5.0 out of 5 stars A meal to be savoured slowly
The second trilogy of the Startide universe has taken me a long time to read. I keep putting the books down to savour what I just read. David Brin writes like almost no-one else...he doesn't give you what you expect, when you expect it. His aliens are 'alien', (i.e. not like Star Trek where every creature in the universe looks human with some head makeup).
Published on April 19 2002 by Brian Tarbox
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing if Streaker's fate was top of mind
If you're looking for the fate of the Streaker, you'll have a really long wait. There aren't even HINTS until the very last bits of this book. If the edition I read hadn't had a teaser for Infinity's Shore I probably would have given this Trilogy up in disgust.
Brin likes to jump from one character's point of view to another. Since he generally comes up with...
Published on May 7 1997
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing if Streaker's fate was top of mind,
By A Customer
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)If you're looking for the fate of the Streaker, you'll have a really long wait. There aren't even HINTS until the very last bits of this book. If the edition I read hadn't had a teaser for Infinity's Shore I probably would have given this Trilogy up in disgust.
Brin likes to jump from one character's point of view to another. Since he generally comes up with some interesting characters, this isn't usually a problem. However, the habit becomes irritating in this book because Brin has chosen to juggle a fairly large cast of characters. As a result, I found that the few really interesting story threads were almost lost among a tangle of mediocre tales.
The first Earthclan books (Sundiver, The Uplift War, and Startide Rising) were excellent -- the stories were gripping, the characters interesting, and the premise intriguing. Unfortunately, the first two books of this new trilogy should have been heartlessly and ruthlessly edited back to a single book.
3.0 out of 5 stars Middlin' decent - fun,
By A Customer
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)It's very, very, very long.
At the end, it has hardly gone anywhere, and one is left with the sense of having spent 3 days in a serial installment left hanging off the edge of a cliff waiting for the next installment.
It's kind of like reading a stack of sci-fi mag serials, except it's all one serial from one author. Same repetition, over and over, setting the frame that you see with serials like that. Same very short niblets of story, many hardly even qualifying as chapters. Same action focused space opera.
But, the story telling was fun and the characters, while a little cheesy at times, were engaging enough to stay with. Kept me up late when I wanted to be distracted.
2.0 out of 5 stars Half the story in thrice the volume,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)If you're desperate to read this series, here's a shortcut: Read the first three pages of each chapter.
For anyone who's read "Atlas Shrugged", you'll recognize the tactic of hideous, layered repetition. Specifically, you'll note that Brin takes the liberty of summarizing The Entire Series again, and again, and again. There _are_ new ideas involved in these books, and that's why I'm handing out the second star, but comparing these to "Startide Rising" is like comparing "Family Matters" to "Friends".
Buy the Cliff's Notes if you have to, or find an online summary, or just start with book three (which contains summaries of the important events in the first two). The whole series just isn't worth your time.
1.0 out of 5 stars This series should be called "Downlift Saga",
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)I found the worlds Brin introduced in the first three very interesting and kept me completely engrossed.
Like many of the reviewers, I found the story lines choppy and the characters thin (Not to mention the fact that Brin sees fit to mention that the clans of Jijo were illegal squatters every 100 to 200 words through out the book).
That'll teach me for not reading the readers reviews prior to buying a book.
True swill. Entertaining if you like being brought to fits of anger while trying to skim the hundreds of pages of banality.
Hope the 6 dollars you got from me helped, Mr. Brin. I doubt you'll get another dollar. Go write sitcom script or bad high budget movies - at least that wont be nearly as insulting.
Times like this, I really miss Asimov (God rest his soul).
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but know what you're getting into,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)Six sentient species live together secretly in hard-won harmony on the planet Jijo, which the almighty Galactics have decreed to be left unsettled. All goes well until their discovery by a starship crewed by humans with a mysterious purpose throws everything into chaos and uncertainty.
David Brin is telling a big story here. The planet and the various alien cultures upon it are meticulously detailed and his concept of Uplift, whereby races achieve sentience and admittance to a heavily stratified galactic society through the patronage of more advanced races, remains one of the most brilliant concepts in science fiction.
However, be warned. This is not a stand-alone book. As Brin himself acknowledges in his afterword, his story just kept expanding in the telling until it could no longer be contained within a single volume. This book does not even attempt to provide a temporary conclusion but rather leaves all of the various plot strands waving in thin air. Therefore, I do recommend this book, but only if you are prepared to go on and read the next two in the trilogy as well.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series!,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)This is an excellent series! I really had trouble putting the books down!
First, Mr. Brin must be praised for creating a truly unique universe for both UPLIFT trilogies. The very premise of the structure of Galactic civilization is completely different from anything other authors have done.
Unlike the first trilogy, the second trilogy is much more cohesive and I would strongly advise that the books be read in order.
The first book of the second trilogy, BRIGHTNESS REEF, starts off a bit slowly because Mr. Brin has so much set-up to do. After you slog through the first 50 pages, then things start to crackle. Mr. Brin tells his story as a series of interwoven tales with different heroes at the heart of each. This constant skipping from one tale to another kept me interested, but it also got a bit tedious to the point where I was almost tempted to split the book apart and read the different vignettes as separate stories.
My only criticism is that Mr. Brin can get a bit hokey at times, like his E-space dimension (in HEAVEN'S REACH, the third book of this new trilogy) where imagination and reality intermingle. The concept of a universe shaped by the imagination of the viewer is a tired and very trite idea that has been over-used in SciFi.
Also, there are a number of background details that Mr. Brin doesn't get into in either trilogy, so I would recommend CONTACTING ALIENS as an adjunct to this series. A lot of things make more sense with the help of this "guide to the Uplift universe."
In the end, though, Mr. Brin tells a spellbinding story and writes a very enjoyable series. Well done, Mr. Brin!
4.0 out of 5 stars An introduction,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)I bought this book primarily for the beautiful cover by Michael Whelan. Luckily, in this case the cover spoke for the actual book. I also hadn't read Startide Rising yet, which would have helped my understanding of the Uplift universe, but it wasn't totally essential, as I managed to pick up the important stuff.
Brightness Reef takes place entirely on the fallow world of Jijo, which is meant to be unoccupied for several millenia until new owners move in. All six races present are fleshed out extremely well, and Brin's characters in this one are more interesting than in Sundiver or Startide. He did a very good job writing from different perspectives, like Alvin's diary, or the multiple-personality of the traeki alchemist.
The plot isn't totally electric, however - I think at one point I put this book down for a while and read something else - but it picks up after a hundred pages or so. I'm never one to mind a weak plot, and the characters and setting were strong enough.
The science in this story is largely cultural and linguistic. In the Uplift universe, only Humans have evolved on their own and with their own various languages. This means that out of all six races on Jijo, they're the only ones who actually know how to create tools and technology without the help of their galactic patrons. Also, all languages are Galactic standard, except for Anglic, which allows Brin some keen observations along the line of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
Much more so than in Startide Rising, Brin creates an incredibly detailed planet as his setting. Everything about Jijo was real - the plantlife, the animals, the weather, etc. This depth of imagery really helped when I read the sequel, Infinity's Shore, where there's much more action.
Overall, a good book, and it's worth reading to get to the sequels and the intergalactic starfleets that appear.
3.0 out of 5 stars Put it down many times,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)I thought Startide Rising and The uplift war were great books!!! They had a nice pace and read easily. The most time it took to read one of them was probably a week from the first time I picked it up until the time I put it down. I am on month two of getting through Brightness Reef at about 400/650 pages. It is still not high paced and although a little faster than the first 400 hundred pages it is still no where near as enticing as the aforementioned books.
The fate of Streaker has still not been revieled and after reading some of the reviews here I wonder if I should just put this book to rest and leave it 2/3 finished since the rest of the series doesn't seem to be highly accaimed. Too bad I already bought them =( There are many other books out there that deserve my attention to waste it on a Moby Dick paced book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Intrigueing and compelling.,
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)In his first three uplift novels Brin concentrated on introducing the galactic players (Sundiver) uplifted Dolphins (Startide Rising) and uplifted Chimps (The Uplift War).
Now he introduces us to a new world populated by five different and interesting races. He shows us the world through the eyes of Hoon, Traeki, Urs, G'kek, Qhuen and Human. He shows us a fallow world which is recovering from civilization, and also introduces the concept of the "Path of Redemption" a slide back from civilization to primitivism.
Backing up this world is the fear of being found tresspassing on a fallow world by galactic agencies, and the threat to Humans that carries over from the first series, the great secret that the Dolphins found which is causing galaxy wide conflict.
The climax of this book is towards the end and is a pointer to the next in the series. I cannot wait to see where the story develops, so I am hooked enough to buy the next installment.
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Plotted and Tiresome,
By A Customer
This review is from: Brightness Reef (Mass Market Paperback)Geez, what a disappointment! I am a huge fan of the first uplift trilogy, but this slow paced behemoth held no interest for me at all. The new elements Brin adds are all half-ideas and loose ends. The characters are wooden. On every page, something seems about to happen, but nothing ever does. And by Brin's own admission, there isn't even an ending to this book, just a pitch to buy the next one. But why would I do that?
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Brightness Reef by David Brin (Mass Market Paperback - Oct 1 1996)
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