Startide was actually the second book in the series, the first was Sundiver
As I understand it, Sundiver was actually set in a slightly different universe and isn't directly connected. I was referring to The Uplift War
What of Baxter can you recommend as hit (and which to avoid)?
I liked Manifold:Time
, but wasn't as impressed with Manifold:Space
. I haven't yet read the third book, and I can't remember which of his other books I have or haven't read. I recall that one book of his that I read was so hardcore high energy physics that it went over my head.
Goddamn him for not putting out more than a book a decade
I think Vinge does mostly TV scripts and short stories... which is why we see so few novel length books from him. I'm perpetually annoyed that I lost my copy of Threats... and Other Promises
, since it's long out of print and the "Collected Works" compilation is just a subset of "Threats" and "True Names".
Trying to think of some others that you might enjoy... I presume you've read Clark and Asimov.