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Heaven's Reach (New Uplift Series #3)

Heaven's Reach (New Uplift Series #3)

4.4 9
by David Brin

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In Brightness Reef and Infinity's Shore, David Brin boldly returned to the Uplift universe he so brilliantly invented in the Nebula and Hugo award-winning trilogy Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War. Now he concludes this second trilogy with his most imaginative and emotionally powerful novel to date—the shattering epic of


In Brightness Reef and Infinity's Shore, David Brin boldly returned to the Uplift universe he so brilliantly invented in the Nebula and Hugo award-winning trilogy Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War. Now he concludes this second trilogy with his most imaginative and emotionally powerful novel to date—the shattering epic of a universe poised on the brink of revelation...or annihilation.

After centuries of mutual peace, the "sooner" experiment on planet Jijo is coming to a tragic end. The six fugitive races that escaped there from the Five Galaxies have been discovered by ancient enemies. The terrifying Jophur have plans for the exiled inhabitants: a program of genocide and forced breeding to suit their own perverted needs.

The Jijoans' only hope is the very ship that inadvertently led the Jophur to their obscure planet. The Earthship Streaker, crewed by uplifted dolphins, commanded by an untested human, engages the Jophur in a desperate race to a mysterious point in space that could well mean the destruction of them both. Yet more than just the fate of Jijo hangs in the balance. For Streaker carries a cargo of ancient artifacts that may unlock the secret of the Progenitors, the mythical race that first brought sapience to the galaxies. Some believe a dire prophecy is already coming to pass: an age of terrifying changes in time and space that could end galactic civilization.

Against this apocalyptic backdrop, sapient beings, both human and alien, must come together to face the ultimate crisis. An uplifted chimpanzee scout must overcome prejudice and his own limitations to survive the bizarreterrors of increasingly unstable hyperspace. A brilliant scientist attempts to wrest order from onrushing chaos. Streaker's commander will push the limits of courage and skill as she plunges her crew headlong into the unknown. And two lovers from Jijo, prisoners of the Jophur, embark on a perilous journey, which will either transform them...or destroy them.

Already dozens of white dwarf stars stand ready to explode, as if guided by an unseen hand, while countless reclusive Old Ones gather in search of ultimate transcendence.

As worlds are sundered and hyperspace becomes impassable, the survival of sentient life in the universe rests on an improbable hope: that age-old antagonists of different races can at last recognize the unity of all consciousness.

Once again David Brin has combined brilliant intellectual speculation, dazzling characterization, and breakneck action in a novel that reaches the pinnacle of achievement: a galactic panorama of wonder and wisdom, insight and adventure, in which he reveals mysteries that may lie at the heart of the universe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The final book in Brin's Uplift Storm Trilogy (Infinity's Shore; Brightness Reef) sets space opera against a canvas that spans the galaxies, colored with interstellar conflict and peopled with smart-mouthed chimpanzees, overwhelmed humans and neo-dolphins who form the stalwart crew of the spaceship Streaker. The narrative, which unfolds at frenzied speed, opens with the Earth under attack by an alliance of evil aliens, the essence of space itself shaking apart and the beleaguered Streaker, captained by Dr. Gillian Baskin, trying to outrun a Jophurian battleship that seeks to destroy it. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of a wormhole that delivers the Streaker to the Old Ones, the godlike beings responsible for nurturing sentient life throughout the Five Galaxies and for inaugurating the UpLift process. While Baskin and her crew fear that the Old Ones are offering them "the embrace of gravitational tides," an interplanetary form of comfortable retirement, they learn that in fact they have been selected for a very special purpose: to journey to remote space, where the missing eight of the original Thirteen Civilized Galaxies wait to be contacted. Tension builds and buildsand then stumbles to a stop. Brin fans will find plenty to gorge themselves on here, including Niss Machines, Galactic Library cubes and Zang ship-entities, and Brin does offer answers to riddles he posed as far back as Startide Rising. But his choice of a conclusion for his massive and immensely popular trilogy proves a letdown, and then some. (June)
VOYA - Ann Welton
Following his auspicious beginning in Brightness Reef (Bantam Spectra, 1995/VOYA April 1996), Brin completes his Uplift Trilogy with Infinity's Shore followed by Heaven's Reach. The second volume, exhibiting the author's prodigious strengths in world building, characterization, and plot line, takes Brin's engaging cast of characters from the surface of the planet Jijo to both the depths of the sea and the stars. Using shifting points of view, narrator, and voice, the reader follows numerous groups of native Jijoans as they battle for their endangered planet. For centuries, native religion has taught that the settlers on Jijo-there against an intergalactic injunction that set Galaxy Four aside as fallow-will be punished by Star Gods for their willful incursion. The Jijoans' way of life has centered around keeping their settlements disguised and their impact on the environment low. Their faith states that the only way to escape the wrath of the intergalactic authorities is to regress, to become simple and presapient, ready for another cycle of Uplift by a Patron race. These beliefs are instinctively countered when Jijo is attacked-first by gene raiders masquerading as benevolent leaders and then by the powerful and malignant Jophur, an evolved form of Jijo's gentle traeki rings. The plot follows a group of adventurous kids-wheeled, horse-like, or crablike-from the various races who settled Jijo illegally, as they descend to the depths of the Midden (a vast undersea dump) to find an item of value to their civilization. Instead, the youngsters are taken aboard a spaceship from Earth, the Streaker. Crewed by humans and dolphins, Streaker has been running from authorities across galaxies for three years, possessed of a secret that runs counter to the religious beliefs of the powers that be. Meanwhile, plot threads follow an intertwined set of characters-one a converted gene raider from the first invasion-who are trying to help save Jijo. The final volume takes the characters off Jijo and into space, where the Streaker's headlong journey brings the characters and the plot together in a climax that creates chaos in entire galaxies. It is rare for a well-written trilogy to fall down in the final volume, but this one does. Shorter than the first two volumes, the completing volume suffers from the repetition of facts and plot elements that any reader who has been with this book (much less the entire series) for more than five chapters already knows. Perhaps it is the process of un-mooring the book from Jijo, a beautifully-realized setting which is a character in itself, that is partly responsible for the less engaged storytelling of Heaven's Reach. Perhaps the inclusion of myriad scientific facts, related by a holographic entity called the Niss Machine, impedes the plot. Whatever the case, Heaven's Reach seems plodding and pedantic compared to the lithesome prose and can't-put-it-down readability of the first two volumes. The ending does tie up loose ends and provide satisfying, though complex, explanations. Any reader who has read the first two volumes will, of course, wish to read the third. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Heaven's Reach and Infinity's Shore. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Mark Shainblum
Heaven's Reach and its predecessor volumes are still extremely entertaining books because of the sheer richness of the background information.
SF Site
Kirkus Reviews
Final installment—the individual entries (Brightness Reef, 1995; Infinity's Shore, 1996) aren't particularly intelligible in their own right—of Brin's vast yarn about planet Jijo and its six alien races, all illegal immigrants living in terror of a visitation from the rulers of the Five Galaxies. The general idea is that the galaxy's older and wiser species, or "patrons," like to "uplift" lesser racesþthat is, raise them into full sentience by providing extra brains, speech mechanisms, and suchlike. So, from Earth come not only humans but uplifted neo-chimps and neo-dolphins, too. Brin does provide a cast list and a glossary, whereas even for regulars a plot summary would have been much more useful. Since Brin wrote the charming and inspiring The Postman (1985), his novels have grown ever more impenetrable and overambitious; like the rest of the trilogy, this one's hard to get into, hard to follow, and difficult to care about.

From the Publisher
"Brin, as usual, provides loads of action as he presents a galactic panorama to view and intellectual speculation to challenge the reader."
Sunday Life

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
New Uplift Series , #3
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.19(d)

Read an Excerpt

"Monitor mode. Report station status."

The holo display lit up, projecting a floating blue M, sans serif. A melodious voice emanated from the slowly revolving letter.

"Monitor mode. Station integrity is nominal. An alarm has been acknowledged by station superintendent Harry Harms at 4:48:52 internal subjective estimate time. . . ."

Harry Harms. Why don't you tell me something I don't know, like what the alarm's for, you shaggy excuse for a baldie's toup . . . ah . . . ah . . ."

A sneeze tore through Harry's curse. He wiped his eyes with the back of a hirsute wrist.

"The alarm denoted an interruption in our patrol circuit of E Level hyperspace," the monitor continued, unperturbed. "The station has apparently become mired in an anomaly region."

"You mean we're grounded on a reef. I already knew that much. But what kind of . . ." He muttered. "Oh, never mind. I'll go see for myself."

Harry ambled over to a set of vertical louvered blinds--one of six banks that rimmed the hexagonal chamber--and slipped a fingertip between two of the slats, prying them apart to make a narrow slit opening. He hesitated, then brought one eye forward to peer outside.

The station appeared to be shaped in its standard format, at least. Not like a whale, or jellyfish, or amorphous blob, thank Ifni. Sometimes this continuum had effects on physical objects that were gruesomely bizarre, or even fatal.

On this occasion the control chamber still perched like a glass cupola atop an oblate white spheroid, commanding a 360-degree view of a vast metaphorical realm--a dubious, dangerous, but seldommonotonous domain.

Jagged black mountains bobbed in the distance, like ebony icebergs, majestically traversing what resembled an endless sea of purple grass. The "sky" was a red-blue shade that could only be seen on E Level. It had holes in it.

So far so good.

Harry spread the slats wider to take in the foreground, and blinked in surprise at what he saw. The station rested on a glistening, slick brown surface. Spread across this expanse, for what might be a kilometer in all directions, lay a thick scattering of giant yellow starfish!

At least that was his first impression. Harry rushed to another bank of curtains and peeked again. More "starfish" lay on that side as well, dispersed randomly, but thickly enough to show no easy route past.

"Damn." From experience he knew it would be useless to try flying over the things. If they represented two-dimensional obstacles, they must be overcome in a two-dimensional way. That was how allaphorical logic worked in this zone of E Space.

Harry went back to the control board and touched a button. All the blinds retracted, revealing an abrupt panoramic view. Mountains and purple grass in the distance. Brown slickness closer in.

And yes, the station was completely surrounded by starfish. Yellow starfish everywhere.

"Pfeh." Harry shivered. Most of the jaundiced monsters had six arms, though some had five or seven. They didn't appear to be moving. That, at least, was a relief. Harry hated ambulatory allaphors.

"Pilot mode!" he commanded.

With a faint crackling, the floating helvetica M was replaced by a jaunty, cursive P.

"Aye aye, o' Person-Commander. Where to now, Henry?"

"Name's Harry," he grunted. The perky tones used by pilot mode might have been cheery and friendly in Anglic, but they came across as just plain silly in Galactic Seven. Yet the only available alternative meant substituting a voice chip programmed in whistle-clicking GalTwo. A Gubru dialect, even. He wasn't desperate enough to try that yet.

"Prepare to ease us along a perceived-flat course trajectory of two forty degrees, ship centered," he told the program. "Dead slow."

"Whatever you say, Boss-Sentient. Adapting interface parameters now."

Harry went back to the window, watching the station grow four huge wheels, bearing giant balloon tires with thick treads. Soon they began to turn. A squeaky whine, like rubbing your hand on a soapy countertop, penetrated the thick crystal panes.

As he had feared, the tires found little traction on the slick brown surface. Still, he held back from overruling the pilot's choice of countermeasures. Better see what happened first.

Momentum built gradually. The station approached the nearest yellow "starfish."

Doubt spread in Harry's mind.

"Maybe I should try looking this up first. They might have the image listed somewhere."

Once upon a time, back when he was inducted as Earth's first volunteer-recruit in the Navigation Institute survey department--full of tape-training and idealism--he used to consult the records every time E Space threw another weird symbolism at him. After all, the Galactic civilization of oxygen-breathing races had been exploring, cataloging, and surveying this bizarre continuum for half a billion years. The amount of information contained in even his own tiny shipboard Library unit exceeded the sum of all human knowledge before contact was made with extraterrestrials.

Meet the Author

David Brin is the author of ten previous novels, Sundiver, The Uplift War, Startide Rising, The Practice Effect, The Postman, Heart of the Comet (with Gregory Benford), Earth, Glory Season, Brightness Reef, and Infinity's Shore, as well as the short-story collections The River of Time and Otherness.  He has a doctorate in astrophysics and has been a NASA consultant and a physics professor.  He lives in southern California, where he is at work on his next novel.

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Heaven's Reach (New Uplift Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who loves science fiction will love this book. As part of a six-book "trilogy" you are drawn into the plot and keep asking for more. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to enjoy a good read.
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