• by David Brin
  • Narrated by Kevin T. Collins, Robin Miles, L. J. Ganser
  • 32 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Big ideas, good science fiction, frustrating style

The story starts out slow and I was tempted to stop listening several time in the first few chapters. I recommend you keep going, a lot of interesting things will eventually happen. Unfortunately a lot of very uninteresting things also happen. It is almost like Brin had a goal of writing over 500 pages and was not going to let the fact that he only had 300 pages of material stop him.

On the plus side, the book has lots of great science fiction material, ancient aliens, machine intelligence's, high tech gadgets, and exploration of the solar system. It even has some very good characters (Human and alien). I also found his plan for how other intelligent races would contact and interact with whatever life exists in the our galaxy to be novel and well reasoned. It explains very nicely why we don't see any evidence of life when look out into the Milky Way.

Of course there are also some problems, for some reason Brin is not able to simply tell what should have been a great story. Instead he is constantly interrupting the story with whole chapters that have no relevance to the story or even any real purpose. To make it worse when reading one of the chapters that does tell the story he will invariable end the chapter as if it was the last show of the season for an action adventure series on TV. Ever one of these chapters will end with the narrator saying something like "and then she saw something that will forever change the way we think of the universe" or "then something unimaginable came around the corner" . The chapter then ends and we get 40 pages about something completely different (different characters, different plot line). By the time Brin gets back to the main plot I have almost forgot where the story left off. I can forgive an author for leaving the reader hanging once or twice, it helps to build suspense. But by the tenth or fifteenth time Brin does this is just annoying. It happens so often and with such ham-fisted prose, it becomes laughable which totally breaks the mood of the story.

Brin also goes to extraordinary ends to include elements of his Uplift books in the story. Even though they add nothing and actually impede the story. It is almost as if he had a bet with his publisher that he could include 5 chapters about Uplift without making it seem like an unrelated story. I assume he lost the bet.

Even with all the problems I am still going to recommend the book, just because I liked the big ideas the book presents.
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- A. Massey

This is an optimistic sci-fi story that inspires

The story is about how people learn from the mistakes from the generations before, and how they go about making their own.

Every time there was a huge leap forward in the society, you could feel the hope and wonder the population was emanating... that moment of "what if". Then that wonderful hope was deflated by the nay-sayers, who didn't want society to change, to keep everyone in the status quo for their own selfish desires.

I struggled with my this, my final paragraph, for a little while. Everything I wrote was laden with spoilers, imagined or implied. So I will say, I do hope our world can face the future with the dignity and ingenuity that was portrayed on our behalf.

p.s. this story has aliens, cyborgs, uplifted dolphins, asteroid mining, habitations in space, caste based societies, underwater treasure hunting, and dirigibles.
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- troy "I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-19-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios