No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|Print List Price:||CDN$ 11.99|
Save CDN$ 1.00 (8%)
This price was set by the publisher.
Existence Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
“Take a world soaked in near-future strangeness and complexity... Add a beautiful alien artifact that turns out to be the spearpoint of a very dangerous, very ancient invasion... Hotwire with wisdom and wonder... Existence is as urgent and as relevant as anything by Stross or Doctorow, but with the cosmic vision of Bear or Benford. Brin is back.” ―Stephen Baxter, bestselling author of Ark and The Time Ships
“In Existence, David Brin takes on one of the fundamental themes in science fiction--and what is also one of the fundamental questions humanity faces in this century. Since Brin is both a great storyteller and one of the most imaginative writers around, Existence is not to be missed.” ―Vernor Vinge, bestselling author of Fire Upon the Deep and The Children of the Sky
“Existence is a book that makes you think deeply about both the future and life's most important issues. I found it fascinating and could not put it down.” ―Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
DAVID BRIN is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula, and other awards. Brin lives near San Diego, California, with his wife and their three children.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0079XPMQS
- Publisher : Tor Books; First edition (June 19 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 1294 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 560 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #172,852 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from Canada
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
For you do not know what a day may bring forth." -- Proverbs 27:1 (NKJV)
This story is both strange and familiar, a curious combination in science fiction considering extraterrestrial life. I found the speculative element to be intriguing, but the book started so slowly that I found it hard to stay focused on it.
The novel is really just a device to explore the question of how one should search for and communicate with extraterrestrial life (if it exists). I suspect that I would have been just as happy with a fifty page article explaining our understanding of the possibilities and what the pros and cons of each are.
The novel was made more rewarding, however, by intriguing extensions of current trends to see where they might lead. As such, some of the details are probably more significant for informing us on what to do today than the main focus of the book is. As an example, what will it mean as the boundaries between "human" and "machine" blur? What are the appropriate limits for using chemicals to optimize performance?
One of my favorite themes in the book is the continual questioning about what we are blind to that's more or less right in front of us.
The drawback of the novel approach is that it's a long way to get across some pretty simple (ultimately) ideas. I had a pretty good time, but I did feel as if I were slogging for much of the time.
In this case the external plot driver starts with an apparent alien artifact with messages from multiple different civilizations, and how humanity responds to this event. Quickly it becomes apparent that not all is as it seems.
In the past I think Brin's biggest weakness has been a tendency towards over-the-top endings. Here he takes a very different approach - right when the story is moving towards an apparent climax it suddenly jumps several years in the future in the aftermath of the original conflict and introducing what in some respects is a whole new set of events, and then makes another jump of several years before reaching a conclusion. Somehow this approach works though, and the final resolution felt appropriate and believable.
I can see how some people might not like the style of the book - it is somewhat disjointed with pieces being told from different perspectives with incomplete knowledge of the big picture, and some chapters being almost unrelated to the main story - if you're looking for a cohesive narrative then this may not be for you.
And then we move into Part Seven and we are years into the future of the story. Compelling and interesting events are alluded to but not explored. I feel this could have been a compelling trilogy.
Brin has some brilliant ideas, as he always does. But, for me, I feel he forced them into one book, leaving some great things out. I enjoyed the book but it pains me to give David only a four star rating.
Top reviews from other countries
The extent of Brin's imagination is fantastic, the world is built very consistently and really hangs together with great depth and there is an interesting variety of people across the different plot threads. The ending is very clever and not one I saw coming.
I read the Uplift series many years ago and have been meaning to re-read for a while. I could see some foreshadowing of the Uplift in this book and am now heading straight to read the Uplift books as I want to do that while this one is fresh in my mind.
Brinn has clearly researched the central Fermi paradox plot device in great depth but the individual narrative threads interspersed with worthy lectures completely fails to create a coherent tale. The lamentable pace and the over-clever and annoying neologisms (forcing `ai' into every possible word) further interrupts the already stuttering narrative flow making for a very hard read - not that everything should rip along at a break-neck page-turning pace but it should at least be a pleasurable experience. This book isn't; it is a slog. I don't really know why, but I'm currently slogging through the `Uplift Trilogy' - another massive Brinn tome which, although less preachy, slightly better paced and more operatic in feel is still far tooo sllloooww. I can't wait to finish it and get on to `Abaddon's Gate' for a bit of light relief.
The characters are shallowly drawn and uninteresting, the direction and focus of the plot changes continuously and jumps about all the time leaving no real plot in the end.
This is an academic exercise in the exploration of alien contact ideas giving reasons why they might not have happened yet and running them together to form a timescape of thought on contact.
There is some intellectual interest in the book but it is not a real novel and that makes it, by far, Brin's worst book.
However, I have to agree with a couple of the comments about extraneous characters and material. Some of the background is just that - great background (Awfulday, the Big Deal) but some I don't get ... the Basque Chimera, most of the sequences involving the Chinese character's wife.
Then there were the events that were glossed over or left to the imagination. I don't want to give spoilers, but the resolution of the 'Seeker' thread was - for me - missing a few scenes I'd like to have seen.
Anyway, as I said, there were some great aspects to this book and I think it will warrant a second read, knowing which bits I can skim through and which I can focus on.