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The Uplift Saga #3

The Uplift War

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David Brin's Uplift novels are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction ever written. Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War--a New York Times bestseller--together make up one of the most beloved sagas of all time. Brin's tales are set in a future universe in which no species can reach sentience without being "uplifted" by a patron race. But the greatest mystery of all remains unsolved: who uplifted humankind?

As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies. Sweeping, brilliantly crafted, inventive and dramatic, The Uplift War is an unforgettable story of adventure and wonder from one of today's science fiction greats.

638 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 1, 1987

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About the author

David Brin

317 books3,071 followers
David Brin is a scientist, speaker, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. A movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Startide Rising won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. The Uplift War also won the Hugo Award.

His non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Prize from the American Library Association.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI, nanotechnology, and philanthropy.

David appears frequently on TV, including "The Universe" and on the History Channel's "Life After People."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 450 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,601 followers
November 9, 2019
And here we, no wrong sorry, here come the chimpanzees.

There are so many Sci-Fi ideas including apes, like the Planet of the apes' franchise, cartoon characters and many evil experiments.

One of the less widespread ideas is reverse engineering, the downgrading, or, appropriate to the terminology of the novels, downlifting, of humans to make hybrids. Instead of improving gorillas, chimps, orangutans, bonobos and naked mole rats to make them more human, the humans get monkeyed and not the monkey humanized.

This could go immediate by any kind of wonder drug, but because this is a serious social network, let's forget about this actually still rather childish idea. It may become possible in a very far future, but the more probable approach is to exchange the human DNA parts in humans with monkey DNA and see what happens. Exactly the same as China is already doing vice versa.

One must not forget that the key to understanding intelligence lies in the success of this endeavor, cause all genes for intelligence and human traits ( poor comparison) have to be found to succeed. So after finally successfully breeding a monkey-human or human-monkey hybrid the next step would be to pimp humans with the found genes for intelligence. If there are different gene types in different species of apes, why not include all of them in one human being to pimp her/him up?

Being reminded of our origin and ancestors is an important mind game, cause, just like dealing with the inevitability of death, it makes us more autochthonous, self-aware and humble instead of being arrogant as a so-called crown of a still-running evolution that could bring creatures or visitors from outside that kick us from the throne. Or at least it gets easier to laugh about ourselves, naked apes that we are.

I, for instance, would bet on less good gorilla and bonobo influence in my genes and more of the stylish evil chimpanzee mentality with the tendency to lunacy, but I like myself, so it is okay as long as you don´t provoke me or I have a bad day of just find beeing murderous entertaining and gather my primate buddies and come in your land to ravage it, steal your women and stuff. Just joking, we are civilized and wouldn´t do this.
In such a small, direct, inefficient scale.

Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,064 followers
January 30, 2015
Let’s get one thing straight. The Uplift War is not military science fiction. There is a war, yes, and there are some appropriately war-like moments, but the emphasis is, once again, on the ‘Uplift’ and not on the ‘War’. Arguably, one the greatest strengths of The Uplift War and its predecessors, is the alien element. Brin certainly went the whole hog when he was designing and imagining his Galactics. This is where these books shine. Each alien race has its own culture and corresponding cultural oddities, and some of them are quite bizarre. That being said, I had a difficult time of it imagining the Gubru as an intimidating warlike race, despite all their hardware. They always seemed to remind me of oversized chicks, or broilers, or canaries. Tweety with a laser rifle and an attitude?

So, yes, the Gooksyu-Gubru have it in for earthclan. They really want to know what the Streaker spaceship found out in the star-lanes (see Startide Rising), so they set off for Garth (a planet leased by Earth in an attempt to undo ecological harm that has transpired there) on an official ‘crusade’. The galactic politics are interesting and at least come up with some plausible explanations why the aliens don’t just roast earth, which is obviously the grand prize if you think Humans are not worthy of their patron status, and be done with it. The ‘War’ is mostly concerned with the guerrilla efforts of the neo-chimpanzees on Garth to undermine their new, and unwelcome, rulers. Mostly. But this novel isn’t just about the war. It’s also about a lot of other things, most notably a Tymbrimi ‘practical joke’ that goes WAY beyond the average April Fool’s day.

There is a lot of science in here. Biological science, ecological science, chemical science, linguistics, you name it. By the time Brin was writing this, he was apparently feeling comfortable enough with his writing skills and the success of the first two Uplift novels to utilise the kitchen sink approach. Some of the characters are truly delightful, such as the Neo-Chimp Fiben Bolger and Uthacalthing, the Tymbrimi ambassador to Garth.

The novel teeters on a fine edge, yet somehow manages not to topple into the realm of being overly complicated. Well, barring perhaps the Galactic code of conduct and all that. All in all, it comes together nicely. Expect some great twists. But you already knew that, didn’t you, having already read Sundiver and Startide Rising? Oh, and of course, this novel has neo-gorillas!
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
May 19, 2014
Galactic civilization is balanced on a knife's edge. Power is gained by becoming patrons, gaining client races, uplifting them to sentience and starfaring, and having them as more or less indentured servants over hundreds of thousands of years. But then humans came on the scenes, "wolflings," who apparently bootstrapped themselves up into sentience, a feat thought to be impossible.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Trish.
1,915 reviews3,402 followers
November 24, 2022
In this book, we are on the planet Garth. A few thousand years ago, the planet's native species was eradicated by the galactics for nearly destroying the planet's ecosystem after reverting back to a more primitive form of life for some reason. Nowadays, the planet is governed by Earthclan (humans and chimps, no dolphins due to the lack of oceans).
One day, another galactic species, the Gubru, decide to invade Garth so as to force the Earthclan to give up whatever it is they managed to find (out) about the Progenitors (see events from the previous book).
The problem? There is a lot these bird-like aliens have no idea about - such as human nature even in an uplifted state or what has been going on research-wise on Garth. Before they can blink, Earthclan is carrying out a guerilla warfare against them, shamelessly capitalizing on being underestimated.

Then there are the Tymbrimi, Earth's allied aliens who had an embassador on Garth. While his daughter is taking matters into her own, very capable hands, the embassador is engaging in a very weird but very much cackle-inducing joke with another galactic representative from a species not accustomed to humour but VERY passionate about animal rights. The bet/joke is that there supposedly are Garthlings, a neo-sentient native species. The Tymbrimi embassador even fabricates false "evidence" for it.
The problem? Some renegade humans have started uplifting so it's not all made up, technically. *lol* Not to mention that the "joke" snowballs until the Gubru themselves believe there really are Garthlings (becoming their patron species would make them very rich).

In short: mistakes are made and a lot of them.

Interestingly, there were a few traitors to their respective species. I hadn't expected that in all of them but it did end in a trial by combat so I was definitely here for it. Bwahahahahahahaha.

What I loved best, I think, was the immense charcter development, especially in Robert (a human) and Athaclena (a Tymbrimi). Those two were awesome! Though Fiben was cool as well, of course.

Best of all, however, was what this all means for Earth and humans as well as the species they uplifted. Technically, we should send the Gubru a thank-you card, I guess. ;P

And yes, seeing further examples of galactic species was highly interesting because the author really made them their own, all distinct and quirky. And the way they treat their client species was highly interesting because truly varied as well.

The only thing I missed was a deeper look at the library (it's history, significance, and problem) but that didn't keep me from enjoying this novel tremendously. Like I said before, I cackled - and more than once.
Profile Image for Clouds.
228 reviews632 followers
January 4, 2015

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).

The Uplift War is book 3 in Brin’s Uplift Saga and the second from the series to win both Locus Sci-Fi and Hugo awards (in 1987, following Startide Rising ’s success in 1984).

Brin’s work in the Uplift universe continues with another trilogy, The Uplift Storm, but this marks the end of the original trio – and it’s a pretty mixed bunch. Book One, Sundiver , is a rather forgettable affair, altogether too simplistic in its outlook. Book Two, Startide Rising is a much better offering, with haiku-spitting space-dolphins in an intergalactic chase and prison-break scenario – an adventure to get your teeth into!

Which brings us to Book Three, The Uplift War : from the title I was expecting a full-on Earth (and allies) vs Nasty Aliens, but that’s not quite what we get. Garth is an out of the way planet, settled primarily by Earth’s client-race – chimpanzees. Yes folks, this is a bona fide planet of the apes – complete with original monkey culture and politics. Following the events of Startide Rising , the galactics are pissed with Earth-Clan – but there are a lot of galactic races and not enough Earth-butt to kick – so one particular race of aggressive avian aliens (Evil Space Chickens) decides to conquer Garth and hold it hostage to try and make Earth-Clan play ball. So the chimps are massively outgunned by the Evil Space Chickens and must resort to gorilla (punny!) warfare. And to add a last bit spice to the mix, the naughty chimps have been . If this is discovered it will retrospectively justify the Evil Space Chicken invasion and be a major headache for Earth-Clan!

Our heroes involve a plucky daughter of a galactic ambassador, a cheeky chimp pilot and a local rebel girl (as love-interest). It’s fun. It’s not quite as good as Startide Rising , but it’s still pretty damn fun.

My favourite moments include:
- the otter species uplift ceremony
- the thunder dance / rave
- the crazy three-way Evil Space Chicken courtship process
- ‘rillas!

If you're looking for a reliable on-the-money reviewer to follow, you wouldn't go far wrong with Nicholas Whyte who sums up the negatives of this book rather perfectly when he says:
humans (and their allies) rarely lose a battle or an argument; we are rather compelled to cheer for our boys. But more seriously, I think the novel's take on race issues is naïve and complacent. The intelligent chimpanzee characters are not allowed to rebel from the human agenda, yet disply no resentment of the control exerted over them, including their reproductive rights. Those who do make common cause with humanity's enemies get their come-uppance. (The only Bad Human who displays racial and gender prejudice is explicitly South Asian.) I think I would have been happier if the book had explored colonialism and race a little more profoundly.
Spot on, Nick. Spot-on.

I still thought the book was fun, but it takes fairly serious themes and then just sort of flirts with them coyly. I kept wanting Brin to get more feisty – get in there and really make a point with his monkey-man-metaphor! But he doesn’t. He just enjoys telling his tale.

New book?
What’s it about?
Planet of the Apes being invaded by Evil Space Chickens.
You read weird books.
I know.
Can I borrow it when you’re finished?
Of course!

If you've not read any of the Uplift Saga yet - start with Startide Rising .
If you liked that, read this.
Simple, no?
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
November 24, 2022
I loved this book nearly as much as I loved Startide Rising.

Back in the day, I read both of these, or indeed, any David Brin, with nothing short of awe. Not only were the books full of wonderful stories and characters, digging into my chest and pulling my still-beating heart out of my chest, but they were also some of the most amazing world-building achievements, rocking such wonderful imagination, that I frankly held them up as some of the most glorious examples of SF that SF could offer.

In short, I was a total fanboy, but for many great reasons that I could enumerate, ad nauseam, without ever falling back on a silly, "but I enjoyed it" argument.

The irony was glorious. The language play was superb. The pure SFnal discussion about intellect/heart/will and how it applies to a highly complex form of Darwinism and its questioners was glorious. And on top of all of this, I was rocking a "I really enjoyed it" adventure featuring guerilla warfare, species adaptability, and a long-form joke in the form of a full novel that worked on so many levels that I can't stop chuckling, even now.

In short, this book not only deserves all the awards it got back in the day, but it STILL deserves massive praise for being one of the best-crafted SF of all time, along with Startide Rising.

It's not just my fanboy-ism about David Brin. These books should not be swept under the rug of SFnal history. The '80s were a fantastic decade for SF. The writers all raised the tone, pushed so many envelopes, and added so much to the genre. Not only were they becoming literature, but they were also pushing the envelope of pure imagination and speculation and doing it in brilliant ways.

I'm still shocked at how complex and beautiful these two novels are. It rather puts most modern SF to utter shame.
Profile Image for Rachel (Kalanadi).
722 reviews1,406 followers
November 16, 2016
80's dudebro SF. (Seriously. The male human hero transforms into Tarzan.)

Good for what it is, but not to my taste. I don't want to nitpick something that just isn't for me, but it felt a little ridiculous and contrived in places, and rather naive or superficial about the problematic issues raised. But on the whole - just OK.

I would like to forget about the chimpanzee striptease scene though.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,027 followers
April 6, 2019
I've heard many good things about this trilogy & author, but I found Sundiver awful the couple of times I tried it. I never finished the brick or even penetrated too far, but it's been a long time since I last tried. In review, one of my GR friends wrote that the books & writing got better. Someone else wrote this one stood alone well, so I'm planning on only reading book 3 of a trilogy.

I think this was a good choice. The author relates enough about the world & first books (I guess) that I don't feel as if I'm floundering. He's also repetitive enough about events & motivations in this one that I didn't get lost. That was not completely a point in the book's favor, though. It's too long & redundant. He often makes the exact same points several times using the same words.

There was quite a bit of detail about various alien customs & differences that was quite imaginative. The political situation surrounding 'uplift', bring a species from pre-sentience through various phases of full sentience, had quite a bit going on, but when boiled down, it really wasn't that complex.

The characters were well done. There weren't too many & they were all memorable. The planet & its ecosystem was also interesting. Not too much too far out, so it didn't detract from the story. Well narrated, too.

All in all, I'm not sorry I read it, but I certainly don't feel like going back to read either of the prior books.
Profile Image for Nicholas Whyte.
4,627 reviews176 followers
January 23, 2010

One of Brin's novels of the future universe where humanity has become part of a galactic culture of species Uplifting each other from pre-sapience to civilisation, homo sapiens being unique in that we achieved that status without external intervention.

The book is fun in a lot of ways - smart humans and chimps, and their allies, manage to overcome the prejudices and wishful thinking of the more nasty aliens. The most sympathetic male characters get to have sex (more or less) with the most sympathetic female characters. There is a lovely plot twist involving gorillas.

But I have to say the book is not one I can recommend. Partly it is that the humans (and their allies) rarely lose a battle or an argument; we are rather compelled to cheer for our boys. But more seriously, I think the novel's take on race issues is naïve and complacent. The intelligent chimpanzee characters are not allowed to rebel from the human agenda, yet disply no resentment of the control exerted over them, including their reproductive rights. Those who do make common cause with humanity's enemies get their come-uppance. (The only Bad Human who displays racial and gender prejudice is explicitly South Asian.) I think I would have been happier if the book had explored colonialism and race a little more profoundly.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,255 followers
May 24, 2010
David Brin's Uplift Trilogy has not been the easiest series for me to read. I enjoyed Sundiver as a mystery set within a much larger universe. Brin left me hungry for more, but Startide Rising left me bitter and disappointed. What had started with so much potential seemed encumbered by flawed storylines and a myriad of unwanted characters. Hence, I was doubtful of The Uplift War's ability to mollify me.

While certainly superior to Startide Rising, The Uplift War lacks the central protagonist that made Sundiver so compelling. If the first book was a murder mystery and the second a siege story, this one is about living under occupation by the enemy. As such, the span of the story is somewhat larger than Startide Rising's, which at least gives the much-inflated cast something to do for six hundred pages.

Maybe my expectations are just skewed here, but I'm in this series for the answer to one question: who, if anyone, Uplifted humanity? After such tantalizing promises in Startide Rising, Brin shelves that question once again. Instead, we get another look at the sociological implications of Uplift and the stringent codes of Galactic warfare.

I don't mean to make The Uplift War sound boring. For the most part, it's interesting to watch the resistance crystallize in the mountains outside Port Helenia. It's fun to wonder who among the three Gubru Suzerains will achieve the dominance required to become the triumvirate's queen. As usual, Brin's depiction of a truly alien species and its leadership structure is second to none.

Even a species closely related to humanity, the neo-chimpanzees, can seem alien at times. Brin raises the question of whether neo-chimps have sentience or are merely "aping" their human patrons. Although it seems obvious that chims like Fiben and Gailet are sentient beings, the behaviour of those like Irongrip makes one wonder. It's scary to think that other creatures, the Gubru and the various Uplift examiners, are watching, judging whether another species is sapient. Imagine what would happen if humanity were declared the clients of another species!

We walk a thin line between being animals and thinking beings. Brin's obsession with comparing Richard Oneagle to Tarzan makes that clear. That being said, I'm not sure how much of that subplot was Brin's enthusiasm for the rugged wilderness adventurer and how much was a conscious statement about how environment shapes us. It's this exploration of what divides us from animals, thinking beings from non-thinking beings, at which the Uplift Trilogy excels. And of the three books in the trilogy, The Uplift War emphasizes this best.

So I've got a lot of complaints about The Uplift War. It just didn't satisfy me in the way I had hoped. Try as I might, however, I can't dismiss the book as "bad" or even "poor." Brin's execution is not flawless, but it's enough to convey a powerful theme about humanity and our role at large in the universe. I can't condemn the Uplift Trilogy—but I can't go so far as to celebrate it. You'll have to make up your own mind.

My Reviews of the Uplift series:
Startide Rising | Brightness Reef
177 reviews65 followers
August 20, 2015
Maybe 4.25 stars? Not exactly as good as Startide Rising, but close. There was a lot to love about this book but also a little to be annoyed about.

Plot was fun, although sloooow at times. Fiben's adventures were the best part, for me. Fiben was an absolutely fantastic character (I think Brin has said that he's his favourite character from all his books). The chims overall were great, although I think I still prefer the fins from Startide Rising. The exploration of neo-chimpanzee culture was fascinating, especially aspects like their sexual and social organisation. They were just a barrel of fun altogether. The gorillas were fun too, but underutilised. Garth itself (the planet this book is set on) was a great "character", well developed, with a sense about it of a living, breathing world.

The aliens were mostly pretty good. More interesting sexual politics in the Gubru; and Kault the Thennanin was another favourite character for me. The aliens I liked the least were the Tymbrimi. They had good personalities and interesting biology, but psychic aliens are just such a shitty trope. The glyphs and all that other psychic stuff was my least favourite aspect of the book, especially as the biology behind it was so tenuous (or indeed, not explained at all). Some things seemed utterly pointless to me, like Athaclena psychically "borrowing" her father's... what, life essence? For no real reason, it seemed.

All the aliens had good ideas behind them but Brin doesn't really focus on the biology of the alien species. He writes much more about their cultures and behaviour. While that's interesting in of itself, I would kill to read an Uplift novel written by Julie E. Czerneda. She does some of the best alien biology, and she'd really harden up the SF of the Uplift universe.

This book makes a great companion to Startide Rising, and the two books (putting aside Sundiver, which is good too but relatively unrelated to the other books) forms a really good duology about, yes, aliens and galactic culture and all that, but mostly about uplifted animal species and their cultures. Fins and chims. Brilliant.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,860 reviews370 followers
October 11, 2016
David Brin writes entertaining aliens! The Gooksyu-Gubru clan made me see space chickens in my mind and I just loved them. They remain neuter (and white) until they are allowed to form a triad (and run a project), at the end of which they gain both gender & colour. Then the bird at the top of the pecking order becomes a queen and the other two become her princes. So, a lot is riding on the outcome of their “crusade” against Earthling humans and neo-chimpanzees.

The galactic manoeuvring in this series remind me very much of complex Byzantine politics—there are patron races and client races. Earth is unique in that humans “uplifted” themselves to a space travelling race, seemingly without the intercession of a patron race (although there is debate about whether an unknown race uplifted them & then disappeared, the Von Daniken hypothesis). And then humans had the temerity to uplift both dolphins and chimpanzees before they made contact with the Eatees, putting some of the elder patron races’ noses out of joint. Hence the desire of the Gooksyu-Gubru to prove that the Neo-Chims are not really uplifted and that the Earthings are mismanaging the planet Garth that they have been assigned to rehabilitate.

The pleasure is in the details for me—the details of Neo-Chim society in this book. The dance clubs which replicate the “rain dance” experience of wild chimps on Earth, their oaths (By Goodall), their tremendous senses of humour, and the ability to undertake guerilla/gorilla warfare. In this universe, species that possess an appreciation of humour have to stick together!

Very enjoyable. This was book 228 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,889 reviews428 followers
August 4, 2022
‘The Uplift War’, book three in the Uplift Trilogy (start with Sundiver), is a terrific finish to the Uplift trilogy that David Brin so imaginatively has created. Well, not quite finished as he has left two particular strings dangling - a mystery regarding the Progenitors and what has happened to the uplifted Dolphins piloting the fugitive water-filled spaceship Streaker.

Who were the Progenitors, a mysterious species which disappeared long ago? Why did they begin uplifting pre-sentient animals they discovered on other planets in many galaxies? Because of what they did to evolve animals into sentience and space travel, a motivation which was pursued far far away and historically distant beyond the memories of any current civilization, the entire universe (the one Brin has so brilliantly conceived in these science fiction novels) has as its one overriding moral imperative to uplift appropriate species. There is very little else to otherwise bind the various uplifted species together morally. There have been many many wars. The different species hate each other, generally. However, none of them openly defy the moral precedents and laws set by the Progenitors, preserved in the Great Library.

The Great Library contains written records of amazing discoveries and engineering marvels and history, which by a law recognized by the entire universe of sentient species, must be open to everyone who requests admittance. Or, in other words, everyone who wants a library card must be given one!


However, humans do not seem to have been uplifted, or if uplifted, appear to have been abandoned by their sponsors. Abandonment of a species by a Patron race is a crime, the worst. There is no record of Humanity in the Great Library, either. Since Earthlings joined the community of space civilizations after having been discovered two hundred years ago by the space-traveling Patrons, most of the Patrons are extremely disturbed by the existence of humans. On so many levels. Number one issue - the species is considered a wolfling one, apparently having learned how to become spacers and a Patron race on their own, without any assistance or guidance from a Patron species or the Great Library. Despite that Humans do not conform as do all of the other species fully educated by the Library and Patrons, they have uplifted, without Library or Patron guidance, chimpanzees and dolphins. Humans also color outside of the lines often, or drive unexpectedly off-road! Very very disturbing.

I have copied the book blurb as it is accurate:

”David Brin's Uplift novels are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction ever written. Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War--a New York Times bestseller--together make up one of the most beloved sagas of all time. Brin's tales are set in a future universe in which no species can reach sentience without being "uplifted" by a patron race. But the greatest mystery of all remains unsolved: who uplifted humankind?

As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies. Sweeping, brilliantly crafted, inventive and dramatic, The Uplift War is an unforgettable story of adventure and wonder from one of today's science fiction greats.”

‘The Uplift War’ is very long. It spends quite a bit of time in world-building and on its main characters. Fiben Bolger, a young Chimpanzee fighter pilot, Robert Oneagle, a young human, son of the Planetary Coordinator of the colony on the planet Garth and a recent graduate from college who has joined the military, and Athaclena, daughter of the Tymbrimi ambassador Uthaclathing, grow up from untested youngsters to seasoned warriors after becoming part of a resistance force on the planet Garth.

The Gubrus, an uplifted Patron race of birds, have invaded Garth hoping to find clues to where the dolphins’ space ship Streaker might be. They plan on holding human colonists hostage until Earth gives up the whereabouts of the Streaker. Everyone believes the Streaker holds clues to the Progenitors (see previous novel, Startide Rising). The Gubrus have superior technology and numbers. Everyone expects the human/chimpanzee colony to lose this war, including the mature humans.

But the young adults have a different plan….

Did anyone else think, aha, this is reminiscent of Star Wars IV, V, and VI?
Profile Image for Jeraviz.
913 reviews404 followers
July 1, 2021
Del autor que nos trajo a los delfines que recitaban haikus, llegan los chimpancés guerrilleros con pantalones cortos. (Si no os he enganchado con esta frase para seguir leyendo no sé qué tipo de libros leéis).

En los anteriores libros de la trilogía me quejaba de que Brin desperdiciaba una grandísima idea centrándose en detalles y tramas sin importancia. El universo que crea el autor donde las razas que pueblan la galaxia pueden elevar a otras razas que no poseen "auto-consciencia" me ha parecido muy interesante y menos mal que en este tercer libro se centra un poco más en ese tema. Aún así me deja el sabor de boca un poco amargo al pensar en todo lo que podría haber hecho.

En esta tercera entrega se centra en los chimpancés, una de las razas que lo humanos "elevan" (la otro son los delfines). Y entran en escena otras razas de la galaxia que no están de acuerdo con lo que están haciendo los humanos, y hay líos políticos y guerras. Y la mitad del libro de verdad que me ha parecido interesante con un discurso de fondo de tolerancia a todas las formas sapientes que habitan la Tierra.
Pero la otra mitad se centra en describir la guerrilla que hacen los chimpancés contra la raza alienígena y es cuando se viene abajo gran parte de mi interés.

¿Recomendaría la saga? Pues ha ganado Premios Hugo, y David Brin escribe bien. Pero creo que hay otras sagas mucho más interesantes que esta.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
January 29, 2010
4.0 stars. The continuation of the Uplift Saga began in the superb Startide Rising. Amazing world-building (rather universe building), a superb plot and peopled by fascinating characters and races. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Nominee: Prometheus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,532 followers
May 23, 2023
The Uplift Cycle has been a real revelation for me. Although Sundiver had flaws, it had the germs for some amazing ideas which I thought reached a peak in the sequel Startide Rising. The final book of the trilogy (which apparently continues in the subsequent Uplift Storm trilogy although I am not sure I will go there...) was action-packed where we learn a lot more about several of the aliens we have crossed or heard of in the other groups and we get the übercool protagonist neo-chimp Fiben. On the other hand, the end was honestly predictable and some of the dialog didn't really work. Still, I loved the ideas of the glyphs, the background on Uplift, and the epic battles which made for something as gripping and page-turning as Startide. All in all, a great book but still a little shy of 5* for me. Sorry, Clennie.
Profile Image for Chloe.
349 reviews538 followers
November 12, 2012
I have to admit. I'm a little relieved to be done with this series. Wherever I would walk while reading either this book or its predecessor, Startide Rising, people would inevitably look at the cover, glance away quickly, then slowly look back, eyes questioning. "Is that...?" "Yes," I would answer, "those are chimpanzees. Yes, they're in space. No, I am not reading this on a dare." At the end of the day, regardless of how many awards this series has won (oodles), or how detailed and complex the universe that Brin has created, there is going to be a good chunk of the reading world that will write off the Uplift trilogy the moment they hear the words "chimps in space."

Which is a real shame because this series has one of the best premises in all of science fiction, namely that intelligent life never arises naturally in the universe but is part of a millennia long tradition known as Uplift, in which sapient species are indentured to their patrons for a hundred thousand years before being granted their own freedom to determine their genetic direction. In Startide Rising, Brin focused on one of two species that humans had uplifted, the dolphins, who had stumbled across a derelict fleet that may or may not belong to the long-fabled Progenitors, the species that had set the template for Uplift throughout the galaxy, and sparked a religious war throughout the galaxy.

The Uplift War is set immediately after the events of Startide Rising and focuses on humankind's second client species, the chimpanzees of the human colony world of Garth, a small backwater planet far removed from the conflict tearing the galaxy apart until a race of giant birds known as the Gubru decide to conquer Garth and hold it hostage until Earth decides to share their discovery. Unbeknownst to the Gubru though, humans have not been resting on their laurels after uplifting dolphins and chimps and are involved in a highly illegal gambit to uplift Earth's very own gorillas without incurring the wrath of the galaxy. Caught up in this conflict are the human son of the planet's governor, Robert Oneagle, the mildly telepathic daughter of a Tymbrimi diplomat, Athaclena, and Fiben Bolger, a chimpanzee from the Garth militia, who all find themselves running a ragtag guerilla war (oh trust me, that pun is used widely throughout the book) against the space chickens after the standard military forces are captured and held hostage.

As always it is Brin's eye for detail that makes this book fairly hum with energy. The meticulousness of detail afforded to the Gubru mating dance/policy summit, the Uplift tests that the chimpanzees must master in order to prove that they are actually sapient creatures in the eyes of galactic society, the telepathic bonds shared between father and daughter Tymbrimi- all are so well thought out and detailed that, despite how outlandish the plot description may be, I never once found myself rolling my eyes or doubting the internal logic of the book's world. Brin even addressed my main complaint from Startide Rising and doesn't resort to resolving conflicts out of scene but describes the resolution in very satisfying detail.

This is an amazingly satisfying series that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys thinking about the strange course that adaptation and evolution often take or who enjoy tales set in a fully-rendered universe. I just learned that there is a follow-up trilogy after this one that addresses what happens to the crew of the Streaker from Startide Rising and I know that I will be dipping into them over the rainy months ahead.
Profile Image for Bart Everson.
Author 5 books32 followers
October 16, 2010
I would never recommend The Uplift War to my friends who are skeptical about science fiction. It has too many conventions peculiar to the genre. There are aliens of many races, psychic powers, galactic empires, robots, ray guns and spaceships that travel faster than light. It's all a bit much in a single book if you've never read science fiction before.

Furthermore, this is not an easy read. The pages are peppered with made-up alien words like lurrunanu and tu'fluk. There's also a sprinkling of obscure English words, such as covinous and antelucan, which revealed the inadequacy of my dictionary. As much as I enjoyed expanding my vocabulary, these terms seem awkward and gratuitous here.

In fact, I found Brin's prose style to be quite difficult, but not particularly beautiful or rewarding. Some passages are absolutely painful, such as when the author describes a wall as "the barrier that undulated complacently over the countryside like a net settled firmly over their lives."

If that doesn't bother you, and if you're already a fan of the science fiction genre, then you might enjoy this book. The tone is light and at times humorous. The alien psychologies are compelling and are probably the best thing here. And of course there's the concept of Uplift itself -- the idea that one species can raise another to sentience. This is a huge idea, and I can readily understand how Brin has milked so many novels out of it.

Brin is a scientist, and there are a number of thought-provoking speculations here. Unfortunately they are spread a bit thin over 600+ pages. The emphasis is definitely on action and fun.

A note of warning to would-be readers: The Uplift War stands on its own, but early on you will encounter some intriguing references to a spaceship piloted by dolphins that has made a mysterious discovery of galactic significance. Don't expect to find this mystery revealed in The Uplift War. You'll have to read Startide Rising if you really want to know.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
148 reviews119 followers
February 22, 2018
These Uplift novels are getting better. This time I cared a lot more about the characters, and the writing seemed much smoother and less annoying. The author managed to go more than two or three pages sometimes between changes of viewpoint character, and the action was more streamlined and less choppy.

I loved the character of the ambassador's daughter Athaclena, and how she ended up leading the resistance forces. I liked her species, I liked their intuitive psi sense, the artistic glyphs they broadcast, and their great sense of humor. It seems pretty farfetched to me that any other species in the galaxy would look so very much like humans (other than chimps and gorillas who share our genetic heritage, of course), but he does throw in a few species who are very different like the plantlike ones with nothing like a face. I forget the species name at the moment.

The birdlike enemies in this book, the Gubru, had an interesting society and mating system, but overall they were pretty annoying. They did a lot of screeching and hopping. I like the neo-chimps quite a bit, though. They were depicted as full characters with lots of complexity.

I have great hopes that the series will continue to get better as it goes on. I'm starting Brightness Reef, the next one, today. The books are nothing like as good as, say, an Ursula K. Le Guin book, but they are fun reads and are full of interesting ideas.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews428 followers
July 3, 2016
-Realxenopolitik y sus consecuencias.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. El planeta Garth está bajo arrendamiento humano con la intención de recuperar su ecosistema tras los daños que sufrió decenas de años atrás. Los Gubru, una raza con aspecto de pájaros, quieren hacerse con el planeta jugando con las leyes que marcan las relaciones entre civilizaciones estelares y lo atacan. Dentro de la serie La elevación de los pupilos, tercer libro de la saga ambientado en dicha línea argumental y tercer libro de su primera trilogía, pero que en realidad resulta totalmente independiente en cuanto a su trama central.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Mayank Agarwal.
850 reviews28 followers
May 13, 2013
Best book till now of the Uplift series, the story telling and the characters development were much better.The alien races present in the book were great. Did enjoy the many undercurrent regarding the diplomacy and warfare of the Galactic's.
Profile Image for Liutauras.
242 reviews16 followers
November 16, 2020
Second time reading this with 20 years. This time only after reading two first books. And yes, No3 is the best - most hilarious and well structured - a lot of interesting ideas and fun
Profile Image for Thom.
1,565 reviews47 followers
June 25, 2018
Shares a universe with the other books of the series, could stand alone. Describes life in an occupied land (world), and is somewhat better than the previous book. Still suffers from clunky descriptions and poor passages at times.

In its favor are stronger characters, especially Fiben. He and others are fully 3D, a welcome change from the previous book. Some of the clever technology used for tracking or attacking are also neat. Chief among the downsides are the pace - this book is slow. Took me a month and a half to finish it, as I would put it down and feel little compulsion to pick it up again.

Reviewing the series, the wide web of characters and plots is pretty interesting, and probably took a book to keep track of. Turns out one was published - Contacting Aliens: An Illustrated Guide to David Brin's Uplift Universe. Three following books make up a new series, the Uplift Storm trilogy. I plan to catch up with some other books first, but will likely tackle at least the first of that series soon.
491 reviews26 followers
March 15, 2018
As war rages throughout the galaxy, the bird-like Gubru invade the planet Garth, which is home to humans and their Uplifted client race, the chimpanzees. Cut off from outside help, two young people, one human and one alien, are forced by circumstance to become the leaders of a chimp army in a guerrilla war. There is a lot of action in this third novel of David Brin's Uplift series. So far, each entry has been better than its predeccesor. Brin's prose is frequently clunky, but his story is tight and he has a rare ability to create plausible and fascinating alien cultures and psychologies.
Profile Image for John Devlin.
Author 21 books71 followers
April 21, 2007
Brin's continuing saga of the Streaker. A strong read that only fails in that it isn't as great as Startide Rising.
Profile Image for Gabi.
693 reviews120 followers
February 26, 2022
2.5 stars

Personal enjoyment clear on the 2 star side, because of the amateurish character writing.
But the idea is good and I don't want to downrate a book because of my personal pet peeves.
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