Thursday, July 12, 2012
Startide Rising by David Brin
A triple award winner (Hugo, Nebula and Locus) and deservedly. A second part of series, but apparently the first part of the series has little to do with this book aside of the same background. The background as such is extremely inventive and interesting: the galaxy is filled by alien races and every one of them has been “uplifted” by another race from presentience. A race which has been upflifted owes a 100 000 years of service for the uplifting race. As humans don’t seem to have mentors they are looked upon with suspicion and even hatred. Humans themselves have uplifted dolphins and chimpanzee to intelligence. The book starts when a scout ship mainly staffed by dolphins has escaped to a sea planet called Kithrup which hasn’t been visited by anyone in millions of years. Most of galaxy’s more conservative older races are trying to catch them as it seems that they have stumbled upon the remains of mythical “founders” the species there has ever been and which has started the uplift practice. The ship and its’ crew hides underwater, while a gigantic space battle is taking place all over the whole solar system where Kithrup is as entire fleets of alien battle out who gets to capture the earthlings. While the earthlings repair their ship and try to find out a way to escape from there the planet they are on appears to be somehow strange with the planet itself. Also, the stress is starting to affect the dolphins and some of them are reverting to mentally unstable presapient form and there might be a mutiny brewing among the crew.
A very enjoyable book which had some very exiting parts. It wasn’t without flaws, though. The mutiny subplot came as a surprise and not in a good way. There didn’t seem to be a foundation for that kind strife among the crew. Also, some of the Galactics felt like caricatures of intelligent animals. It is hard to believe how such creatures would have survived millennia as apparently is a standard for a Galactic race. The writing was nice, but the cast of characters was very large and sometimes it was kind of hard to remember who was who, at least for someone with a poor memory for names like me. A book which is well worth of reading and one of the better Hugo-winners around. (now I have read 81.7 % of all Hugo award winners)