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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 (684 )
5 star
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Overall
3.7 (610 )
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Story
4.1 (615 )
5 star
 (266)
4 star
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3 star
 (86)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
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  •  
    Robert 12-18-14
    Robert 12-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    252
    23
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    "Tediously interersting"
    What did you like best about Existence? What did you like least?

    It presented some interesting ideas; it was a slow listen.


    Would you recommend Existence to your friends? Why or why not?

    Not unless they've been bad...Christmas season and all that.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

    Several narrators read


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe, it had some interesting concepts.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Pastor Prescott, AZ USA 12-02-14
    Roberta Pastor Prescott, AZ USA 12-02-14

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    23
    9
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    "Author's mind kept me going to the end."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Existence?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Did Existence inspire you to do anything?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill 09-21-14
    Bill 09-21-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most disapointed in the unfulfilled potential."
    What did you like best about Existence? What did you like least?

    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.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Do you think Existence needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi 09-03-14
    Kathi 09-03-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    138
    20
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    2
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    "So thought provoking it was almost over my head..."
    Is there anything you would change about 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.


    If you’ve listened to books by David Brin before, how does this one compare?

    First one (and probably last)


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Tor (if spelled correctly)


    Could you see Existence being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes. Charlize Theron as Tor.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    i love this book Bremerton, WA, United States 08-31-14
    i love this book Bremerton, WA, United States 08-31-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    44
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    3
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    "Story plot reminded me of a kid on a Pogo stick."

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ozgribbo Australia 05-27-14
    ozgribbo Australia 05-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    125
    75
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    1
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    "An epic in every sense of the word."

    This is a long, long book and it is easy to lose concentration with all of the different threads. Lots of good (if re-worked) ideas. But it went on far, far too long and ended with a bit of a fizzle. The narrators/performers did a great job doing the huge list of characters and they kept my interest going. Needs a radical pruning/abridging and a bit more "oomph" in the ending. Disappointing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heye 01-21-14
    Heye 01-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    21
    3
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    "Boring, couldn't keep my interest"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Definitely Not


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Brin again?

    No, if the other books are anything like this one I probably won't. I'm putting him on my do not listen book.


    Could you see Existence being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    No much more to say. I listened to the book for hours hoping that it would improve, but it was just too strange and boring.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thesle Wyoming, Australia 10-26-13
    Thesle Wyoming, Australia 10-26-13 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    42
    6
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    "Dedication is needed to make it through the tedium"
    What would have made Existence better?

    Brin describes every scene in extreme detail, describing every crease of the (virtual) page, but never really progressing the plot. The first three quarters of the story hardly advances the plot at all. The final quarter skips past huge chunks of the plot that should have been written in place of all the filler that has been used. If your like women's magazines you might like the book but look elsewhere if you find a novel with a plot more interesting. To improve the story Brin would need to remove all the descriptive fluff that contributes nothing to the plot.


    What was most disappointing about David Brin’s story?

    It would appear that Brin is being asked to write longer and longer novels but can't come up with a plot that suits a longer novel. There are very few elements of the story that keep your interest and very few times when you are eager to find out what comes next.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration is done by a male and a female. I find that the compression algorithm makes the sibilance in the female voice difficult to listen to. However, I would never have read this novel as a book as the story is just far too tedious. I listened to the story in the car when there was nothing better to do. Distraction isn't a problem as you can miss five minutes occasionally and you won't miss any plot points.


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

    Boredom.


    Any additional comments?

    Try some of Brin's earlier works as some of these are great. Avoid this one, however.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrin C. Barth Hiram, Georgia USA 09-27-13
    Darrin C. Barth Hiram, Georgia USA 09-27-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way Too Editorial for Fiction"
    What disappointed you about Existence?

    This is not fiction. It's an authorial comment on everything technology and everything evolution, with a little bit of fiction here, and a little bit of fiction there. I buy audiobooks that are as lengthy as I can get them because I love to re-listen. Rarely do I not finish a book. But though I tried to slog through it, I was thoroughly let down. I had expected epic fiction and got this author's glorified opinions hidden behind a few half-hearted characters. It would be great writing {if you appreciate those opinions} if it wasn't in the fiction genre category. Fiction this is not. It is editorial.


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Brin again?

    No.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    These three narrators are some of the best that Audible has to offer. I have books narrated by all three of them. But even their combined talents couldn't make this worth the listen. There's just not enough story here. And what is here, is in too many separate pieces.


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

    The only thing I could even begin to appreciate about this book was that the sex is absolutely minimal for a modern sci-fi novel. In fact it's almost non-existent.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Smathers Hayward, CA USA 08-24-13
    Kevin Smathers Hayward, CA USA 08-24-13 Member Since 2016

    -kls

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    137
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    "Long"
    What disappointed you about Existence?

    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.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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