I feel like I should start this with a disclaimer: I don't usually read things that, when described to me, bring back memories of all the Christian Riese Lassen folders I owned in elementary school.
So, basically that means I don't usually read things that can be summarized as dolphins in space. Especially when they have 80s-tastic cover art like this:
But, a friend with taste that I only question about half of the time less than other people said I should read it, and so I did.
And you know what? It wasn't bad.
I'd go so far as to say it was actually good.
That's right. A novel about dolphins in space is actually pretty good. And I say that in spite of sexual tension between dolphins.... and dolphins and humans for that matter.
Though, I have to admit, because of this book, I'm now able to put dolphins in the same category as my parents: I'm aware that they have sex, but I don't want to talk about it. You know what? NEVERMIND. THEY DON'T. THEY NEVER HAVE SEX. EVER.
Except they do. They totally do.
Okay. It only happens once in the book, but you know what? Once is a lot as far as I'm concerned.
So, Startide Rising is not the first book in the Uplift series, but I've been assured that it's the most enjoyable, hence why I'm starting with it. And you know what? It really was enjoyable. I never thought in a million years that I would be entertained by a book like this.
From the space battle that rages overhead to gain control of crashed maiden voyage of a dolphin spaceship, to the complex relationship that humans have with the rest of the universe, this books is nonstop science-fiction/action goodness.
And the premise is the most intriguing part. Imagine a universe where every species is brought to sentience through a patron race who then genetically controls the very nature of their being (some might call it slavery, and others, tyranny). Throw humans in, who seem to have evolved on their own, though most people think their patron race skedaddled, and you have political and theoretical upheaval like you've never seen in sci-fi. Then have the humans decide to patron their own client races but give them some semblance of freewill, and all you get is a lot of scared aliens and fantastic sci-fi.
With some dolphin fucking... but whatever.
My only qualm with the book is the amount of names you have to associate with dolphins that all look the same to me in my head. I don't really know the difference between the dolphins, and honestly, until now, I only though there were two species of it. Just so you know, there are thirty-two species, and after viewing the link I'm providing here, I'm feeling really rather stupid. Thus, if you think all dolphins look like grey bottlenoses, you may have the same problem I did keeping track of the dolphin characters.
Aside from that, the book is a genuinely good read. It's filled with action, aliens, and philosophy. What else do you need?