Book Review: Sundiver - David Brin

by @edent | , | 1 comment

A multicoloured doughnut spaceship approaches the sun.

In all the universe, 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? And if so, why did they abandon us?
Under the caverns of Mercury, Expedition Sundiver prepares for the most momentous voyage in our history, a journey into the boiling inferno of the sun... to seek our destiny in the cosmic order of life.

An absolutely crackling sci-fi story. One of the rare novels which has the aliens being alien. No human-sized and -shaped creatures acting as thin allegories for human races.

It's always amusing seeing what writers from the 1980s predicted the future would look like. We get laser beams, retinal scans, and holography. But people don't have mobile phones and rely on landlines for calls! Important documents are printed off, and books have to be shipped across the solar system. They are charming anachronisms, and more than offset by the progressive gender politics and bonkers plot.

You may be familiar with this meme:

In Sundiver, one of the characters literally says "The Sun is haunted." And so, off on a merry jape we go! Spaceships! Aliens! Intrigue! Laser battles! Constitutional politics about library archiving practices and the rights of indentured servants. There is a lot going on, but it's written in an episodic way to keep everything zipping along.

There's half a dozen books in the series, and I'm going to enjoy spacing them out.

One thought on “Book Review: Sundiver - David Brin

  1. superkuh says:

    Sun Diver is one of my favorite exclusively David Brin books (his collab with Gregory Benford for “Heart of the Comet” is even better and holds up just as well). It’s a fun mix of a traditional detective story with an amazing setting and hard science plot elements. And that x-ray laser cooling? So cool.

    Here’s to hoping that when the DKIST (biggest solar telescope) turns on later this year or next it’s 4 meter mirror will finally resolve those intensely interesting bright points (in both visible and radio) on the sun in the plage downstreams channels.

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