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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

3.6 (399 )
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3.6 (352 )
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3.9 (353 )
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Performance
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  •  
    James Springfield, MO, United States 11-12-13
    James Springfield, MO, United States 11-12-13 Member Since 2010

    New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    787
    ratings
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    496
    472
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    108
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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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MASHPEE, MA, United States 10-17-13
    Amazon Customer MASHPEE, MA, United States 10-17-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    Story
    "Half the length this would be twice as good!"

    This was my first and last Brin book. He writes to impress, but doesn't impress with his writing. I eventually gave up 12 hours in, losing the will to live. I rarely give up on any book I start.

    The story line rambled all over the place. His editor probably gave up trying to make sense of it and took a vacation.

    It could have been good but it was such a trial to maintain concentration on it. I listen to books on my daily commute and often eagerly look forward to my drive. For compelling books I'll listen in the evening ... maybe even late into the night. Not with this one. I was just so reluctant to start listening when I got into the car.

    After 4 hours I took a look at the reviews to see if there was any hope it would get going. Opinions were mixed but several urged patience, so I persisted. But no more, I give in. And that makes me angry. That's 12 hours of my life I won't get back.

    To David Brin, if you ever read this, remember that you're a story-teller first and foremost.Don't be self indulgent. Use discipline and weed out the unnecessary and distracting waffle.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara Dublin, CA, United States 05-31-13
    Tamara Dublin, CA, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
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    171
    33
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    1
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    Story
    "Great start, but fizzled out by the end"

    I was excited when I started listening to the book. It was a fun story. Some reviewers have complained about the jumping around, but I thought that it was easy to follow. Alas, the individual stories never completely come together. In part, the plot is far too ambitious. In the last third of the book, a large number of new unnecessary concepts (humanoid AIs, multiple virtual copies of humans, etc.) start being hurtled at the reader but are never fully explored. On the other hand, many of the characters in the first part of the book are more or less totally abandoned. An entire plot line (Hacker Sander) dissolves into nothing just as it gets interesting. We see a lot of "character development" that never really goes anywhere at all. It's really a shame. With some tightening up, this could have been fantastic!

    The narration was just okay - many of the characters had identical voices and strange accents.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anatolie NEWBURGH, INDIANA, United States 05-18-13
    Anatolie NEWBURGH, INDIANA, United States 05-18-13
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    "Worst sci-fi EVER!"
    What disappointed you about Existence?

    Very frustrating, there is no real story just going around placing characters without meaning. I am 34 years old, I think I read about thirty sci-fi books in my life and this is the worst. Hard to describe my experience with this book: frustration, confusion and disappointment.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    Don't know


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Existence?

    I think this book has a good idea and probably somebody can write a good book. But David Brin has a horrible style of writing. I would delete the entire book.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jay United States 04-25-13
    jay United States 04-25-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
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    "Very interesting ideas, Hated the jumping around."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It has a very interesting premise, good writing style, and like-able characters.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The autistic characters were really hard to understand in audio form. Also, I really didn't like the way the story would jump 30 years into the future without warning and I spend 20 minutes trying to figure out who was who again.


    Do you think Existence needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, I think it explored all it could.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rebeca PORTLAND, OR, United States 03-18-13
    rebeca PORTLAND, OR, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    16
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    Story
    "Jump around"
    What disappointed you about Existence?

    This book could not maintain a plot. It could not maintain the characters sequential history. The fascination with the Jamaican accent had no relevants to the story. This was by far one of the worst books I have ever lessened to, and I have heard well over 2000 books.


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

    No it hasn't but if it would have been the first one I have ever heard of it would have.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was average and good tone. It's the story which hurt the narration review.


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

    No resuming qualities waist of time better off with Asimov.


    Any additional comments?

    Please don't waist your time this book should have been a rough draft and should have not been published. Thoughts are in-concise.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Exton, PA, United States 03-05-13
    Edward Exton, PA, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    Story
    "We need an editor over here!"

    I've been a Brin fan for many years so this book was a major disappointment. The multiple narrators were very good. The book had an interesting story & interesting science, but little else. There was no character with whom the reader could really identify. And there were numerous subplots that never really contributed very much to the overall story. What this book needed was a good editor who was ready to cut it's 30+ hour length by 30-50%. It could have been done with little or no impact on the larger story. Very disappointing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    don Orange, Texas 02-07-13
    don Orange, Texas 02-07-13 Member Since 2012

    I am Over the road truck driver and listen to books as much as I can.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "was interesting story but was hard to keep up with"
    What would have made Existence better?

    timelines and peoples point of views changed without a notice


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

    it was a good book for the story it just didnt flow very good i will try to listen again next year and see if it iss any easier to folow


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sean mcmurray, PA, United States 11-25-12
    sean mcmurray, PA, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Boooooring"

    It just never seemed to take off and I trudged through to the end. Yes it had its moments and even got interesting once or twice but for me it became a challenge just to end the thing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne Trantham Pueblo West, CO 10-28-12
    Joanne Trantham Pueblo West, CO 10-28-12 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    22
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    Story
    "Interesting but"

    The story gets lost in the minutiae! This book desperately needs an abridged version.
    The performance isn't too bad given the complexity of the story line.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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