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Existence Audiobook

Existence

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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

3.8 (679 )
5 star
 (228)
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3 star
 (130)
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (605 )
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Story
4.1 (610 )
5 star
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3 star
 (85)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
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  •  
    Lorie Seattle, WA, USA 04-01-13
    Lorie Seattle, WA, USA 04-01-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Story
    "Great ideas"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book because of the many cool ideas. David Brin excels at projecting current trends into the future, and his science is solid. I didn't identify with any of the characters, but I enjoyed their stories. I liked the near-future parts a lot, but then the last several chapters got less personal and thus less interesting. Or it might just be that the later parts focused on characters I didn't like. But we were supposed to dislike them, so I can't fault the book for that. All in all, I am glad I read this. I am still mulling over some of the new ideas.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter 09-25-12
    Peter 09-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    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
  •  
    Michael Cummaquid, Massachusetts 06-25-12
    Michael Cummaquid, Massachusetts 06-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 06-25-12
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 06-25-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    461
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    207
    80
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Robert Southfield, MI, United States 08-03-12
    Robert Southfield, MI, United States 08-03-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    15
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Mark T Portland, OR 05-25-17
    Mark T Portland, OR 05-25-17 Member Since 2016

    Audible books are the perfect companion for my 4 mile morning walk!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    98
    ratings
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    132
    67
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    Story
    "What is this book about?"
    Would you try another book from David Brin and/or the narrators?

    Maybe this book wasn't meant for audio. But I've listened to it for several hours and have not a clue what is going on. Listening to another 28 hours strikes me as just pointless.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pedro A. Z. T. Aragão 04-02-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A 2 or 4 starts book"

    This one is hard to rate, I am torn between 2 or 4 stars.
    The author keeps raising chapters to a great climax and ends them just before the last word. Unlike cliffhangers, this just tastes artifical, when after 2 other chapters he reveals the end, the magic is gone and makes it hard to follow the story. This trick gets old very fast, and in the end is just annoying.
    There are many side stories that are just abandoned, for which we never get a conclusion. He takes us over very nice journeys that appear to be critical to the story, and then a new part begins and with luck many chapters after you might get a small clue on how a particular story ended. I don't give examples since that will spoil it for future readers, but, I would say 30% of the pages are just there no make space, without leading anywhere.
    On the other hand, the main story is great, well written and keeps you inside the story world. It tackles a nice problem the writing is great, characters have depth, for all that I would give it 4 starts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Holt 03-22-17
    Keith Holt 03-22-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Asks the best question- What If? - in interesting and entertaining ways"

    Reconciling Fermi's Paradox in unexpected ways. Great mix of characters sparing with both lasers and ideas. Pace was perfect- fully developing characters and situations without bogging down in minutiae.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea 10-31-16
    Andrea 10-31-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    45
    12
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    Story
    "Interesting but needed an editor"

    The story started off strongly but really started to drag after the halfway point. The plot and premise are interesting but the novel really needed an editor. Multiple meandering plot lines with no clear direction. Painful. I'm so tempted to quilt punishing myself and just stop listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 08-01-16
    Michael 08-01-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
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    0
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    Story
    "Great overall, but can be frustrating at times."

    The story overall is great, and I love the author's ideas. However there were a times I felt like the story was trying too hard to cover too much territory. Often there were tangents that had no role in moving the plot forward. Still, for the science fiction fan this is a good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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