must read the next one ;)


read biography for - Redstar

 Redstar ( 13th Oct 2004, 23:22, Rank: Tribble )  reply

I assume you mean "Sundiver", which I think actually is the first one (the year of the first printing indicated that), and I happen to read it at the moment :)

It is written slightly differently, and appears to be set a few generations earlier than the other books. Maybe it is not as mature as the later books, in the sense that Brin has probably not thought about the universe as thoroughly, and I guess this could be a reason why it is not as awarded as the others. However, I it as very good book.

I certainly agree that it is a fun universe. You know, Brin has written another trilogy about it :)


read biography for - dormouse

 dormouse ( 14th Oct 2004, 11:13, Rank: Jedi )  reply

yes, actually the first of the next trilogy was the one i meant :) Sundiver was the 2nd Brin I read - i found it interesting but not very smoothly written, and probably wouldn't have continued with the series if not for the 1st Brin I read - Kil'n People, which I liked very much indeed, and was certain evidence that his writing style has changed :) Though i do wish he'd taken a different path for the second half of Kil'n People; it got a little silly ;)


read biography for - karne

 karne ( 20th Apr 2005, 11:05, Rank: GSV )  reply

'Random Coward's are those that don't set up an account and login. Feel free to do so.


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