Home > Book Reviews > Sundiver by David Brin

Sundiver by David Brin

David Brin’s Sundiver was extremely unusual, a mix of hard core science fiction and mystery.

What I found both annoying and yet fascinating was how the mystery unfolded.  Brin shows the characters taking some inexplicable action or making what appears to be a non-sequitur and then cutting the scene.  In the next chapter, the character reveals all — well, all that he or she has surmised to that point, which may or may not be correct.

An unusual book in that it describes an inter-galactic incident, but throughout the novel the reader really has no idea of what the plot is all about.  Nothing like the formulaic plotlines of most epic fantasy quest novels:  baby is born, prophesy is given, go find the quest item, meet an “Obi Wan” mentor, destroy the evil one, idyllic existence for ever after.

The “Hercule Poirot” gathering-of-the-suspects was interesting, particularly since it was revealed about 2/3 of the way through the book, not in the final pages.

Some ideas which I enjoyed:

  • the mystique of Jacob Demwa’s dual personality.  Is he insane?  Is he possessed?  What’s really going on here?
  • the method for cooling the ship which was to enter the atmosphere of the sun
  • the apparent uniqueness of humankind who did not need another ancient alien race to “uplift” them (not confirmed in the novel, but believed by many)
  • the political, bureaucratic nature of the patron/client relationships, which frankly made me a bit angry
  • the “broccoli-like” alien race that Fagin represents — one of the most sympathetic and likable characters in the book

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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