His entire Uplift Series is VERY good, but he does have some mildly infuriating tendencies as a writer. His narrative style is very different from most Sci-fi. He typically uses a very fractured narrative structure with many characters (25-30), where every little chapter (sometimes as few as 5 pages) ends in a minor cliffhanger. Sometimes he won't return to that cliffhanger for another 50 pages or so, at which point he sometimes does a quick gloss of what the resolution for it was, or maybe only refers to it in passing. Because of this, his books can be confusing and hard to get into in the beginning, then rapidly accelerating towards an awesome climax/resolution.

Don't read the Uplift series if you are looking for tight, all-wrapped-up-in-a-neat-package endings, though. The big questions at the beginning of Sundiver remain through the end of Heaven's Reach. The first 3 books of the series (Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War) can be read as standalone books, but the others really have Startide Rising as a prerequisite.
David Brin is one of the few old school sf authors left. I say that in the sense not that he writes like Heinlein or Asimov--rather, he is a scientist and a social thinker, a writer and a novelist, and quite good at all of the above. I found the Uplift series hard to get into, but that was because they required brainwork, something I'd forgotten about in terms of sf, I guess. And yet thinking is what science fiction is all about. There aren't many writers like Brin around anymore, who can combine both that sense of wonder and a thorough technical knowledge of the subject.

I highly recommend The Transparent Society.

The year 1950 marked the start of the greatest half-century of scientific and technological progress in the history of humanity. Every aspect of our world would be reshaped over the next 50 years by the flood of knowledge and capability unleashed by organized scientific inquiry. Appropriately enough, one of the greatest visionaries of the science fiction world, David Brin, was born in this year. Somehow better prepared for the future that is unfolding before us than most, Brin is an accomplished writer whose works span physical research, public policy, and science fiction in various media and lengths.

Like many of the best science fiction authors, Brin has impeccable scientific credentials. He earned a BS in physics from Caltech in 1973 and a doctorate from UCSD in 1981. Since then he has done research for NASA, the California Space Institute, and UCLA.

In addition to his scientific work, Brin writes literary criticism and public affairs commentary for publications such as the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, the Times of London, and New Scientist. He has published a book-length treatment of public policy as it relates to individual privacy, The Transparent Society, in which he argues for all data from all people to always be public record.

But he is best known as one of the three B's of science fiction. Through the 1980s and 1990s he, along with Greg Bear and Gregory Benford, re-established hard, scientifically based fiction as the backbone of the science-fiction genre. Through the New Wave of science fiction in the late 1960s and through the 1970s "sciences" such as sociology and psychoanalysis came into science fiction vogue. These stories were largely fantasies, attempts by the authors to question social issues and to advance (primarily leftist) social theories in worlds loosely modeled on our own.

That era was conclusively ended in 1980 with the publication of Brin's first novel, Sundiver. The first novel in the Uplift series, Sundiver represented a radical change in the way science fiction had been done for the past decade. Physics and biology returned to the forefront as Brin followed the logical consequences of our steadily growing biological knowledge to a new set of galactic implications. In the process, he invented a profound new rationale for the formation of galactic civilization, Uplift, and changed science fiction forever.

Uplift is the first serious contender to the imperial urge to empire as an organizing principle for a galactic civilization. To uplift is to take a pre-sentient species and, through the application of advanced genetic engineering techniques, bring the species to a state of full, language-using, tool-making, symbol-manipulating intelligence. On a civilizational scale it provides a moral imperative capable of knitting together tens of thousands of civilizations on millions of worlds.

The Uplift series continued through two more books in the original series, Startide Rising (1984) and The Uplift War (1988), both of which won Hugo Awards for best novel. Brin penned three more Uplift novels in the 1990s, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heaven's Reach, which are essentially followups to Startide Rising.

In addition to the Uplift novels Brin has written stand alone science fiction, novels set in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe, and has collaborated with Gregory Benford on a science fiction novel, Heart of the Comet.


  • Startide Rising, Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1984, Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1983
  • The Crystal Spheres, Hugo Award, Best Short Story, 1985
  • John W. Campell Award, 1986
  • The Uplift War, Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1988



Short Fiction

Non Fiction

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