“Talking dolphins and chimps - sounds implausible but a good read.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“This book was the biggest diappointment of the year for me- granted it came out in 1983 and I'm about 30 years late in reading it. It's not that time has caught up with the depiction of technology- this is your standard space opera with barely explained vessel mechanics or methodology of uplift. ...”see full review » see other reviews »
“This is the second book in the Uplift Universe. Pretty good story. Brin focuses on the uplifted dolphins in this story. The neo-dolphins crew the starship Seeker. It is hiding on a water world while the other intelligent species hunt them and fight amongst themselves in order to obtain the information about the progenitor fleet (original intelligent species) that the "earthlings" found in deep space.
Interesting discussion about how uplifted intelligent dolphins would get along in the universe. While I enjoyed the story, having a spaceship that has to be filled with water for the the crew to work seemed a little far fetched, not the mention that the just "happen" to find a water planet to hide in that is tailor made for their dolphin needs.
Its a good read, but not as good as Sundiver, in my opinion.
Finished : 10/14/2013”
“The story takes place over months, when the tension would have been much higher if it had taken place over the course of a week or even a day. That said, there are a lot of interesting characters and some cool plot moments. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.”Fiona Canteberry wrote this review Saturday, August 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Talking dolphins and chimps - sounds implausible but a good read.”Martin W wrote this review Thursday, April 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A intriguing mix of galactic politics, diverse races, and dolphin subterfuge. The pacing of the novel suffers from some uncompelling plots mixed with far more entertaining ones, but overall, the novel story and clever twists make this an enjoyable read. Unfortunately, the dialog is stilted, the characters are a bit over the top, and the science of uplift or the galactic conflict is simply glossed over.”Generic Human wrote this review Tuesday, August 28, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I've read this novel at least a half dozen times and it resides among my favorites on my bookshelf. a fantastic, intriguing science fiction saga where the reader feels like they really do know the characters. It's hard to put down, so read this when you don't expect distractions!”LillianBrummet wrote this review Friday, August 24, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a book I've loved every time I've read it. It's fun to read a story of underdogs that use their skill and imagination to do what other's thought impossible. This book is full of adventure, cool characters in aliens and Earthlings, political manipulations, and daring maneuvers that always impress. I recommend this one to all science fiction lovers and all readers.”Heather G wrote this review Tuesday, August 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great book. Well deserving of the Hugo. ”Perry Willis wrote this review Monday, June 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was the biggest diappointment of the year for me- granted it came out in 1983 and I'm about 30 years late in reading it. It's not that time has caught up with the depiction of technology- this is your standard space opera with barely explained vessel mechanics or methodology of uplift. Uplift is the central idea of the story- that all sentient life in the universe is arranged in hiearchy of uplift from one species to another, and that humans are an anomaly. It's that this book, which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, is shockingly low on big consciousness expanding ideas that I think are the hallmark of great science fiction. Unless of course you count the central conceit: talking dolphins in space! Dolphins were so big in the 80s, maybe that's why it got so much attention. For me it was a total bummer as I'd been itching to read it for a while, and even did my homework by reading the equally tedious but much richer in ideas _Sundiver_.
There are a hundred reasons this novel didn't work, and I'll illustrate just a few. Brin puts a lot of effort into exploring how dolphin communication might be different than human, that their primary form of communication in their whitles and chirps would actually be translated as haikus. This is really novel, but ultimately undermines any attemp this astrophysicist-turned-sci-fi writer might have made at creating character- there's not much you can really do to differentiate when all your characters are takling in haiku. And beyond that concept, which is pretty interesting, its also not fun to read because again, he's an astrophysicist not a poet. So you have a bunch of characters who basically are only diferentiated by their name, and sex and throw them into a plot driven novel it's a total snooze. To make matters worse a lot of the action is underwater, but again he's not that great of a descriptive writer, so any action scenes are almost impossible to imagine because with all the weird spacial rules and his inability to effectively communicate you don't know which way is up or down. And then he really lacked an editor because there is a lot of really tedious filler detail in the text like" He opened hte door. The door closed. He walked down the hallway." Perhaps worst of all there are huge elements that Brin presents and then completely walks away from. The entire novel baits and switches from being an explanation of perhaps the discovery of the initial upllifters, to a boring escape from a crash landing saga. There are characters- like a friendly alien to a smart ass computer- who are introduced as if they are going to influence the plot but then are completely do nothing or barely make an appearance. So its like he was going for a page turner, but couldn't even play by the standard rules for drama that a gun over the mantlepeice in the first act must be used at the climax.
What pleased me most about _Sundiver_ was that a lot of actual scientific explanations moved the plot forward. Aliens phenological characteristics, as well as the politics of human reaction to aliens were seriously interesting ideas that moved the story forward AND balanced out Brin's weak characterization. Because this is centered on an isolated group of people, we don't get any glimpses of the promise of the previous books world building. And don't get me started on his depictions of women. This was the 80s and he's still actually having a character say something along the lines of " this is just too much for me a woman" when she's having to man a space captaincy. It was jaw dropping.
I could not recommend this book. I wanted so badly to truely enjoy it, and had put it off for so long. But lo it was a big time let down because of poor characterization, immensely bad plotting, and complete failure to deliver on the series general premise. But it had talking dolphins so I guess I have to give it two stars. ”
“Humans continue to evolve into space-farers along with there genetically altered friends. Knowledge is the key to survival.”wiley wrote this review Tuesday, April 26, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really interesting story, and it did hold my attention the entire way through. However, I had a real hard time wrapping my head around the entire Uplift concept and trying to understand the interplay of the ET's. I suppose I should have read the first book in the series first, but I had read reviews saying that each story stands alone on their own. I can see that, plot wise, but understanding the back story is very difficult. It is a story worth reading, but plan on it taking longer than expected as well as streaching your horizons.”Tim K wrote this review Thursday, January 27, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No