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Existence | [David Brin]

Existence

Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an "alien artifact".
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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling, award-winning futurist David Brin returns to globe-spanning, high concept SF with Existence.

Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an "alien artifact". Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer - a message in a bottle, an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

©2012 David Brin (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (484 )
5 star
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3.6 (432 )
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4.0 (434 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Cummaquid, Massachusetts 06-25-12
    Michael Cummaquid, Massachusetts 06-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    Story
    "Very slow, over all pretty boring."
    Would you try another book from David Brin and/or the narrators?

    I am not sure I would try another Brin title but the narrators of this story are very good. I especially like Kevin Collins.


    Has Existence turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I like science fiction. I just like a faster paced adventure.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    I would listen to any other story I find narrated by Kevin Collins or any of the narrators from this title.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was an interesting concept.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrators did their part pretty well, conveying feelings or expression but the story just went on and on. In my opinion I think this story with it limited doses of "adventure" could have been told in one 6 to 8 hour part. It is just to slow to be 30 hours long. I almost could not continue after part 2 of 4.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 06-25-12
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 06-25-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    171
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    160
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
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    Performance
    Story
    "Meh. Typical Brin - clever short story padded out"

    Brin uses people to showcase his technology ideas when it should be the other way around.

    I give this one a solid "meh".

    Admittedly, I've never been a big fan of David Brin. I think he takes a basically interesting idea and stretches it too long with a lot filler. He's got some good characters - in fact he has so many of them that I don't end up caring much about any of them. He's got some clever science fiction ideas -- and that's what saves the book. What he doesn't seem to get, is that like all good fiction, science fiction is still ultimately about the people in the story, not the technology in the story.

    There were four of five very interesting characters, but none were really the focus of the story. I didn't really get to know them terribly well, and in the end I didn't care much about them. There were other characters -- some of them with real potential -- that just sort of disappeared as their sub plots didn't merge into the developing story. I spent the last 1/3 of the book wondering what ever happened to a couple of them.

    Meanwhile, the long shaggy dog story took several very clever turns, but only hours of reading after they were fairly obvious. Since the only reason the characters by this point seemed to exist was to expose the developing technology and the overall tech story, I wanted to slap them across the face and scream at them to get on with it instead of just blaring out more stilted expository dialog.

    On the other hand, if you've a fan of David Brin's former work I guess you'll probably like this one too. He's such a respected writer, that I was looking forward to this one. I thought since it wasn't in his famous "uplift" series, it would give me a chance to get to know the author from a neutral position. I guess it did that, but I was disappointed by what I found.

    10 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Southfield, MI, United States 08-03-12
    Robert Southfield, MI, United States 08-03-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    14
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    0
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    Story
    "Half novel, half philosophy rambling"

    It was difficult to find the story among the many disjointed character and commentators in the book. The cadence of the performers seem to be deliberately slow and staccato. It drove me crazy until I increased the playback speed to 1.25X. Two of the three performers are quite good, while the third is among the worst I've heard. The wildly random jumps in character perspective along with unexplained leaps in time, along with several subplots that just drop and go nowhere made this a confusing mess.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zed 02-19-15
    Zed 02-19-15 Member Since 2008

    Slinger of code. Eater of sushi.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
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    166
    12
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    Story
    "Ok overall with good chunks"

    A bit of a fragmented story. Story arcs start but never resolve. Characters are the focus for a long period and then not mentioned again. I'm a Brin fan, but this really wasn't his best work. Worth a read/listen but likely won't blow you away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amie Larson 02-11-15
    Amie Larson 02-11-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great characters and thought-provoking"

    Very well read, the stories and characters are deep and fun. They come together nicely with a great underlying thoughtfulness about how the future could unfold. Thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 02-07-15
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 02-07-15

    I am an infomaniac...seeking insight, clarity & understanding...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "The most amazing journey you'll ever take!"

    I've read hundreds of sci fi. novels and Existence. tops them all.

    It's a monument to Brin's growth as an author. a leap into the near future with all the gusto and mystery one can imagine. He weaves endlessly delicious and prescient perspectives and data bits into a rich and deep tapestry of reality. It is all packaged into a fun and exciting story which he rolls out like a magic carpet that will cause any thinking. human to pause...repeatedly...and utter, "WOW!"

    This creation. is NOTHING like the myriad of dystopian futures so much the rage today. As one deeply steeped in climate science and long range scenarios I was astounded at. Brin's. depth and breadth of covering so many data points and issues starting us in the face... His ability to navigate these windows impacting the planet are unsurpassed...he doesn't ignore them nor use them for cheap plot twists....instead he brings them to life and puzzles thru the ramifications with skill and zeal.

    The performance of both narrators is absolutely stellar.. I have listened to this book twice now and could quite frankly listen another dozen times as it is that full of detail worth absorbing. So many reflections and observations on humanity, the cosmos, eaarth, and.... existence...

    As an informaniac I was in heaven. as a lover of. a good story I was endlessly tickled and as one who ponders and tries to make sense of reality I was mesmerized.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesper 10-29-14
    Jesper 10-29-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Gave up."
    Any additional comments?

    This is the first audio book I have given up on, but I feel I'm only being teased, where is the story hiding?
    It feels like a (maybe solid) short story that was just padded and padded and padded some more to get it long enough to publish.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-12-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-12-13 Member Since 2014

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "WHY IS THE FUTURE ALWAYS IN THE FUTURE"

    THESE PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE TRUSTED WITH A BURNT MATCH
    If he had made two books out of this I most likely would have liked it better. One book with the story in it and one with the science fiction talking points. Some parts of this are actually very good. I especially liked the science discussions. In parts he discusses how aliens may actual make contact. It is a theory similar to putting a message in a bottle and throwing it out in space. In another part he discusses how it may be stupid of us to be trying to make contact with other races. Giving the example of our history and what usually happens when one more technically advanced race meets another. It is almost never good for the less advanced race.

    A lot of the story parts were just not that interesting. I enjoyed following the Chinese couple living in a make shift house boat, but could not connect with the rich guy, the astronaut or most of the other characters. I also did not enjoy the uplift trilogy. If you enjoyed the uplift trilogy you will probably like this. This also reminded me of John Brunner's "Stand On Zanzibar" Several parts of this are like reading a newspaper from way in the future.

    One reviewer said give it 8 hours, I gave it 9 hours and just did not want to spend the rest of my working week, listening to this disjointed story, newscast, or science nerd discussion program. If you are new to science fiction and or science lingo, you will probably not enjoy this. If you like Brin's other works or John Brunner, you may love this. I liked The Postman, but I could not get into this.

    There are a variety of narrators and one of them is a little hard to hear.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 08-27-12
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 08-27-12 Member Since 2012

    Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    141
    9
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    0
    7
    Overall
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    Story
    "Oh God it is hard to listen to."

    I really wanted to like this book. I have not had a decent book to listen to for a month so I took it hoping it was good.

    The story is as slow as molasses in winter. The narrator makes an real effort to convey emotions but there is just nothing here. I am going to try again but I don't know if I can bear it.

    I am tempted to say avoid this book

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert 12-18-14
    robert 12-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    211
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    "Tediously interersting"
    What did you like best about Existence? What did you like least?

    It presented some interesting ideas; it was a slow listen.


    Would you recommend Existence to your friends? Why or why not?

    Not unless they've been bad...Christmas season and all that.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

    Several narrators read


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe, it had some interesting concepts.


    Any additional comments?

    Took much longer to get through than planned...I now know how members of Lyle Lovett's song "Church" felt while waiting for the sermon to end.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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