Review: Startide Rising (David Brin)

Startide Rising - David Brin

Series: The Uplift Saga #2

Publisher: Bantam Spectra (2010 - first edition 1983)

Genre(s): Science Fiction


If book one is too short, book two is too long; and it still suffers from the same problems. Focus; it has little of it. We have lots of points of view, but most of them are of people (and dolphins and chimps) doing trivial things, most of the time.

Again, we have a hint of a great premise: the first spaceship almost entirely "manned" by dolphins is in her maiden voyage and encounters a bunch of strange, abandoned ships. They even recover an (even) stranger corpse that corresponds to no known species in the Five Galaxies. Who are these mysterious aliens that not even the Library recognizes?

We never know. This all happens "off book" as the book opens with the ship stranded in a deserted planet, trying to hide from multiple hostile alien fleets who want the information they have gathered. And while it's plausible that trying to survive would put their curiosity on-hold, it's a pity that the entire book (which was big, I believe about 400+ pages) is spent telling the reader every little detail of a convoluted plan to escape the planet. The book gets boring half-way, with descriptions of what everyone is doing (and I mean everything, from sleeping and camping to fixing the ship's systems) and some very nasty "villains" arise among the terran crew, even while the aliens fight overhead for the right to the information, but there is no sense of urgence.

A bit disappointed. On to book 3, let's hope the author incorporates all his big ideas and develops his universe more.