Infinity's Shore (New Uplift Series #2)

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For two thousand years, Jijo, planet of fugitives, has sheltered six bands of sapient beings, each with a different reason for fleeing the ancient civilization of the Five Galaxies. On Jijo, races that had been deadly enemies on the star lanes have instead found ways to get along, in a rough but promising peace. Their greatest wish: to be left alone. Their greatest fear, foretold in a dour religion: an inevitable Judgment Day, when godlike Galactic authorities will punish their illegal colony. Has that day now ...
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Infinity's Shore (New Uplift Series #2)

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For two thousand years, Jijo, planet of fugitives, has sheltered six bands of sapient beings, each with a different reason for fleeing the ancient civilization of the Five Galaxies. On Jijo, races that had been deadly enemies on the star lanes have instead found ways to get along, in a rough but promising peace. Their greatest wish: to be left alone. Their greatest fear, foretold in a dour religion: an inevitable Judgment Day, when godlike Galactic authorities will punish their illegal colony. Has that day now come? As starships fill Jijo's skies, humans and other settlers realize that things are even worse than that. With galaxies in turmoil, all the venerable laws have been cast aside. Now meddlers, criminals, and fanatics feel free to plunder this isolated world or carry out ancient grudges, including genocide for one of Jijo's six races - and possibly for all. Amid this crisis, human settlers and their neighbors must make heroic - and terrifying - choices. A scientist must turn against the benefactors she'd been trained to love. A heretic finds himself called upon to rally believers in a cause he never shared. And four youngsters from wildly different races find that what started as a simple adventure - imitating exploits they read about in Earthling books by Verne and Twain - will take them to the dark abyss of Jijo's ocean in search of answers...and then far beyond. Above all, this is the tale of Earth Survey Ship Streaker, with her fugitive dolphin crew, whose forlorn odyssey brought her at last to Jijo in desperate search of refuge. What she finds instead are secrets that have lain hidden since the spiral galaxies first burgeoned with intelligence; that may spell Jijo's salvation - or destruction; and that may unlock destiny, not just for Earthclan, but for all Five Galaxies.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Uplift War-a deep-future conflict that spans both galaxies and centuries-continues in this rich middle volume (after Brightness Reef) of Brin's second Uplift trilogy. On the planet Jijo, the painfully developed cooperation among six sapient races (humans included) is rapidly crumbling under the impact of contact from space. The visitors include the dolphin crew of the ship Streaker and the Rothen, the race who may have "uplifted" to intelligence most of the races of Jijo, except the humans, who because of their unique status are in greater peril than ever. The ensuing tale is well paced, immensely complex, highly literate-and a daunting read, particularly for those new to the series. On full display here is Brin's extraordinary capacity to handle a wide-ranging narrative and to create convincingly complex alien races that not only differ from humanity but also variegate internally. By novel's end, Jijo is irremediably altered, its status as a world of refugees from the political chicanery of the Five Galaxies likely gone forever. Once again, Brin has created a successful mix of social speculation and hard SF that puts him in the honorable company of such authors as Charles Sheffield and Gregory Benford. Undeniably, this is demanding SF; but just as undeniably, it is superior SF as well. (Dec.) FYI: Two Uplift novels have won major SF awards: Startide Rising, the 1983 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and The Uplift War, the 1988 Hugo for Best Novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553101737
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/1996
  • Series: New Uplift Series, #2
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.53 (w) x 9.67 (h) x 1.69 (d)

Read an Excerpt


[Five Jaduras Earlier]


*What strange fate brought me,
*Fleeing maelstroms of winter,
*Past five galaxies?*

*Only to find refuge,
*On a forlorn planet (nude!)
*In laminar luxury!*

So he thought while performing swooping rolls, propelling his sleek gray body with exhilarated tail strokes, reveling in the caress of water against naked flesh.

Dappled sunlight threw luminous shafts through crystal shallows, slanting past mats of floating sea florets. Silvery native creatures, resembling flatjawed fish, moved in and out of the bright zones, enticing his eye. Kaa squelched the instinctive urge to give chase.

Maybe later.

For now, he indulged in the liquid texture of water sliding around him, without the greasiness that used to cling so, back in the oily seas of Oakka, the green-green world, where soaplike bubbles would erupt from his blowhole each time he surfaced to breathe. Not that it was worth the effort to inhale on Oakka. There wasn't enough good air on that horrid ball to nourish a comatose otter.

This sea also tasted good, not harsh like Kithrup, where each excursion outside the ship would give you a poison dose of hard metals.

In contrast, the water on Jijo world felt clean, with a salty tang reminding Kaa of the gulf stream flowing past the Florida Academy, during happier days on far-off Earth.

He tried to squint and pretend he was back home, chasing mullet near Key Biscayne, safe from a harsh universe. But the attempt at make-believe did not work. One paramount difference remindedhim this was an alien world.


--a beating of tides rising up the continental shelf--a complex rhythm tugged by three moons, not one.

--an echo of waves, breaking on a shore whose abrasive sand had a strange, sharp texture.

--an occasional, distant groaning that seemed to rise out of the ocean floor itself.

--the return vibrations of his own sonar clicks, tracing schools of fishlike creatures, moving their fins in unfamiliar ways.

--above all, the engine hum just behind him...a cadence of machinery that had filled Kaa's days and nights for five long years.

And now, another clicking, groaning sound. The clipped poetry of duty.

* Relent Kaa, tell us,
* In exploratory prose,
* Is it safe to come? *

The voice chased Kaa like a fluttering, sonic conscience. Reluctantly, he swerved around to face the submarine Hikahi, improvised from ancient parts found strewn across this planet's deep seafloor--a makeshift contraption that suited a crew of misfit fugitives. Clamshell doors closed ponderously, like the jaws of a huge carnivore, cycling to let others emerge in his wake...if he gave the all clear.

Kaa sent his Trinary reply, amplified by a saser unit plugged into his skull, behind his left eye.

* If water were all
*We might be in heaven now.

*But wait! I'll check above! *

His lungs were already making demands, so he obeyed instinct, flicking an upward spiral toward the glistening surface. Ready or not, Jiyo, here I come!

He loved piercing the tense boundary of sky and sea, flying weightless for an instant, then broaching with a splash and spume of exhalation. Still, he hesitated before inhaling. Instruments predicted an Earthlike atmosphere, yet he felt a nervous tremor drawing breath.

If anything, the air tasted better than the water! Kaa whirled, thrashing his tail in exuberance, glad Lieutenant T'sht had let him volunteer for this--to be the first dolphin, the first Earthling, ever to swim this sweet, foreign sea.

Then his eye stroked a jagged, gray-brown line, spanning one horizon, very close.

The shore.


He stopped his gyre to stare at the nearby continent--inhabited, they now knew. But by whom?

There was not supposed to be any sapient life on Jijo.

Maybe they're just hiding here, the way we are, from a hostile cosmos.

That was one theory.

At least they chose a pleasant world, he added, relishing the air, the water, and gorgeous ranks of cumulus hovering over a giant mountain. I wonder if the fish are good to eat.

* As we await you,
* Chafing in this cramped airlock,
* Should we play pinochle? *

Kaa winced at the lieutenant's sarcasm. Hurriedly, he sent back pulsed waves.

* Fortune smiles again,
* On our weary band of knaves.
* Welcome, friends, to Ifni's Shore. *

It might seem presumptuous to invoke the goddess of chance and destiny, capacious Ifni, who always seemed ready to plague Streaker's company with one more surprise. Another unexpected calamity, or miraculous escape. But Kaa had always felt an affinity with the informal patron deity of spacers. There might be better pilots than himself in the Terragens Survey Service, but none with a deeper respect for fortuity. Hadn't his own nickname been "Lucky"?

Until recently, that is.

From below, he heard the grumble of clamshell doors reopening. Soon Tsh't and others would join him in this first examination of Jijo's surface--a world they heretofore saw only briefly from orbit, then from the deepest, coldest pit in all its seas. Soon, his companions would arrive, but for a few moments more he had it to himself--silken water, tidal rhythms, fragrant air, the sky and clouds....

His tail swished, lifting him higher as he peered. Those aren't normal clouds, he realized, staring at a great mountain dominating the eastern horizon, whose peak wore shrouds of billowing white. The lens implanted in his right eye dialed through a spectral scan, sending readings to his optic nerve--revealing steam, carbon oxides, and a flicker of molten heat.

A volcano, Kaa realized, and the reminder sent his ebullience down a notch. This was a busy part of the planet, geologically speaking. The same forces that made it a useful hiding place also kept it dangerous.

That must be where the groaning comes from, he pondered. Seismic activity. An interaction of miniquakes and crustal gas discharges with the thin overlaying film of sea.

Another flicker caught his notice, in roughly the same direction, but much closer--a pale swelling that might also have been a cloud, except for the way it moved, flapping like a bird's wing, then bulging with eagerness to race the wind.

A sail, he discerned. Kaa watched it jibe across the stiffening breeze--a two-masted schooner, graceful in motion, achingly familiar from the Caribbean seas of home.

Its bow split the water, spreading a wake that any dolphin might love to ride.

The zoom lens clarified, magnified, until he made out fuzzy bipedal forms, hauling ropes and bustling around on deck, like any gang of human sailors.

...Only these weren't human beings. Kaa glimpsed scaly backs, culminating in a backbone of sharp spines. Swathes of white fur covered the legs and froglike membranes pulsated below broad chins as the ship's company sang a low, rumbling work chant that Kaa could dimly make out, even from here.

He felt a chill of unhappy recognition.

Hoons! What in all Five Galaxies are they doing here?

Kaa heard a rustle of fluke strokes Tsh't and others rising to join him. Now he must report that enemies of Earth dwelled here.

Kaa realized grimly--this news wasn't going to help him win back his nickname anytime soon.

She came to mind again, the capricious goddess of uncertain destiny. And Kaa's own Trinary phrase came back to him, as if reflected and reconverged by the surrounding alien waters.

* Welcome ...
* Welcome ...

* Welcome to Ifni's Shore.*


The Stranger

Existence seems like wandering through a vast chaotic house. One that has been torn by quakes and fire, and is now filled with bitter, inexplicable fog. Whenever he manages to pry open a door, exposing some small corner of the past, each revelation comes at the price of sharp waves of agony.

In time, he learns not to be swayed by the pain. Rather, each ache and sting serves as a marker, a convenient signpost, confirming that he must be on the right path.

His arrival on this world--plummeting through a scorched sky--should have ended with merciful blankness. What luck instead hurled his blazing body from the pyre to quench in a fetid swamp?

Peculiar luck.

Since then, he has grown intimate with all kinds of suffering, from crass pangs to subtle stings. In cataloging them, he grows learned in the many ways there are to hurt.

Those earliest agonies, right after the crash, had screeched coarsely from wounds and scalding burns--a gale of such fierce torment that he barely noticed when a motley crew of local savages rowed out to him in a makeshift boat, like sinners dragging a fallen angel out of the boggy fen. Saving him from drowning, only to face more damnations.

Beings who insisted that he fight for his broken life, when it would have been so much easier just to let go.

Later, as his more blatant injuries healed or scarred, other types of anguish took up the symphony of pain. Afflictions of the mind.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Very Good - Holds interest throughout! Recommended.

    Excellent continuation of the story started in The first book of the trilogy. Could possibly be read on its own because David Brin does give some context but certainly best to read Brightness Reef first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    A Good Read...Not a Quick One

    Enjoyable, good use of "many" characters, Will be interesting to see how it ties up in Book 3.

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  • Posted January 27, 2010

    uplift series

    this is part of the uplift series and is a very good read. brin took kind of a diferent trak with this but in the end it all ties in. i wouldn't bother with it untill you read the prievious books, they are fantastic!!!

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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    Posted December 18, 2010

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    Posted April 2, 2014

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    Posted July 7, 2010

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