View Full Version : Book Review: Brightness Reef

7th August 2002, 07:07 PM
Brightness Reef is written by David Brin.

This book is Science Fiction.

Brightness Reef is a book written in the world created by David Brin in the novel Startide Rising (reffered to as an Uplift novel). There are 6 books written in this Universe, which are (in order), Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heavens Reach. Of these books, the first 3 are stand alone novels (albiet set in the same universe), whilst the last 3 are a trilogy (although it isn't easy to tell this from the novels, as they aren't clearly labelled as a trilogy). In addition to the Uplift novels, David Brin has also written several other stand alone books. Oh, and he won the Hugo and Nebula awards, although I haven't a clue for which book.

Bear with me here, there is alot of background information. OK, the story centers on the planet of Jijo, an old world that was settled by a space faring race known as the Buyur over a million years before the story starts. Under the rules of the Galactic Institutions, once their tenancy period was over, they had to abandon the planet for a period of less than 2 million years, after removing all trace of thier occupation, to allow new races to evolve to pre-sapience. Under the same edict, no other race is permitted to colonise Jijo until this period of time has expired on pain of severe punishment (and possibly even racial extinction).
However, to this particular planet 6 races have come in sneakships, navigating their way through the arrays of robot sentinels to find somewhere to occupy. Each of the 6 races came for a different reason, but each of them seeks the same thing - be left alone. The wheeled g'Kek, genetically engineered by their patron race came seeking to escape from persecution. The centauroid Urs came to find a planet free from strict population control. The gentle traeki came to escape themselves, and the fearsome reputation their race holds in the galaxy as a large. The Qheuens and the Hoons came to escape a period of indentured servitude spanning 100 thousand years. And lastly came the humans, trying to keep the human race alive in a very hostile galaxy.
Over 300 years the races have struck a peace between them, aided by a mysterious artifact known as the Egg. This Commons holds until the arrival of 2 starships, bringing strangers from the galaxy to a primitive and regressed society.

There are a multitude of characters in this book, so much so I can't begin to detail them. They represent pretty much all the races (including the traeki, a race that has no differentiation between singular and plural, and thats quite an interesting feat) and are surprisingly believeable.

The story is told from multiple perpectives, and with multiple plot and sub plots. It is actually quite complicated at first, given some of the perspectives are from aliens who have some very wierd ways of seeing things. It can also be a bit slow, particularly at the start of the book, but is incredibly detailed in its world view.

So, is the book a good read? Yes, yes, and thrice yes! Its probably one of the best books I have read this year, and the fact that it is part of a trilogy is actually a positive point to me (cos it means I can run out and buy the next 2 books). As a book, it is far more polished than Startide Rising, and manages to get across the strangeness of this world very well indeed. As Science Fiction, I would say the Uplift Universe is very interesting, and more than a little intriguing. There is enormous scope for books to be written, and yet although each book can be read alone (exempting this trilogy, obviously), they also relate to each other as well, so whilst your understanding of the books is enhanced by reading the others, you don't have to read them in order. Overall it is actually an amazing piece of work, and I my only gripe is that David Brin takes too long to write these books! :)


7th August 2002, 09:24 PM
Here are some of David Brin books and awards:

Startide Rising, 1983
WINNER: 1983 Nebula, Hugo, and LOCUS Awards for Best Novel

The Postman, 1985
NOMINEE: 1986 Nebula and Hugo Awards
WINNER: LOCUS and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for Best Novel, "Best" for young adults, American Library Association

The Uplift War, 1987
NY Times Bestseller
WINNER: Hugo and LOCUS Awards for Best Novel, 1988
NOMINEE: 1988 Nebula award for Best Novel

Earth, 1990
NOMINEE: 1991 Hugo award for Best Novel (runner-up)

Glory Season, 1993
NOMINEE: 1994 Hugo award for Best Novel

Brightness Reef, 1995
NOMINEE: 1996 Hugo award for Best Novel

7th August 2002, 09:30 PM
Thanks for that Ohms,
my goodness that IS alot of awards! :eek:


7th August 2002, 10:49 PM
I found an untouched copy of “Startide Rising” on my bookshelf must have been there for years. :eek: It's time to break it in.:) The only book I have read by Brin is “Glory Season” some years back.

8th August 2002, 06:47 AM
I think,
from what I have seen, that Sundiver is actually the first book chronologically. But having said that, Startide Rising can definately be read on its own.... :)


8th August 2002, 10:53 AM
My wife has solved the mystery of the untouched Brin novel, which had me all confused after finding it. She said I bought the book while she was reading the trilogy she got from the library. I put the book up thinking I won’t start reading it until I get the whole series. That was based on false info. Before reading your review I thought there were six books in the series. Thanks for the review

8th August 2002, 05:21 PM
yeah that definately confused me as well. I picked up a copy of Heavens Reach in a book store, and it said "The final episode of the 2nd Uplift trilogy". Thats not actually true - the first 3 can be read seperately, the next 3 are more of a conventional trilogy.