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Startide Rising (1982)

by David Brin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: First Uplift Trilogy (2), Uplift Saga (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,656492,447 (3.99)85
When Streaker -- the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins -- discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a war between dozens of galactic races eager to use the information for their own advancement. Trapped on a hostile planet while six alien fleets battle to decide their fate, Streaker's crew seeks some way to escape and return to Earth.… (more)

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» See also 85 mentions

English (46)  Finnish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Didnt grab me at all, failed to complete. ( )
  CliveUK | Sep 20, 2020 |
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best of the Uplift series! ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
Initial bad prose and slow pace give way to a serviceable space operatic thriller. There's some irony in humanity being portrayed as having left racism behind when the author only mentions the skin colour of one human character. You guessed it - that person is black. This is subtle, unconscious and no doubt would mortify Brin if ever brought to his attention, but it illustrates that our biases are deep-rooted and often hard to identify in oneself. I say "human character" because there are a majority of non-human characters, ranging from genetically enhanced dolphins to numerous aliens.

The humans and other Earth-originating species (there's an enhanced chimp as well as all the dolphins) are considered somehow superior to almost all the alien species despite being upstarts, space-faring for mere centuries rather than hundreds of millenia. The main reasons for this are given as being scientists and not relying solely on the technological gifts of our alien neighbours, most of who have stagnated and become wholly reliant on technologies they don't necessarily fully understand, having not developed them but instead taken designs from a ubiquitous Library. I find myself somewhat uncomfortable with this, which is a theme also present in [b:Sundiver|96472|Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1)|David Brin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388176548s/96472.jpg|461555] . It smacks of a more subtle version of the vile moral of [b:Cryptonomicon|816|Cryptonomicon|Neal Stephenson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327931476s/816.jpg|1166797] i.e. that the USA is superior to everybody else because it expends more time, money, brain power and effort on developing ever-increasingly efficient methods of killing people than others do. The USA has many much more positive things to offer than that. Given the early eighties origin of this book, it could be simply yet another not overly subtle USA vs. the Soviets allegory.

Despite all sorts of intrigues, dangers, mysteries (some of which were all too guessable) and adventures, by the end of the book we are not one whit more enlightened about the initiating McGuffin than we were on page one, which is a frustration. This may be an attempt to hook the reader into book three but I still found it frustrating. I was also a bit fed up with all the psychic powers - it's a trope that I am baffled has survived past the psychedelic '60s - it just comes over as silly when there's no attempt to ground it in any type of science.

So over-all, it's okay as long as you go along for the roller-coaster ride, which gets to be quite a tense affair, but it doesn't bare much thinking about.

( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Interesting, but not the greatest. Too hard to credit a multi-millennial civilization of any kind, much less one with enforcement of its rules, however slipshod. ( )
  librisissimo | Jul 12, 2020 |
I've been reading this book over the decades and I can still honestly say that it's both timely and timeless in its ideas, its story, and its characters. That's even taking into account that most SF eventually dates itself or becomes a humorous example of just how much we all eventually learn.

This one doesn't suffer at all. Since the eighties this still remains a mind-blowing and fantastic space opera of the kind I still have yet compare anything else as favorably. Even among Brin's other Uplift novels.

It's simple, really. It's a chase novel. The particulars, however, are wildly divergent from anything else I've ever read. Uplifted dolphin crew with a chimp geologist and a handful of humans made an accidental discovery of galactic proportions and after sending a brief description of fifty world-sized ancient spaceships belonging to the first galactic race to have begun the uplift process for the many, many alien races filling the galaxy to the brim, Earth replies, "Oh Shit. Run. Run!" All the races have their own legends about the progenitors and their eventual return, and most of the vilest are religious fanatics that warp reality or cruelly alter genetics of their subordinate races to atrocious effect. And since they picked up on this little tidbit, they're ALL after the humans. Besieging Earth, all our colonies, and sending the weight of entire armies after the poor hapless dolphin crew.

What an epic setup, and this is where the novel begins. :)

They've already escaped a few close calls but crash land on a fallow world and pray that the battling aliens in the system above wipe each other out. And in the meantime, we've got great dolphin and human characters and one asshole geologist who may or may not be redeemable, assuming we take away his mini atom bombs and tell him he may NOT study the new planet's structure while they're trying to hide from the galactic crazies. :)

There's so much to say about this novel and so many great things happen, but I do want to mention a few things. The whale songs and the poetry of the hybrid human/dolphin speech: It's all poetry. How often do we get poetry in our space operas? :) We've got serious ideas about uplfting our earthly relatives, too. Even dogs are on the docket. The dolphins have waldos for delicate work with arms and fingers. Mr. Dart may climb trees, but he's from a widely respected school. And the captain of the Streaker is a really brilliant dolphin. I feel the most sorry for what happens to him.

The action in this tale may be as small as simple survival on a rough world, the reveals about the strange state of this planet or the creatures living there, or even a great deal of action breaking down the basic decency of some of the dolphin crew until they revert to a slightly less civilized state. Or we could focus on the big action with spaceships blowing up and crashing into the planet. Either way, the novel is great on all levels.

It's stood the test of time, being a great tale with great characters, fantastic language and conflicts, and especially an absolutely amazing amount of beautiful world (or galaxy) building. :)

I always thought of this one as the gold standard for all big-idea and action SF. And it still is. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brin, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cherry, David A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, RainerÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, CoreyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"To my own progenitors..."
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Streaker is limping like a dog on three legs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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When Streaker -- the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins -- discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a war between dozens of galactic races eager to use the information for their own advancement. Trapped on a hostile planet while six alien fleets battle to decide their fate, Streaker's crew seeks some way to escape and return to Earth.

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