If you enjoy AC Clarke, Brim will thrill you. One of the greatest true science fiction writers I have read in the last 25 years.
His awards through the years are ssoooo well deserved. The more you are aquainted with real science, the more you will love Brim's works!
The unusual nature of the subject material, delivered in a way that made it seem like complete sense. Characters were compelling and complex
Wilson has to account for a variety of species and personality types and does a fantastic job. He stays away from caricature and delivers both aliens and humans perfectly.
I purchased this recording based on having enjoyed reading Brin's book "Earth."(Yes people really did that once!) I found the plot of "Sundiver" weak, the characters thin and the narrative stilted. Sorry - I don't think it warrants the 3.5 stars that it appears to have. In all seriousness, if offered to a publisher now, it would probably not see the light of day.
The performance by George Wilson is good, apart from a couple of amusing spoonerisms.
The sign of a great audio book is that you sit in the car listening for several minutes
after you park it. By that definition, this book is mediocre. I always parked the car and got out immediately. I did listen to it, waiting patiently for it to introduce something thought provoking. But that's all I did, wait. It never happened. And I did not give up on it either. It was acceptable enough that I listened to it in one take.
Generally, I like David Brin's work. So Sundiver seemed like one of those must reads.
The main character was basically the "smartest man on earth" plus baggage who just happens to come from a family of smart people who are all well beyond over achievers.
The story was less sci-fi and more whodunit with aliens sprinkled in. The sci-fi parts were hand wavy and not in a good way. This was more like a 50's gumshoe novel with a beautiful smart dame, except that this dame is completely self sufficient.
The story just never came together for me.
The performance was VERY good. Kudos Mr. Wilson. Various characters from different species. Your work made the characters come to life as best they could.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes hard scifi, with credible aliens and strong plots. David Brin doesn't hold your hand or explain his jokes--he treats you as an intelligent reader, capable of figuring out by yourself the humor of a situation. A rare thing in SF.
There are elements of Sundiver (and of the whold Uplift trilogy) that remind me of Asimov's Foundation series, in the sense that a "band of curious and investigative humans" are set against a backdrop of complacency and intellectual conformism. Otherwise, it's hard to compare Brin's books to anyone else's--few authors are as lucidly optimistic about the human race and its future.
The story is riveting and the premise intriguing: there's a spaceship, and it dives into the sun, which humans suspect is haunted. I may not have a specific favorite scene, but let's not kid around, here--this by itself is a fascinating and gripping premise.
Overall, while I may not have cried or laughed while listening to this, the whole "universe" and backdrop kept me interested from beginning to end. The whole status of the human race as (potentially) a self-evolved race (rather than being uplifted) is a very clever concept and made me feel oddly proud of my race and its achievements. This is something very rare in modern SF, where human-bashing is the norm. Brin stands against that and offers a refreshing view of ourselves.
Computational cognition, ethics, transhumanism, etc.
Classic great scifi. Credible source. Unexpected sophistication. Great science explanations. Good ethical considerations. Less relevant than contemporary transhumanism, but in the neighborhood.
Narrators mouth noises anger me. I don't pay to hear you swallow. You just cost the author my continued listening of this series.
Once I've listened to the entire series I'll absolutely listen to this story again.
An excellent start to the Uplift series Sundiver gives the barest glimpse of galactic civilization and the uniqueness of Brin's perspective. These aliens are well worth exploring, but never judge them by your drives and desires.
Lover of sci-fi and the occasional horror story. Philosophical inclinations. English is my second language.
I guess I'm too young to have read Brin when his Uplift books were first published. I discovered him through his much more recent Existence and wanted to check out his earlier work. I was not disappointed.
While the premise of the story revolves around humans "lifting" animal species to sentience, this is a minor subplot of the book. The novel belongs to the hard sci-fi gene, with numerous alien spaces, new technologies, societies and ideas. The reader is early introduced to the concept that most species in the universe was "lifted" and that feudal-like hierarchies exist around the facts about who lifted whom.The ambiguous and controversial position of humanity in this hierarchy is the real kernel of the book and is the theme around which the intrigue revolves.
The book will appeal to anyone who is into hard sci-fi, like me. While his recent Existence did remind me a bit of writer like Asimov, Sundiver is even closer to Asimov's style of writing and story development. Still, I would say Brin's characters are slightly more developed than the generic male superheroes in Asimov. Most of Brin's personae are actually quite interesting and believable, I particularly enjoy his depictions of alien individuals and their difficulties with human behavior.
1980 is 34 years ago and while the novel's ideas and premises do not feel dated, some of the gendered interaction does. It strikes me how far contemporary sci-fi has come in depicting gender-equal societies, when a writer like Brin still struggled with this aspect in 1980. Helene deSilva is captain of a starship, but goes irrational and submissive when she falls for the protagonist, a male ubermensch who "couldn't be broken by anything". And when some aliens seem to lack gender, they are simply called "he", even though human authorities prefer to have women as space explorers. Oh, well...
If you can ignore these gendered tell-tale signs of its age and if you like space opera/hard sci-fi, you will like Sundiver. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the Uplift saga and hope that they will approach the excellence I found in Existence. I would not say Sundiver reaches those heights, but it is an early work by the author and the book is still pretty darn good.