Heaven's Reach

by David Brin
Series: Uplift 6
Reviewed date: 2006 Jan 22
Rating: 2
541 pages
cover art

David Brin's Uplift Storm trilogy--which is really just a single story hacked into three pieces--finally, mercifully, concludes in Heaven's Reach. Unfortunately the only thing good about this conclusion is that David Brin stops writing. He doesn't bother to tie up any plot threads, nor does he write a real resolution per se. One gets the feeling that everything Brin wrote up to this point was merely to set the stage for the real story--to be forthcoming in a new trilogy, no doubt.

Heaven's Reach is disappointing. The only reason I read Heaven's Reach was to see how Brin would tie together all the stuff he wrote in the two previous books, Brightness Reef and Infinity's Shore. I wanted to see if the six races of Jijo would manage to prevail over the attacking Rothens and Jophur. I was eager to see the dolphins fix their ship, Streaker, and escape back to Earth. I greedily hoped that Brin would explain why the Buyur booby-trapped the planet Jijo. But most of all, I was hopeful that Brin would finally reveal what it was that Streaker had found that was triggering so much upheaval around the Five Galaxies.

Brin failed to deliver on any of those plot resolutions. Instead of wrapping up the story, he just ups the ante: instead of just Jijo being in trouble, we discover that the very fabric of the universe itself is in danger! This danger threatens to destroy not just Jijo, but the entire Civilization of the Five Galaxies. And then, once Brin makes sure we fully understand the seriousness of the threat, he brings the book to a screeching halt. Finito.

Brin had a lot of neat ideas that he used in the Uplift Storm trilogy, but he forgot to write a decent, coherent story. One reviewer on Amazon.com called this the Red Herring trilogy, because Brin keeps misleading his readers by bringing up mysteries and subplots that go nowhere and are never resolved. Leaving a few plot threads open makes the story stronger and is the mark of a good writer. Failing to resolve any plot threads is attributable only to incompetence or arrogance. Brin is clearly competent, as evidenced by his book Sundiver, so one can only assume that the Uplift Storm trilogy is a product of his earlier writing successes going to his head.

Steer clear of the Uplift Storm trilogy.

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