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.
I am not sure I would try another Brin title but the narrators of this story are very good. I especially like Kevin Collins.
I like science fiction. I just like a faster paced adventure.
I would listen to any other story I find narrated by Kevin Collins or any of the narrators from this title.
It was an interesting concept.
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.
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.
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.
The production of this audio book is admirable in every way: the readers each brought vivid and interesting characterizations that enlivened long stretches of exasperating sermons, philosophical disputations, and thoughtful musings on the human condition and the nature of "Existence" that nearly had me ripping out my hair with exasperation, time and time again. Indeed, the performances are much better than the material deserves.
It seems like there came a point (avoiding spoilers, where the Havana Artifact and "The Courier of Warning" were about to start talking) when the author realizes that all the plot lines so carefully built up for the last 400 pages WERE GOING NOWHERE. So he turned and sped off in a completely different and even more annoying direction.
So we have two novels which aren't about anything, in which nothing much happens, which have no particular protagonists, or far too many, take your pick. Some of the most interesting threads disappear with no trace, so be careful.
Advice to the author: pick a story and tell it, dammit. Advice to the reader: pick another story.
A lot of very flowery drivel not what I have come to expect from a David Brin book.
The book brought up some interesting ideas. Sadly, at least in my opinion, the story brought up the same points about those ideas again and again without really adding anything new or interesting. Had the book been cut down to let's say half its actual length I might have liked it a lot more.
Yes. I really enjoyed his ideas and from what I read online this isn't nearly his best book
talk about a real interesting take on alien contact!
I LOVED this book...until the end. I've found this with Brin's other work though as well. He just doesn't seem to know how he wants to end his stories. maybe this is something he actually wants to do...drives me crazy.
I loved the premise and the characters. The ideas put forth really make you think even past when you turn off the audio book. You start to wonder if maybe..just maybe this might actually be what is going on. Or that it could happen.
Slinger of code. Eater of sushi.
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.
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.
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