|4 out of 5 stars|
David Brin writes entertaining aliens! The Gooksyu-Gubru clan made me see space chickens in my mind and I just loved them. They remain neuter (and white) until they are allowed to form a triad (and run a project), at the end of which they gain both gender & colour. Then the bird at the top of the pecking order becomes a queen and the other two become her princes. So, a lot is riding on the outcome of their “crusade” against Earthling humans and neo-chimpanzees.
The galactic manoeuvring in this series remind me very much of complex Byzantine politics—there are patron races and client races. Earth is unique in that humans “uplifted” themselves to a space travelling race, seemingly without the intercession of a patron race (although there is debate about whether an unknown race uplifted them & then disappeared, the Von Daniken hypothesis). And then humans had the temerity to uplift both dolphins and chimpanzees before they made contact with the Eatees, putting some of the elder patron races’ noses out of joint. Hence the desire of the Gooksyu-Gubru to prove that the Neo-Chims are not really uplifted and that the Earthings are mismanaging the planet Garth that they have been assigned to rehabilitate.
The pleasure is in the details for me—the details of Neo-Chim society in this book. The dance clubs which replicate the “rain dance” experience of wild chimps on Earth, their oaths (By Goodall), their tremendous senses of humour, and the ability to undertake guerilla/gorilla warfare. In this universe, species that possess an appreciation of humour have to stick together!
Very enjoyable. This was book 228 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.