The Uplift War (Uplift Series #3)

The Uplift War (Uplift Series #3)

by David Brin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307575357
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/16/2009
Series: Uplift , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 226,072
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

David Brin is a scientist and the bestselling author of 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.

Read an Excerpt

How strange, that such an insignificant little world should come to matter so much.

Traffic roared amid the towers of Capital City, just beyond the sealed crystal dome of the official
palanquin. But no sound penetrated to disturb the bureaucrat of Cost and Caution, who
concentrated only on the holo-image of a small planet, turning slowly within reach of one down-covered arm. Blue seas and a jewel-bright spray of islands came into view as the bureaucrat watched, sparkling in the reflected glow of an out-of-view star.

If I were one of the gods spoken of in wolfling legends…the bureaucrat imagined. Its pinions flexed. There was the feeling one had only to reach out with a talon and seize...

But no. The absurd idea demonstrated that the bureaucrat had spent too much time studying the
enemy. Crazy Terran concepts were infecting its mind.

Two downy aides fluttered quietly nearby, preening the bureaucrats feathers and bright tore for the appointment ahead. They were ignored. Aircars and floater barges darted aside and regimented lanes of traffic melted away before the bright beacon of the official vehicle. This was status normally accorded only royalty, but within the palanquin all went on unnoticed as the bureaucrat's heavy beak lowered toward the holo-image.

Garth. So many times the victim.

The outlines of brown continents and shallow blue seas lay partly smeared under pinwheel storm clouds, as decep1tively white and soft to the eye as a Cubru's plumage. Along just one chain of islands-and at a single point at the edge of the largest continent-shone the lights of a few small cities. Everywhere else the world appeared untouched, perturbed only by occasional flickering strokes of storm brewed lightning.

Strings of code symbols told a darker truth. Garth was a poor place, a bad risk. Why else had the wolfling humans and their clients been granted a colony leasehold there? The place had been written off by the Galactic Institutes long ago.

And now, unhappy little world, you have been chosen as a site for war.

For practice, the bureaucrat of Cost and Caution thought in Anglic, the beastly, unsanctioned language of the Earthling creatures. Most Gubru considered the study of alien things an unwholesome pastime, but now the bureaucrat's obsession seemed about to pay off at last.

At last. Today.

The palanquin had threaded past the great towers d Capital City, and a mammoth edifice of opalescent stone now seemed to rise just ahead. The Conclave Arena, seat of government of all the Cubit race and clan.

Nervous, anticipatory shivers flowed down the bureaucrat's head-crest all the way to its vestigial flight feathers, bringing forth chirps of complaint from the two Kwackoo aides. How could they finish preening the bureaucrat's fine. white feathers, they asked, or buff its long, hooked beak, if it didn't sit still?

"I comprehend, understand, will comply," the bureaucrat answered indulgently in Standard Galactic Language Number Three. These Kwackoo were loyal creatures, to be allowed some minor impertinences. For distraction, the bureaucrat returned to thoughts of the small planet, Garth.

It is the most defenseless Earthling outpost ... the one most easily taken hostage. That is why the military pushed for this operation, even while we are hard-pressed elsewhere in space. This will strike deeply at the wolflings, and we may thereby coerce them to yield what we want.

After the armed forces, the priesthood had been next to agree to the plan. Recently the Guardians of Propriety had ruled that an invasion could be undertaken without any loss of honor.

That left the Civil Service the third leg of the Perch of Command. And there consensus had
broken. The bureaucrat's superiors in the Department of Cost and Caution had demurred. The plan was too risky, they declared. Too expensive.

A perch cannot stand long on two legs. There must be consensus. There must be compromise.

There are times when a nest cannot avoid taking risks.

The mountainous Conclave Arena became a cliff of dressed stone, covering half the sky. A
cavernous opening loomed, then swallowed the palanquin. With a quiet murmur the small
vessel's gravitics shut down and the canopy lifted. A crowd of Gubru in the normal white
plumage of adult neuters already waited at the foot of the landing apron.

They know, the bureaucrat thought, regarding them with its right eye. They know I am already
no longer one of them.

In its other eye the bureaucrat caught a last glimpse of the white-swaddled blue globe. Garth.

Soon, the bureaucrat thought in Anglic. We shall meet soon.

The Conclave Arena was a riot of color. And such colors! Feathers shimmered everywhere in the
royal hues, crimson, amber, and arsene blue.

Two four-footed Kwackoo servants opened a ceremonial portal for the bureaucrat of Cost and
Caution, who momentarily had to stop and hiss in awe at the grandeur of the Arena. Hundreds of
perches lined the terraced walls, crafted in delicate, ornate beauty out of costly woods imported
from a hundred worlds. And all around, in regal splendor, stood the Roost Masters of the Gubru

No matter how well it had prepared for today, the bureaucrat could not help feeling deeply
moved. Never had it seen so many queens and princes at one time!

To an alien, there might seem little to distinguish the bureaucrat from its lords. All were tall,
slender descendants of flightless birds. To the eye, only the Roost Masters' striking colored
plumage set them apart from the majority of the race. More important differences lay
underneath, however. These, after all, were queens and princes, possessed of gender and the
proven right to command.

Nearby Roost Masters turned their sharp beaks aside in order to watch with one eye as the
bureaucrat of Cost and Caution hurried through a quick, mincing dance of ritual abasement.

Such colors! Love rose within the bureaucrat's downy breast, a hormonal surge triggered by
those royal hues. It was an ancient, instinctive response, and no Gubru had ever proposed
changing it. Not even after they had learned the art of gene-altering and become starfarers.
Those of the race who achieved the ultimate-color and gender-had to be worshipped and obeyed
by those who were still white and neuter.

It was the very heart of what it meant to be Gubru. It was good. It was the way.

The bureaucrat noticed that two other white-plumed Gubru had also entered the Arena through
neighboring doors. They joined the bureaucrat upon the central platform. Together the three of them took low perches facing the assembled Roost Masters.

The one on the right was draped in a silvery robe and bore around its narrow white throat the
striped tore of priesthood.

The candidate on the left wore the sidearm and steel talon guards of a military officer. The tips
of its crest feathers were dyed to show the rank of stoop-colonel.

Aloof, the other two white-plumed Gubru did not turn to acknowledge the bureaucrat. Nor did
the bureaucrat offer any sign of recognizing them. Nevertheless, it felt a thrill. We are three!

The President of the Conclave-an aged queen whose once fiery plumage had now faded to a pale
pinkish washfluffed her feathers and opened her beak. The Arena's acoustics automatically
amplified her voice as she chirped for attention. On all sides the other queens and princes fell

The Conclave President raised one slender, down-covered arm. Then she began to croon and
sway. One by one, the other Roost Masters joined in, and soon the crowd of blue, amber, and
crimson forms was rocking with her. From the royal assemblage there rose a low, atonal


"Since time immemorial," the President chirped in formal Galactic Three. "Since before our
glory, since before our patronhood, since before even our Uplift into sentience, itS been our
way to seek balance."

The assembly chanted in counter rhythm.

"Balance on the ground's brown seams, Balance in the rough air streams, Balance in our
greatest schemes.”

"Back when our ancestors were still pre-sentient beasts, back before our Gooksyu patrons found us and uplifted us to knowledge, back before we even spoke or knew tools, we had already learned this wisdom, this way of coming to decision, this way of coming to consensus, this way of making love."


"As half-animals, our ancestors still knew that we must must choose ... must choose three."

"One to hunt and strike with daring, for glory and for territory! One to seek the righteous bearing, for purity and propriety! One to warn of danger looming, for our eggs' security!"

The bureaucrat of Cost and Caution sensed the other two candidates on either side and knew they
were just as electrically aware, just as caught up in tense expectation. There was no greater
honor than to be chosen as the three of them had been.

Of course all young Gubru were taught that this way was best, for what other species so
beautifully combined politics and philosophy with lovemaking and reproduction? The system
had served their race and clan well for ages. It had brought them to the heights of power in
Galactic society.

And now it may have brought us to the brink of ruin.

Perhaps it was sacrilegious even to imagine it, but the bureaucrat of Cost and Caution could not
help wondering if one of the other methods it had studied might not be better after all. It had
read of so many styles of government used by other races and clans-autarchies and
aristocracies, technocracies and democracies, syndicates and meritocracies. Might not one of
those actually be a better way of judging the right jath in a dangerous universe?

the idea might be irreverent, but such unconventional thinking was the reason certain Roost
Masters had singled out the bureaucrat for a role of destiny. Over the days and months ahead, someone among the
three would have to be' the doubting one. That was ever the role of Cost and Caution.

"In this way, we strike a balance. In this way, we seek consensus. In this way, we resolve

"Zooon!" agreed the gathered queens and princes.

Much negotiation had gone into selecting each of the candidates, one from the military, one from
the priestly orders, and one from the Civil Service. If all worked out well, a new queen and two
new princes would emerge from the molting ahead. And along with a vital new line of eggs for the
race would also come a new policy, one arising out of the merging of their views.

That was how it was supposed to end. The beginning, however, was another matter. Fated
eventually to be lovers, the three would from the start also be competitors. Adversaries.

For there could be only one queen.

"We send forth this trio on a vital mission. A mission conquest. A mission of coercion.

"We send them also in search of unity ... in search agreement ... in search of consensus, to unite
us in troubled times,"


In the eager chorus could be felt the Conclave's desperate wish for resolution, for an end to
bitter disagreements The three candidates were to lead just one of many battle forces sent forth
by the clan of the Cooksyu-Cubru. But clearly the Roost Masters had special hopes for this

Kwackoo servitors offered shining goblets to each canS. date. The bureaucrat of Cost and Caution
lifted one and drank deeply. The fluid felt like golden fire going down.

First taste of the Royal Liquor -

As expected, it had a flavor like nothing else imaginable. Already, the three candidates' white
plumage seemed to gh ten with a shimmering promise of color to come.

We shall struggle together, and eventually one of us molt amber. One shall molt blue.

And one, presumably the strongest, the one with the best policy, would win the ultimate prize.

A prize fated to be mine. For it was said to have all been arranged in advance. Caution had to win the upcoming consensus. Careful analysis had shown that the alternatives would he unbearable.

"You shall go forth, then," the Conclave President sang. 'You three new Suzerains of our race and of our clan. You shall go forth and win conquest. You shall go forth and humble the wolfling heretics."

"Zooooon!" the assembly cheered.

The President's beak lowered toward her breast, as if she were suddenly exhausted. Then, the new Suzerain of Cost and Caution faintly heard her add,

“You shall go forth and try your best to save us ...."

Customer Reviews

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Uplift War (Uplift Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
psikeyhackr More than 1 year ago
This story is a very entertaining tale of war with aliens but not on Earth. It is directly related to Startide Rising because it is events in that story which cause this one. However it is not necessary to have read SR to understand this one because these characters have very limited knowledge about the cause of their troubles. They only know the pesky dolphins started the ruckus. Brin has created a universe of deliberate genetic engineering where alien races create other intelligent species. Humans are doing this with dolphins and chimpanzees in this universe and fishy monkey business with bird brains ensues. The birdlike aliens Brin has created are more interesting than what most writers have done and he gives a guite detailed explication of the invaders culture. It reminds one of the Amok Time episode of the original Star Trek created by Theodore Sturgeon. Highly recommended!
EGMcCann More than 1 year ago
Must read (all three.) It's a fascinating little universe Brin's created.
lafincoff on LibraryThing 8 months ago
One of my favorites. Read it in high school the first time. Have read it at least six times. The book has a savory taste for me.The most recent reading, finishing it off tonight, I had just completed a course in Latin American history, and was associating the content of the book to the neocolonial patterns some historians use to interpret Latin American history. The book is always stimulating. Comparing works by Che Guevarra to the client/patron elements in the book on this read. Considering the ideas of national sovereignity and social contract, as depicted in Brin's Uplift universe Galatic Civilization. Just a good read every couple years, always associable with something fresh.
DirtPriest on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have a sneaky suspicion that this Uplift Saga will be better than the sum of it's parts, like the old Shannara books. This was another long story about neo-chimpanzees trying to survive in an isolated mountain region against overwhelming odds. The Gubru birdlike aliens were a great and well thought out enemy and I really enjoyed the guerilla/gorilla pun aspect. The Tymbrimi aliens are one of the few 'eatees' that are allied with the 'wolfling' humans and their clan, and the Tymbrimi enjoy a good joke. As in Startide Rising, the characters are very well developed and the situations are pretty reasonable. Brin does a great job showing the reader human actions and thoughts through very alien minds, which is nice. All in all, these have been great stories with incredible but yet realistic characters so far, and trying to describe the thoughts and feelings of a fully sentient dolphin or chimp can't be easy. Although, what can you compare his story against in reality. I bet there is more of the same in the second trilogy. Oh yeah-his Earth book is one of the most outstanding SF books ever and predicted many technologies we have today. If you are a visiting NASA lecturer you might have an inside track on new ideas, but I think the SF author 'predicting the future of technology' idea is more like 'the techs that go into engineering fields all read SF novels' and that's where they get their ideas. But hey, as long as William Shatner has a flip open cell phone that plays the old Star Trek chime as Denny Crain (!) on Boston Legal, I don't care which way that argument goes. Now back to the very emotionally involved Flags of our Fathers...
DrBrewhaha on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An intriguing world where life forms are raised to sentience over eons of time under the direction of patron races. Although Brin has created an interesting world, the Uplift War can be plodding at times. The story, which was very good, after could have been written in about 300 fewer pages. It seemed also to there were many odd tangents built in to the story.
isabelx on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Fiben had often wondered how much of the popularity of the thunder dance came from innate, inherited feelings of brontophilia and how much from the well-known fact that fallow, unmodified chimps in the jungles of Earth were observed to ¿dance¿ in some crude fashion during lightning storms. He suspected that a lot of neo-chimpanzee ¿tradition¿ came from elaborating on the publicized behavior of their unmodified cousins.Like many college-trained chims, Fiben liked to think he was too sophisticated for such simple-minded ancestor worship. And generally he did prefer Bach or whale songs to simulated thunder.And yet there were times, alone in his apartment, when he would pull a tape by the Fulminates out of a drawer, put on the headphones, and try to see how much pounding his skull could take without splitting open. Here, under the driving amplifiers, he couldn¿t help feeling a thrill¿ run up his spine as ¿lightning¿ bolted across the room and the beating drums rocked patrons, furniture, and fixtures alike."Startide Rising" ended with the dolphin-crewed spaceship Streaker on the run from various warring Galactic races who are all desperate to win possession of the ship and its discoveries. As this book opens, the human and neo-chimpanzee inhabitants of Garth are expecting to be invaded at any moment, as one of the Galactic species has decided to take Garth hostage in an attempt to force the Terragen Council to hand over Streaker's discoveries. With diplomats and other visiting aliens fleeing the planet in droves, the Tymbrini ambassador Uthacalthing and his daughter Athaclena have decided to stay. The Tymbrini are the Terrans closest allies, and are known for their capricious sense of humour and Ambassador Uthacalthing seems to have some devious ploy in mind when he sets off into the wilds of Garth with the ambassador of a species less friendly to Terra in tow.Garth is a planet that suffered ecological disaster when a newly uplifted predator species who had been granted a lease on the planet reverted to savagery and ran amok, wiping out all the larger native wildlife (although old legends say that some of the mysterious Garthlings may survive in out of the way areas). Now the Galactic Civilisation has leased Garth to the Terrans, who are trying to rebuild the shattered ecology, introducing Terran plants and animals to fill empty ecological niches. The Galactics chose the Terrans for this because of the unusual amount of biodiversity on Earth compared to other planets, but the amount of biodiversity also worries the Galactics, who got the humans to sign an agreement saying that they won't start uplifting any other species.The uplift of chimpanzees is an on-going process and although humans govern their client species with a light hand compared to the other Galactics, breeding rights are tightly controlled. Only the coveted white card allows unlimited breeding and an unofficial class system has developed among the chimpanzees based on which colour card they have been allocated, and the ethics of uplift are one of the major themes of this novel.
clarient on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The whole universe has been following the same pattern for quite some time - be Uplifted to sentient intelligence by your parent race, find yourself in debt to them for untold years to pay off an unimaginable sum, and then set about Uplifting your own race so that somebody can owe you that same favor.Well nobody told the humans that was how it worked, so when Man evolves itself into an intelligent species without any knowledge or assistance, quite a few alien races are more than a bit put off. The existence of a powerful new civilization without the burden of debt throws the universe into an uproar, and there are some who are determined to put the cheeky, upstart Humans in their place.An exciting book with a plot that moves on an interstellar scale. Be prepared to follow up with Brin's other Uplift Series novels.
andrewdotcoza on LibraryThing 8 months ago
For me, an interesting but unglamourous introduction to David Brin. His universe is very compelling and his aliens are both convincing an imaginative. Most notable, however, is the bizarre political world existent in the Uplift Universe. It smells very strongly of colonialism and bossism, and is never really explored in depth. I was left pondering the question of whether this is a deadpan ironic commentary in the style of Starship Troopers, or whether this highly educated author has fallen into a very natural human chauvinism. If the former is true, I must question whether he did enough to make his pastiche accessible to his audience.The book reads well and is great for light entertainment. Brin, however, has an irritating habit of inserting the occasional highly unusual word in a manner that suggests that he is either showing off his vocabulary or his proficiency with a thesaurus. This makes the book seem slightly stilted.That said, my appetite is whetted and the author definitely has done enough to make me explore more books in the Uplift series.
clong on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I enjoyed this book very much. Like Startide Rising, it offers an ambitious plot that develops several related storylines that are ultimately brought together to reach a satisfying conclusion. The best things about the book are the well developed non-human characters: the neo-chimps, the invading bird-like Gubru aliens, and the two important Tymbrimi alien characters. Brin does a very good job of making the aliens profoundly different from humans in interesting yet reasonably plausible ways. As in Startide Rising, I found the human characters to be less compelling and less sympathetic. The romance between Robert O'Neagle and the Tymbrimi Athaclena didn't really work for me, and the gung-ho "shoot 'em up, blow 'em up" human marine major felt like a caricature. Still, I give this a 9/10 enjoyability rating and wouldn¿t hesitate to recommend it to any scifi fan. I would also point out that this story is only loosely related to the Sundiver story told in the first Uplift book; it certainly can be read out of series order.
leld on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did I was engrossed. Well developed characters. An interesting look at, to use a title of his, "otherness".
wenestvedt on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I really enjoyed this novel. Its premise is a future society where aliens have been encountered and found already engaged in a hierarchy of races who have "uplifted" each in turn into sentience. Humans, uplifting chimps and dolphins, struggle to take their full role among the other spacefaring races.
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The book's writing left a lot to be desired 
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