Book 1, Uplift
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
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.
From the Paperback edition.
A good read.
The book is great, but I gave it four out of five stars due to the spelling and grammar errors that should have been fixed by now.
A Good First Novel, Worth Reading
I'm glad I read Sundiver prior to Startide Rising (which I'm about to begin). It's filled with great imagery and underscored by a unique story/universe populated by well drawn main characters. The technology is all based on verifiable science (Brin has a PhD in astrophysics), which lends an air of plausibility to the crew's endeavor. It manages to remain intellectually stimulating while avoiding overuse of technobabble and jargon. The balance between action, politics and interpersonal/interspecies dynamics proved engaging and I had no problem finishing Sundiver in a few casual sessions.
Like most first novels it has flaws. Perhaps greatest of these is a lot of telling where showing would have been just as easy. At times we get twenty or so page blocks of exposition and ping-pong dialogue that gets tiresome...but soon enough we're back on the sunship making another dive and the threat of boredom vanishes. The book could well have been fifty+ pages shorter and conveyed the same story but the journey was worth it and we get a good deal of info regarding galactic interactions that I'm sure will come in handy for future novels in the series.
Other minor annoyances crop up from time to time, like quick shifts in plot and tone, secondary characters that show up and then vanish, and a tendency toward overwrought description. The novel also has a hint of sparkly-eyed naiveté, especially when it comes to romance/sex. In fairness we get this a lot with sci-fi but in the end it's the relationship between Demwa and Helene that really cemented me and kept me invested till the last page. The book leaves you with a certain warmness that's quite nice but not saccharine or trite. Our heroes have won the battle and have time now to take a relaxing breath...but a much larger conflict looms on the horizon.
Recommended for sci-fi fans. I think there might even be a tongue-in-cheek nod to contemporary novel Gateway (Pohl) toward the end. Good stuff.
Note To Publisher: Pay someone a hundred bucks to go through the electronic edition and fix all the bloody typos and mistakes. I didn't deduct any stars as these were reasonably easy to gloss over but I mean c'mon...if even a single pair of semi-competent human eyes skimmed this over before uploading at least 95% of the errors wouldn't be there. A half-baked transfer doesn't do this classic any justice.