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Existence (Kiln) Hardcover – June 19, 2012
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“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
From the Inside Flap
Best-selling futurist David Brin returns to globe-spanning high concept fiction with Existence.
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My wife asked:"Hey Paul, how is it that you took just one week to seriously read 1,000 detailed technical proposals awhile back, but you took more like a month with this one, which is much easier to read?" I chose to savor this a small bit at a time, even though it did flow quickly, just to think about all the aspects and implications and associations. .. which is a major part of the value for me. But for those who just want entertainment, there's plenty of that here too.
Do I agree with his final vision for the future? I'll think about it, with a few twists in any case.
I like to feel that I can trust an author, that when he undertakes something ambitious, that he or she can carry it off. Alas, this wasn't the case with "Existence." For this reason I can't recommend this novel.
Hard to write a review here without spoilers.
Lots of interesting concepts, very weak case made for "why" the aliens must present themselves as they do. Story follows some characters for no apparent reason as regards impact to the overall plot. An interesting storyline with ancient machines is just dropped for all intents and purposes. The final crystals seem to be relatively blind whereas the originals miraculously knew about each other and us across the solar system and buried under the earth. Lots of that sort of annoyance going on.
So I like David Brin because he thinks up ideas that seem genuinely new and that is really cool and mind expanding. But he relies on you to make huge leaps of faith and his storyline suffers and becomes a bit tedious and you lose interest in the characters.
If you like really imaginative sci fi this will be a 3 star or better, if you like a well crafted story with rich characters and no gaps or abandoned sub plots this may be a 2 or less for you.