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.
This is the first time that a David Brin story has left me bored for practically the entire journey. Mr. Brin decided to try his hand at Science Fiction set in a strictly Einstein conforming Universe.
In itself that isn't such a bad idea, but the story simply plods along too many plot threads few of which hold any really interesting developments. It also feels bizarrely as if Mr. Brin was trying to leave an opening to tie this universe into his Uplift series, but as interesting as some of the backfilled story could be, there are occasional references to uplift activities which have only a peripheral relationship to the central plot and have no challenges to overcome within the story line making it unclear why they are there at all.
Toward the end of the book it feels as if Mr. Brin got bored with what he was writing. The timeline moves painfully slowly through the first two thirds of the book, then fast forwards years at a time toward the end as we get a quick summary of the results of events set in motion earlier. This too is disappointing.
Instead of telling stories of endless conniving by aristrocratically entitled idiots (among other plotlines), why not tell us about the debates that allowed humans to actually decide their future. Instead of telling us the story of how we managed to find a path out of the difficulties we were facing, the eventual success of human civilization is entirely gobbled up as fait accompli by the summary chapters that form the conclusion.
Too much philosophical perspectives and no gripping story line that keeps you wanting to hear more.
More story line and less philosophical rambling.
They were ok. I didn't much care for the female narrator portraying a Jamaican man.
I would cut out lots of the philosophical perspectives and develop a more intriguing story line to keep my audience wanting to hear more.
Each to there own, as the saying goes. This just had too much philosophical ramblings for me...
Main characters disappear or are remanded to small roles. This is also several books smushed down to one. Things are moving along and then suddenly you are 26 years in the future.
There are some good parts but you are left hanging several times and the story line gets twisted.
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.
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.
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.
Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
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.
It has a very interesting premise, good writing style, and like-able characters.
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.
No, I think it explored all it could.
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.
No it hasn't but if it would have been the first one I have ever heard of it would have.
The narration was average and good tone. It's the story which hurt the narration review.
No resuming qualities waist of time better off with Asimov.
Please don't waist your time this book should have been a rough draft and should have not been published. Thoughts are in-concise.
Say something about yourself!
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.
I am Over the road truck driver and listen to books as much as I can.
timelines and peoples point of views changed without a notice
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
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