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Startide Rising

(The Uplift Saga #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  30,287 ratings  ·  664 reviews
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 g ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published 1984 by Spectra (first published September 1983)
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Daniel Bratell It works standalone. The characters are new and the spoilers on the first book are minimal. The only part of Sundiver that you would really miss is th…moreIt works standalone. The characters are new and the spoilers on the first book are minimal. The only part of Sundiver that you would really miss is the background on the universe and the political system but it's pretty much reiterated anyway.(less)
Heather You can read Startide Rising by itself. The Uplift war can also be a stand alone, since it has all new characters and settings. However it does refere…moreYou can read Startide Rising by itself. The Uplift war can also be a stand alone, since it has all new characters and settings. However it does reference things from Startide Rising.
The later 3 books starting with Brightness Reef are a traditional trilogy with the same characters and settings in all 3 books. There are some references to Startide Rising later in the Brightness Reef trilogy.(less)
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I've been reading this book over the decades and I can still honestly say that it's both timely and timeless in its ideas, its story, and its characters. That's even taking into account that most SF eventually dates itself or becomes a humorous example of just how much we all eventually learn.

This one doesn't suffer at all. Since the eighties this still remains a mind-blowing and fantastic space opera of the kind I still have yet compare anything else as favorably. Even among Brin's other Uplift
Mario the lone bookwolf
One of the most interesting ideas in this second part of the series is the evolution of language, the forming of its complex meaning and how culture defines how the habitat is perceived and described. And dolphins rock.

Some thoughts about the evolution of language and different ways to communicate:
Humans adapted to many environments with special words, cults and worshipping standing out elements of nature. Animals may develop similar attitudes and the difference between a conscious ant and a se
A good way to illustrate the utter failure of the Star Wars prequels on just about every level of storytelling imaginable is to ask someone to describe the characters without talking about their jobs or their costumes. [Come on, try it: Queen Amidala. Oh, she looks like a Kabuki... wait, no. She's the queen... I'm sorry. Um, her hair. She's... normal?] The characters in Startide Rising suffer in much the same fashion. Aside from the fact that they are of different species, not much differentiate ...more
I don't know how to rate it, 4 or 5. It's more 4.5 but I'll give an extra 0.5 for the dolphins.
It has everything I want from adventure (cool action scenes included), compelling characters, very fascinating world building. And the setting itself, makes it a winner. I need to read more Uplift stuff!

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 beca
I enjoyed this quite a bit and raced through it (especially given I don’t have much alone time to listen to books)!! The narrator was painful slow and deliberate, so I was able to boost the speed to 1.6x original speed.

I found that if my attention wandered I tended to miss things, like from whose POV the chapter was written. Then, as a result, I was often confused about what was going on.

This book tested my usual lack of visualization and forced me to do so, which is not necessarily a bad thin

I just couldn't get into this enough to merit me reading over a hundred pages more to get to the conclusion. I have no problem using different points of view to tell a story, ala GRRM, but if the characters aren't in any way engaging and have no personalities to speak of, it just becomes a jarring and disconnected experience. This is the second Uplift novel I read, the first being Sundiver, and while I love the concept and the universe of Uplift, concept alone is not enough to keep my interest f
Jul 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Undoubtedly one of the stupidest books I've ever read. I'm not sure what's worst, the talking dolphins who can smile, the chimpanzee planetologist who smokes a pipe (I think), the horribly written dialog, the fact that the aliens are more believable characters than the humans, or the fact that somebody thought it would be a great idea to use dolphins to run starships since, as we know, such a large percentage of planets have water on them that obviously we want aquatic creatures who can go out a ...more
It had a lot of great ideas with the uplift theory, the progenitors, the library, the dolphin society, the interaction of Terran uplifted species, the multitude of non-Terran species and their features, the biology of the waterplanet, spacebattle, ground battle, romance stuff, introspection, genetic experiments, whale dreaming ... etc.

But - what perhaps already can be seen by the recital above, it was too much crammed into the story. Carefully plotted the ideas in this book would have made for c
When someone who doesn't like science fiction explains why, the most common reasons are:

1. The plots are incomprehensible or boring
2. There ideas were too fantastic to relate to
3. The characters aren't interesting

And if we're talking about Startide Rising...they are completely right. This is the kind of book I would recommend if I wanted to cement a non-SF-reader's dislike of the genre. It's disappointing because the premise in the Uplift Saga is solid. There's an interesting universe here that
Oct 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dolphins in space, wielding psychic powers, hide from a diverse gang of aliens on a watery planet.
They uncover some unlikely mysteries, and fight some bad guys.
I did like the Tandoo "acceptor" race, they were pretty awesome.
Aside from the two pages dedicated to the acceptors, the book is shit.
It should really be classified as fantasy, because science only serves as a vocabulary reference pool.
The only clever moment in the book was when the dolphins vented their on-board water out the airlock, wh
3.5 stars. A science fiction classic that doesn't quite live up to the title of masterpiece. The concept of "uplifting" and the manner in which David Brin incorporates it into the universe he has created in these novels is brilliant and definitely worth checking out. Writing is just okay. Still, great world-building, fascinating aliens and a pretty good plot. Not Brin's best but worth reading, Recommended!!

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1984)
Winner: Nebula Award for Best Scie
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book well enough but I feel like I should like it more than I do, it has everything a good sf novel should have. Vastly imaginative, epic, some humor and good characters. Unfortunately I have a problem with the structure of this book, the cast of characters is too big and the author switches character POV too frequently. This type of structure reminds me of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, except that the GRRM books are longer and the characters are better develope ...more
Very engaging sequel to Sundiver, although it takes place 200 years in the future from that book and some of the threads that I would have liked to see pursued got dropped in the process. Oh well, this was still an excellent book {and better than the first one IMO). The dolphin crew of the star ship makes for interesting technology and the crew themselves makes for a lot of Machiavellian drama, as we explore the perils of fooling about with the genetics of another species. I wonder if, as Brin s ...more
This is a book that could only have come from that special chunk of weirdness that we collectively call the 1980s. Only in this era was there the necessary mixture of Utopian dreams, crystal-wearing self help-addicted Gaia worshipers, and rampant amphetamine abuse to make a story about genetically uplifted dolphins piloting spaceships through the galaxy sound like a good idea. Mind you, this is the same decade that brought us Spock swimming with humpback whales in an attempt to preserve life on ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A.C. Clarke had "uplifted" type animals in some of his novels and stories, "Fountains of Paradise", "3001 (A Space Odyssy)", but this series by David Brin, is more akin to Hal Clement's "Mesklin's" series. Many strange alien invented by the author, who speak colloquial American English, "Change to 33 1/3, I can't follow that jabber!" an alien knows about record players? Really? "Have you any plans for lunch'" says an uplifted dolphin, "I still have some of that canned octopus left..." I would ha ...more
After 2014’s SFWA ‘censorship’ kerfuffle, I hadn’t planned on reading any David Brin… but that wasn’t something I remembered when this book showed up at the library used bookstore, and I’m weak for the idea of sentient dolphins in sci fi, so… here I am.

The big ideas of this book were what intrigued me: the concept of uplift, the mystery of the Progenitors who uplifted the first other species, and the question of what the planet Kithrup had to do with anything. The problem is that, while all thos
This book started a bit slow for me. It took me a bit of time to get used to Dolphins operating a spaceship. I skipped the first in the series because this book, the second in the series, is on the list of best sci-fi books ever of that the members of Sci-Fi Aficionados GR group have identified. I've been slowly working my way through that list. It worked well as a standalone for me. Loose ends were not left hanging - yes, there are some things that weren't resolved but there was no cliffhanger. ...more
I haven't read the first book Sundiver in Brin's Uplift Saga, but this novel seems to work pretty fine as a standalone novel.
It is one of the rare books to win three awards - Hugo, Nebula, and Locus - in a year. Back in the 80s, I've read huge amounts of books, but missed this one. I'm very happy to have filled this gap now, since I liked this planet opera very much.

Planet opera? It isn't really a space opera, because not much is happening in space - a couple of pages focus on alien races' sieg
Nov 23, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In reading my way through the Hugo Award winning novels, I've come across many books that I loved, and many more that were well worth reading. There have been a handful of disappointments, books that failed either to live up to their potential or to earn their accumulated praise. But I've enjoyed none of them less than Startide Rising.

This is a comprehensively unsuccessful work. Brin's failure here is not merely one of imagination, though the post-Star Wars universe of the Uplift books is decide
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 4/5

Everything that was wrong with the series first, Sundiver, is still present here, albeit diminished. Everything that was good with the predecessor is still here in Startide Rising, albeit amplified.

There's still a problem with a) too much going on, b) too many far-future, new-fangled contraptions and abilities, c) cartoon-like creatures, and d) difficulty making all the components fit.

Some of the ideas here (many carried over from the fir
Tam G

Dolphiiiins iiiinnnnn Spaaaaaaaaace.

Really that's almost everything you need to know.

The Good: The visual of dolphins piloting starships and riding around with robotic tool-hands. Dolphin language like Haiku. A whole rigid universal hierarchy. Genetic manipulation. Intense complex world-building.

The No-so-good: Like all things we love the Good has a flip side which annoys us. Probably too long for what it is. Too many characters sometimes doing the same things. Little plots that seem to go
Should you read this book? Yes.

Do you need to read the first book in the Uplift Trilogy, Sundiver? No, but it's also dope and I think you probably should because Brin is a genius.

Does it have biologically uplifted dolphins as a majority of the main characters? Yes.

Did it win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards when it came out? Yes.

Did it deserve to? ABSOLUTELY!

Mankind's place in a cosmos is fascinating in the Uplift Trilogy. So if you're in for a great science fiction book chock-full of big ide
Buzz H.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, space-opera
This is David Brin's finest space opera, and I recommend it. I find Mr. Brin's writing uneven, novel to novel. Startide Rising, though, is excellent. ...more
Benjamin Thomas
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
If you’re looking for interesting, thought-provoking, hard science fiction, you could certainly do worse than this second novel in the “Uplift Trilogy”. Even though it is the second book in a trilogy, it takes place more than 200 years after the events of book one (Sundiver) and has no connected story threads or characters so can easily be read without having first read book one. In fact, I recommend doing just that as I believe this novel is a much better introduction to this future universe.

Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Valerie by: Leon Barrett
I am fascinated by the idea of aquatic pilots---I think that they would understand space differently because underneath is not a hard stop. All of the details about how a mixed aquatic and non-aquatic crew could live and function on the same ship were fascinating, I also really liked the communication difficulties.

I can't wait to read more books by Brin, this one gave me so much to think about.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Think this is my favourite David Brin. Certainly the first I read (after the Analog serialisation.)

Spaceships and dolphins. Who'da thought it? Better than SeaQuest DSV....
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
In its day, this book won the Nebula, the Locus, and the Hugo awards. It is a sequel to Sundiver, the second in a trilogy called the Uplift Saga. It was also the sophomore effort by author David Brin, and for me, it didn't quite measure up to either the previous book or its own awards.

The universe he created for this series is vast and populated by some really interesting species. This book shows Humankind as the local upstarts, primarily by focusing on one of our client races, the uplifted dolp
Another re-read, this time for powells sf book club. It was especially interesting to re-read this after reading some of my friends negative reviews.

A long time ago I made a list of 10 favorite books of all time in no particular order and this book was on it. It was eventually replaced by The Uplift War. I don't recall all the books that were on the list at the time but I know it included Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Dosadi Experiment, Tactic
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Initial bad prose and slow pace give way to a serviceable space operatic thriller. There's some irony in humanity being portrayed as having left racism behind when the author only mentions the skin colour of one human character. You guessed it - that person is black. This is subtle, unconscious and no doubt would mortify Brin if ever brought to his attention, but it illustrates that our biases are deep-rooted and often hard to identify in oneself. I say "human character" because there are a majo ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The Uplift Saga (6 books)
  • Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1)
  • The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3)
  • Brightness Reef (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #1)
  • Infinity's Shore (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #2)
  • Heaven's Reach (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #3)

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