HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Existence

by David Brin

Series: Uplift Saga (prequel)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7794121,061 (3.42)21
In a future world dominated by a neural-link web where people can tune into live events and revolutions can be instantly sparked, an active alien communication device is discovered in orbit around the Earth, triggering an international upheaval of fear, hope and violence.
  1. 00
    Time by Stephen Baxter (Aarontay)
    Aarontay: Another resolution of the Fermi's Paradox.
  2. 00
    Space by Stephen Baxter (Aarontay)
    Aarontay: Another attempt to explain the Femi's Paradox.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 21 mentions

English (38)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
With a tip of the hat to the John Brunner classic "Stand on Zanzibar" David Brin is back with a novel of first contact. Set in the middle of the 21st century the Earth is a muddled mess, dealing with the effects of climate change, overpopulation, economic stagnation, and other sociopolitical ills. Everything changes when a odd looking artifact is retrieved from orbit and brought to Earth. This is not light beach reading. Unless you are on top of the latest thinking about group social dynamics, the search for ET's, etc. you may find yourself lost after several pages. Careful reading will give you one of the best SF novels written in a long time. Looking for a novel of ideas? This is the book for you. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
David Brin is an icon in science fiction, and for good reasons. Brin's imagination gave us works like the Kiln People, the Postman, and of course, the seminal Uplift War saga in all of its glory. In his latest novel, Existence, Brin takes us to the near future, a world where mankind has continued to make mistakes, but has also made attempts at progress. We start by meeting Gerald Livingston, an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have abandoned 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. (end blurb)
The difficulty I have with describing or even assessing this book is that it felt to me like it was written in three different mindsets. The first 25% of the book falls into that class of science fiction that deals with world crisis - you may recognize the formula. The setting - near future. The cast - someone in power, someone outside of the corridors of power, and a reporter of some kind. Additional cast optional. The crisis - something outside of our control threatens the way of life globally - flood, solar flares, alien incursion, etc.. The artifact is uncovered, ripples reach out, and we see how these dozen or so lives of our cast are affected, in some ways interacting.

Then the book takes a shift.

I'm glossing over, because I'm trying to avoid any spoilers, but the next chunk of the book (@50%) left me growing impatient for something to actually happen. That isn't to say that there isn't action or progress, but the middle seemed to stretch on and on without any satisfaction of resolution. Towards the end of this chunck we get a lot of tantalyzing clues and suggestions about our place in the universe, answers to the Fermi paradox, etc.. I would classify this portion of the book as less sci-fi disaster novel and back down into the near future thriller genre.

Then came the last 25%. Neither crisis novel nor thriller, this part of the book was pure speculative space opera, which if we're talking science fiction, is known to be my preference. It'll be no suprise that I wish the writing in the last 25% of the book had actually been more like 75%.

Brin is very much in touch with modern technology, and it shows in this book. Our near future citizens aren't that displaced from today. The gadgets are shinier and smaller, but the concepts are the same, or at least taken to their next few logical steps. Its only after reading the Afterword, where Brin explains himself and the novel a little more, that we learn that a lof of that first 25% of the book was previously written material that was worked in. Although I enjoyed those bits - especially the homage to uplift - I didn't feel like they were satisfactorily given a conclusion. The same happened later in the book, where we were led along certain paths and then never saw the characters involved again, leaving those subplots just dangling.

Don't be discouraged. Existence was still a good read by a great author, just be prepared to do a little work to get there.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor/Forge for an advance copy of the novel. ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
If possible I would give the first 400 pages 5 stars and the last 160, 2 stars. I'll explain later. ( )
1 vote ShaneBX | Feb 4, 2020 |
The gap between what I was anticipating and what is presented (more than authored) is too wide - too bad :( ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
So far...hardcore sci-fi in the best way possible...tons to feast your mind on, so much complexity (and tiny print) that at times you just have to stop and sit for awhile to take it all in. Not the kind of book, though, you can afford to read if you don't have some time to commit to it. There are points in the novel when I'm tempted to put a stop it all, but there's something about Existence that just won't let go...
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Belongs to Series

Uplift Saga (prequel)

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Those who ignore the mistakes of the future are bound to make them.

- Joseph Miller
Dedication
To "Tether Joe" Carroll, who spins real space lariats . . .
and
"Doc" Sheldon Brown, who teaches time travelers . . .

. . . and Ralph Vicinanza,
who helped many dreams and dreamers to thrive.
First words
what matters? do i? or ai? + the question spins
I.
I, AMPHORUM

The universe had two great halves.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

In a future world dominated by a neural-link web where people can tune into live events and revolutions can be instantly sparked, an active alien communication device is discovered in orbit around the Earth, triggering an international upheaval of fear, hope and violence.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

David Brin is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.42)
0.5 1
1 8
1.5 2
2 18
2.5 5
3 54
3.5 20
4 55
4.5 4
5 26

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 157,856,356 books! | Top bar: Always visible