Existence

Existence

Book - 2012
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Bestselling, 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.

Publisher: New York : Tor, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765303615
0765303612
9780765342621
Branch Call Number: Science Fiction F Bri

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Alfred367
Apr 28, 2018

The first half of this book is a mess. Is it about the Great Filter? Global warming? The loss of privacy in the internet age? First contact? Economic inequality? Several of the subplots have been published as short stories, and it isn't obvious whether the novel was created to fit the stories or the shorts were extracted from the book.

The author employs a couple of annoying cutesy mechanisms that break up the narrative flow: replacing vowels with 'ai' in anything that has artificial intelligence built in, and making up portmanteaus on the fly.

The story accelerates in the second half of the novel, as Brin focuses on his (very) big ideas. The tale discusses events on a huge scale, and one or two of the themes are new to me.

Brin was clearly planning a sequel, as he needlessly dropped hints to future events that he never resolved. I'll probably read it if it is published, hoping it is more like the second half of Existance than the first.

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djlucey
Dec 30, 2016

read up to page 326

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