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Existence - Limited Edition 3D Cover [Special Edition] [Paperback]

David Brin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Jun 2012

Our continued existence was never a given.

We've always wanted to know our destiny. But when the end seems in sight, how will the world react?

An alien artefact plucked from Earth's orbit throws the world into chaos with both warning and a promise. For the prophet who dreams of new world order, survival means putting an end to democracy. For the movie mogul with a talent for spinning facts, the public doesn't know what's best for them. And for the reporter determined to discover the truth, the world needs to know what's at stake.

All will play their part in what's to come.

Both brilliant and terrifying, David Brin's novel of the near future is a tour de force of storytelling. It is the work of a modern master of science fiction.

Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 3D cover edition (21 Jun 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0356501728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356501727
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 301,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David's latest novel - Existence - is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers... a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin's 1989 ecological thriller - Earth - foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of "The Universe" and History Channel's "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

Website: http://www.davidbrin.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/davidbrin1

Product Description


Brin tackles a plethora of cutting-edge concepts... with the skill of a visionary futurologist ... Existence is Brin's first novel in 10 years, and it's been well worth the wait (GUARDIAN )

A masterpiece of rock-hard SF (SUN )

Existence is bursting with ideas, including near-future tech, first contact with aliens, and the exploration of what it means to be human (io9.com )

The story of first contact between mankind and alien is relayed with rarely encountered intelligence and through gripping twists (SciFiNow )

Take a world soaked in near-future strangeness and complexity... 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. (Steven Baxter )

An impressive introduction to one of SF's major talents (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY )

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 )

Book Description

A groundbreaking, mind-blowingly ambitious new science fiction novel from the multiple award-winning classic author David Brin. LIMITED EDITION 3D COVER

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A big book with bigger ideas - a compelling read 4 July 2012
David Brin's Existence proved irresistible. It examines some of the biggest, most compelling themes. Is humanity alone in the universe, a mere freak of creation? If, on the other hand, there is intelligent life out there, why has it chosen to remain silent?

Brin's focus is on several characters in the near future, a time when space exploration has stalled but leaps in technology are fast and ambitious. Gerald is one of the few humans in space, gathering debris from the orbit of earth and flicking it into the planet's atmosphere for annihilation - he finds an Artefact, a non-human entity that communicates through him; Peng Xiang Bin lives on the margins of survival in Shanghai, a watery existence in the flooded ruins of devastated seaside mansions - he finds another artefact, which appears to be aware of the other found by Gerald. It doesn't like it; Hacker is a rich man who seeks thrills. He finds them in space, in self-funded rockets that peek into space before falling back to earth; Hamish is a famous film maker and writer, a celebrity, who works for a confederation that seeks to turn from the stars and heal the earth through the abolishment of democracy and the emergence of a more basic society run by a rich elite; Tor is a journalist who speaks for the flashmob. Seeking to report the truth about the Artefact, Tor finds herself in the unique position of seeing humanity from the other side.

This cast, as well as many others who come and go through the pages, slowly begin to circle around the space artefact, its opposing earth artefact, and show us the world that earth has become.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 1982 David Brin published a paper on the Great Silence, the Drake Equation and Fermi's Paradox - the reason no signs of extraterrestrial civilisations have been found. Thirty years later he is revisiting this in a serious piece of SF. This weighty tome might claim to be his magnum opus. It is a serious piece of fiction somewhat less frothy than his Uplift series bearing more resemblance as it does to 'Earth' in style.

Are we alone? Where are the others? What is the mechanism for the 'Great Filter' preventing civilisations from filling the Galaxy. In existence Brin does not attempt to exploit these for cheap drama, the book is a liesurely tour through the various theories for the Great Silence. Along the way several solutions and pitfalls are examined.

Set in the near future , an Earth under pressure is exposed to an Alien probe bearing a mesage. The message is a promise, a trap and a solution. Can or will Humanity follow the path of prior civilisations or can we navigate our own way around the 'Great Filter'.

The book is a piece of thinking fiction proposing potential real physics solutions to the questions raisied in physics. Its not the most elegant piece of SF Ive read as its constrained by real universe physics and economics. It is a fantastic sleeper novel, though it requires some patience its worth the read.

This is a book for people interested in a hard look at our real universe. Its not a light and frothy , its thought provoking and very current. Not his most enjoyable piece , but a very worthwhile read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work in places 18 Nov 2012
By fjonny
This could have been an interesting thoughtful book about the future and first contact with aliens, trouble was it's narrative was buried in a hotch potch of essays on related subjects that contributed very little to the story and made the book both irritating to read and in parts boring. Some of the material seemed to have been dumped into the book, having been written for other projects, and would have been better left out. Written in a more spare style this would have been a much better book. In spite of this I finished it and enjoyed reading some of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Essays Turned into a Huge Novel 11 Aug 2013
This novel has lots of interesting things to say about why aliens have not revealed themselves, and what the challenges are if a civilisation is to survive. But this is also the novel's big failing, because it tends to 'say' these things, rather than express them through the story. The characters generally all talk in the exact same scientific voice and are not so much characters as mouth pieces for Brin's points. It's what you would get if you took a series of essays and tried to convert them into dialogue. And every chapter is actually followed by an almost direct essay, supposedly from a future encyclopedia or expert.

Also Brin does't seem to understand how to use narrative within a novel. Some characters, who we've been following over hundreds of pages just disappear without any real conclusion. (SPOILERS!) What happened to Mae Ling, or to Hacker and his Dolphins - why did I read all about his story for it then to just vanish? Also, what about the glowing artifact that the dolphins discovered underwater? It just got completely forgotten about.

Having built up some tension at times, Brin just threw it away by not bothering to tell us the most exciting moment, completely ignoring the climaxes of several sections, and then telling us little bits in the following chapter in typical essay style. For example, the majority of the novel is about the two stones, one in the U.S and one in China. And just when the stones are about to be brought together to face each other - the point that the whole book has been moving towards - Brin stops his story and jumps forward twenty years. I mean... what was he thinking?! He's supposed to be a novelist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent length, very engaging
Really enjoying the book. Just about to finish.

Some other reviewers have pointed out the disjointed nature of this book. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Stretch
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story, and very thought-provoking
Have you ever wondered about the Fermi Paradox, ie the "where are all the aliens" question? Then you should read this book, as well as an entertaining story David Brin... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Jon Storm
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not give up the day job Mr Brin
I love Sci Fi and have for most of my 62 years and I am so grateful to live in the age of Peter F Hamilton Dan Simmonds and the
late great Ian Banks. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Chris D
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but to confusing for myself
Ok to read whilst on holiday but thought it was to confusing for myself, i would not recommend it after reading.
Published 1 month ago by Micael riley
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and complex
I did find parts of the beginning somewhere between a bit slow and a bit depressing. Brin is setting up a near future world, with risen sea levels and some people living by finding... Read more
Published 3 months ago by treesilhouette
1.0 out of 5 stars I bought the hype; I wish I hadn't.
Well, I've struggled on with this for several weeks, hoping the few great concepts would come alive as the denouement neared and justify the dazzling reviews. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Alistair G. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Fan since the Uplift Novels
Another great David Brin read, in my eyes. So far, I've enjoyed every novel I've read, and a lot of his non fiction stuff too, though I've not read anywhere near as much as I have... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bruce Hogg
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly a let-down
I've been a huge fan of (most of) Brin's SF output, so I was delighted when I stumbled across this book without any warning that he (finally) had another novel out. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steve X
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and different
This deals with first contact with alien forms. Brin paints a different scenario from usual - surprisingly different and imaginative and an excellent book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Discerning viewer
4.0 out of 5 stars Big theme with big ambition but not Brin's best
Well written (as you'd expect from Brin) but with some major holes of logic.

Some likeable characters.

A bit of a non-ending, in my opinion. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Leonard F. Clark
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