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Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, Book 1) by David…

Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, Book 1) (original 1980; edition 1985)

by David Brin

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3,520572,681 (3.54)69
Mankind encounters conflicts among the inhabitants of the universe, as brave individuals prepare to journey into the boiling inferno of the sun.
Title:Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, Book 1)
Authors:David Brin
Info:Spectra (1985), Mass Market Paperback, 352 Seiten
Collections:Your library

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Sundiver by David Brin (1980)

  1. 20
    Nimrod Hunt by Charles Sheffield (lesvrolyk)
    lesvrolyk: Tons of cool aliens!
  2. 21
    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  3. 00
    The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks (LamontCranston)
  4. 22
    Ringworld by Larry Niven (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?

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» See also 69 mentions

English (54)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Have you ever watched an episode of Columbo?

Do you want to read a book like that but with talking dolphins and tree-like aliens? Follow me. ( )
  GlasgowLight | Jun 16, 2021 |
Always fun to dive back in and re-read a good book...the one that started Brins Uplift war saga ( )
  DanJlaf | May 13, 2021 |
The setting is very interesting and was much better developed in later books in the series. Unfortunately, this book on its own is not very good. ( )
  Guide2 | May 11, 2021 |
In terms of genre, this is a first contact novel. It’s not a first contact between humanity and aliens from outside the Solar System. That particular spaceship has been met! As this also has elements of a mystery I won’t be going too deeply into what’s going on.
As the story opens, we meet our protagonist Jason Demwa as he goes out on a development mission with one of the uplifted dolphins to test a waldo suit that would allow dolphins to use mechanical devices as well as being a nifty jet suit. However, an old colleague of Jacob’s contacts him to ask him to attend a meeting. subject of the meeting? Confidential. Members of this meeting? Well, confidential, but you’ll be interested in meeting them. All would be revealed in the meeting. The old Jacob would have jumped at this, but it’s made clear that Jacob has suffered a serious injury, both mentally and physically. But the wily Fagin knew his man and Jacob finally agrees to attend this strange meeting. On the way to the meeting, we get a look at a couple of the major splits in this society; the Skins and Shirts split, and the Citizen and Probationer split. The first, Shirts and Skins, is largely there for comedic effect as far as I can see. The Shirts is basically the name given to the groups who see the aliens as potential Patrons, whilst the Skins take the view that humanity developed alone, and the aliens could go hang. The split between Citizen and Probationer strikes at the heart of the book’s message. The Citizens are those who are full members of society and are deemed to be as stable as it’s possible to be. Probationers aren’t necessarily evil and likely to become serial killers, but mandatory testing has deemed that they are open to unsanctioned violence, and just to make sure they are kept under observation, anyone rated as a Probationer has a miniature radio transmitter implanted. This isn’t thought of as a good thing by enlightened Citizens, but the average citizen is pretty much OK with the situation. This latter may play a part in the ensuing events.
Anyway, back to the mysterious meeting, and Jacob is informed that there is something interesting going on up in the Sun’s chromosphere, and would he mind going up to visit the Sundiver Project and taking a look? Pretty please? Given that the meeting consists of the head of the Sundiver project, the Library Institute’s liaison to the project, and the head of the Library’s Earth branch, both aliens, and Jacob’s old friend Fagin, also an alien representative of the Innovations Institute, Jacob finds himself reluctantly agreeing to go up to see what’s going on, particularly as no-one is going into details as to what’s going on until he agrees to go.
To cut a longish story a bit shorter, he does agree to join the investigation, and we get to see a space elevator trip up to orbit, and our first indication that Jacob’s not entirely as straightforward as he initially appears.
Finally, the group are on their way to Mercury where they’re off on a ghost hunt! Sundiver was an innovative attempt to make very close-up studies of the Sun using a mixture of human and alien technology. Some of these missions had reported lifeforms in the region of the Sun that the Sundivers operated in. it looked like there were three types of creatures, two toroidal forms and one that takes on a more humanoid form, but not all forms prove to be consistently recordable, and one may be potentially hostile…
Are the Sundiver crews going insane, or is there something else going one? Pretty much against his own better judgement, Jacob finds himself getting deeply involved in the ongoing mysteries. We are treated to a fairly interesting mystery, which unfortunately involves a murder, as Jacob finds himself caught up in multiple layers of clues, muddling up what wasn’t a particularly simple thing in the first place. The Sundiver project is getting caught up with a plot by one of the alien races in this story against their patrons, who they believe has abused their position and by the local Library representative who believed that humanity has overstepped its bounds by appearing to be the first race to find the presence of creatures living in their local sun.
It would appear that the central mystery of the solar creatures is fairly well wrapped up – not everything, but the remaining mystery is a long-term research project rather than something that has to be answered here-and-now. However, the underlying split between Citizen and Probation is brought up at the end and is sort of left hanging, though there were suggestions made on how this could be alleviated but these would need to take several generations to overcome. This would appear to be a possible plot hook into the rest of the series, but you’ll have to read the rest of the series to see if this is actually the case. Brin manages a fair degree of exposition on the structure of the sun in a reasonably delicate fashion, along with a (fictitious, alas) history of the development of the Sundiver probes, and manages a series of infodumps on some of the aliens involved somewhat clunkily from the perspective of an early 21st century observer, though probably not so much from the 24th century space traveller’s, ironically enough! ( )
  JohnFair | Jan 15, 2021 |

A fun re-read of a childhood sci-fi favorite. I think I liked it better today as I could enjoy the psychological drama as opposed to simply the moments of hard sci-fi. I won't re-read Startide Rising or venture into his other books in this series, but I'm glad I had the chance to enjoy Sundiver again. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brin, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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... it is reasonable to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be competent to understand so simple a thing as a star. - A. S. Eddington, 1926
To my brothers Dan and Stan, to Arglebargle the IVth . . . and to somebody else.
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"Makakai, are you ready?"
"Once a caveman, always a caveman, ejh LaRoque? Men get all the way to the sun, and they build a fire to stay warm!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Mankind encounters conflicts among the inhabitants of the universe, as brave individuals prepare to journey into the boiling inferno of the sun.

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