We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Existence Audiobook

Existence

Regular Price:$39.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

3.8 (678 )
5 star
 (227)
4 star
 (222)
3 star
 (130)
2 star
 (54)
1 star
 (45)
Overall
3.7 (604 )
5 star
 (202)
4 star
 (190)
3 star
 (111)
2 star
 (49)
1 star
 (52)
Story
4.1 (609 )
5 star
 (262)
4 star
 (214)
3 star
 (85)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    EasterLemming Pasadena, Texas USA 01-09-13
    EasterLemming Pasadena, Texas USA 01-09-13

    Liberal Anti-Authoritarian

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic ideas, so-so-execution"

    I can only give David Brin's latest a 3.5 - It models itself on John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar as a near future exploration of vital topics but the very long mixed together narratives with no character as a central focus for long ended up often putting me to sleep.

    Love the ideas, the near-future forecasts, the characters individually, but it doesn't quite become the epic it should be. Most of the threads are amazing, the ideas are amazing, the whole not so much. Disentangling this book might have helped, I would like to hear "Pandora's Cornucopia" and "Aliens, Choose Why You are Silent" and some of the characters stories all in one block. The last third of the book, once people go out into the belt, could also be a great stand alone.

    If you like your SF on the intellectual and hard side and are curious about Fermi's Paradox you should really get this book. Not for casual readers or listeners.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 12-15-12
    Kim 12-15-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    158
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, narration a bit odd"

    The story is good, as usual for Brin. Two of the three narrators sounded like they were reading for the Romance section, but one gets used to it and there are portions toward the end for which it seems appropriate.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 02-07-15
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 02-07-15 Member Since 2017

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    34
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary peyton 11-03-14
    mary peyton 11-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mind Opening"
    Would you listen to Existence again? Why?

    Yes, this book has so many things going on I'm sure you will listen to it again in a year and be surprised by how much you might have over looked.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This books looks at a situation in multiple ways with having an over lapsing point of view during the book.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There are 3 narrators.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is makes me appreciate the world around me and develop greater and greater questions for understanding in the world around me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arturo Zapopan, Mexico 02-28-14
    Arturo Zapopan, Mexico 02-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One word: Thorough"

    Thorough seems like a good word to describe this book. David Brin expertly covers each and every topic imaginable regarding the perils of existence of our species without ever becoming dull or repetitive (in my opinion). The narration almost read my mind, answering on queue whenever my mind thought: "Oh yeah? and what about X?" to which the book swiftly answered with an elegant and great answer.
    I've read other reviews which talk about some of the drawbacks in Existence. I agree with all of them. The cliffhangers are sometimes too far-apart from each other, the story timelines jump abruptly and without warning, it is very long, etc. I think it was good I read those reviews, as they prevented me from feeling the slightest of disappointment. In fact, by starting my listening with a slightly low bar in my expectations the book astounded me with its complexity, deepness, strong rationale and striking originality. This may not be the most hard-sci fi ever created, but it is close, and that alone makes it capital A amazing.
    This book is quite an accomplishment, you can feel the vast time Brin dedicated to think things through in such a thorough way. Despite any tiny stylistic drawbacks it has, I cannot recommend this enough for those who are passionate about good sci-fi.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramona 10-02-12
    Ramona 10-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    443
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Concept"

    The concept and ideas in this story are interesting and a little bit different. You have to wade through a bit of detail but overall its a good story. Certainly worth a credit.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell David Phillips 07-30-12 Member Since 2015

    Trobnor Spillguts

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Uplifting (heheh)"
    If you could sum up Existence in three words, what would they be?

    optimistic hard scifi


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Existence?

    Reporter in the blimp.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of walking down the street and the vr overlay early in the book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a really interesting book. The story is based on lots of recent trends happening in the world in science and other wise and extrapolating some really interesting permutations of where it could all lead and how the world responds to events. Transparency, the prevalence of cheap and good recording, climate, over population, direct and instant access to information, real time VR overlays, etc...

    David Brin goes a different direction than many other books that take one trend or new technology and then postulates some future taking it to some ridiculous extreme. Creating some bizarre future that bears no resemblance to our own history or present. Where everyone is grown in a vat and controlled by the state or everyone lives in isolation never seeing each other, etc...

    Instead he (much more realistically) presents a world with literally massive amounts of people all with their own ideas, prejudices and goals all working against and with each other. Many things like improving VR technology, cheap and easy camera technology, social networking and instant access to vast amounts of information, climate change, genetic tinkering, etc... All advance, become part of the world and blend in different ways. Causing problems, solving problems, etc... A very rich world with lots of layers and very believable. You could easily recognize the world he presents evolving from our world.

    I also enjoy how he presents different peoples viewpoints. Never mocking the ideas of others but instead embracing them and respectfully presenting the validity of varied positions and the arguments they present. Very mature.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tom williams 07-13-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    246
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bunch of unconnected storys"
    What would have made Existence better?

    Stick to one story, Just as it got interesting a new story would start that had nothing to do with anything, wasnt that good then you had to wade thru 3 or 4 more to find the 1st one. None of them completed till the end I guess I couldnt stand it. you end up with 5 or 6 diffeant storys going


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Nothing by Brin


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Stopping


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

    None, I would put them in order or maybe with one side trip,


    Any additional comments?

    What a mess

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Dewald 08-11-12
    Mark Dewald 08-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story? What story?"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you like mentally hopping around as if the menagerie of thoughts being portrayed were brief yelping moments on a bed of hot coals, Brin is your guy. Frenetic is the word. I saw this guy on the science channel, and thought well, he might be able to write a good story. Boy, was I wrong. The synopsis completely suckered me into thinking there was a story. That's the last time I'll trust one of those, I guess. I wish Arthur C. Clarke could have lived longer. I have only lost interest in one of his novels, and I've read about eighteen of them.


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Brin again?

    Only if someone I trusted told me that another book he wrote was worth it.


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

    It wouldn't help.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    frustration.


    Any additional comments?

    nope.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-25-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-25-13

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    105
    73
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "2 SF books (near-future + space opera) in 1"

    Big-idea grand space opera follows in the final quarter of this novel, the majority of which is set in a closer future, juggling problems and wonders that are nearly at hand. Both segments are brimming with more concepts than can be absorbed in one reading, and I spent a lot of moments pausing my reading to trace a modern trend to the logical extrapolation Brin had. The world he paints is connected to ours in quite believable ways, and experiencing it in this story feels like a "Cliff's Notes" summary of all the latest science and tech developments spun forward several years. One can't help but feel that Brin spends a lot of time reading science journals, then thickly gathering all the most promising and fascinating discoveries into his stories.

    The characters and plot events, while interesting, are not so memorable as the ideas being introduced. They feel like transparent vehicles for delivering grand theories on life in the cosmos, and how it will eventually look when encountered, given the dual challenges of vast distances and epochs separating civilizations. Two things that are done well in this novel are: reminding us of the truly insignificant scale of our place and moment in the universe, and illustrating many of the pitfalls surrounding us. Species extinction and civilization passing are taken as nearly unavoidable eventualities, and yet the tone here is not at all cynical, rather a celebration of diversity in the unfolding renaissance Brin sees us entering into.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Rod
    Stourbridge, United Kingdom
    11/10/12
    Overall
    "Shame that the whole book is not on the download."

    Don't bother. The end of the book is missing from the download.



    Most dissappointing.



    Shame that this was not seen by Audible.



    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Francis Drake
    Plymouth, UK
    3/8/13
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Morgan Hughes
    Birmingham, England
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    hornchurch, United Kingdom
    6/29/12
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • ajxYCzstV84
    7/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boledylocks
    7/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • *Angela*
    6/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Banchory, United Kingdom
    7/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A. C. Scott-gooddard
    London, UK
    6/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best novel since "Earth""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It's a great story, well told


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Existence?

    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.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Well delivered, good pace.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.