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Sundiver (The Uplift Saga #1)

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  18,416 Ratings  ·  521 Reviews
No species has ever reached for the stars without the guidance of a patron--except perhaps mankind. Did some mysterious race begin the uplift of humanity aeons ago? Circling the sun, under the caverns of Mercury, Expedition Sundiver prepares for the most momentous voyage in history--a journey into the boiling inferno of the sun.


From the Paperback edition.
ebook, 368 pages
Published July 21st 2010 by Spectra (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30)
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Clouds

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
...more
Robert
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is science fiction from 1980 and is therefore not obsessed with:
1) Computers.
2) Nanotech.
3) Wormholes.

This makes it rather refreshing. Instead this book uses an old theme, prevalent in post-WWII American SF: Humans (read the USA) are superior to everybody else. In this example, humans are technologically outclassed by every other space-faring species in the galaxy but are superior because their intelligence evolved naturally instead of being the result of genetic manipulation by an older sp
...more
Maria
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2246. Într-o Galaxie în care prestigiul fiecărei specii inteligente este dat de numărul Protectorilor care i-au îndrumat evoluția și de cel al Protejaților săi, statutul umanității este destul de incert. Dar Biblioteca Galactică, păstrătoarea istoriei și cunoștințelor fiecărei civilizații cunoscute, nu conține nici o mențiune referitoare la originea omenirii ca specie, iar pământenii sunt divizați între susținătorii evoluției naturale independente (darwinismul) și adepții ideii unei dezvoltări i ...more
Mark
Jan 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy space opera sci-fi
Recommended to Mark by: Hugo Award nominee
I really disliked this book. This may have been due in part that I listened to the audible edition and I'm not a fan of George Wilson as a narrator.

The protagonist in this book, Jacob, is tedious and unbelievable. The author builds him up as a world-weary, zen, super scientist, martial-artist with a Mr. Hyde-like split personality that he needs keep in check.

Al the other characters in this book are diminutive to Jacob.

The women in the novel are little better than 2-dimensional window dressing.
...more
Jason
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
4 Stars

My first David Brin novel. I enjoyed this high concept science fiction novel. It is a fun adventure to the depths of our sun itself. Aliens, monsters, and ghosts fill the action scenes. All the while this is a novel filled with politics and racism.

I liked the unfolding of the mysteries of this book, it could have been a gem. The ending plays out in an almost anticlimactic way. It was a let down.

I will read more from him.
Claudia
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Mr. von Däniken must be very proud that his beliefs became the other evolutionary theory in this saga: Dänikenism versus Darwinism. You can almost glimpse the birth of Ancient Aliens ;)) Series I very much liked (well, some of the episodes, at least), which, unfortunately, I cannot say about this first part of the Uplift Saga.

The main character, Jacob Darwa, is a sort of Hercule Poirot in a galactic interracial plot. A team composed of humans and a few more races of aliens starts an expedition t
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Flint
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most recent SF I read is actually a bit dated, David Brin's "Sundiver". I picked it up because it got a lot of favorable mention in "Eclipse Phase" (a transhuman SF roleplaying game I play tested). It's setting has humanity uplifting some other earth species (chimps, dolphins, etc...) to human sentience... and then humanity encountering aliens which derive their intergalactic status on whether a species has uplifted other species (has "client" species). It has a big debate among humans whether t ...more
Tom
Really fantastic, sci-fi that makes you think. I liked the aliens and the general mystery plot, but it was the other world-building details that stood out for me:

- the technology behind the sun ships;
- the anachronistic idioms used by one character who, due to relativistic time differences involved in her line of work, is from a much older time period;
- the psychological/physical tests used to objectively decide that a certain proportion of humanity is too psychopathic/sociopathic to interact wi
...more
Will Caskey
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Uplift books are tied for my favorite sci-fi series with Asimov's original Foundation series. This is sci-fi at its very best. Brin goes through an astonishing number of fascinating ideas and concepts, but leaves them for the reader to peruse or discard. Want racial allegory? Sure. Prefer religion? Plenty of it. Political intrigue? It's there by the truckload.

When Brin goes into pretend-science he goes all in. One can almost sense his smirk going through this first book: that's right, this b
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
This was a recommendation from my husband, who read these books (The Uplift Saga) when he was younger and loved them. For a science fiction novel that was written and published before I was born, I have to say it has aged very well; this could have been written today. The technology and the science described is excellent, which was why my husband figured I would like this in the first place.

It was also an unexpected pleasure to discover as I was reading that Sundiver turned out to be a pretty de
...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Jacob Demwa does not want to be part of the Sundiver project. He is enjoying his current job on Earth at the Center for Uplift working with uplifted dolphins, testing their IQs and ability to work with mechanized tools. The dolphins are not as far along intellectually as the uplifted chimpanzees, but he enjoys their company nonetheless. But when the alien Fagin, a Kanten who is in charge of the Institute of Progress, asks him to join Dr. Dwayne Kepler of the Sundiver Expedition to research Mercu ...more
Nathan
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I'm always trepidatious when I return to a book I loved as a child. My friend Jon Orwant once confessed that he had avoided rereading "Godel, Escher, Bach" in case it wasn't as good through 2000s eyes as it was through 1980s eyes. For me, I remember curling up in bed and devouring Brin's Uplift Saga as a teen, and coming away with my mind blown. So you can imagine the hesitation I felt when I opened "Sundiver" on the iPad and started the first sentence.

Fortunately, it has barely suffered in the
...more
Adam
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Brin was one of the authors who inspired me to get my Ph. D. in Physics. His first book, 'Sundiver' is a very smartly-paced and -wriiten sci-fi mystery, with aliens that really are ALIEN, a very believable hero, and science that isn't 'skience' (science made to work for the world of the book). Plus, it's the first of one of the best sci-fi series ever, 'The Uplift Saga', where Man is an upstart infant race in a Galactic Society that has lasted literally BILLIONS of years. 'Mature' races 'U ...more
Sarah Anne
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, sci-fi
This book just could not keep my attention. I liked the parts I heard but it just didn't grab me. I even restarted twice. No luck.

The audio was thoroughly mediocre.
Benjamin Thomas
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book kicks off the “Uplift Saga” and I wanted to read it even though I had heard that it isn’t David Brin’s best stuff. Turns out it’s his first novel and based on the critical acclaim for the next two books in the series (Startide Rising and The Uplift War), I can only assume that his storytelling vastly improved. As for this one, while there is a story here that is of interest, and an epic concept, I think Mr. Brin lost sight of that story in order to utilize his own background in astroph ...more
Denis
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: do-not-own
A good beginning of an ambitious hard-scifi series (I wouldn't consider it "space opera", though it stumbles into that territory at times). This is Brin at the beginning of his career. It is more in the style of Hal Clement than that of A.C. Clarke. Many specific scientific conditions dictating events 'peopled' by a wide variety of intelligent alien beings and "uplifted" earth mammals.
Chloe
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
It's been well-nigh many years since I've cracked open some honest-to-goodness, unapologetic, extraterrestrial-filled science fiction. I thought I had outgrown space operas, frankly. Sure, my reading lists still feature plenty of futuristic and fantastic tales, but these are nearly all set on Earth and deal with various end-of-the-world dystopias. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good apocalypse. Still, when a friend clued me in to the premise of David Brin's Uplift series after watching Prome ...more
Tatiana
Aug 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
I've already bought all six books in this series, so I'm going to read them all. This first one, though, didn't thrill me much for a number of reasons. For one thing, it featured a superhero type protagonist and another superhero type for a love interest. I seem to prefer books in which it's ordinary people who do the things that turn out to be extraordinary, just by doing what they feel. It's also a mystery with a lot of plot twists, and those are not my favorite type of book.

The technology was
...more
Kevin
I got rid of all my David Brin novels because he was, I felt at the time, racist against aliens.
Bear with me here.
Aliens are always the villains in the Uplift novels. And the thing is, they're Big Bads, they're Snidely Whiplashes: evil maniacs out to destroy humanity. If it weren't for the cartoonishness of their villainy, I think the Uplift books would be classics. Merely having a couple of "good ones" doesn't suffice. Besides, this does a disservice to the human characters, who by default are
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K.T. Katzmann
It's been a while, but I remember this as a nice science fiction exploration story mixed with a mystery, as if Agatha Christie had put on of her many mansion murders inside the Sun. The real charms are the details on alien politics and the uplifted Earth animals, which Brin would realize was the main draws of the series (especially in The Uplift War. A good start to a better series.

One of the lines that stuck with me is how the humans worked hard to erase from history any records of the extinct
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This is the first book in the The Uplift War series. It took me a while to get into this book. The characters, particularly the protagonist and main point of view character, Jacob Demwa, are likeable. I liked his love interest, Helene De Silva, too. But I can't say Brin's characters strike me as complex or memorable. The style is readable, but hardly smooth. Brin is notably far too fond of the exclamation point among other clunkers.

Two things rather won me over though and made this novel stick
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Mitch Harden
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! I came to Brin via an essay he wrote about why Star Trek was better than Star Wars. In it, he reminded me of why I like sci-fi and explained why so much sci-fi isn't worth reading. You can check that out here: http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/featu...

From there I checked out his website and blog and read his short story "Lungfish." It blew my mind. Loved it! It was exactly the Sci-Fi I wanted and so his Uplift saga jumped to the top of my reading list.

Sundiver was brilliant!
...more
Dan
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard science fiction fans
This book is about a galactic civilization where only ones species has ever traveled to the stars without being "uplifted," or genetically engineered by another more advanced species. The one that wasn't uplifted were the progenitors, the first race to make it to the stars. The galaxy has an interesting political make up, as each race is valued on who uplifted them and how many races they have uplifted. And then there are the humans, who seem to have reached the stars without being uplifted. And ...more
Liutauras Elkimavičius
Kažkada Eridanas išleido šios serijos 3 knygą. Uplift karai tada mane visiškai nukalė. Dabar gi perskaičiau 1 serijos dalį. Labai gerai, nors ir ne taip įspūdinga kaip anksčiau skaityta. Vis dėl to labai įdomu stebėti pasaulio, kuriame žmonija kartu su beždžionėmis, delfinais ir šunim laikosi prieš priešiškai nusiteikusią, milijardus metų egzistuojančią, tarpgalaktinę civilizaciją. #Recom #LEBooks
Petru
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly a detective story in an strange new environment, only the ending taking a glimpse at the complexity of the galactic politics; also, the features describing a schizophrenic personality are not that well executed (Bujold's Mirror Dance far surpasses this attempt)
Ben Babcock
First read October 17, 2008. (No review)

Second reading review, April 23, 2010.

There are as many origin theories as there are people to think about the origins of humanity. Like most reviews, I can't help but praise David Brin's Uplift concept. On one hand, the von Daniken-like idea of having a "patron" species that shepherded humanity toward sentience is comforting and resonates with our need to have concrete origins and a sense of belonging in a larger community. On the other hand, the Darwinia
...more
Kat Robinson
Removing stars because of shitty female characters... I've seen plain paper with better characterization than this

People will be like "OH SILLY ANGRY FEMINIST" and whatever. I like books I can relate to. And part of that is realistic female characters.

Not to say I can't relate to male characters, 90% of the books I own have male characters. It's just nice to read about women every now and then. I can imagine men would not be able to stop whining if all of a sudden every single male fantasy/sci
...more
Martin L. Cahn
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I suspect I should hold off reviewing in order to do so in context of its sequels. Despite that, there are two things I would like to go ahead and note.

1) Despite being set in the future, I will agree with some others that there is something "dated" about the book. Perhaps it's just the rather simplistic drawing of the Sundiver's layout that just looks so 1970s to me (the book was published in 1980). However, there's also an anti-establishment feel to the story that I
...more
Jamie
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its a weird feeling starting a series of books fully expecting the first one to be mediocre.
I wanted to be blown away but found myself agreeing with the general consensus.
The novel lacks focus, one moment its a murder mystery, the next its pure space adventure.
I cant criticise David Brin too much for the Uplift idea, these are the backbone and best parts of the book, intriguing and thought-provoking enough for me to read the rest of the trilogy.
2 Stars for the pacing, flow and writing style.
4 st
...more
Miloș Dumbraci
pur si simplu nu a reușit să mă captiveze deloc.
Personajele sunt de desene animate, povestea ne-pasionantă, scriitura anchilozată (sau poate traducerea), aparatura low-tech foarte slab imaginată (pe o navă din soare se vorbește la telefon ridicând receptorul, bibiloteca e pe hârtie... da, în nava spațială etc.).
Reușite sunt doar ideea de bază (da, originală) și partea de hard-tech, să zic așa (nava în sine, de ex.).
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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
...more
More about David Brin...

Other Books in the Series

The Uplift Saga (8 books)
  • Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2)
  • The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3)
  • Tomorrow Happens
  • Brightness Reef (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #1)
  • Infinity's Shore (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #2)
  • Heaven's Reach (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #3)
  • Aficionado

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