Cities: Seattle -- Dates: 31 July to 7 Aug 2005
- Hierarchies are their own reward
- Hierarchies are their own punishment
One Sentence Summary
The crew of the Sundiver prepare to enter the outer layers of the sun to investigate and potentially make contact with its apparent inhabitants; meanwhile known aliens interfere and heros attempt to tweeze out motivations.
Authors/Editors: David Brin
Source: Bantam Books
Publication: Book / Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
URL: Buy Sundiver!
Keywords: uplift, sci-fi, evolution
Disciplines: science fiction, evolution, religion
One Paragraph Review
The crew of the Sundiver has recently expanded to included a few apparent random elements. Jacob, a rather unstable chap, has been given an opportunity to attend by his friend Fagen – a sentient plant. The Sundiver experiment – to map and explore the corona of the star from the inside – is important politically to the human race. Humans, new to the interstellar lifestyle, are anxious to show that they have something to offer to the advanced, but apathetic, alien races. Sundiver promises to do this, which really irks some races. This is the first of the uplift series. The last three books of which are really phenomenal. This book really feels like a first book. It never really finds its voice.
One Page Review
I have now read all of Brin’s uplift series, save one
book. I’ll get to it sometime, I’m
sure. This book really didn’t excite me,
however. I think I’ve been spoiled by
his later works which are masterfully put together.
Sundiver feels like it’s always reaching for another plot point and often they seem forced. This is very different from the other books which flowed fairly effortlessly.
In Brin’s uplift universe, Humans hopped in a spacecraft one day and made contact with some aliens. The aliens were like “Holy crap! We didn’t know you were there and we know everything!”
Prior to doing this, genetic scientists on earth mucked with some monkey DNA and some dolphin DNA and made monkeys and dolphins sentient. This ability is, oddly enough, what the aliens consider to be the mark of an advanced species.
It is also the only way that sentience can be achieved – to be given it by a patron race. Humans apparently did it on their own. This really sticks in the craws of the aliens, all of whom know what race gave them sentience.
That’s the political underpinnings of all Brin’s uplift books. Humans are scrappy nonconformists that run around the galaxy causing trouble. Although most of the trouble they cause is finding pieces of knowledge that the keepers of galactic knowledge didn’t know.
This piece of knowledge was two fold. The first was the ability to protect a ship so it could enter a sun. The second was that there were apparently beings in the sun.
And it’s all adventure from there on out.
Frankly, if you are going to read Brin’s uplift series, I’d start with the last book and read your way backwards. It might sound confusing, but I sorta think it works better that way.