For nearly a billion years, every known sentient species in the universe has been the result of genetic and cultural guidance - or "uplifting" - by a previously uplifted patron race. Then humans are discovered. Having already uplifted chimps and dolphins, humanity clearly qualifies as an intelligent species, but did they actually evolve their own intelligence, or did some mysterious patron race begin the process, then suddenly abandon Earth? The answer to this mystery might be as close as our own sun, but it will take a daring dive into its fiery interior to know for sure.
Sundiver begins David Brin's thoughtful, exhilarating exploration of a future filled with an imaginative array of strange alien races, dazzling scientific achievements, and age-old enigmas.
©1980 David Brin; (P)2001 Recorded Books
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.
Yes, I have read other books in the series and found them more interesting.
Yes, but not based on this particular book/recording.
I think Mr. Wilson has a good voice to listen to, however at the end of lines he would frequently stop and lick his lips or smack his tongue, it was very distracting.
I enjoyed this audio book ok. The strength is the reading. Clear with good depiction of the voices, especially the aliens. The reading is also very clear. However, I can't get by the bad science represented in this novel. l was particularly bothered with Brins basing a major driving social force to von Danikens fabricated work which has little or no credibility. Having said that, the idea of uplifting are intriguing enough that I will listen to the next books but I expect better writing.
If I recommended this audiobook to you, if anyone did, the customer review section of audible.com would suffer from a serious lack of credibility and respectability.
Simply put: the story is bad. The author attempts to create a world which is a strange mixture of talking sea creatures, a man in a whale robot! Erasure of the US-Mexican border with no believable explanation of how or why it happened. Barber poles every 100 "feet" down road past Tijuana to the "ET zone" in Baja—the first of many to come in the world! It is very poorly, strangely read, with the ET voice characterizations attempted by the narrator spine chilling. Cartoon-like. Bad. Not listenable.
Don't buy this.
Show me your paso doble.
man... written in 1980. It is hard to listen to, just kinda goofy with the notion of what the future of science is. I mean "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was written in 1968 and that was awesome. I could not force myself to pay attention to this book. It's just that it does not seem like its gonna pay off to listen to the full 10+ hours.
Bad first, Good second.
I have heard that the next two books are better. Sundiver is filled with great original thoughts, mediocre action, and seems mostly as a world-building book for the next two. I was unimpressed with its narrow plot, and character development. The plot tells you about the larger galaxy, but you feel isolated from it. There is little movement in the plot, you stay in each location for vast times with long repetitious descriptions. The main character is lackluster, he did cool things in the past, but he detracts from the story in that EVERYTHING he does in the present is described through the lens of his past.
There are four or five large ideas that I really liked in this book. The overarching ideas are spot on, original. I have not heard any part of this story in any other medium. I will not go into detail, but I will say that the enjoyable aspects of this book are decidedly cerebral, not action based.
Maybe. I will decide after listening to the next two books. If those two are good, then I would recommend it.
Diverse, mimic, senatorial.
Yes. A movie. Would be a perfect followup for the move Sunshine.
Worth the time.
I had read the story, in a magazine, I think, some years ago. It's still a neat little story, but not Brin's best. The performance was pretty good. I didn't feel like I wanted to fast forward through it.
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