Dirk Grobbelaar's Reviews > The Uplift War

The Uplift War by David Brin
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's review
Feb 04, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-own, science-fiction, hugo-award-winners
Read from September 21 to October 12, 2011

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!
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09/30/2011 page 176
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Shel This was my favorite of the Uplift books :)

message 2: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Thoughtful review. This was my favorite of the 1st three in the series (where I dropped out). My main interest had been in finding out what Humans on the Streaker found. I don't mind the author using a carrot on a long stick; I just don't like the stick being infinitely long.

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