The Uplift War by David Brin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book nearly as much as I loved Startide Rising.
Back in the day, I read both of these, or indeed, any David Brin, with nothing short of awe. Not only were the books full of wonderful stories and characters, digging into my chest and pulling my still-beating heart out of my chest, but they were also some of the most amazing world-building achievements, rocking such wonderful imagination, that I frankly held them up as some of the most glorious examples of SF that SF could offer.
In short, I was a total fanboy, but for many great reasons that I could enumerate, ad nauseam, without ever falling back on a silly, "but I enjoyed it" argument.
The irony was glorious. The language play was superb. The pure SFnal discussion about intellect/heart/will and how it applies to a highly complex form of Darwinism and its questioners was glorious. And on top of all of this, I was rocking a "I really enjoyed it" adventure featuring guerilla warfare, species adaptability, and a long-form joke in the form of a full novel that worked on so many levels that I can't stop chuckling, even now.
In short, this book not only deserves all the awards it got back in the day, but it STILL deserves massive praise for being one of the best-crafted SF of all time, along with Startide Rising.
It's not just my fanboy-ism about David Brin. These books should not be swept under the rug of SFnal history. The '80s were a fantastic decade for SF. The writers all raised the tone, pushed so many envelopes, and added so much to the genre. Not only were they becoming literature, but they were also pushing the envelope of pure imagination and speculation and doing it in brilliant ways.
I'm still shocked at how complex and beautiful these two novels are. It rather puts most modern SF to utter shame.
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