"Startide was amazing, as was the second book in the series. The new trilogys were good, but not great.
Have you read any Vernor Vinge? Love his stuff... he's not a prolific (book) writer though. I've been enjoying reading some Stephen Baxter, although it's pretty hit-or-miss."
Startide was actually the second book in the series, the first was Sundiver (which wasn't very good, so we can let it be forgotten).
Vernor Vinge is one of my all-time favorites, Goddamn him for not putting out more than a book a decade.
What of Baxter can you recommend as hit (and which to avoid)?