Today’s diagram comes from David Brin’s first novel in the Uplift sequence, Sundiver (1980). I remember virtually nothing from the novel (I must have been 15 when I read it), although, I was intrigued enough to read ALL the sequels. The years have sequestered them to the “I enjoyed them as a kid but probably wouldn’t enjoy them now” category. This series on maps and diagrams was a nostalgic journey…. leafing through the pages of tomes I had long forgotten.
The diagram in Sundiver is a vehicle to descend below the surface of the sun. As with so many diagrams and maps, I’m unsure if it is needed or adds to the reading experience. But like a gorgeous cover, the image draws you in…. and suggests grand adventures and fascinating worlds.
The artist is David Perry.
The Diagram (click to enlarge)
Citation: Hi-res scan of my personal copy of the diagram from the 1983 Bantam edition of David Brin’s Sundiver (1980) [click for larger image].
(Uncredited cover for the 1983 edition)
Series blurb: In my informal Monday Maps and Diagrams series, I showcase scans of SF maps and diagrams from my personal collection. As a kid I was primarily a fantasy reader and I judged books on the quality of their maps. When my reading interests shifted to science fiction, for years I still excitedly peeked at the first few pages… there could be a map!
Monday Maps and Diagrams 2/22/21: Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Mankind Timeline
Monday Maps and Diagrams 3/15/19: A French edition of Mark S. Geston’s Lords of the Starship (1967) and Out of the Mouth of the Dragon (1969)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 7/25/19: Greg Bear’s Hegira (1979)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 2/18/19: David Brin’s Sundiver (1980)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 1/21/19: Larry Niven’s The Integral Trees (1984)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 1/14/19: Alan Dean Foster’s Voyage to the City of the Dead (1984)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/24/18: C. J. Cherryh’s Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/17/18: Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker (1980)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/10/18: Suzy McKee Charnas’ Walk to the End of the World (1974)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 11/26/18: Mark S. Geston’s The Lords of the Starship (1967)
Monday Maps and Diagrams 12/3/18: Jack Vance’s Trullion: Alastor 2262 (1973)
For a more detailed article on the visual and graphic elements of SF consult Charts, Diagrams, and Tables in Science Fiction.
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX
For additional articles consult the INDEX
9 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Interior Art: Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 2/18/19 — David Brin’s Sundiver (1980)”
Yep, this was exactly my reaction to “Sundiver” upon seeing this post: loved it when it came out, read the following books, and remember next to nothing about it or them. I wish Brin would produce some new books.
Brin was the perfect mix of optimism and aliens happily interacting to fight off evil for a younger me (i.e. Brightness Reef, etc).. My interests have shifted. But then again, since the disaster that was The Kiln People (I must have read it in my early 20s but years after it was published), I haven’t read any of his work.
I loved this world where humans Uplifted various animals and recall the books with great fondness – and LOVED that cover:)). Thank you for reminding me of lovely reading memories.
Not the biggest fan of this particular cover….
But yes, I loved them as a child — have you reread them? I’m of the mind that they had a time and place — and the place isn’t now in my reading life!
No… I haven’t. But then, I think the majority of books are very much of their time and place. And while I’m immensely fond of this series, I’d agree with you that it isn’t a classic – those books that transcend their time and place:))
Oh, I meant more a time and place in my life — as in, when I was in my late teens — it wasn’t that long ago that I read them (2005-2007 maybe).
Ah. Yes, there are books that suit particular phases in our lives, don’t they?
I read Startide Rising when it came out in paperback and enjoyed it a lot, so I went back and tried to read Sundiver (which I must have ignored for 3 years) but found it was much less readable and I don’t think I finished it.
I did enjoy the 3rd book but never bothered with the second trilogy…
I had completely forgotten about the Sundiver diagrams; looking at the current UK omnibus edition of the trilogy, it doesn’t have them, although it does have a sketch of a tubular habitat at the start of book 2 and a couple of maps at the start of book 3. No idea why they missed off the Sundiver art.
The omnibus edition is a very intimidating 1200 pages long, so I’m sure I won’t be re-reading it any time soon!
If I remember correctly, Sundiver was the absolute weakest of the series — they improved with Startide Rising and The Uplift War (which I remember being very emotionally engaged with). I enjoyed the second trilogy as well.
I’d love scans of those diagrams!