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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good story well written - great characters
The thing that really made me love this book was the chapter that introduced the dolphin captain, Creikeiki. In a few short pages, Brin paints a picture of a weary, courageous leader, a poet, a genius, a wise and gentle soul. By the end of the chapter I loved Creideiki more than I've cared about most other fictional characters, with the possible exceptions of the Opera...
Published on July 10 2003 by Joanne Hanrahan

3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, liked the dolphin characters and aliens
What first attracted me to this book is the combination of animals and science fiction. The dolphin characters are hard to distinguish but take on their own shape later. The space battle scenes are thrilling and remind me of the E.E. 'Doc' Smith lensman series. Some of the prose is simple and at times childish, but I enjoyed the uplift concepts and universe very much,...
Published on Sept. 23 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good story well written - great characters, July 10 2003
Joanne Hanrahan (El Cerrito, CA) - See all my reviews
The thing that really made me love this book was the chapter that introduced the dolphin captain, Creikeiki. In a few short pages, Brin paints a picture of a weary, courageous leader, a poet, a genius, a wise and gentle soul. By the end of the chapter I loved Creideiki more than I've cared about most other fictional characters, with the possible exceptions of the Opera Ghost and Ender Wiggin.
Other than that, the novel is a very good sci-fi action story. Lost in space, out-of-order and under seige, out-gunned, out-numbered, etc. It's a fun read and all the other characters are three-dimensional and well-developed. I'd give it five stars if the rest of the writing was as fantastic as that first chapter about Creideiki, but it's still high-quality. Brin is a rising star in the world of science ficiton.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brin Does It Again., April 22 2004
David Brin never ceases to amaze me. His creations are so detailed that you feel like you are there experiencing them. In "Startide Rising" he creates a breathtaking universe where humans are the bastard sons. It is a universe where every alien race is 'uplifted' to sentience. Humans are the only ones that haven't been. Most of the five galaxies hate us because of it. We have our friends, but they still look at us as if we're the little 'wolfling' children that haven't grown old enough to leave the block. We humans have in turn uplifted Chimpanzees and Dolphins.
The book is about a Dolphin commanded starship that discovers a clue to our Terran heritage that any of our enemies would love to get their hands on. The information accidentally leaks and the Streaker goes into hiding with enormous fleets following it's every move. The ship land on the water world of Kithrup. Geological, galactic political, and inter-ship political problems ensue with big fights strewn through out.
This is a very informed book that is detailed and entertaining at the same time. You don't have to read "Sundiver" before reading this book, but "Sundiver" does explain the politics a little better. I suggest everyone read this because it is way too good to pass up. It did win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. I give it five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps getting better and better as it progresses, April 5 2004
Craig MACKINNON (Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
David Brin has invented an interesting universe in which to set his "Uplift" (also known as "Earthclan") series. It is a crowded universe - sort of Star Wars-esque in its level of weird and wonderful inhabitants. The variety arises from a tradition of Uplift, wherein a sentient species genetically modifies another species so it can attain sentience as well. The uplifted species' debt: 100,000 years of indentured servitude! The added wrinkle: every species that is currently uplifting others was itself uplifted in the distant past. This is an ancient universe where innovation consists solely of hunting through the galactic library looking for forgotten information.
Humanity enters this universe with two distinct differences: an abhorance of slavery, and a skill at innovation that is alarming to the pompous patron races of the galaxy. Mankind has uplifted two species: dolphins and chimps. They have set them free as equals (instead of demanding the 100,000 years of slavery), further appalling the elder races. However, all of this information is background - it's a testament to Brin's skill that he weaves all this background into the story (along with the introduction of numerous extraterrestrial races) without specifically devoting long passages to it.
The main plot - a dolphin-crewed ship (along with a few human overseers) has discovered a derelict fleet. As they try to head back to Earth with the info, they are ambushed by many E.T.'s intent on stealing their find. The ship seeks refuge on a water-covered planet as the crew tries to make repairs and escape their pursuers (who battle each other in space overhead). This is just the start of the adventure, however, and Brin's great skill in this book is to take a very complex universe, and keep adding more and more layers of complexity - the refuge planet is not all it seems, for example, nor are all the dolpihin crewmembers, many of whom start to crack under the pressure.
It's hard to describe why this book is so good without going into technical details. Therefore, I'll just say it's a great science fiction achievement, and well-deserving of all the awards it's received.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hugo and Nebula Award, June 27 2002
J R Zullo (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
I must say that I am compelled to read every Hugo- and Nebula-winner story for I think that if they were awarded it is because they must have something special. For some time I've been looking to read any book of the Uplift trilogies, and the reader's reviews in [] guided me to Startide Rising, even if it is not the first book of the Uplift trilogy nº1. After reading STR I think Sundiver cannot be better anyway.
I had never read anything about David Brin, but being an author who has received so much praise I expected much from him. Well, he didn't disappoint me. Startide Rising is one of the most original sci-fi stories I've ever run into, and I put the thinking behind the writing in the "Amazing" category, along "Foundation" and "End of Eternity" by Asimov and "Rendezvous with Rama" by Clarcke.
The story is like this: in the future, man has been able to "elevate" intelligent animal species like the chimpanzee and the dolphin to a kind of consciousness similar to humans themselves.
The Universe is defined by The Five Galaxies, and in these galaxies there are a grand number of other Star-Traveling Species. Each one of these alien species has, each in its turn, being a low form of life, and has been developed by a sponsor species. Nobody knows who the original sponsors species were, and no one knows which species developed humankind.
The "Streaker" is a spaceship commanded an crewd by dolphins, humans and a scientist chimp. When the story begins, they are hidding in a non-charted acquatic world. They're hiding because they found a space-caravan of very, very old ships, as big as moons. These enormous ships are thought to belong to a long-vanished species, which can be the "Progenitors", creators of all other species. Inside on of these ships was found the body of an alien, and it becomes the prize every species in the five galaxies want to retrieve. While the Streaker is fighting against time to be repaired and depart the strange world of Kithrup, the aliens fight among themselves to reach the dead body the humans have.
Brin writes in a most dettached way. He doesn't have to explain in detail the sci-fi stuff contained in the book, because he writes it in self-explaining sentences and paragraphs, not to mention the Glossary he included in the start of the story. The chapters are named after their main characters, so the reader can be deeply acquainted with every character in the book. The relations between dophins and humans are really well-developed and obviously constant during the lenght of the book. There's even a mistery plot (why are some of the dolphins wilder than others?), plenty of suspense and the linking to other books in the series.
Brin has created a sci-fi masterpiece, and all awards he received were well deserved.
Grade ...
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4.0 out of 5 stars While somewhat muddled, an excellent science-fiction story., May 21 2002
"arxane" (Oklahoma City, OK United States) - See all my reviews
The second in the first Uplift trilogy, "Startide Rising" is an immense improvement over the first book in the series, "Sundiver". While overall not terribe, "Sundiver" was only an above-average story set in an incredible universe, and these two factors didn't mix all that well. With "Staride Rising", David Brin takes a wonderful story and places it in that fantastic universe, creating a wonderful science-fiction novel that's only hurt by its own complexity.
Unlike "Sundiver", which dealt with more of a murder mystery than anything, "Startide Rising" deals with the key factor that binds the trilogy together: Uplifting. The story mentions the possibility of the Patron race of humans, the legendary race that seeded all races in existence, and how a crew of humans and uplifted dolphins are protecting a vital secret from all the hostile races of the galaxy, just to name a few ideas.
David Brin's imagination is unbelievable. It's hard to think how he managed to create such a magnificent world without selling his soul or something. Things in the novel seem so "futuristic" and "sci-fi," and yet we believe them without question. Brin manages to flesh out a world so perfectly we can imagine it, live it, and sympathize with it. Every alien, every technological machine, and every idea has some substance in it.
Probably the only problem involves the story itself. While one of the best stories I've ever read in science-fiction, it has one tragic flaw: it's too complex. The story is overloaded with so many characters and so many plot twists that it can be difficult to keep up with everything. Readers will sometimes wonder why something is going on or who this person is, which can get a little frustrating. Thankfully, the story is so engrossing it keeps the readers interested and allows them to catch up to things on their own time.
All in all, "Startide Rising" is a marvelous science-fiction story that's only hindered by its own complex story. The ending sets up the third novel in the trilogy perfectly, although it does leave some questions unanswered in the story. Will the third novel answer them? We can only read "The Uplift War" and see...
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bold and colorful vision of humanity's future, April 28 2002
"Startide Rising," by David Brin, is a science fiction novel that takes place about 250 years after humanity's first contact with a vast galactic civilization. In Brin's future humans, together with genetically modified, intelligent chimpanzees and dolphins, have established themselves as an interstellar spacefaring race. "Startide" deals with an adventure of the "Streaker," a starship manned by dolphins, humans, and one chimpanzee scientist. After making a monumental discovery, the "Streaker" is pursued by hostile aliens and takes refuge on the water world of Kithrup, where interpersonal struggles and further discoveries await them.
This is a fascinating portrayal of a complex multispecies community. Brin deals interestingly with the implications of genetic engineering and language as he explores the relationships among the ship's diverse crew. A central idea in Brin's tale is the concept of Uplift: that each intelligent species had a "patron" race that raised it to sentience, thus creating a chain of interspecies relationships that binds together galactic civilization. Brin fills the book with intriguing characters, action, technical information, and plot twists.
Overall, I enjoyed, and was even enriched by, "Startide Rising." But I did feel at times that Brin was packing into the book perhaps a little too much minutia for minutia's sake; it seemed like he was just trying too hard to create a Tolkienesque total world. And at times his prose got rather overripe, and seemed almost like a parody of a science fiction novel. But these flaws aside, "Startide" is a fascinating novel with a lot to offer the serious science fiction fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and thought-provoking, Dec 11 2001
David Bonesteel (Fresno, CA United States) - See all my reviews
A starship crewed by dolphins chances upon a discovery that could have enormous repercussions throughout known space, causing it to become the object of a hunt by a number of more powerful races. The ship crashes on a water world and struggles for survival as the "Galactics" battle overhead for the right of capture.
I was not so impressed with "Sundiver," the first book in the Uplift series. I'm so glad that I didn't stop there. "Startide Rising" is an exceptional read. David Brin has a unique talent for constructing consistent, plausible alien world-views. When I saw that dolphins were major protagonists in this story, I was half-expecting some kind of new age pseudo-philosophy about the wisdom of the deep and the lessons that we humans need to learn. Brin, however, is nowhere near as simplistic as that. There is wisdom in his dolphins, but there is also avarice, ambition, brutality and other characteristics that are unique to the species.
The novel is somewhat more convoluted than necessary, and it seemed to me that several major plots were left unresolved. Perhaps that will be addressed in future books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant!, Nov. 9 2001
Phrodoe "Child Of The Kindly Midwest" (Another day older and deeper in debt...) - See all my reviews
I just read Startide Rising for the second time, and again I was blown away by how fantastic it really is. This book is full of the ideas that make science fiction what it is: Interesting characters who have actual personalities instead of cookie-cutter mannerisms, a premise whose most intriguing elements are revealed slowly, pulling the reader along (I hate books that read like a bad made for tv movie!), and oh, about a hundred other things that make Startide a compulsively readable joy, more than worthy of the awards it has won (in spite of what Brin's detractors may say, they don't give Hugos and Nebulas to also-rans and bad writers).
The basic plot is this: The neo-dolphin-crewed Earthship, Streaker, has put down on the ocean world of Kithrup to make repairs. Streaker is being chased by a fractious, infighting consortium of galactics, who are after the potentially explosive cargo Streaker carries: possible evidence of the so-called Progenitors, who supposedly began the "Uplift" process which created all sapient beings in the known universe. (For those unfamiliar with Brin, Uplifting is the genetic engineering of presentient or near-sentient creatures, creating from basic root-stock intelligent, starfaring races. All starfaring races have uplift "patrons" -- except Terrans, which rankles the so-called galactics no end. For a more detailed explanation of all this, read the book!)
Kithrup is a hostile world; its seas contain heavy mineral salts which irritate the dolphins' skin. Worse, their situation is so tense that some of the dolphins are beginning to go primal -- that is, to revert to their wild state. It is up to Streaker's command crew, plus human assistants Gillian Baskin and Tom Orley, and chimpanzee scientist Charles Dart, to effect repairs on the ship, somehow escape the vast armada battling for the right to their cargo, and make it back to Earth.
That's the plot, and it seems kind of goofy on the face of it, doesn't it? Nothing could be futher from the truth, in fact! David Brin is a writer of immense skill and artistry, and turns what could have been a farce in lesser hands into a grand, fantastic, idea-rich story, a space opera worthy of the name. Startide is complex, full of plots and subplots, motives and murder, humor and heroics, and I've rarely read a better book, in any genre, in my life.
As just one example, since my time is short and my space is limited, let me offer the character of Captain Creideiki, the dolphin leader of the Streaker crew. Creideiki is one of the most fascinating characters ever created in a science fiction novel. He is a strong leader, wise and brave, with a metaphysical bent that nevertheless does not interfere when practical matters need taking care of. He is as complex and well-rendered as any of the human characters in Startide -- such as the impressively-rendered Toshio, or the Terragens Council agent Tom Orley, on whose heroics everything hinges ... but back to Credeiki. It is his journey through the story that is the most compelling, and kept me flipping through page after page -- more than anything, almost more than Streaker's fate, I wanted to know what happened to Creideiki next! It is rare for me to care so much about the fate of a non-human character, and that Brin was able to pull this off speaks volumes for his abilities as a writer.
I could go on and on -- one of the problems with writing about Startide is that it's SO rich in events and ideas, that it's simply impossible to cover everything I want to cover. From the incredible secret of Kithrup to the secret hidden by a select few of the Streaker dolphins, Startide Rising contains surprise after astonishing surprise, and it is no less rich the second time around than it was the first. I have little doubt that in fifty years or so, Startide (as well as the rest of the Uplift Saga) will be mentioned in the same breath as the Foundation Series, the Rama series, and the Dune saga. It's that good -- no, strike that. It's that great.
(Postscript: I've learned from Brin's home page that Startide has been optioned for a film adaptation! I can't imagine how anybody could pull that off without turning it into a glorified version of Flipper -- but even though I'm sure nothing good will come of it, I'm hoping whoever makes the attempt will prove me wrong. Remain In Light -- Phrodoe.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, great sci-fi, June 27 2001
This book is just cool. Brin's style reminds me of Asimov with an edge and a poetic touch. It has great characters, especially those of a different species. Human's have 'uplifted' dolphins and chimps to sentience. "Startide" has mainly human and dolphin characters (plus one chimp, and glimpses at a number of alien races). Each character is well developed, and the dolphins and aliens are well developed as a whole. Brin does well developing the psyche of the different species.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book is the dolphin's language and mentality. The dolphins speak a language called trinary, which is in effect speaking in Haiku. This speech develops, in part, from the strange dolphin philosophy of the "Whale Dream". I can't go on enough about Brin's ideas in this area. He is masterfully adept at creating the worldviews of non-humans.
This book, to me, was the prize of the first Uplift trilogy, but the other two are both good reads as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The second read was great!, May 23 2001
"mearwhen" (Gettysburg, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This novel was one of the best science fiction books I have ever read, brilliant on so many different levels. Unfortunately it was also very hard to follow, and although I enjoyed it greatly the second time, if I had rated it earlier I would have given it a three.
If you do not know, David Brin's Uplift universe follows a really creative concept: what if all of the alien races were uplifted to sentience, going back in terms of ancestors to a pseudo mythical race called the Progenitors? What if the earthlings don't have a sponsor race (of course we don't we are human after all!)
This makes his universe rich and diversified (I still think the battle segments are my favourite part of this novel), also rather literary - the poetical influence of the dolphins, especially the captain creates a novel that actually attempts to be something higher and succeeds. Great description, sometimes great characters (although even a few of the dolphins are obviously stock characters) and a startling new vision.
This novels only faults are the confusing plot and jumbled action. This is the only reason I gave it four stars (five stars is hard to manage!)
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