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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    247
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    238
  • 3 Stars
    134
  • 2 Stars
    55
  • 1 Stars
    48

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    222
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    91
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    19
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    31

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Perseverance will be required

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Hmm. The listener hears a lot of internal monologues. A lot. And philosophical speculation and what-ifs. While it is interesting, it chokes up the first 8 hours of the book, requiring perseverance. After that, things start to roll. The "real" story takes shape, characters start becoming real and the plot lines unfold.
However, I don't know if I would have stuck it out, if I had realized that this is apparently not part of a series, but a stand alone novel. At the time, I took the 8 fallow hours as investment. There are also some ideas that the author seems unable to pursue sufficiently, so maybe they should just have been edited out, or in some cases, fleshed out.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Slightly surprising, mildly disappointing

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

varied, intense, enthusiastic

Did Existence inspire you to do anything?

In spite of the overall disappointment, I will definitely give David Brin's Uplift books a go. He is clearly an intelligent, deep thinker with story-telling abilities. I just wouldn't choose Existence to showcase his talent

Any additional comments?

For all the work he put into it and all the ground work the listener/reader has to endure, there should be more books building on Existence

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • Cummaquid, Massachusetts
  • 06-25-12

Very slow, over all pretty boring.

Would you try another book from David Brin and/or the narrators?

I am not sure I would try another Brin title but the narrators of this story are very good. I especially like Kevin Collins.

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

I like science fiction. I just like a faster paced adventure.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

I would listen to any other story I find narrated by Kevin Collins or any of the narrators from this title.

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

It was an interesting concept.

Any additional comments?

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.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Meh. Typical Brin - clever short story padded out

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.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful

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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

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  • Robert
  • Southfield, MI, United States
  • 08-03-12

Half novel, half philosophy rambling

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.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed
  • 01-18-18

Brin is a good writer. Complicated, interesting

I liked this book when I read it back in Nov 2017, but I can't remember any real details about it. Interesting. But not memorable or compelling. I'll read others by Brin, and see how it goes.

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Good Story

Good story themes. Included some concepts from prior stories. Fans should appreciate that. Female narration was a bit soft, volume wise.

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brilliant narrators

what a fantastic story if you are able to get over the first part of where the hell is the story going. ..all pays off fantastic brilliance in future thoughts of what could be ..told by a excellent narrators that worked so well didn't want the book to end

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Fermi paradox fun

Very interesting take on the Fermi paradox and first contact. Plenty of drama and science woven together to make a satisfying and fun book. Great voices to match the good characters.

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Outstanding, after a couple of hours

This was one of the best books I've ever heard/listened to! The narrators were just amazing. The author was fantastic.

It did, however, take a couple of hours to get in to the story, but considering the story is over 30 hours, I'll take that trade off any day.

The story does just sort of jump time frames every now and then without making the reader aware, but it is actually done purposefully to give the reader a sense of uneasiness and dysphoria. It actually fits very well with the storyline and helps move the story along.