Brightness Reef (Uplift S.)

by David Brin

Paperback, 1996



Call number




Orbit (1996), Paperback


Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML: Strange visitors throw a planet of refugees into chaos in this science fiction adventure by the author of New York Times bestseller The Uplift War. Book One in the Uplift Storm Trilogy Centuries ago, the Buyur race abandoned Jijo. Now off-limits to settlers, it�??s warded by guardian machines who will protect the planet until the Institutes of the Five Galaxies declare Jijo ready�??in another million years�??for new civilization. But mere laws and guardians can�??t keep out the desperate. Clandestine bands of �??sooners�?� have sneaked down to the lonely planet. Six intelligent races�??all refugees�??have bickered . . . then built a new society in the wilds of Jijo, hidden beneath forest canopies. Together they live in harmony�??and in fear of the day their illegal colony will be discovered and judgment from the Five Galaxies will rain down upon them. One day a strange starship finally does appear on Jijo. But its owners do not bring law or judgment. Only dire secrets. And they�??ll do whatever it takes to keep them . . . This ebook features a new introduction by the author. Hugo Award Finalist �??A captivating read . . . Brightness Reef leaves you looking forward to more. It�??s a worthy addition to what promises to be a great science fiction series.�?� �??Star Tribune �??Brin is a skillful storyteller. . . . There is more than enough action to keep the book exciting, and like all good serials, the first volume ends with a bang.�?� �??The Plain Dealer  �??A universe that�??s immensely appealing, leaving readers hungry for more of this exciting, epic adventure.�?� �??Publishers Weekly  �??Tremendously inventive, ambitious work.�?� �??Kirkus Reviews �??A timely, science fictional… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Spaceboy9702
The Uplift Trilogy, Book 1/3. This one is only about the group of sonner races who've settled on a forbidden world. Excellent.
LibraryThing member wfzimmerman
The title brings back the feeling of exuberant optimism that Brin fans felt at the beginning of this series, which, sadly, fizzled out into something of a disappointment as this trilogy ended up circling around a galactic sump hole, both literally and metaphorically.
LibraryThing member ascapola
The first of Brin's second Uplift trilogy has a slow start, but the complex array of characters do become quite gripping and the five or so parallel plot lines are handled well.

Set on Jijo, a reserved fallow planet, humans and other sapient species have established an understanding until a
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spaceship lands on the planet.
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LibraryThing member Gkarlives
I really enjoyed this series, but the first book is realy slow as the author sets the stage for the later books. I kept having this feeling that I should be able to predict the ending and wasn't overly suprised by it. Unfortunately, it had been a while since I had read Startide Rising and could not
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remeber the character so I was always a little annoyed.
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LibraryThing member Karlstar
Unlike the previous book which focused solely on human civilization, this book deals with how mutliple races can co-exist on an isolated planet - or not. Mixed in is the misfit human/chimp/dolphin civilization that always seems to find trouble, somehow. Really excellent.
LibraryThing member waya3k
It was a book that was really hard to get into.
LibraryThing member KirkLowery
Brin is an excellent writer, no matter that his cosmology and worldview is upwhacked. In particular, the Uplift series of books are especially inventive and entertaining.
LibraryThing member Nodosaurus
This book takes place on an abandoned world intended to be natural and develop its own races, who would hopefully be available for uplift. A small population of each of six races, in turn, have landed small colonies on the world. Their intent is to devolve and be re-uplifted, and hopefully to avoid
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attention and possible punishment from the stellar community. Humans are one of the six.

These races have ancient antipathy for each other. And each brings unique skills and histories. They have overcome their differences, and their are pieces of culture of each that has worked its way into the others, yet they do maintain separate communities.

The story revolves around the arrival of a spaceship or renegade humans. Their intent is unknown, and seems sinister. They aren't an official envoy, so they shouldn't be here, either.

This story shows us a different side of each of the races, including the humans. It maintains its suspense on the invaders, and latent tension among the six races.

Unfortunately, this book mostly sets up the series and doesn't resolve much of anything. The story is interesting, and a must read if you're interested in the Uplift series.
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LibraryThing member ScoLgo
This review covers all three books in the 2nd Uplift Trilogy, (Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heaven's Reach).

At the end of the day, this rather long story, (nearly 2,000 pages over three volumes), is a good book that leaves some big openings for more adventures in the Uplift Universe. With
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that said, I really enjoyed the first three Uplift books, (Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War), more than I did this second trilogy. I think that is due to the stand-alone nature of the initial three volumes. I liked that each of those books told a relatively complete story that was set against a larger backdrop that stayed mostly in the background. Further, this fourth installment, (again, I'm talking about three books here), could have stood some editing. There is quite a bit of repetition of information - and not all of that can be attributed to getting the reader up to speed with what happened in the preceding volume. Rather, it sometimes felt as though Brin had lost some threads and was reminding himself, (and the reader), of where things stood. At times, he was (validly) revisiting a situation from the perspective of a different character - but often it felt like redundant info-dumping. Yes, we know most of the Galactics are against the upstart human 'wolflings' and their client species, the neo-chimps and neo-dolphins - please stop hitting us with that particular truncheon!

On to the good things: The overall story is really pretty great. As an unabashed and unapologetic Space Opera tale, this 2nd Uplift Trilogy does not disappoint. Throughout these Uplift books, Brin has taken a 'kitchen-sink' approach to the science, (he even says so in the afterword). He throws one big idea on top of another on top of third and a fourth. And then keeps doing it! His position as consultant for NASA is showing here in a big way - and that's a good thing because the ideas are grand and he does a good job of laying it out for us lay-people. Among all that science and big ideas, there are also a wide variety of characters to track - and there is a fair amount of head-hopping as a result - but Brin is a talented enough writer that he pulls off that aspect quite well. Helping to ease the transitions, most perspective shifts happen at logical chapter breaks. Now, with such a large cast of players, some are bound to be more interesting than others and a handful of characters do seemingly get short shrift - but I can see where Brin might re-visit some of them in order to explore their stories in greater depth. There are also other characters from the first three books that don't show up here at all, (most notably the ones left behind on Kithrup at the end of Startide Rising - which was, for me, the standout book of the entire Uplift series). I hope Brin's future plans include coming back to tie up some of those loose ends.

Having finally finished this trilogy, I feel like I have completed a marathon. Not that I've ever run a real marathon! LOL! Still, with the unrelenting onslaught of difficulties that every character seemed to be going through, always battling uphill against incredible odds. Facing implacable enemies. Managing one hair-breadth escape after another... it's nice to call this one done - at least for now.

Next up, I might have to try a nice post-apocalyptic story - just to lighten the mood! ;)
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LibraryThing member Phrim
Brightness Reef is the fourth entry in Brin's Uplift series, but it is quite a departure from the other books in the series. Instead of being about humanity's integration into the wider (and far more advanced) galactic civilization, this is about life on a backwater planet where galactic politics
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is only a distant memory. A number of races, including humans, have made a tenuous peace on this planet, and humans even seem to have a bit of technological superiority. The main action occurs as foreign humans with possibly-nefarious plans (and much better technology) land and upset the peace. While this wildly-different setting does take some getting used to (especially as parts of the story are told by aliens), the story itself is interesting, though not nearly as compelling as in his previous works. My main complaint is that practically none of the major plot points is resolved by the end of the book, including how this story fits in with the larger galactic picture (and there are plenty of hints that it does). The story ends very suddenly, and with a bit of a cliffhanger. I suspect things will make a lot more sense after the next book, but I do with that some things got wrapped up here.
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LibraryThing member dbsovereign
A confusing mess, but despite this Brin takes us into new worlds and acquaints us with all sorts of new species and so it slips into a 3-star.
LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
I admit I had some difficulty getting into this. I was fascinated by the characters and the world, but that's not quite the same thing as being engaged and understanding it all. Despite this being the first book in a new Uplift series--and perhaps my problem is that I hadn't read Brin's earlier
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Uplift books, though I'd been told I could enter into this one instead--it really felt like I was entering into the middle of a series. The learning curve was a big one, and although I could get wrapped up in scenes and characters' stories easily enough, the larger picture was never easy to grasp. And, truth be told, I'm sure I missed quite a bit. I'd like to say that I'll go and read the earlier Uplift books and then re-read this one, but that's a big ask for a 700 page book which left me wishing that there'd been a bit more clarity and story included, vs. all of the incredible world-building (because world-building and character-building alone don't make books).

I am going to try to move into the next book in the series at some point, though I need a break before then. I'd recommend readers not enter into the Uplift universe through this book, though--I was told I could, but I suspect that wasn't an ideal choice.
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Hugo Award (Nominee — Novel — 1996)
Locus Award (Nominee — Science Fiction Novel — 1996)


Original publication date


Physical description

705 p.; 6.93 inches


1857233859 / 9781857233858
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