Book Review: Startide Rising by David Brin

Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2)

Startide Rising by David Brin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was made for lovers of classic science fiction, which is why I stopped in my tracks after seeing it in a pile of pulled library books and immediately took it home. Sentient space dolphins. Language play with poetry. Warring alien races. Hostile marine environments. Won the Nebula. Won the Hugo. Written in the bizarrely fantastic weird world of 1980s space opera. Yes, please.

This book is everything you think it’s going to be. It’s an adventure on an epic scope. There are tons of characters, most of them dolphin and human spacefaring crewmates, who spin in a delicate dance of heroes, traitors, scoundrels, friends, lovers, scholars, and philosophers. Along the way, there are interesting ideas explored about sentience–what makes someone human and whole? There’s also a clear message of responsibility and respect for our fellow living beings and their potential for intelligences that we may never understand. Is this book without flaw? No. But is it the best of what it promised to be? Quite possibly. It feels very much like a very long Star Trek episode, starring a cast of mostly dolphins, and in the world of space opera, at least in my book, that’s a great thing. 5/5

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