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1. Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, Book
2. Earth
3. Heaven's Reach (The Second Uplift
4. Infinity's Shore (The Uplift Trilogy,
5. Brightness Reef (The Uplift Trilogy,
6. Contacting Aliens: An Illustrated
7. Kiln People (The Kiln Books)
8. The Postman (Bantam Classics)
9. Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga,
10. River of Time
11. Glory Season
12. The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga,
13. Before They Were Giants: First
14. Otherness
15. Startide Rising: David Brin Easton
16. The Practice Effect
17. Earthclan: The Uplift War / Startide
18. Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction
19. The Life Eaters
20. Earth

1. Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, Book 1)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (1985-01-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553269828
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
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. Reissue. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (67)

3-0 out of 5 stars slow start to a great series
This book introduces many of the concepts of the uplift universe, such as the fascinating idea that advanced species take on more primitive ones in order to prepare them for autonomy, like of a time-limited colonialism.There is also the galactic encyclopedia, a kind of plan and technological resource base that all species use.Earthlings, in this scheme, are "wolflings", refusing an uplift boss and also discovering their own way that does not depend on obeying the encyclopedia.But there are other problems with this order - decadence, lack of honesty in species seeking their own self interest over individuals, etc. - as the plot brings out.

Unfortunately, unlike many of Brin's other efforts, the story is somewhat plodding, basically a sci-fi mystery.The characters were not that engaging or believable and the feeling of it was, well, static.Now this is personal:it just wasn't to my taste.

Recommended tepidly, to read only if you want to tease out the details of the uplift universe. But it barely stands on its own and is not necessary to understand the uplift universe.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

3-0 out of 5 stars Read it to get aquainted with the Uplift Universe. Buy it? That's your call.
Maybe I give Sundiver short-shrift by rating it at three stars.It is well worth reading, particularly insofar as it enhances your appreciation of Startide Rising (my favorite of the Uplift trilogy) and the Uplift War (my second favorite).

Yes, that makes Sundiver my least favorite of the first Uplift trilogy.Owing perhaps to the novelty of the concept, there isn't a lot going on here, though the implications of the world and the story are... provocative.Also, the fact that the next two novels center on a major event and the crisis that results directly from it make them cohere better and probably disadvantages Sundiver in my estimation.

What's it like?Well, David Brin's Uplift universe is teeming with intelligent life.It also teems with webs of political intrigue which aren't greatly exposed in THIS book, though they are satisfying elements of the next two novels.

The intelligent races of Brin's universe actively seek out and adopt promising races, bringing them rapidly to starfaring intelligence via genetic manipulation and artificial selection, for status and power.There is galaxy-wide orthodoxy on the process of Uplift, as it is known.

There is also the Library, an institution which makes knowledge available for fledgling races, wields subtle political power, and maintains neutrality in all conflicts.It's like a combination of Asimov's Foundation, Switzerland, and the Medieval Catholic Church.

On those implications; I'm not sure if it's intentional, but the political dichotomy of Shirts and Skins was uncomfortably similar to the Intelligent Design "controversy".There are shades of Intelligent Design in the process of Uplift itself; the central question about the human race is whether they evolved naturally or were Uplifted by some race which shamefully, criminally abandoned their charges.Also, there are plot events in Sundiver that hinge on psychological ideas which I found rather shaky, in that pulp-era, L. Ron Hubbard-esque "New Science of the Mind" kind of way.

However, this IS a book filled with humanoid aliens accompanying human astronauts on a mission to search for life on the Sun.To paraphrase the MST3k mantra, I should repeat to myself, "It's just a book; I should really just relax."

I can't recommend outright that you should buy it, but you SHOULD read it.And unless the whole universe utterly repulses you, you should buy Startide Rising, in which the stylistic and narrative components in Sundiver are both improved and added to.

4-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I loved this book for its originality. I liked the characters, and the relationships between humans and ETs. I do think that this book rates a good edit and some consistency help. A glossary wouldn't hurt much either, which the publisher has put in Startide Rising. For those who say you don't need to read this first, I agree, but I think you'll better off if you do. The uplift concept is conveniently explained here, where it isn't in SR. Even when the dialog is at its tackiest (and for SF, it's low in tacky dialog), there is a legitimate reason for it...at least I think so. A fun read. If you're looking for hard SF, you might be disappointed. For a mystery, it's right up there with Scooby Doo. For adventure and interesting relationships with other life forms, this is awesome.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre writing and long, boring story
I tried to give this book a chance, really I did, because of all the good things I had read about the Uplift War series, but the interminable internal monologues, pointless philosophizing, Star Trek-style menagerie of aliens, and unsympathetic characters put me off for good. Too bad, I had hoped for some excellent sci-fi, but this isn't it. Maybe the rest of the series is gold, but this is a poorly-written and incredibly dull novel that took me months to finish. Not recommended. ... Read more

2. Earth
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 704 Pages (1991-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055329024X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The long-awaited new novel by the award-winning, bestselling author of Startide Rising and The Uplift War--an epic novel set fifty years from tomorrow, a carefully-reasoned, scientifically faithful tale of the fate of our world. "One hell of a novel . . . has what sci-fi readers want these days; intelligence, action, and an epic scale".--Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Line drawings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars And I thought I didn't like sci-fi
I'm generally not a sci-fi reader but this book was recommended by a friend; it's fabulous - so close to what I think is the truth of the future. Give it a try - it's wonderful.

3-0 out of 5 stars the Kindle version is wretched
I'm sad to be rating this so low. The book is quite good, but the Kindle version of it is an example of lazy publishing. I am in a book group and was the only one with the electronic version. Therefore, it was very easy for me to verify that the Kindle version is riddled full of typos while the print versions are not. On top of that, the publisher DIDN'T INCLUDE A TABLE OF CONTENTS. It makes jumping between sections incredibly difficult. There is no excuse for the lack of effort that went into setting this book up for the Kindle, interestingly, a device that the book itself seems to predict.

Read the book, but know ahead of time that if you choose the Kindle version, it is flawed.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Disaster of a Novel
EARTH is so bad it's hard to know where to begin.I won't penalize the author for being so far off in his predictions of the future (the UN has lowered its estimates on global population yet again to something around 7.5 billion in 2040).The Gaia religious movement turned out to be as dangerous and dogmatic as any fundamentalist and it made no sense why such a silly force should rise anywhere outside a few places in Europe.

I found the book too sprawling, too wordy (at least 25% too long), too preachy and way too disjointed.Individual plotlines do eventually found the loop back but it's a trial for the reader.And what in the world was that miniscule manuscript used throughout the book? I thought for the longest that I was trapped in an epidemic of typos. The use of quotes, news stories and readings from fictional books was at first mildly interesting but then became annoying and finally, boring and intrusive.

Brin obviously wanted this to be the BIG ONE and took some chances - drawings, tables, mixed fonts, new religion, epilogue as explanation - but it was a case of attempting too much.The Gaian and "scientific" plotlines kept butting heads and finally the moorings broke loose completely when the web/Gaia/visitors attained consciousness (?)Good premise, bad execution.The best part is the epilogue.My Grade - C-

5-0 out of 5 stars Some of the best science fiction writing I've read
Not much to add, just that the book is well written, with good characterization, solid science, plausible speculation and a good plot.Enjoy this look at Earth in the future.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disjointed, tedious and boring.
This book became too tedious after about 100 pages.Although some concepts in this book are interesting, the writing style is all about lots of parallel plot lines, interspersed with disjointed "news" and "net" clips. It's very predictable and became boring quickly. ... Read more

3. Heaven's Reach (The Second Uplift Trilogy #3)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 576 Pages (1999-05-11)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574736
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards, David Brin brings his bestselling Uplift series to a magnificent conclusion with his most imaginative and powerful novel to date--the shattering epic of a universe poised on the brink of revelation...or annihilation.

The brutal enemy that has relentlessly pursued them for centuries has arrived. Now the fugitive settlers of Jijo--both human and alien--brace for a final confrontation. The Jijoans' only hope is the Earthship Streaker, crewed by uplifted dolphins and commanded by an untested human.

Yet more than just the fate of Jijo hangs in the balance. For Streaker carries a cargo of ancient artifacts that may unlock the secret of those who first brought intelligent life to the Galaxies. Many believe a dire prophecy has come to pass: an age of terrifying changes that could end Galactic civilization.

As dozens of white dwarf stars stand ready to explode, the survival of sentient life in the universe rests on the most improbable dream of all--that age-old antagonists of different races can at last recognize the unity of all consciousness.Amazon.com Review
Heaven's Reach is the final volume of the Uplift trilogy, whichbegins in Brightness Reef and continues inInfinity's Shore.It chronicles the adventures of ahandful of primitives from the planet Jijo who have left or been taken fromtheir homes only to be swept into the intrigues of galactic politics. Thenovel also continues the story of the fugitive Earth starshipStreaker, pursued across the galaxy for its precious cargo ofancient artifacts. Just when it looks like things can't get worse forStreaker, the foretold Time of Changes rocks the galaxy. Devastating "space quakes" shake every planet and star, and some of theparticularly unscrupulous alien races attempt to use the disaster tofurther their bizarre goals. There's danger and excitement on almost everypage (in contrast to much of the first two books in the series) and Brinfinally delivers on many of the mysteries of the Five Galaxies. TheProgenitors, the Hydrogen Breathers, Streaker's cargo--these andmore are explained at last. Or are they? Each seemingly ultimate truthtends to dissolve a chapter later, revealing a new and more complex truth. New adventures and mysteries await. --Brooks Peck ... Read more

Customer Reviews (94)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Downside of The Uplift Wars
David Brin is a fine writer with a wonderfully creative mind for science-fiction, but he dropped the ball with HEAVEN'S REACH. The novel feels rushed, and the good foundation he built for it in the first two novels of the Uplift trilogy are flawed by this. Some plot lines are left dangling, either dropped or simply incomplete. Endings aredifficult for some writers. Stephen King had this problem with THE STAND and IT, for instance. The result is that otherwise good novels end with a clunk. Nevertheless, HEAVEN'S REACH is worth a read for the ideas it has and the promise of more novels about The Uplift Wars.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

5-0 out of 5 stars Galaxies as punctuation marks
I consider myself someone who has a halfway decent imagination.So with that in mind I have to say I'm highly impressed with the scope of Brin's imagination, which is somewhere approaching ridiculous.Nearly every page bristles with new concepts that seem backed by something resembling science, giving it a strange plausibility that at least indicates he spent some time thinking this through instead of just making it all up as he went along and giving everything cool names.

How about that story though?

For those of us who have been following the Uplift Saga over the course of however many years, this book in a lot of ways represents a culmination of all the mysteries that Brin has been putting forward, not the least of which is the fate of the starship Streaker, fleeing for their lives across galaxies.This is the book where we finally figure out what the heck is going on and why their discovery has everyone all up in arms.

For all its spikiness, the plot for this book is probably the most straightforward.With the focus more or less purely on the Streaker, it streamlines things considerably.While the first book was all over the place in terms of plot, here we shift between maybe three locations, the Streaker, the Jophur ship, and a chimp's adventures in E-space (which would be a pretty fantastic name for a novel on its own), all of which are basically connected.The situation remains the same, Streaker is still on the run due to the nature of their Big Mysterious Discovery while the rest of the galaxy starts bracing itself as signs start pointing to bad things happening.

Which is where the idea overload starts in.I'm not sure if Brin talked about other orders of life in the previous books, but here he starts introducing them en masse and with the weight of it all the book starts to crumple under its own weight.The initial glimpse of the Hydrogen based aliens are cool but as we see more of them they kind of become less cool and eventually things start getting cosmic in a way that Olaf Stapleton might have been proud of, with talk of transcendescence and former galaxies and your brain starts to hurt after a while.And unfortunately in the midst of all the wonderful science, the plot starts to fall by the wayside and become less plot than the book starting to coast on ideas.

This would be fine if it didn't do so at the expense of the breakneck pace that had already been established.Characters start becoming collections of quirks repeating catchphrases.If one wished to make a drinking game out of the times that Gillian wishes that Tom Orly were still around, one would die of alcohol poisoning after only a few chapters.The once large Streaker crew has been cut down (and one of them can't talk) and instead of getting an idea of the sheer scope of things, we're told stuff by people who saw it instead of us.

That said, the mysteries aren't even fully explained, although that's not totally a point off because I'm not adverse to making up theories on my own.But there are loose ends and while the book is by no means a failure, it winds up being not so much a grand finale as a grand finally.That's not a bad thing, lesser writers would kill to even have one-tenth of Brin's imagination and if he hadn't made us care prior to this we never would have made it this far.You should definitely read it if you made it this far because the revelations are fascinating but if you're looking for a huge epic show-stopping conclusion, well, this may not be it but it's still pretty fine.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Uplift Novels!
I've now read all the Uplift novels of David Brin, and while all are extremely good, when I read and enjoyed the third book, THE UPLIFT WAR, I was somewhat disappointed that it did not follow the adventures of the dolphin-human earth-ship Streaker at all, pushing it into the hearsay background.Never mind, it's well worth reading.

Fortunately Brin has picked up on Streaker and its crew's battered plight in the final three novels, BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY'S SHORE, and HEAVEN'S REACH. These three books should be considered one very long novel, developing incidents and characters throughout all of them without a break and ending with the same suddenness as my favorite novel of all time, also a very long one, Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE.I remember the first time I finished WAR AND PEACE I shouted, "Don't stop now!What happens to Pierre and Natasha? To all the other hundred characters I've come to know as well as my own friends and kin?"

Later I realized that in vast, well-written, beautifully characterized novels like WAR AND PEACE and THE UPLIFT TROLOGY, such an ending--which might seem hurried and abrupt--only enhances the realism.The final book in Rowling's Harry Potter saga tried for the same effect but didn't make it, because Rowling gave us a final chapter in the future of her main characters.Better to have left it uncertain and tantalizing, make us daydream and guess, as we must wonder about our own destinies, and as lovers who are parted have always asked themselves, "What's Tom doing now?"--living in faint hope while never really knowing.Tragedy and separation are part of life. So is duty, which Brin respects.And so is sentient intelligence. Brin makes his characters think rationally and follow their logic to heroic defeat or unlikely success. (As Kutuzov does in WAR AND PEACE.)

In the final three novels the deepening of my understanding of earlier protagonists like Gillian, and getting to know barely mentioned persons like Emerson and "Lucky" Kaa, who become important and real, was marvelously handled. I loved the new characters introduced in each book of the Trilogy--humans like Sara and Lark, the NeoChimp Harry, others like Alvin, Huck and Asx--following them as they dare, change, suffer and finally triumph was a joy. Those who died made me mourn. Even the briefly appearing ones, the Skiano, the Synthian and others, become important because they are so well characterized. The ever-changing chapter viewpoints enhance all the Uplift novels.

Some have said that HEAVEN'S REACH is space opera.If that means "epic" indeed it is, unashamedly, as long as the entire Trilogy is considered as one work.WAR AND PEACE has been recreated into a fine staged opera!Is there a composer out there?

5-0 out of 5 stars Not all the answers? Life is like that.
I actually wrote to the author after finishing this book and asked "hey, how come you didn't tie up all the loose ends...and tell us what happened to of the charactors?".The reply I got back was facinating (and to me, satisfying).He basically said that the story arch was more important than the fate of the individual charactors and that in a story spread out over the Five Galaxies one might not expect to find out the fates of all charactors.

This reminded me a bit of the Babylon-5 episode where the Vorlons bring back Jack The Ripper to test Delen...'would you save the world even if the world never knew that you had saved it'? or words to that effect.

There is something heroic in our main charactors being lost...even as the story concludes. ... Read more

4. Infinity's Shore (The Uplift Trilogy, Book 2)
by David Brin
 Mass Market Paperback: 688 Pages (1997-11-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553577778
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Continuing the story begun in "Brightness Reef", Brin returns to the planet Jijo where six bands of sapient beings, formerly deadly enemies, now coexist. But when their alliance is tested, venerable laws topple. Now many feel free to plunder, or carry out grudges--including genocide for one of Jijo's races and possibly death for all. Ads in "Locus". Online promo (http: //www.bantam.com/spectra)Amazon.com Review
This second volume in David Brin's new Uplift trilogy is anepic tale that artfully combines dozens of unique characters and theirindividual stories. The planet Jijo, which has been settled by sixseparate races despite a decree that it remain barren for a millionyears, is about to change. The exploration ship Streaker, on the runsince discovering the secrets of a two-billion-year-old derelictfleet, has arrived with virtually the entire universe in pursuit.Overnight the peaceful, technologically backwards Jijoan society eruptsinto civil war, creating a chaotic tapestry of grief, sorrow, joy,love and, ultimately, hope. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (50)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

3-0 out of 5 stars Page turner but in the wrong sense
This book is part of a highly entertaining series. BUT, I found that tens of pages could be skipped without loss of plot thread. Moreover, the character development of 80% of the characters was too slight to warrant further attention. Nonetheless, those of us who slogged through the rest of the series would want to read this and the last 50 pages are gripping. Of course, those last pages end as a cliffhanger so that you will buy the next book.

Yet another instance of a series which would be much more memorable in 1/3 the total page count.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wide-screen action that only evolution can bring you!
I liked "Brightness Reef", much like I enjoy almost any other David Brin book.And maybe because it suffers from being the first book in a trilogy and thus has to get a lot of balls rolling but "Infinity's Shores" beats it on almost every level.Part of my problem with the first part was a slight lack of focus, as Brin took us all over the world and threw us into every plot like they were all of equal merit.Problem was, they might have been but separated as they were, it wasn't immediately apparent and so as a reader you spent most of the time shooting from plot to plot wondering where the heck this was all going.

This book rectifies pretty much all of that by doing the one thing that Brin needed to do: bring the Streaker back into the plot.Finally!Long time readers (and people who are trying to get up to speed) will remember the Streaker crew discovering something it probably shouldn't have found and proceeding to get chased by everyone in sight.At which point they got relegated to a subplot.

Here, they come back into the fray by having it turn out that they're latest hiding spot is Jijo.Having them show up does the magic trick of making all the other plots snap to attention and bring a central focus to the story, even for the stuff that appears to be lurking at the periphery.Where before the tale felt more like a "Let me show you all the details of this society I made up from scratch and imagination", now it gains a bit of direction, as things start to happen and happen quickly (well as quickly as a six hundred page book allows).

The second element that raises this book far above its predecessor: the Jophur.The last book seemed to imply that the Rann were going to be our villains, until Brin pulls a bit of slight of hand and brings them in.Turns out they are a much better choice, gloriously snotty and insanely clever, they provide the book with a menace that is canny enough to push everyone to the limit and make you think they might actually win.Plus, the one alien is just lots of fun.He shouts all the time!Even when he doesn't have to!

But being amongst the Streaker crew is like revisiting old friends after a long, long time . . . it's good to see them but at the same time, it's clear they've changed quite a bit.As other people have commented, clearly a lot of stuff has happened between their last appearance and this novel.For me, it wasn't so terrible because I read the first trilogy years and years ago, so I can't tell which is stuff I'm supposed to have experienced firsthand or it's just cool anecdotes that Brin dropped in.But judging by some of it, Brin has a whole other adventure novel hidden in those events that he doesn't share the full details on.

Still, leaving the audience wanting more is never a bad thing.The constant motion of the plot helps matters greatly, even some of the residual "This is important again why?" still lingers from the first book.It seems to end on a bit of a ridiculous cliffhanger, which is more annoying then than it is now, but still finishes things on an odd note.And on a purely petty note, thanks for including the glossary at the end of this book, when I could have used it much earlier.By now, I've figured out who everyone is, thanks very much.

If there weren't so many characters and alien races and setup, I'd recommend starting here first and just finding a summary of what happened in the first part.But one does need the other, and in order to get here, you have to go through there first.But for anyone thinking the first book was merely okay, let me entice you with these words: it gets better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brin Does It With Ease
This is the 2nd reading of this series for me, the first being nearly 20 yrs. ago.I returned to the UPLIFT SAGA's, now in my 50's, only to read them in succession this time, all in a span of less than a month.My summer reading list was finished by mid July.The first time I read Brin, I felt I needed a degree in astrophysics.Not much has change that opinion since, however Brin does it with ease.He makes it easy for you to enter his universe & partake of the stories. To the point of wishing they went on for even more books.I'd be perfectly happy with this universe. His science faction approach gives me hope for the future of mankind. He is the ONE author I'd truly love to meet in person, although don't have a clue what I'd say to him.I certainly would be at a loss for intelligent conversation. I could listen to him for hours on end. He unlocked thoughts I have had all my life, yet never have been able to express. He coalesces my mind through his reading, to form educated opinions, question what needs questioning & creates a sense of satisfaction.Infinity's Shore tied together many aspects of the story I had previously left disconnected before reading it. I was so anxious to continue reading I immediately purchased HEAVEN's REACH. I haven't been left with such joy reading his books since I was a child. The satisfaction I gained when finished serves to his credit & deserving of all the awards he's received. The world of Jijo is now a place I would love to visit & live. His mix of species serves as a model for us today. His characters come to life in a way no other author has made me feel ever.His mystery writing is unique, yet ads to the overall story.He combines many theories, styles & characters in a way you simply cannot put down. I found myself lost for hours on planet Jijo, & his universe in general. Would that mankind lived in such a universe. Perhaps we do? We can hope.Brin is not an easy author to read at times.The first time I read them I felt heady & confused.I thought I needed a degree in astrophysics. Now I feel that's part of their charm. The challenge I get reading him now, serves only to his credit, as I feel way smarter now that I have finished them. I also feel more complete, knowing things about the universe I hadn't known prior. For the FIRST time in my life I'd want to live parts of my own life over again........this timebeing an astrophysicist myself.No other author has ever made me feel this way. Although I'd probably be like RETY, the hick gurl from the outback with no knowlege of anything. Her quest to leave Jijo hit very close to home.Now more than ever I wish to leave planet earth & travel the stars. I would love more, continued stories in this universe of his.
John Warner,Clinical Research Nurse
Silver Spring, MD

4-0 out of 5 stars I know, you can't get enough of the Uplift series and...
...I couldn't either, but the second series creates more questions than it answers.Infinity's Shore offers as much filler as it does substance but despite that it is still some of the better science fiction you will read.Brin's imagination is worth the price of admission by itself.I get the feeling that the second Uplift series is more about setting up a third series, that I very much look forward to. ... Read more

5. Brightness Reef (The Uplift Trilogy, Book 1)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 688 Pages (1996-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553573306
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
David Brin's Uplift novels--Sundiver, Hugo award winner The Uplift War, and Hugo and Nebula winner Startide Rising--are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction tales ever written.Now David Brin returns to this future universe for a new Uplift trilogy, packed with adventure, passion and wit.

The planet Jijo is forbidden to settlers, its ecology protected by guardians of the Five Galaxies.But over the centuries it has been resettled, populated by refugees of six intelligent races.Together they have woven a new society in the wilderness, drawn together by their fear of Judgment Day, when the Five Galaxies will discover their illegal colony.Then a strange starship arrives on Jijo.Does it bring the long-dreaded judgment, or worse--a band of criminals willing to destroy the six races of Jijo in order to cover their own crimes?

Amazon.com Review
Millennia ago the Five Galaxies decreed the planet Jijo offlimits.But in the last thousand years six races have begunresettling Jijo, embracing a pre-industrial life to hide theirexistence from the Galactics.Overcoming their differences, the Sixhave built a society based on mutual tolerance for one another andrespect for the planet they live on. But that has all changed with anevent the Six have feared for hundreds of years: the arrival of anoutside ship.Author David Brin has returned to his popular Upliftuniverse in this, the first book of a new trilogy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (84)

1-0 out of 5 stars Turned me off reading
I was loving my new Kindle for reading but this book is absolutely the slowest thing ever. I have been trying to read this book on and off for over 2 months and I just cannot get into it, no matter how many pages I turn. Unfortunately, I bought the next 2 books in the series as well so I'm stuck with it. Save yourself some money and READ SOME PLOT SPOILERS ON WIKIPEDIA if you want to get into the sequels.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

4-0 out of 5 stars Many Many Typos in Kindle Edition
The Uplift books are great - on paper. The Kindle Editions have a shameful number of typos. I suspect they were turned into Kindle editions with OCR and nobody even looked at them before they were posted for sale. Brightness Reef is particularly bad, with typos on every page. Some of the sentences are so battered that a person who never read the paper copies would have trouble figuring out what they said. Also - No table of contents! Ridiculous.

1-0 out of 5 stars Adding Injury to Insult
**** If this review were "published" by Specta it would read like this:****

First, to be clear, this his a review of the Kindle Edition published by Spectra.It hurts me to write this rearview because the author and this navel do not deserve a one out of five stares.The publisher, Spectra, on the other hend has committed @ fraud on the consumers and has insulated the author.

**** Enough!****

David Brin's ability to invoke an enticing and immersive cast and plot is well known.What the publisher has done is pass off a "digital" copy that looks like it was published by scanning the novel and then using circa 2000 OCR software (my apologies to the software companies, they don't deserve the comparison) to create this "digital" version.

I am not a grammarian, and I'm writing this review in Word so it's spell checked, and yet with all my shortcomings in this area I STILL find the errors disrupting to the flow of the novel and for the first time since Nov '07 find myself regretting getting a book on my Kindle.

Brin's Uplift universe is one of my all-time favorites and with the exception of Sundiver, I have purchased each novel as they were published.When I saw there was going to be a Kindle edition I was thrilled to bring the series into my digital library. Now I find myself wondering what the last two books in the series will look like.....

5-0 out of 5 stars These are the times we live in perplexing harmony
Quite some time ago, David Brin wrote a neat series of books involving his fictional galaxy(ies), putting into play a number of interesting alien races and a plausible future history that managed to be both compelling and realistic and mythical.In those books we learned that races, in order to be become sentinent, have to be sponsored and uplifted by another race and in doing so are ready to join the larger galactic community.Of course, plucky humans come along and spoil it by essentially jumping the chain and becoming uplifted without the proper channels, barging right into everything as they so often do.

The first series of Uplift novels (comprising "Sundiver", "Startide Rising" and "The Uplift War") were linked themetically but didn't really form a single plotline, in fact at the time I read them I remember being very annoyed that the intriguing thread involving the ship and crew from "Startide Rising" basically discovering something they shouldn't have and making a break for it wasn't picked up in "The Uplift War" except for very tangentially (ie they're still running for it at the end).Time passed, both between Brin writing new books and me getting around to reading them.So here we are, at the start of the new trilogy.

My advice: brush up.Seriously.

I read the first series probably when I was in college, which is not in the Dark Ages but probably a good seven or eight years ago, at best.But a good background in what's gone before will probably help you a great deal here.Not at first becausre the initial setup is that a handful of races have been living on isolated/off-limits planet Jijo for a number of years, in secret.Everything has been going pretty swell, until the rest of the galaxy figures it out and decides to show up.Things quickly become very complicated as the colonists have to figure out whether the newcomers are there to punish or study them while the new arrivals find there are bigger issues to worry about.Oh, and did I fail to mention that there's like ten alien races all with different mannerisms and points of view all sprinkled throughout the novel?

The fact that Brin makes this work at all speaks to how underrated a writer he is.He switches points of view often, going from race to race and manages the neat trick of being able to convey a character as alien while still allowing you to relate to them.Often you'll forget that someone isn't human until they mention they have gills or something.With the constant shifting of events you tend to get a crosssection, which means you have to pay attention to piece things together as most of the time nobody sticks around to explain recent plot developments.His prose is also surprisingly sharp for a guy with a doctorate in science, although he has been writing for some time now.

The biggest mark against this book is that it's very hard to keep all the races straight without some kind of checklist and there are so many factions and areas on the planet that things can get confusing as to who belongs to what even before the spaceship shows up.This at times can make it difficult to figure out who is fighting over what and what kind of stake anyone has in anything.This can probably be alleviated by not taking two months to read the book like I did (hey, I was busy) and by reading the original series right before it so that things have some more context.Thus, while events are constantly happening and it's really never less than interesting, it's not exactly emotionally compelling at times.

Also, and you probably figured this out but it's the first book of a trilogy, which more specifically means it's the first third of a very long novel.You don't really get a proper ending so much as "Hey, it's over!" and if that kind of thing bothers you, then you may want to reserve time and read them all straight through.

Which is good advice in general, especially when coupled with the first trilogy.Reading all four together is probably an excellent SF reading experience, as Brin's imagination and mastery over the plot is pretty keen.But coming years off the series and taking a while to read this, there were a few "Why do I care about this?" moments.Your mileage will probably vary but full disclosure and all that.

But all around decent, although it would be nice if he finally resolved the Streaker plot.Please? ... Read more

6. Contacting Aliens: An Illustrated Guide to David Brin's Uplift Universe
by David Brin, Kevin Lenagh
Paperback: 208 Pages (2002-06-25)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553377965
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The award-winning Uplift novels comprise one of the greatest achievements in science fiction history. Dramatic, thought-provoking, and inventive, these books describe a fully realized world rich in character, detail, and ideas. Now Uplift author David Brin collaborates with acclaimed artist Kevin Lenagh to compile the definitive guide to the species, societies, and technology of one of the greatest feats of literary world-building
ever accomplished.


Here in the form of a handbook for Terran field agents is a detailed look at Uplift’s many alien races--from the friendly Tymbrimi to the warlike Tandu, from the wise and enigmatic Kanten to the fiercely reptilian Soro, from the bureaucratic Hoon to the manipulative Thennanin--their physiology, psychology, history; their clans and alliances; and their shifting attitudes toward Earth and its representatives.

Here, too, is a history of Earth’s contact and challenging interactions with the mysterious and powerful Civilization of Five Galaxies, a look at its institutions, languages, and customs, plus a time line of momentous events going back 3 billion years. For the millions of fans of the Uplift novels, this long-awaited guide will be an essential reference work, filled with vital information and never-before-seen illustrations that reveal, for the first time in one volume, the keys to the ambitious vision and bold speculation of the Uplift universe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A whole different twist
Not at all what I expected, all pen and ink, black and white but a different twist than I expected many of the races to look like.A must see for Brin fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where was this?!?
This was an excellent book.Simple drawings, without colour, but very necessary.It would have made a world of difference to have this available when reading the rest of the Uplift series, especially Startide Rising and Brightness Reef.Brin simply has so many characters in this series, and so many species, you need a manual to follow it all.Add to this he has an extraordinary imagination, so his species aren't always the run of the mill StarTrek bipedal humanoids, but have very strange biologies.It helps to have an extended description, pictures, and a history on each one.Reading the Illustrated Guide I was finally able to fully understand many of the interactions in the other books of the Uplift Series.

But beyond it's shear necessity, this book is valuable in it's own right for the peculiar species presented.Brin presents the book as if it was written for the CIA of the 24th century, giving them all the important basic details on major species in the Five Galaxies.Again, his imagination is amazing, and it stays within a internally coherent scientific framework.Brin shows what different species would be like depending on their particular environments.He never gives anything away from any of the six books of the Uplift series, but rather simply vaguely alludes to major events that might pertain to particular species.This is a necessary addition for every Uplift library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it claims to be
This book is exactly what it claims to be. It is an excellent reference book laid out in an easy to read and intellectually pleasing format. It does contain a few minor inconsistincies but you can figure them out for yourself. If you play a game such as GURPS Uplift, this is an invaluable resource. Just one warning: this book does have a few spoilers in it so you might want to read the Uplift series first.

4-0 out of 5 stars fun stuff
I loove the Uplift universe (really galaxies, not the entire universe, but whatever). This is an excellent guide book to the series, fleshing out previously-introduced races and providing new information on others. However, DO NOT read this book until you have read Startide Rising, The Uplift War, and Sundiver. Contacting Aliens contains spoilers to the conclusions of those books.
One thing, I hope a second edition of this comes out, because there are a few little errors/contradictions in it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amusing and Impudent
If you're like me and sometimes you have trouble keeping track of which species is which in David Brin's Uplift Saga, then this book will prove to be a valuable resource. All of the major players are listed (including those so prominently featured in the "Heaven's Reach" trilogy), along with their patrons and clients, which is very helpful in sorting out the various allegiances and alliances. Most of the entries are quite short, just giving a brief description of the physical appearances of the races, how they were uplifted and what unique gifts were cultivated, and their role or fate in galactic society. Many patrons that have retired or are being urged in that direction by their juniors are included here, along with some races that are now extinct.

The artwork is not phenomenal like you might get from, say, Jim Burns or some of today's prominent artists from graphic novels, but it's got a sly and impudent sense of humor in my opinion. This fits well with the overall tone of the book, which purports to be a field guide for agents of the Terran Clan, i.e. good ol' Mother Earth. So the text often offers up tips on which races are friendly to humans, which want to destroy us, and which are indifferent, and provides hints on how to deal with some of these. (Of a particularly violent and prosletyzing race of religious zealots, the book notes that an agent's only two options are to flee or "to convert [them] to some less noxious creed".)

Also, there are some interesting "real world" web resources listed at the back of the book.

As a general refesher for the fan of Brin's work, this works well, but it's not likely to succeed in attracting new readers to the saga. Really, it's a solid supplement to the accumulated material of the novels and can be of some use, but it's not critical to own. ... Read more

7. Kiln People (The Kiln Books)
by David Brin
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2002-01-12)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$8.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000DK4HM
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In a perilous future where disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every legal and illicit whim of their decadent masters, life is cheap. No one knows that better than Albert Morris, a brash investigator with a knack for trouble, who has sent his own duplicates into deadly peril more times than he cares to remember.\

But when Morris takes on a ring of bootleggers making illegal copies of a famous actress, he stumbles upon a secret so explosive it has incited open warfare on the streets of Dittotown.
Dr. Yosil Maharal, a brilliant researcher in artificial intelligence, has suddenly vanished, just as he is on the verge of a revolutionary scientific breakthrough. Maharal's daughter, Ritu, believes he has been kidnapped-or worse. Aeneas Polom, a reclusive trillionaire who appears in public only through his high-priced platinum duplicates, offers Morris unlimited resources to locate Maharal before his awesome discovery falls into the wrong hands.

To uncover the truth, Morris must enter a shadowy, nightmare world of ghosts and golems where nothing -and no one-is what they seem, memory itself is suspect, and the line between life and death may no longer exist.
Amazon.com Review
Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true. In Brin's imagined future, folks are able to make inexpensive, disposable clay copies of themselves. These golems or "dittos" live for a single day to serve their creator, who can then choose whether or not to "inload" the memories of the ditto's brief life. But private investigator Albert Morris gets more than he, or his "ditective" copies, bargain for when he signs on to help solve the mysterious disappearance of Universal Kilns' co-founder Yasil Maharal--the father of dittotech.

Brin successfully interweaves plot lines as numerous as our hero's ditectives and doggedly sticks to the rules of his created dittotech while Morris's "realflesh" and clay manifestations slowly unravel the dangerous secret behind Maharal's disappearance. As Brin juggles his multiple protagonists and antagonists, he urges the reader to question notions of memory, individualism, and technology, and to answer the schizoid question "which 'you' is 'you?'" Brin's enjoyment is evident as he plays with his terracotta creations' existential angst and simultaneously deconstructs the familiar streetwise detective meme--complete with a multilayered ending. Overall, Kiln People is a fun read, with a good balance of hard science fiction and pop sensibility. --Jeremy Pugh ... Read more

Customer Reviews (85)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous premise; disappointing ending...
So get this... you can duplicate yourself for a day.This "ditto" has all of your memories up to that point.ditGeorge (or whoever) can go out, mow the grass, have sex, jump off a bridge, or perform a job for wages.At the end of the day, it returns (optional), and you can upload those memories into the realGeorge.If 8 copies are working, realGeorge collects 8 paychecks.

The biggest company in the world is Universal Kilns, which has the duplicating technology to make these copies from each real person's unique Standing Wave, as well as providing those blanks ready to be warmed up and activated.

Private investigator Albert (with dittos) is searching for "Beta", who basically makes "copyright violation" knock-offs of high-value people.He's pulled into an investigation of a car crash that has killed one of the founders of Universal Kilns.Things get very complicated, very quickly, as realAlbert and multiple ditAlberts become more involved in this investigation than expected, wanted, and possible.Yes, when copies of copies start telling their stories, things get complicated!

I really liked the premise of Kiln People.David Brin has developed a unique cultural angle that is intriguing and entertaining.Chapters switch between the adventures of realAlbert and his various dittos.But things get complicated at the end, and the story seems to sputter and stall.

I hate when that happens.Just be warned.I still liked the majority of the book.I think I'll get my ditRobert to finish the first 90%, and I'll upload those memories.Sometimes, anticipation has to be its own reward.

5-0 out of 5 stars First rate
This is a great idea and a great book.It drags a bit with the girlfriend and her war games, but all of the rest of it I loved.This is science fiction at it's best.

4-0 out of 5 stars What an incredible world Brin creates!
David Brin is truly a genius to create this wold of clay copies. So much detail is put forward you can't help but feel that this world is entirely possible. The story becomes a bit long-winded towards the end, and I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the ending - but all-in-all very enjoyable. Excellent sci-fi!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great conceit
_Kiln People_ is born (baked?) of the thought experiment, what if each consciousness could live multiple lives in parallel?Like much great fantasy and science fiction, the (very successful) gimmick seems to me at heart a metaphor-made-flesh for important, subtle human drives.This gimmick, the art of duplication and reabsorption of souls and memories, also already exists in the real world.It's called READING.

We readers all live many lives, learn from many experiences.This book is an experience worth taking back into your consciousness.The plot hangs on an at-first simple detective story that becomes a tightly wound conspiracy, then spirals out into quite something else.I would say it starts Raymond Chandler, then by way of Philip K. Dick becomes Alfred Bester at the end.And yeah, it's *that* cool.

4-0 out of 5 stars For clay you are and to clay you shall return.
The first half or so of David Brin's "Kiln People" is written in the style of a Robert Ludlum thriller set in a pulp-fiction atmosphere. Albert Morris is a futuristic Sam Spade specializing in the ostensibly not-very-sexy field of copyright infringement--although, centuries from now, one's most valuable "intellectual property" is one's own consciousness. Copyright takes on new meaning when the latest nanotechnologies allow humans to download their egos into duplicates that can perform hazardous, exotic, erotic, or mundane tasks for 24 hours before uploading the day's experiences back to the owner's mind. There's a burgeoning black market for the mental imprints of celebrities; for some, the vicarious thrills are even better when you can have one of your dummies tango with "kinky-specialist personalities" cloned from somebody famous at cut-rate discounts. It's the world's worst possible dystopia: a million little pirated Britneys.

To solve his latest case, Morris sends out a number of his clones (dittos), and when they become separated, we are treated to the giddy spectacle of multiple Morrises--all with the same pasts but with entirely different presents. The twists continue when dittos disappear or rebel or are led to believe that the original Morris has been assassinated. We see the world from the perspective of each of the copies--and none is quite sure what has happened to the others. Soon, the original and his clones find themselves trapped in the intrigues of corporate espionage and murder involving the inventors of the very technology that created them.

These opening sections--and the subsequent chase scenes--are thrilling, innovative noir of the highest caliber. It's great fun--and to say much more would spoil the plot's many surprises. Admittedly, the "science" requires a suspension of disbelief: that clay (!) would be used for creating the clones. I think, however, that Brin has made the right choice here: basing the future on a famous myth (i.e., the golem) is more powerful than imagining a scientific breakthrough that might seem even more ridiculous within a few years.

It's somewhat disarming, then, to reach the book's final chapters, when Brin switches, quite dramatically, from the atmospherics of mythical noir to a quasi-mystical Swedenborgian theopoetics blending quantum theory, biomechanics, and the soul. Brin spells out his metaphysics in turgid sequences of sentence fragments, flowery aphorisms, and bizarre non-sequiturs. ("But evolution clings! Your body yearns for the tingle of fair wind, the sting of rain, the luscious event and taste of food, the fight-flight rush or adrenaline.") It's as if Ralph Waldo Emerson had decided to take up science fiction--the Transcendental Over-Soul meets the Genetic Soulscape--and the result is not pretty.

After the first two hundred pages, I was beginning to think that "Kiln People" would be one of the best science fiction novels I had ever read. Yet, just as the dittos escape Albert Morris, it seems that the plot and the characters spin out of control from the author, whose story gets lost in the philosophical implications of the world he has created from whole clay. Paging again through a few passages, I realize that I may as well have been reading two different books: the early chapters could have appeared in an old issue of Black Mask; the final chapters remind me of late Heinlein. The change is mood is jarring, and, in spite of a promising foundation, "Kiln People" ultimately resembles an unglazed pot. ... Read more

8. The Postman (Bantam Classics)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (1997-11-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553278746
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is the story of a lie that became the most powerful kind of truth.A timeless novel as urgently compelling as War Day or Alas, Babylon, David Brin's The Postman is the dramatically moving saga of a man who rekindled the spirit of America through the power of a dream, from a modern master of science fiction.

He was a survivor--a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war.Fate touches him one chill winter's day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold.The old, worn uniform still has power as a symbol of hope, and with it he begins to weave his greatest tale, of a nation on the road to recovery.Amazon.com Review
Gordon Krantz survived the Doomwaronly to spend years crossing apost-apocalypse United States looking for something or someone he couldbelieve in again. Ironically, when he's inadvertently forced to assumethe made-up role of a "Restored United States" postal inspector, he becomesthe very thing he's been seeking: a symbol of hope and rebirth for adesperate nation. Gordon goes through the motions of establishing a newpostal route in the Pacific Northwest, uniting secluded towns andenclaves that are starved for communication with the rest of the world. And even though inside he feels like a fraud, eventually he will have tostand up for the new society he's helping to build or see it destroyed byfanatic survivalists. This classic reprint is not one of David Brin's bestbooks, but the moving story he presents overcomes mediocre writing andcontrived plots. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (148)

4-0 out of 5 stars A well written and influential piece of science-fiction.
Author David Brin has done a fine job crafting the United States post collapse, however, he has a completely different take on the port events.Inspired by the rigid, extremist survivalists of the 1970's and early 1980's, Brin chose to write a post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel focusing on the potential influence extremists could have on society after collapse.

The novel is well written, with enjoyable prose, and a unique take on the genre. As other reviewers have mentioned, and I agree with their assessment, the first half of the novel is much better.It is considerably more believable than the later half, and in my opinion, more enjoyable. I did like the second half, but the story takes a slight turn away towards a traditional science-fiction arc.

In comparison with the movie, which I do enjoy a great deal, the book shares similar characters and plot points with the first half of the story, but is an entirely different animal. On the author's website he speaks about the similarities and a genuine fondness for the movie, while accepting that it is a completely different interpretation.

After reading this book, I can't help but see the influence in many other contemporary pieces of post-apocalyptic fiction and art. For example, in Fallout: New Vegas, there appears to be a very strong influence with "The Legion", their methods of raiding and killing, and even the Roman influence: Cinncinatus and the Holnists (methods of war) in The Postman; The Caesar and "The Legion" in Fallout.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I would recommend it fans of science-fiction as well as those who enjoy the post-apocalyptic/collapse genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars An icon of heroism
The plot is capably summarized in other reviews at this site, so I will write only in support of my five star rating.I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction in general, but I approached this novel with the thought that it might not live up to its hype.I was mistaken.Brin created a credible future world, and the concept of a survivor feeling compelled to deliver the mail (even if he stumbled onto the idea for reasons that were far from altruistic) is brilliant:mail delivery becomes not only a means of stitching together a torn nation, but a powerful symbol of national unity and pride.Gordon Krantz, the main character, is more than a bit torn himself, a man of less than heroic stature who, by the novel's end, has grown into not just a hero, but an icon of heroism.Krantz is a fully developed character (a rarity in sf), and his personal transformation is inspiring.The supporting characters are also solid and purposeful.The Postman is a strongly plotted, well written novel.Five stars.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this book
My review comes late, since I just now read the book. So I won't give an outline of the whole story, only my reaction to certain elements. Some people liked the first half, but I almost put the book aside after the opening pages.

The story starts with action, but our first glimpse of Gordon, the protagonist, is as a coward or a weakling. He let 5 bandits who robbed him run off without firing a shot, though he still had a loaded .38 revolver. He also had a clear shot at the ringleader, but he lets them take off with his survival gear after vainly appealing to their "good natures" to leave him some basic items. They left him to die in the cold with no real resistance from him. Somehow this doesn't ring true, since Gordon had the grit to survive 17 years of wandering after the Collapse, and he surely must have encountered other bandits and bloody macho types.

A short while later, with an injured foot and weakened by hunger, and not knowing where his next meal might come from, he digs a grave for a nameless skeleton, thus jeopardizing his own survival chances. Again, this is not really credible. The skeleton is all that remains of a mailman he found in a long-abandoned postal vehicle.

He dons the postman's jacket to keep out the cold, and later concocts a fanciful tale about being a postman for a "Restored United States." This ruse does gain him some free meals; in one town it even gets him ten nights in the sack with a comely young wife whose husband can't give her a child.

He does show some intestinal fortitude when he attempts to rescue a pretty young woman from a brutal captor who wants to rape her, but he pretty well flubs it, resulting in her death, although he does save her now-orphaned young son.

It's kind of hard to respect this bozo, an opportunist who's plagued by ineptness and tender scruples at all the wrong times. He does manage, however, to become an accomplished liar, although he consoles himself that he's doing a service for those he dupes.

I didn't feel it got worse throughout the story, though there were still many incidents that were unexplained or not really credible, particularly the ending with two different "Augments" fighting each other to the death. That was rather fanciful and brought to mind two "Terminators" battling each other. I also felt the view was rather parochial in that it's all happening in a limited locale on the West Coast, mostly Oregon. And I felt let down by the rather blah ending.

So, why give it 3 stars? It's not terribly bad, and the author does know how to build sentences. He gives us a glimpse of how things might be, given the circumstances, even though he often tries our willingness to believe. And once I reconciled myself to Gordon's non-heroic character, Brin did keep the story moving along. I don't feel the book was a total waste of time, and some parts are better than others. For anyone interested in post-Collapse stories, this certainly isn't the worst, and I could recommend it in that spirit.

4-0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of Brin's talent.
This small book allows the reader to enjoy Brin's unique style. He is obviously an extra-ordinary thinker. I doubt this is close to his finest work however. I feel that it needed more editing to be considered a master piece. I would give it 4.3 stars if I could. It is quite interesting and easy to finish.

This takes place in a post nuclear world. Mutant soldiers wreak havoc amongst the remaining colonies of survivors. Even gold has no value. In these uncertain times, some of us try to plan for different scenarios. The Postman introduces a scenario that is likely to introduce a few curveballs into your way of thinking about a breakdown of the system.

We should all hope for the best and plan for the worst. This is probably close to the worst.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great, Great book, except.........
This is great book and I enjoyed reading it years and years ago.It sticks with you, however I found the ending to be greatly disheartening.
David Brin essentially has no faith in traditional western values or culture and sometimes it just shoots right out at you. If you are OK with that, then enjoy, otherwise leave it alone.

... Read more

9. Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, Book 2)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (1984-03-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055327418X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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?

The Terran exploration vessel Streaker has crashed in the uncharted water world of Kithrup, bearing one of the most important discoveries in galactic history.Below, a handful of her human and dolphin crew battles armed rebellion and a hostile planet to safeguard her secret--the fate of the Progenitors, the fabled First Race who seeded wisdom throughout the stars. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (102)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem
Simply one of my favorite novels.I have gone back and re-read it several times since its publication, and I continue to enjoy it.I have read some reviews here that say that the ending leaves them flat.I think it is because they are expecting a resolution to a plot that is really just being driven by a MacGuffen (look it up on Wikipedia if you aren't familiar with them).Unfortunately for some, this is just not a "plot" driven novel so much as it is a milieu and character driven novel.People expecting a neat line of events culminating in a neat climax and resolution will be disappointed in this respect.However, the ending is in keeping with the themes explored in the rest of the novel and, to me, is extremely satisfying.

The milieu is fantastic, detailed, and amazingly imagined.The characters are rich, strange, alien and unusual.Well worth the visit, well worth the read.

(BTW. This novel stands on its own as a separate read from the rest of the "series". So does my review, as the other books in the series are not as masterful as this one. )

1-0 out of 5 stars A Boring & Unrewarding Novel
After reading the somewhat interesting, but overall dull David Brin novel "Sundiver" I was put off of the well reviewed Uplift Saga. However then I read the glowing reviews for the second book "Startide Rising" and thought I would see if Brin had improved as a writer. No such luck. In fact this book was less interesting than "Sundiver." It was the dullest and most unrewarding SF book I've ever read actually. I hate to stop reading a book half way through, but I almost had to with this one. I wish I had.

THIS BOOK SUCKS! It's terrible. I hated it. I wasted hours of my life reading it. Brin forgets Asimov's first rule of science fiction: that you must write about all things human. So what does he do? He makes all of the main characters dolphins with names that all sound the same. I can't relate to dolphins. Following the lone chimp character would have been much more interesting, or hey here's an idea: how about making the people the focus?

The story goes absolutely nowhere. Here we have an ancient derelict fleet of aliens, full of mystery, and does the author give up any of its secrets? Of course not! The entire book is about a few humans, a bunch of dolphins, and one ape sitting around twiddling their thumbs on a boring empty, planet. Older alien species fight a space battle above them so the winner can come down and wring the location of the ancient ships out of the human/dolphin crew. Do any of the aliens win that battle? No. Do any of the aliens send a mission down to the planet to chase our heroes? No. There is a mutiny storyline, but again the villain here is a dolphin. I just don't care at all about him. And he chases another dolphin I don't care about for chapter, after chapter, after chapter.

Just avoid all of the Uplift novels; they're duller than a can of tuna.

5-0 out of 5 stars Originality Squared!
When this amazing novel first appeared a quarter-century ago, its sheer originality and level of creative detail were enough to win it both the Hugo and the Nebula. And the competition that year wasn't even close. It wasn't Brin's first book, but it was the one that made readers take notice. It's a few centuries in out future and mankind has finally attained some sort of sanity without exterminating itself in the process. Lumbering STL ships have begun to poke into the near star systems -- and then we discover we aren't alone. The galaxies are filled with sapient life, much of it combative, ruled by traditions and treaties stretching back several billion years. More important, no intelligence race has ever reached that level without having been genetically boosted -- uplifted -- by another. Only the fabled, long disappeared Progenitors bootstrapped themselves from presapiency into space. An uplifted species serves a very long apprenticeship of service to its patrons before being allowed to uplift others. But not humans. We never had patrons. We did it ourselves. (Or so some believe. Others think we were simply abandoned, half-formed.) We learned it all the hard way, and that makes us a "wolfling" species. But humans had already embarked on its own, native uplift program, raising chimpanzees and then dolphins to a level of competitive intelligence. And a crew of dolphins are now in command of their own survey ship, exploring far star systems. Except the "Streaker" stumbles onto a huge derelict fleet of extremely ancient spaceships tucked away in a seldom visited system and now all the senior patron races are in pursuit of the little ship, intending to strip it of its discovery by any means necessary, and keep all its own competitors from winning the same prize. The dolphin crew, augmented by a handful of humans and a solitary, very egocentric chimp planetologist, goes into hiding on a water world while its dozens of overwhelmingly powerful enemies fight above the planet for the right to capture them. And that's the plotline right there. Will the three races of Earth escape capture? Will humans -- whom their enemies insist should be forced back into clienthood themselves -- be able to hand on to their patron status? Will Toshio, the young human midshipman, ever find true love? Because it's not all space battles, you know. Brin does a marvelous job of dropping original ideas into every chapter, weaving the back-story of dolphin language philosophy and galactic history and politics into the present tense action. You're going to want to reread this one in a decade or so.

3-0 out of 5 stars Failed to Connect
This dual Hugo/Nebula Award winning science fiction novel certainly takes the cake for originality.A spaceship captained and piloted by dolphins?The premise of this work is that sentient species are scattered throughout the galaxy, seeded by a mysterious group referred to as The Progenitors.As each species attains a certain level of "consciousness", they are able to "uplift" other species to a level of sentience through genetic engineering, hence the dolphin and chimpanzee, which are "client" species, with humans their "patrons".The political/social/military relationships between and among the different "patron" species and their "clients" are what make up the bulk of this novel.

This is actually the second novel in the Startide series, though I have been assured that it can be read independent of the original and has generated far more acclaim than the others.I never felt that I needed any more background information than was provided within the text of this book.

I can't say that the writing was poor, or that the plot and characters were in any way deficient.However, I really never felt like I was pulled into the story.Others may disagree and reinforce the awards that this novel has earned, but I don't rate it in the upper tier of science fiction novels I've read recently.
... Read more

10. River of Time
by David Brin
 Paperback: Pages (2001-08-09)

Isbn: 4444408030
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This collection of short science-fiction stories by the author of the "Uplift" series includes "The Crystal Tears" which won a Hugo Award on publication. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars FROM BACK COVER
THE RIVER OF TIME brings together eleven of David Brin's finest shorter works, including "The Crystal Spheres," winner of the Hugo Award for Best Short Story, and four new stories published here for the first time, each with an afterword by the author.

Here are powerful tales of heroism and humanity, playful excursions into realms of fancy, and profound mediations on time, memory, and our place in the universe, by one of the most heralded new writers of our age.

3-0 out of 5 stars Brin shows us his early work, good and bad.
One of the defining characteristics of science fiction as a genre is the ability to write stories that answer the questions "what if?" and "why?"Almost every one of the short stories in this collection evolves from one of these questions.Some of them, in particular the heavily awarded and thought provoking "Crystal Spheres", are well polished and enjoyable.Others, such as the abominable 250 word story, are obviously included because the author has a soft spot in his heart for them.Overall this collection is a good buy for those who are die-hard fans of the author himself, but I would have been happier if a number of the stories had been omitted and the book filled out with quality works from the latter part of Brin's career.

4-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
This early collection of short stories by David Brin spans a wide range of styles and subject matter.As a result, it is not the sort of book that reads well in one sitting.But when read one story (or section of stories, as they are loosely organized by theme) at a time, the book is far more enjoyable.Brin's introductory notes on each story are a very nice addition to the stories themselves.

Among the stories, I particularly liked "The Crystal Spheres" with its interesting take on space travel, answer to the "if intelligent life exists in the universe, why haven't they contacted us yet?" question, and its suggestion that the universe is actually protecting us a little bit.I also enjoyed "Tank Farm Dynamo".However, far and away the standout story in this collection is the title story "The River of Time".This is one of my favourite short stories by any author, both for the unique concept of time as a true river with tributaries and currents, and for its tight execution.It made me stop and consider the linearity of time in an entirely new way.

If you can locate a copy of this book, which is sadly out of print again, and you enjoy concept-based stories, it is well worth picking up for the title story alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
If you can manage to get your hands on a copy of this book,grab it.I'm a great fan of Brin's ever since I read Sundiver 4 yearsago.

This collection of short stories is both original and thought-provoking.He is one of a few writers that I have read who can delve into atmospheric theory, Greek legends, and some serious speculative stuff in one science fiction volume, and have it all come off as a cohesive volume of stories.

If you're new to Brin, or if you're a seasoned fan, this book is worth reading 100%.Not as developed as his novels, but of course you can't expect that from short stories.Very satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Most were really interesting tales, but some were phbttt!
Personally, I thought that all of his ideas (not that I want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it) were cool.My favorite stories in it were: The Crystal Spheres, The Loom of Thessaly, and The River of Time.I am a definite fan of David Brin though, so maybe I'm slightly (just slightly) biased. ... Read more

11. Glory Season
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 784 Pages (1994-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553567675
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Hugo and Nebula award-winning author David Brin is one of the most eloquent, imaginative voices in science fiction.Now he returns with a new novel rich in texture, universal in theme, monumental in scope--pushing the genre to new heights.

Young Maia is fast approaching a turning point in her life.As a half-caste var, she must leave the clan home of her privileged half sisters and seek her fortune in the world.With her twin sister, Leie, she searches the docks of Port Sanger for an apprenticeship aboard the vessels that sail the trade routes of the Stratoin oceans.

On her far-reaching, perilous journey of discovery, Maia will endure hardship and hunger, imprisonment and loneliness, bloody battles with pirates and separation from her twin.And along the way, she will meet a traveler who has come an unimaginable distance--and who threatens the delicate balance of the Stratoins' carefully maintained, perfect society....

Both exciting and insightful, Glory Season is a major novel, a transcendent saga of the human spirit. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars was there an ending to this book?
I enjoyed most of this book, including speculating about how Brin was going to end it.I was wrong, not because he surprised me with some twist, but because he simply failed to follow through with any kind of satisfying ending.No closure with other characters, no completed accomplishment for the protagonist.Some stuff happened....this is not an ending.It felt more like he didn't know what to do next so he just stopped.

That said, I repeat, I enjoyed most of the book.Interesting speculations about social and economic ramifications of the reproductive engineering Brin posits.Engaging society and characters.I just felt let down when the book merely petered out.

3-0 out of 5 stars This is really just a raw outline
David Brin came up with a great idea for an alternate society.In fact, in the afterword, he even said that this idea was the genesis of the novel.He also came up with a great idea for a game that was close to center stage in this novel that could be seen as a metaphor for all kinds of things.Then he decided to weave these two elements into a novel.That part didn't work real well.The plot consists of one crisis to the next with no development of the story.Characterization consists of characters that are briefly developed, dropped, developed a bit more, and dropped again except, of course, for the main protagonist.This character is presented as jejune and inexperienced, and consistently acts in a mature fashion, providing some really profound disconnect.Other characters who are built up by inference are then shoved off stage when they appear.The focus of all the action, the Alien (so to speak) is stereotypical and one dimensional.Finally, the denouement was totally unsatisfactory and had little to do with the preceding hundreds of pages.

The book gets 5 stars for its realization of a different sort of feminist society.It also gets 5 stars for its conception of the Game of Life.Brin is good enough to have taken on these two elements and built something far more brilliant.Overall, the weaknesses of this book cause it to lose a couple of stars.This book never goes anywhere interesting, inspiring or important although on occasion it heads in those directions.Its basis is wasted.Such a pity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Second time around
The premise of this book is fantastic.Turning the world on it's head and showing how woman can do the same jobs as men all the while having bigoted views on the role of men in society is brilliant.I highly applaud Brin for taking this subject up.

Now, if only it were readable.

The whole plot falls apart when you realize that no one is ever going to take the time to imprison an worthless "var" who was being snoopy.They're just going to kill her and be done with it.Same thing later, they wouldn't imprison the ship's crew on an island or hold some of the others captive elsewhere. It's absurd.So none of the rest of the story would've happened because no one is going to keep, watch, and feed prisoners that lack worth.

But that's not the worst of it. This book is BORING.Too much time is spent with Maia bored and philosophizing.She's stuck in a prison, thinking.Then stuck on a ship, thinking.Then stuck on an island, thinking.Then stuck in a hole, thinking.Finally, after you've read all that nonsense, the ending is explained with lots of people sitting around talking about what happened instead of actually living through it. Boring.

This book is a real miss. It had good intentions, but completely lost itself by being absolutely impossible and boring.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great character on a world worth exploring
Fans of Ursula K. LeGuin will be in familiar territory here: Glory Season harks back much more to the social science fiction of the New Wave than Brin's Uplift space opera series. What sets this novel apart from all those is the way Brin seamlessly melds worldbuilding, characterization, and plot as our heroine Maia is forced to cast-aside many of the assumptions she took for granted about her world and society. Sometimes this realization is hard-won; poor Maia suffers through insults, robbery, imprisonment, marooning, betrayal, and general discomfort and you almost want to scream for Brin to give her a break, already.

But the action is non-stop and nobody gets a break. Even if the ending is a little pat, you're left wanting to know more about what happens to Maia, and the society on Stratos, and the whole universe Brin conjures up as background.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Season of Glory
This is, in my opinion, David Brin's crowning work, and one of my favorite books of all time.

It is an engaging and entertaining read, with something to offer almost anyone; there are aspects of mystery, fantasy, high seas, romance, adventure, and of course, science fiction.

This book follows the story of Maia, a young girl born to both a mother and a father on a world where society is dominated by of clans of specially skilled female clones.It is in part a strange coming of age story, as Maia tries to find her own niche to fill, hoping to found a clan of her own.Her world of Stratos, she finds, has something of a dark past, a past which soon becomes very much a part of her present as she travels over most of the face of her world, meeting a whole host of intriguing characters... including one who may bring their world's past to the present for their entire society.

David Brin outdid himself (and most authors) with the detail and complexity of the world and society present in every aspect of this book.

The only drawback to this book is that often men will be turned away from it by the 'feminism' of said society; it is extremely woman-based, and many men seem to think this is a slur upon men in general. In this reader's opinion, however, it is just a study on a potential societal development thanks to certain technological advances, and not intended in any way as a slur on anyone, except perhaps the tendencies of human civilization as a whole.

Even the length of the book (which is considerable) I cannot in any way consider a drawback. In fact, when I finished it the first time, all I could do was wish that it had been even longer. It is never slow or boring, really, and you continue to want to turn the pages all the way through it.

All in all, this is a book I would... and do... recommend to anyone with even the vaguest interest in science fiction. ... Read more

12. The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, Book 3)
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 672 Pages (1987-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553279718
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.Amazon.com Review
Billions of years ago, an alien race known as the Progenitors beganthe genetically engineered techniques by which non-intelligent creatures aregiven intelligence by one of the higher races in the galaxy. Once"Uplifted," these creature must serve their patron race beforethey, in turn, can Uplift other races. Human intelligence, which developed byitself (and brought about the Uplifting of chimpanzees and dolphins), is anaffront to the aliens who plan an attack, threatening a human experimentaimed at producing the next Uplift. Such is the premise of this novel, whichwon the 1988 Hugo Award. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars unique vision of a galactic order
I read this because of how much I loved Startide Rising:the uplift universe and competition between species for very different reasons than we could imagine, i.e. the advancement of their species in accordance with the rules of a law/technology/philosophy encyclopedia.This book is about a war within that order, on a distant planet.In a way, it is a kind of side show, but it is a very fun story unto itself and adds many refinements to Brin's master concept.

The story is about a human young man, whose group is cut off by the war.He begins a relationship with an alien and they both grow as they fight an alliance of rival species for mastery of the planet.There are many interesting aliens, all of them believable in their way and fun.

This book succeeded in getting my out of my mindset and completely into a made-up world, and for that it is a success.Recommended as solid scifi. It is also beautifully written with a complex plot and great characters, a very good balance of ideas and fictional detail.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great science fiction, horrible transition to KINDLE
Very poor transition from print to eBook. Multiple character recognition mistakes. Publisher's software handles italics badly and their proofreaders either can't read or don't care. For those of you familiar with the work, 'rilla comes through as Villa, fem as fern.

Very annoying.

Since I had similar experiences with SUNDIVER, STARTIDE RISING, and BRIGHTNESS REEF, I make the assumption that this is a publisher issue, not an AMAZON issue.

I wish there was a method for sending proofreading mistakes back to the publisher directly.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor-quality kindle editions
Important note for buyers: I loved this book, but if you're interested in this book, do not buy the Kindle edition.

I bought most of the Uplift series in Kindle editions: Heaven's Reach, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Sundiver, Uplift War, and Startide Rising. I was extremely disappointed by the quality of these ebooks. Words were frequently mis-spelled or replaced with similar-looking but incorrect words; words and whole passages were arbitrarily italicized; many words were split with hyphens for no reason. It was confusing, distracting, and eventually irritating. I got the strong impression that all these books had been run rapidly through an OCR system and never checked for correctness or quality. For a publishing company of Ballantine's size and reputation this is ridiculous.

If Ballantine are going to sell ebooks, they should do it properly, and give them the same care and attention they would to physical books. There's no excuse for releasing shoddy digital products.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nancy in Seattle, WA:Great Sci Fi series!
Don't miss reading this excellent series.I had read a couple Mr. Brin's books over 20 years ago and was enthralled with his vision and writing.Remembering the author's name or book titles kept escaping me, though I could describe the basic stories.Now all these years later, I am rediscovering these tales. A quality story can be read multiple times and still be exciting.This time the books will be on my Kindle!

5-0 out of 5 stars The future may not be friendly but it's certainly a challenge
While the dolphin-crewed survey ship "Streaker" is trying desperately to survive on its water world (for the details of which you need to read the previous book in the trilogy), mankind finds itself under military and diplomatic attack everywhere in its corner of the galaxy. The senior patron races, those with the most power and the longest history of genetically advancing other species to sentience, don't think we deserve patron status ourselves, regardless of our having "uplifted" chimpanzees and dolphins to the level of spacefaring intelligence ourselves. Where _Startide Rising_ focused on dolphins, this one is about the slightly senior chimpanzees on the world of Garth, one of Earth's few leased colonies, a world where an unsuccessfully uplifted species a few hundred thousand years ago went amok and nearly destroyed the ecosystem in the process of destroying itself. But the Gubru, an aggressively avian patron species, wants Garth for its own purposes and they've come to take it away from the wolfling humans. All the humans on the planet find themselves in quarantine -- all but one, the son of the Planetary Coordinator, detailed to look after the daughter of the Tymbrimi ambassador. The two young people find themselves trying to set up a guerilla movement to resist the Gubru occupation, but it's the chimps who provide most of the heroes and heroines in the story. Brin's highly original imagination keeps the action moving and every time you begin to think of our junior ape-descended partners as human, some bit of business (like chimp "grooming societies") will bring you up short. There's even a cross-species love interest. A very thought-provoking book which is also a great deal of fun. You'll want to have it close at hand so you can pick it up the moment you finish _Startide Rising_. ... Read more

13. Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats (Planet Stories)
by Piers Anthony, Greg Bear, Ben Bova, David Brin, Cory Doctorow, William Gibson, Nicola Griffith, Joe Haldeman, China Mieville, Larry Niven, Kim Stanley Robinson, Spider Robinson, R. A. Salvatore, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick
Paperback: 400 Pages (2010-08-24)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1601252668
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
See how it all began! In Before They Were Giants, editor James L. Sutter collects the first published stories of 15 of science fiction and fantasy's most important authors, including winners of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, New York Times bestsellers, and members of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Along with these often rare or never-before-anthologized stories, all 15 authors provide brand-new retrospective critiques and interviews discussing the stories' geneses, how publication affected their lives, and what they know now about writing that they wish they'd known then. Contributors include Ben Bova, Charles Stross, China Mieville, Cory Doctorow, David Brin, Greg Bear, Joe Haldeman, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, Michael Swanwick, Nicola Griffith, Piers Anthony, R. A. Salvatore, Spider Robinson, and William Gibson. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to some talented authors
While the quality of writing this working isn't always spectacular - this is, after all, the very first works of most of these authors - this collection is remarkable for three reasons.First, the choice of authors - Greg Bear, Ben Bova, William Gibson, Joe Haldeman, China Mieville, Charles Stross, etc - is a hit list of Sci Fi Authors That You Simply Must Read, and their first works are indicative of their huge talent.Second, each story is followed by an interview with its author, who wax nostalgic on their first published story, their experience in print publication, advise to new authors, etc.Finally, this book is published by the remarkable Paizo Publishing, a group of terrifically talented people working out of Washington State who have set the bar in terms of quality role playing game publishing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mostly pointless
Before They were Giants is an anthology without a theme, a collection of the "first published" works of a wide range of living SF writers.There are 15 short stories in about 200 pages, which includes a brief questionnaire with answers by each author (itself generally two or three pages long).As a result, there is a real grab-bag of things here, with "sci-fi" being pretty widely interpreted and the authors involved ranging from Piers Anthony to China Mieville.

As a result, by operation of the simple law of averages, there are bound to be a few things here you like.The bad news is, its probable there will be quite a bit more you either dislike or are indifferent to.Its also billed as a primer for aspiring writers - which it may very be of some use as, I have no idea - but as a result it also straddles into teachiness in places at the expense of fun.Throw in the fact that this is, by definition, the rawest works of the authors involved, and the book becomes of more use as a curiosity striving for "importance" than a book trying to be "fun".

Two and half stars might be fairer than two, but I cant rate in half stars, and can't give it three stars just for meaning well and trying hard. ... Read more

14. Otherness
by David Brin
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (1994-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553295284
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A provocative, imaginative collection of tales and essays explores the mysteries and secrets of the near and distant future, in an anthology that include such works as ""Dr. Pak's Preschool,"" ""Sshhh . . .,"" and ""Bubbles."" ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Smart well written think-pieces
Some of the best, most interesting sci-fi short stories I've read (reread) in a long while.

As this was a reread, I'd forgotten they were written by David Brin, but some of these stories have stuck with me as my all-time personal favourites for years.
And just to show there's something for everyone, my favourite 5 star stories were the ones only rated *** by another reviewer - Natulife, Detritus Affected, and we agree on Piecework, and then I'd give at least a 4 for The Giving Plague - nice use of the rationalising mechanism of consistency, and good insight/character progression for such a short story!

I hope I don't spoil anyone here - I'm trying to be ambiguous, but skip this if you're really worried...
It wasn't until a re-read or two that I realised one of the stories could be a conceptual sequel/spin-off of the original 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' movie. Duh!
Took me awhile to catch on, but worth it. ;)

Was less interested in his essays, but still, they're not un-intelligent, but the ideas are less revolutionary or interesting than his stories.
His otherness meme suffers from a major flaw - as a culture, we *don't* like 'otherness', we like nice, safe, *exotic* otherness that we can pat ourselves on the back for our acceptance of.
Eg Dolphin intelligence over Pig intelligence, even if they were both to be uplifted. Acceptance of different cultures is better for immigrant populations, especially the new and different, than for already existing 'different' cultures, ie historical immigrant communities or (especially) black communities in America (referring to a study done recently, sorry for not referencing).

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking material
Otherness is the uniting theme for the short stories and essays collected in this book. Don't let the silly cheap science fiction cover fool you: there's some pretty deep thought inside the covers. The short stories vary from great to ok, but the essays offer the best value in the collection. Brin writes about UFOs, science versus magic and what he calls the dogma of otherness. It's all very interesting and enlightening.

The short stories aren't a waste of space, either - the best of them are captivating and contain marvellous ideas. Brin writes good science fiction, especially if you value interesting ideas. Those looking for fresh thought to chew on will find a nice dose from this collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hot and Cold
David Brin is certainly a talented author, but there are far too many preachy spots in this book for my taste.That he is a disciple of Richard Dawkins was evident from a line in "The Giving Plague" taken directly from the title of Dawkins' book, "The Selfish Gene".He makes it obvious by the final essay.

He also appears to like the surprise twist at the end of the story as several of these short stories have them.The end of "Dr. Pak's Preschool" seemed to me to be a bit contrived, as did the end of the (much better) "The Warm Space", but "Piecework" was such a fabulous, delightful story that I read it several times over even before I went on to finish the book."NatuLife" was also a fabulous story with many layers of meaning and significance.A fascinating premise that first appears in "Ambiguity" takes a decidedly preachy turn in "What Continues...and What Fails...", a story that crystalizes the author's (and Dawkins') views on evolution.

When it comes to the essays, "The Dogma of Otherness" is both clever and interesting.Brin's sense of humor comes through quite well.Starting with "Whose Millenium" the essays get preachy though, and the mask came off in the final one which was both predictable and boring for anyone who has taken part in internet debates on evolution or religion.

I own this book, having picked it up when the local library discarded it to make room for others.Most of the stories are definitely worth reading, but it isn't likely to find a permanent spot on my shelves either.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice, not great.
Overall, I give the book four stars. Here's a brief summary of its contents, with each story/essay independently rated. From * "I did not like it at all" to ***** "I loved it". I was expecting something like Kiln People.

The Giving Plague: A scientist tries to avoid catching a plague in which discovery he took part. ***

Myth Number 21: A super short story. To say more would spoil it. *

Dr. Pak's Preschool: Early stimulation on babies is taken to the extreme. ****

Detritus Affected:Some archaeologists in the near future make grim discoveries at a site. ***

The Dogma of Otherness: An essay about the newness of caring for other. **

Sshhh...: Humanity looks for its secret unique talent in the Universe. *****

Those Eyes: A radio talk show profoundly affect a UFO crew. ****

What to Say to a UFO: An essay about how the story came to be. ***

Bonding to Genji: Introduction to the world of Genji. *****

The Warm Space: In the future, natural humans will be left out of the space race from robo humans, so a man makes a choice to be remembered. ***** The best of the book.

Whose Millennium? An essay on Y2K and its relative irrelevance from a millennial standpoint. It was a good one before y2k. **

NatuLife: A city dweller and his ancient virtual world. ***

Piecework: Using natural resources for production. *****

Science versus Magic: An essay comparing Science and Magic. **

Bubbles: One stranded spaceship makes an astounding discovery. ****

Ambiguity: An scholar discovers he's done more than he thought he would. **

What Continues... and What Fails... Evolution on a universal scale. *****

The Commonwealth of Wonder: An essay talking about ideas that spread and other topics. **

5-0 out of 5 stars Otherness is a Good Tittle
This book was great. I had to read it for a project in Chemistry. I loved the colection of stories in it. My favorite was The Giving Plague. I want ot deal with things like this in the future and I liked the story line. I also liked Dr. Pek's Preschool. I like how it brought every one to this place to have their children used to help man kind. I have always thought that the fetus is the best time to ask questions. They have no preconceptions of anything and David Brin sees that too. This is an excelent book and I would/have recomended it to others. For I am a nerd and I know this but this book would interest anyone. ... Read more

15. Startide Rising: David Brin Easton Press Collector's edition
by David Brin
Leather Bound: 459 Pages (1994)

Asin: B00158IVQG
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Product Description
Startide rising by David Brin!Collectors EditionEaston Press leather bound hard cover book22kt gold lettering & gilded page edges Hubbed spine, and acid neutral paperSewn in satin ribbon bookmark Collectors NotesOwners bookplate attached and is unsigned ... Read more

16. The Practice Effect
by David Brin
Kindle Edition: 288 Pages (2009-12-23)
list price: US$7.99
Asin: B0031W1DZ0
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (36)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, at least he was having fun
This is a one-time quick read, kind of like a disposable episode on TV.The characters are fun, if rather two dimensional, and the science in it is essentially magic.That being said, the plot is good and it keeps you reading.The story involves a student of "reality physics" who gets hooked into going to a far-away world that was populated long ago by humans.The student is a party animal, if something of a closet prodigy.He enters a world that is impossible to fathom, where the use of something somehow improves its performance by physically forcing it to evolve in accordance with the user's intentions.There is an explanation for this tacked on to make this scifi, but it is pure fantasy.There are some local actors, including a beautiful girl (i.e. love interest) and a power-hungry guy (i.e. bad guy) that steals a weapon from the student and becomes a great threat.While there are some interesting aspects - by relying on the transformations of the place, the people forget such basic technologiesare wheels, to which the student reintroduces them -I was not wowed by this as I was by Brin's wonderful Uplift Universe.

Recommended as easy entertainment, but below the usual mark of this gifted writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars On my 'reread this often' shelf
The concepts in 'the practice effect' are as memorable and timeless as they are unique. Brin does an incredible job of worldbuilding a unique and coherent universe, then evolves a society into it, and crafts an entertaining story to introduce us to this place.
My first reads of this novel were when it was first available in paperback. (reads as in plural: I had to reread it immediately when I got to the end.) The story is a fresh and new now as it was then.
I can't say more without spoilers, and everyone's first read of this gem should be unspoiled, but I can say that knowing the ending won't spoil the entertainment when you reread it.
If you follow the author, You'll find this book to be less serious than most of his other works.

3-0 out of 5 stars Immature
But a nice easy fun read.

There's little new here .. except for the premise that things are backward. Once that concept is understood there is nothing original left.

Anti-hero becomes super-hero, miraculously escapes all sorts of impossible situations, gets beautiful princess ,, single-handedly diverts a war .. discovers the history of the world, quite unexpectedly at the end .. etc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hey, you can't be serious all the time!
This was Brin's third novel, but it has many of the hallmarks of a first novel -- and a pretty good first novel, too. Dennis Nuel is a talented young physicist of a generation or two in the future, a post-doc working on what amounts to a university-financed teleportation machine. They've having problems with it, though, so he finds it necessary to go through the portal himself to do a little calibration. Naturally, once there, he's not going to find it easy to return. And physics doesn't seem to work the same way on the world of Tatir as on Earth. The basic device is that practice really does make perfect. Throw together a basic "chair" from a few boards and some string, and then treat it like a chair -- sit in it regularly and think "comfy chair" thoughts -- and the construction will gradually become a better chair. A dungeon becomes a better dungeon when the guards comment frequently on how dark and dank it is, and so on. It's an original idea and Brin follows the classic Golden Age method of setting up the gimmick and then sitting down to work out what logically happens as a result. It helps that Dennis is a Connecticut Yankee type, able to make gunpowder, distill brandy, and build an airplane. Brin is obviously a fan of Sprague De Camp, too, since he includes not only a Wizard Hero with a Familiar and a Sidekick but also a Fair Princess with a touch of the tomboy about her. And at the end, he makes a stab at coming up with a reasonable explanation -- reasonable in science fiction terms, anyway. It's a fun yarn and worth a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
I thought this book was great, much better than the last couple I read from Hubbard and Dietz. I loved the protagonist, the plot, everything about it! ... Read more

17. Earthclan: The Uplift War / Startide Rising
by David Brin
Hardcover: 983 Pages (1987)
-- used & new: US$14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156865037X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Omnibus containing the second and third "Uplift" novels: "Startide Rising" (winner, 1983 Nebula Award, 1984 Hugo Award, 1984 Locus Poll Award) and "The Uplift War" (winner, 1988 Hugo, 1988 Locus Poll Award). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Earthclan, startide rising and the uplift war
Very well written and intact alternate universe.Unfortunaly the author has written several stories following the Dolphin/human starship but in no particular order.Fortunatly the are written well enough to stand on their own.

4-0 out of 5 stars One logic flaw
There's one logic flaw I just couldn't get over.Why send dolphins into space who will potentially suffer from psychotic breaks and threaten the whole crew?i.e if one dolphin is in danger and needs to be rescued it can send out a distress call that will cause all the others to risk themselvels in a suicidal attempt to rescue that dolphin.Basically they beach themselves.Otherwise great books.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wolfling Clan
David Brin's Uplift series extends across six books now - Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, and the Brightness Trilogy. The premise is simple: the universe is not only full of life, it is old beyond belief, andas caste-ridden as India. Since the fabled Progenitors, one race afteranother has "uplifted" other races, by direct geneticmanipulation or selective breeding. Each race has it patron, each has itsclients who must discharge an multi-millenium period of servitude asrepayment for their uplift, and each aspires to its own clan.

Except theearthling clan, which stumbles into this universe just before the beginningof Sundiver. And not only do the earthlings not have a patron, they havecheekily uplifted neo-dolphins and neo-chimps, creating their own clientraces. They are wolflings. It's an moral affront and a religious insult toother races that can trace their lines back a billion years.

So when oneof the earthling ships, captained by a neo-dolphin and crewed by the threeearthling peoples, stumbles across evidence of the fabled progenitors, therace that started uplift, well, it's just too much for the older races.Interstellar chaos ensues. Religious, economic and social wars break out,almost all of it aimed at the wolfling earth clan.

The earthling ship ischased across the five universes. The first book, Startide Rising is thestory of the ship's attempt to hide itself on an oceanic world. A grippingplot, vivid characters, aliens that are really alien, and neo-dolphins thatare everything you could want them to be. It's a wonderful story, with astand up and cheer ending.

The second book, The Uplift War is the storyof just one minor consequence of the earthlings discovery. Essentially thestory of a counter-revolution, it's the triumph of low technology againsthigh technology on an ecologically damaged world, of a band of Tymbrimialiens, neo-chimps and humans against aliens who are really and trulyalien. Told from the shifting perspectives of Tymbrimi, bad guy Jiburu,human and chimp, the story is clever, devious and captivating.

Brin'sphysicist training shines through his writing. But in Brin's hands thescience is a means rather than an end. There's not the razzle-dazzle of theold pulps, or the machine gun pacing of, say, Ian Banks, but instead highlysatisfying yarns with subtle themes, good plotting and strongcharacterizations. Of course the dolphins speak in haikus; how else wouldthey talk?

This two in one volume has the Uplift Universe stories tostart with. If the loose ends don't force you to read the BrightnessTrilogy next, well, we _really_ don't like the same books. Highlyrecommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Not much to say, other than these were excellent books.I would recommend them to any true fan of Science Fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars literally UpLifting!
I've placed an order for this remarkable book.

Although both 'Startide Rising' and 'The UpLift War' are stand-alone books- which means that one can read the series backwards, as have I at times, and still wonder who's going to survive, and WHY and HOW- they are magnificent reading one after another.The very Concept of up-lifting explains quite a bit - and leaves questions open for later books and disscusions.for example:only the Brin family likely knows why the Tymbrimi are marsupial humanoid elf-like beings - _can_ one up-lift a myth?are the Caltmour the dragons of legend?

So MANY questions. And only TWO ways to know the definitive answers:

1)read the books. 2)your name is David Brin! ... Read more

18. Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop)
Paperback: 386 Pages (2006-05-11)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$7.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193210089X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Debates on the authenticity of the Star Wars franchise and the hero-or-villain status of George Lucas are at the heart of these essays by bestselling science-fiction authors. The incredible popularity of the movies has led to the formation of strong emotions within the science fiction community on the strengths and flaws of the films, exemplified here by David Brin's attacks and Matthew Woodring Stover's defense of the movies. This intense examination of the epic works addresses a broad range of issues—from politics, religion, and the saga's overall logic to the impact of the series on bookshelf space as well as science-fiction film. The question Is George Lucas a hero for bringing science fiction to a mass audience or a villain who doesn't understand the genre he's working for? is discussed before a final "Judge's Verdict" on the greatness—or weakness—of the franchise is reached.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

1-0 out of 5 stars David Brin's Credibility on Trial
David Brin is frustrated with Star Wars novels because they "are driving real SF off the shelves."What does Brin consider "real SF"?His own novels!So why not state his case honestly and directly? "I, David Brin, resent Star Wars because people find it much more appealing than my own work.Oh, I could invest effort in reverse-engineering what it is that draws people to those stories, then figure out how to create work of similar value myself (in fact many would call that the very essence of storytelling, my chosen profession).But that would take hard work and the willingness to step outside my own ego and consider the needs of my readers."

Like any run-of-the-mill Internet troll, Brin simply does not play fair.He has enough training in the sciences that he *must* know the basics of logic, yet there are so many specious arguments and apparently intentional false claims in Brin's book it's difficult to know where to begin.For instance, Brin knows Luke and Leia are not in charge of the Rebellion (we see them taking orders, are shown that the "queen" and other royals are elected democratically), yet Brin claims again and again that the Rebellion/New Republic is an imperial monarchy ruled by the Skywalkers.The lengths Brin will go to in support of his precarious straw man fantasy border on self-parody:

"....the Emperor comes from the same narrow aristocracy - on Planet Naboo - as Luke's mother.Probably, they're cousins.As for Anakin's mother, who's to say she didn't come from the same place?"You can really see Brin's PhD paying for itself in this whole line of reasoning.Who's to say Anakin's mom wasn't a sarlacc with an extreme makeover?Who's to say Jar-Jar doesn't fart the Force?There's no evidence of any kind for these possibilities, but there's no absolute proof against them either, and that's sufficient grounds in Brin's mind to build the foundational argument of a book-length attack piece.

At one point Brin admits that his core problem is not with Star Wars itself, but with the entire mythic history of mankind, from Gilgamesh and the Odyssey on up!His gripe is that myths generally tell the stories of superhuman heroes, which to Brin indicates a "contempt for the masses" (the non-superhuman), which makes him feel "creepy."

Occam's Razor:Which is more likely?

1. Brin feels creepy & contemptuous in the face of mankind's mythic history because myth itself is fundamentally unhealthy, and we must cease to "enslave ourselves to a single, tedious storytelling pattern [myth] ...especially because it pervaded so many failed, oppressive societies of our bloody, awful past."*

2. Brin feels creepy & contemptuous in the face of mankind's mythic history because he has a few self-esteem issues to work out, and with a bit of therapy might actually get past them, rather than endlessly performing mental cartwheels to project them onto straw-men.

*Most of the failed, oppressive societies of our bloody, awful past also encouraged their citizens to wear undergarments, so given Brin's bullet-proof grasp of inductive logic I'll keep an eye out for his next book, "Underpants on Trial!"

4-0 out of 5 stars A non-SW-fan's take on this fine book of essays
Not able to classify myself a Sci-Fi geek, and not a particular fan of Star Wars (although I recall being thrilled by the original Star Wars), I approached this book from a point of view I thought would be largely neutral.

It turned out during reading that I sided almost entirely with Brin (prosecution) at the beginning and ended more neutral than I began--a self-revelation that I found refreshing. I found the actual witness testimony (the essays) to be highly entertaining and illuminating, but the cross-examinations more tiring and often belittling than valuable to the book; although it would hardly be a trial without them. By the end of the book, I was ready to be done with it, capped off effectively by the final closing argument which did nothing but enrage me. Hmmm...

I am probably not a member of the demographic this book may be aimed at.

However, having never been tempted to buy any of the additional Star Wars merchandise or novelizations (okay, I admit I would like to build the lego ships), or even to watch Episodes I, II, or III more than once, it was a nice glimpse into what these other books have to offer--which for some reason I had always assumed were just more of the same caliber as the movies themselves or worse (cranked out drivel).

Overall, I give this a 3.5-4.0 because I largely enjoyed the essays, and in the end, learned a lot more about the EU (The Extended Universe) than I would have had I continued on in my Star Wars starved existence. One of the other reviewers said it was a must for a "complete" Star Wars collection. I would say, it is a must for anyone who is determined to have a minimalist Star Wars collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Suitable for both critics and fans, full of humor and enthusiasm
Intellectually, the Prosecution wins the case with flying colors. Emotionally though, the Defense makes some very good points.

The book is written with humor and enthusiasm, all contributors from both sides are obviously having fun and it should be noted that everybody acknowledges the fun and entertainment value of Star Wars and its ability to make us dream. Including David Brin who gives praise and respect to George Lucas in his opening statement (p.47).

I think the book will appeal not only to Star Wars critics, but to its fans as well. An extremely entertaining read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wicked piece of work
If you like the SW universe and think it's fine as-is, don't get this. If you dislike the SW universe and share the opinions Dr. Brin expressed in his salon.com article - take a pass here.

If you like the SW universe, but ever found yourself feeling a little disturbed by the implications of certain scenes or events in the movies, GET THIS. Brin gets WAY too caught up in delivering his panegyric about American society and humanist values, but that doesn't mean the man can't make a few valid shots.

The grousing about whether SW belongs on the fantasy or SF shelf is ridiculous. It's like trying to argue if Firefly belongs on the SF or Western shelf. Ditto with the usual "death of the midlist" argument and "dumbing down SF" arguments that also undercut their argument they're populists who trust the common man (after all, the common man isn't paying attention to the REAL story. Furthermore, they read THOSE books, and not the ones who will Uplift - pun intentional - them). The upside is that Karen Traviss's essay is one of several hilarious rebuttals.

Many of these arguments are like really good fanfic - they stretch the limits of that universe and make may out of the holes and bugs they find there. Some get really creative in explaining certain things - I'm thinking Brin's take on Yoda and Metzger's idea of the Jedi as more or less like Neo from the Matrix - exploiters of the universe's programming bugs.

These guys don't go far into the Expanded U, so don't expect any debate on the Vong or the Ruusan events. If you wanted to pass this along to your fellow SW fans, though, I'm sure they'd love to expand it to those.

5-0 out of 5 stars A total delight!
Before you read the review, I do give some things away, so be warned!
Star Wars On Trial was fun to read and even made a few points that I had not thought of before.Oh, they had the normal stuff - weak or bad science, plot holes, stupid characters.Some of it was new - never thought of the Jedi as being just as bad as the Sith.Not Evil, as much as overbearing, too powerful, too smug.The idea that bringing balance back to the Force meant destroying both the Jedi and the Sith was a new idea that hit me like a train from behind.
Also, on a more serious note, the chapters dealing with sexism really did seem to make me think about many of the scenes in which the female characters seem to do nothing to help the plot, their fellow comrades or the Republic - Old or New.And they could have done so much.
A must for any fan of the movies but be prepared to laugh, cry and, yes, sometimes wonder if the people in the book are sometimes taking the whole thing too seriously. ... Read more

19. The Life Eaters
by David Brin
Paperback: 144 Pages (2004-11-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401200990
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Graphic Novel ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, but...
"The Life Eaters" is taken from a 1980's novella by David Brin which posits that WWII was going our way until the arrival on Earth of the Norse gods, who promptly sided with the Nazis and turned the tide in their favor. While I found the concept behind this story quite fascinating - the Nazis, being sociopathic occultists, quite probably believed that by offering up sacrifies in the millions to the Norse gods, they could conjure them up to help them win the war - this story is too "factually" inaccurate to be believable. I offer my criticisms below:

1)It's 1962, and the United States hasn't yet developed ICBMs, or more advanced weaponry to deal with the Aesir (as the Norse gods are called)? In fact, we've just put men into space for the first time. Totally unbeliveable. The presence of the Aesir would guarantee that the Allies would be doing round the clock R&D to come up with some heavy duty firepower to end the war.

2)The Nazis didn't invade Britain until the 1950's. How plausible is that? The story details our possession of first nuclear, then thermonuclear, weapons, so it would stand to reason that Hitler & Co. would be quite eager to occupy Britain as soon as possible and eliminate our nuclear armed bombers as a threat.

3)The story acknowledges that the Aesir can in fact be killed - in one scene, a major character talks about how they've been killed on the battlefield, and in a final scene, Odin laments the death of one of his sons when the Allies nuked Berlin. So how are these 'gods' so 'invincible' that the war has dragged on for over 2 decades?

4)If the Aesir are powerful enough to turn the tide of the war by relentlessly driving the Allies before them, how is it that the Middle East, which was always a prime German target, has escaped unscathed? Brin postulates that the only Aesir to take our side, Loki, facilitated the escape to Iran of millions of Jews from Europe, and they've been keeping the Nazis at bay. This negates the idea that the Aesir are invincible.

5)Regardless of how powerful the Aesir are, the Germans are quite mortal, and if you kill enough of them their war effort would collapse. Several of the characters lament that the Allies didn't incinerate Germany "back in '55" - this is ostensibly because the Allied leadership was worried about the effects of "nuclear winter". That is absurd. Your very existance is threatened, and you're not going to fry the enemy and their god-allies because the temperature might drop?

Although a solid premise, the story is very weak on 'believable' scenarios.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect gift!
I bought this for my husband's birthday, and he absolutely loves it! He is a newbie to the world of graphic novels, but Life Eaters consists of a combination of occult magic, outer space and Nazi-ism, which are all interests of ours. [...]

2-0 out of 5 stars Good short story. Lousy comic.
The Life Eaters (Brin / Hampton): David Brin's short story, "Thor Meets Captain America" was nominated, rightfully, for a Hugo. It is an unusual - and bleak - take on alternate history, in which the Norse Gods pop down from Asgard to help Germany in World War II. In The Life Eaters, Brin adapts his own work into a graphic novel, and then extends the adventure.

Scott Hampton's work is stunning - beautifully painted scenes that do their best to add a certain Alex Ross-like gravity to the subject material. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much material to work with.

(More, plus an equally snarky savaging of the Books of Magick: Life During Wartime after the jump)

Brin, although an author of considerable talent, struggles with the comic book medium. Vast swathes of text dominate each page, and the graphic novel only intermittantly drops down for brief interludes of dialogue and violence.

As a whole, The Life Eaters is awkwardly paced. The first half is a direct transposition of the short story into illustrated form - rather than a translation into the comic medium. The second half is stilted and rushed, like Brin just mailed a stack of notes to Hampton and called it a day. Whereas the first half is at least a decent story (if not a good comic book), the latter half of The Life Eaters is almost incomprehensible (and this despite the presence of expository text on every page).

Comic books are a medium - just like books, movies and television. Just as a good comic book can make a very bad movie, a good short story can make a terrible comic book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre
This book really had a lot going for it.

The artwork in the title is quite amazing and can hold its own with most painted comic art (e.g. Moonshadow, Kingdom Come, Lucifer, Golden Age, etc.).

The story has some fascinating insights in to alternate history and it deals heavily with the troubles of nationalism, religion and militarism coming together.

But the execution of the story is troublesome. Does it want to be an Italo Calvino style abstract fairly tale or does it want to be a Nausicaa style post-apocalyptic ecological fable? I'm not entirely sure the story has any idea, it tries to get both streams at once but the elements seem to conflict with each other.

When I read this, I had the sinking feeling that it was supposed to unfold over thirty issues. And, as a thirty issue series, it actually would have been kind of cool when it moves to the shocking revelations.

As a single slim volume, you get something that is rushed, messy and rather confusing.

Sadly, it doesn't work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept and Engrossing Artwork
This is a very unique and interesting look at an alternate history of the second world war (probably one of the two most popular subjects of alternate history).Of course, it does require a more fantastical tendency of the reader, as you have to be willing to accept the possibilities of magic in one form or another.While this "graphic novel" does offer some intriguing plot devices in the beginning sections, it soon falters and fizzles as the end nears.Unfortunately, it does seem as though David Brin (or whomever finalized the story for his adapted work) did not know how to create a satisfactory ending.Do not expect a magnificent finish to this piece.
However, despite the faltering story, the concepts and artwork of this work do not disappoint.Although it may not be as beautiful as the front cover, it is very close to it in detail and color.Compared to childhood comics, with strips that generally look like chicken scratchings, each panel is a bit of artwork in itself.
David Brin's work, in my opinion, has always focused more on new concepts and cultural viewpoints than on true storylines.Ultimately, you should buy this product for its interesting concepts and great artwork, not for a satisfying story. ... Read more

20. Earth
by David Brin
 Hardcover: 601 Pages (1990)
-- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002ALQ7LI
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