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.
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.
I am an infomaniac...seeking insight, clarity & understanding...
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.
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.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
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.
Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun
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
It presented some interesting ideas; it was a slow listen.
Not unless they've been bad...Christmas season and all that.
Several narrators read
Maybe, it had some interesting concepts.
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.
I am single, retired and enjoy gardening. I don't have the discipline to sit and read a book. Audio books are such a blessing to me.
No. This was a grueling read. My mind couldn't keep up with who was who and what was happening. I know the author has a brilliant mind and this book was his way of relating what this world would be like in the future.
One of the characters had only her mind left after an accident. She was given an artificial body and her mind was somehow made part of this new body.
It made me think about the notion that our world exists solely through the perception of the observer. The book tries to get your mind around this belief about what reality really is.
I heard a David Brin interview. He has a genius mind. I wanted to hear more about his ideas, that's why I bought the book. But, it turned out to be a long, grueling read. My mind just isn't equipped to process his information.
The story seemed new and that made for an interesting beginning. Soon the story starts to jump ahead past in time, without much warning of what is happening. What is even more frustrating is that the author seems to be jumping past parts of the story that would be great to hear with what amounts to "Ten years later". This is a device that can be helpful to move past tedious parts of a story, but in this case you miss out on plot I never feel gets made up for. Sometimes it also seems like an act of Deus Ex Machicina to help the writer out of a corner they have painted himself into.
Two of the three narrators turned in solid performances. I am not generally a fan of multi-narrator books. In this case several characters are assigned to each narrator, and parts of the story from their perspective are by that narrator. It is distracting when characters from different narrators meet, and their personality is changed by that narrators take on the character.
I think it would have been better if David Brin had taken two books to tell this story. There is enough story here if it were not glossed over with jumps forward in time. But the way he has chosen to write this has rendered it unnecessary.
This book is would not be a a total waste of time, but there are many more books I could suggest before you take the time to listen to this book.
Less technical jargon for me but it certainly kept the flavor of the book front and center. Also - still not clear what the tie in was with autistics.
First one (and probably last)
Tor (if spelled correctly)
Yes. Charlize Theron as Tor.
This was a bookclub choice, or I wouldn't have read it. I loved that I did....and made it all the way through. Very interesting ideas.
In the end I came to understand the philosopy of where the author was going, but the trip to there was hard. The story plot jumped around way too much for my taste, found it boring and a drudge at too may times. Also, I was never sure who the main characters were, still not. The most redeaming part and the only reason I slogged my way through was the perfomance of the narrators.
"Shame that the whole book is not on the download."
Don't bother. The end of the book is missing from the download.
Shame that this was not seen by Audible.
As an avid listener of audiobooks and a real sci fi fan I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately I found it disjointed, difficult to follow and not a good listen. I got all the way through hoping it would improve but it never did. It seems to jump around a lot, discuss lots of good ideas and situations, but never gives you enough detail or explanation to real get into the characters and enjoy the story. I really could not see hte point of some of characters and the side stories at all, it just confused. The premise of the book is good, just did not like the way it was actually written. Traded it back in I am afraid.
"Stick with it..."
This book is absolutely fantastic. Actually, its IMPORTANT. But it took me a while to get into, and there are a few things I just had to decide to overlook (some of the language - ie it is set after some world-altering event called 'Awfulday', etc.), and in a way the book is a vehicle for the author to explore the theory and questions around artificial intelligence, alien life, and how humanity would react to first contact (which doesn't happen as you think it would!!). It is imaginative, and the further in you get, the more each thread of the story falls into place, and parts of the story that you thought may be 'filler' had intention from the start. It is my most recommended new read of the year, but you have to persevere - stick with it for rewards!
"Not my thing"
I like a book with alot more action and alot less philosophy i also found it quite annoying in places especially the rasta man !
So not my thing but some people might like it.
"Such a great book"
David Brin is a master, and this book is hugely better in many ways than it's predecessor, "Earth", which is none the less fantastic. Several of my SF reading friends prefer the more psychedelic introspection of authors such as Philip K Dick and find the near-futurism a bit far reaching, technology obsessed and overly optimistic, not to mention telling the wrong story, about the environment of the characters instead of the characters themselves. It's true that Brin's characters are excessively wonderful humans, who's flaws even are advantageous. It would be great to see a real bad character in the next one. But the sheer scale of the imagination he possesses and his grappling with the larger, exo-existential questions is amazing. This is my second reading and I hazard it will not be my last.
"Right up my street"
What a fantastic book! I loved it's structure. Excellently complicated each character could have their own book. The whole thing could of easily been a trilogy of books.
"Good story though gaps are evident."
Yes, it does feel slightly disjointed, with a few gaps but the story is good so don't let that put you off. It kept my interest although it was long and if anything, I would say that this needed to be longer. It leaves you with the feeling that this was supposed to be a trilogy. We have at least four very interesting central characters that are much too underdeveloped. On top of that we have more peripheral characters that could be better developed within their stories.
"Not such a sad existence"
Kept me amused and coming back for more - got a little weary half way through with some of the inevitability of the story line and then picked up at the end with a lesson on life I guess you could say. Overall this was well worth listening to if you enjoy an intelligent tale of a possible future. I see from other reviews that I should try Earth next.
"Best novel since "Earth""
It's a great story, well told
I realised about 10 minutes in that this is his best book since "Earth". While Brin has been reasonably prolific in terms of output, I first discovered him via "Earth" and was then somewhat let down by other books which had a very different feel. If you liked "Earth" you'll absolutely adore this.
Well delivered, good pace.
It's a long book and as it was so good I found myself almost wanting to 'ration' myself to a few hours a day while on holiday!
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