David Brin

- Bibliografija

Podizanje zvezdane plime

David Brin

Crewed by genetically engineered neo-dolphins and advised by humans, the starship Streaker has been sent on a mission to verify facts in "the Library." This intergalactic encyclopedia is viewed as infallible by the vastly superior alien races with whom the Earthlings share the universe. The very act of verifying its contents is seen as insulting, if not heretical, by those powers.

And yet Streaker has discovered something new. In a spatial backwater, overlooked for billions of years, lies a fleet of derelict starships. The crew broadcasts the news ... and unwittingly sets off a holy war.

Suddenly Streaker's mission has been transformed from one of exploration to one of survival as alien factions attack it. A near-fatal ambush forces the now badly damaged ship to seek refuge on a forgotten water world. But just after Streaker slips into the planet's ocean, a half-dozen alien races arrive, beginning an apocalyptic battle for the right to capture her.

Worse yet, humanity at large and its two genetically enhanced "children"--neo-chimpanzees and neo-dolphins--are the galaxy's ultimate underdogs. While every other sentient, starfaring species was "uplifted" by another, older patron species, humanity appears to have either accomplished the almost impossible task by itself, or been abandoned by its patron species. And without patrons--and the eons-old set of alliances they offer--humanity is as much alone and threatened as the solitary Streaker.

The Streaker's crew must find some way to repair their ship, make sense of the secret they unwittingly revealed, escape from their refuge-turned-deathtrap and find their way home.

Real aliens, great dolphins

Like the rest of David Brin's Uplift series, Startide Rising is unapologetic space opera, but it's a good space opera. Brin offers readers a vibrant, anything-goes universe teeming with intelligent life, strange technologies and intriguing methods of travel. His aliens are not generic humanoid clones. Instead they are true aliens, with their own bizarre cultures, rituals and motivations. And while the novel teems with exotic technology, Brin doesn't give his heroes any easy outs. All of their victories are hard-fought, and through it all they stay true to their beliefs.

But the most impressive element in Startide Rising is the dolphins, who are intelligent but retain feelings and actions that are fundamentally dolphin. Their language, called Trinary, is one example. It's a haiku-like tongue that relies on poetry, rhymes and wit--just the sort of language folks would expect "fins" to have. As the stress on the Streaker's crew intensifies, the animal side of these creatures comes to the fore and makes their attempts to survive all the more heroic.

The book is not without its faults. As in most of Brin's Uplift books, closure is almost non-existent. The big questions are left unanswered, as are myriad smaller ones. This nasty habit is at its worst in Startide Rising--although readers were introduced to the Streaker in 1983, the ship's fate was left hanging until the mid-'90s!

Ultimately though, Brin's dangling plot lines are only a minor weakness that Startide Rising's strengths more than make up for. It's an intense, suspenseful page-turner that demonstrates just how good space opera can be.