Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

December 27, 2018

The Postman by David Brin

Filed under: Science Fiction — Tags: — Randolph @ 2:42 pm

The Postman  by David Brin

In The Postman, David Brin tells the story of men in a post-apocalyptic world. Set in the near future (but an alternate past for today), the protagonist, Gordon Krantz, is traveling west looking for a place in the world.

It is set in Oregon almost two decades after a nuclear war where the young have no memory of the pre-apocalypse. Early in the book, it is Winter when he is robbed by three men who take everything of value that he has. Cold and seeking shelter, he finds a wrecked mail car with a dead mailman. Taking the dead man’s clothing and a mail sack so he’ll have something to read. This action determines his fate and that or Oregon.

In order to gain food and shelter, he presents himself as a mailman of a reformed USA. Shuffling through his bag, he is able to find a few letters to deliver to local survivors. His conscious bothers him for the lies, but his subconscious compels him to continue the farce.

In trial after trial, he is only trying to survive, but the uniform and his subconscious call him into action, he, or rather his uniform, becomes a symbol of a united country. Where he goes, people are inspired and form their own post offices. In spite of his own desires, he is making a truth out of his fiction.

David Brin has built a compelling picture of this world and its characters. The story is compelling and very well-told.

May 11, 2013

Startide Rising by David Brin

Filed under: Science Fiction,Series — Tags: , , — Randolph @ 7:27 pm

Startide Rising by David Brin

This is the second book in David Brin’s Uplift Saga. It provides a good introduction to the aliens and galactic politics.

In this story, a small ship, crewed by dolphis, a few humans, and a chimp, stumble across a fleet of derelict starships from a lost race. The prize is valued by many species, and the Earthling crew has to struggle for survival as the powerful races fight over the right to capture them to learn the fleet’s location.

The characters are well developed, including a number of the bad guys who were interesting and creative. The personalities of the dolphins seemed appropriate and well though out. They have unique characteristics that makes them feel a bit alien yet very familiar to us.

There was one weak point that bothered me. One of the bad guys had to explain everything to a person he was about to kill. It felt a lot like a gimmick, ok, it was a gimmick. It was a message to the reader and a minor plot device. I expect better from good authors. This flaw did not really affect the reading in my opinion.

Overall the book moves at a good pace; the writing is good and the story inviting. The story has interesting politics and characters. It is a good read for anyone who mildly likes science fiction.

February 25, 2013

Sundiver by David Brin

Filed under: Science Fiction,Series — Tags: , , — Randolph @ 10:07 am

Sundiver by David Brin

David Brin has a degree in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in space science from UCSD. He writes hard science fiction, and has won 2 Hugos (Startide Rising 1984, The Uplift War 1987) and 1 Nebula award (Startide Rising). Half of his books are part of the Uplift series for which he is famous.

Sundiver is the first in the Uplift series. It introduces us to the concept of the uplift, which is where a senior species with space travel selects a primitive race. Then through training and genetics, helps that species advance to the point of space travel. That species then owes service to the senior.

In Sundiver, the self-uplifting humans work with a team of aliens to dive into the Sun to explore a new sentient species unknown to the galaxy. The first dive ended in disaster, and a subsequent trip has problems that suggest sabotage. The story has intrigue and borders on being a mystery, except that the reader does not have sufficient backstory information to attempt a solution and must follow the story line.

The book sets up some interesting politics and potential for further stories, evidenced by the large number of books in the series. We are introduced to a new Earth with restrictions on travel, some odd cultural subgroups, and alien zones. Since humanity is self-uplifted, there is some resentment among other species who owe debts for having space travel and being part of a galactic community. We only experience a few aliens, they are unique and well thought out.

I had difficulty understanding the main character, Jacob Demwa. His character was not well defined for me, maybe I missed something. The book opened with him working with some sentient dolphins, when he was invited to join an expedition to study the solar chromosphere. It wasn’t clear why this character was important to the project. In spite of this weakness, the story is well told, the technology is interesting, and the pace is very good.

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