Existence…in Review

Forgive a break from science and politics and transparency and such… to do a little horn tooting.  But the reviews have been coming in. And here are some epic testimonials for you folks who have been fence-siting about whether it’s worth  $16 — the best per-hour entertainment value around — to plunk for a hardcover copy of Existence.

“I would consider Existence to be a triumphant, epic Science Fiction novel on many levels. It stayed with me after I set it aside for the day, continues to simmer in my mind now that I’ve finished reading it, and has opened up a gateway to Brin’s novels I’d wanted to enter for a while.  Brin achieved an excellent gestalt of character, big ideas, and narrative energy. Existence is my top SF novel of 2012 and I recommend it without hesitation.”  a review from SFF.net.

“Science fiction is as much a literature of the moment as it is of the future. This book, then, is both a warning and an encouragement: a novel that engages with the world we’re building and tries to show us a way to become a mature civilisation rather than a raggle-taggle band of individuals. Technology has libertarian roots, but in the end we build the tools that construct a civil society. In Existence Brin shows us the world our technology is building, and then poses one of the biggest questions: what is it all for?

“What we’re left with in Existence is one of those rare SF novels that needs to be on every technologist’s desk, alongside John Brunner’s Shockwave Rider, Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, Charles Stross’s Rule 34, and Brin’s own Earth. We may not be able to see our future, but in Existence we get a picture of a possible — even a plausible — tomorrow.” —  Simon Bisson on ZDNet.

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“Existence is a book that makes you think deeply about both the future and life’s most important issues.  I found it fascinating and I could not put it down.”  –  Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures.

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This is a book which managed to far exceed my already high expectations. It’s smart, it’s fun, and I’m afraid it’s also terribly important.” — Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary).

“(Existence is) all about the chaos and passion of adolescence — the designs we make for our lives when we’re young, before unforeseeable events send us spinning into strange new orbits…. It also proposes that the best way to confront these answers is deeply human: to be creative, diverse, compromising, curious. That to reach Heaven — or something like it — requires that we look beyond ourselves, beyond humanity (all six species of it), and into the universe beyond.” –George Dvorsky in io9

“Is there such a thing as “The Great American Science Fiction Novel”? … (It) would be an ambitious, panoramic, macroscopic, and microscopic portrait concerning a speculative future that was near enough to the date of composition to allow for an assessment of its probability and extrapolative verisimilitude… the Great SF Novel remained an elusive beast, with some doubts even as to its desirability.

“But admirers of this type of novel — and I’m one — can take renewed hope with the appearance of David Brin’s Existence. It’s an overt claimant to the Zanzibar throne, and a worthy one, Version 2.0 of his similar performance in 1990’s Earth.” 

“Brin deliberately fudges the exact date of his novel’s action, as if to preserve it from becoming outdated. Let’s just call it mid-twenty-first-century. But that’s the only nebulous part of this immaculately conceived and rendered book, massive and dense but somehow light-footed as well.” — Paul De Filippo, for The Speculator (BarnesAndNoble.com).

“Brin tackles a plethora of cutting-edge concepts — such as the Fermi paradox, the ascent of artificial intelligence, and the evolution of technologically enhanced humanity — with the skill of a visionary futurologist, and while his extended cast of characters is set up to articulate ideas, they come to life as distinct individuals. If he does resort to long info-dumps, it’s necessary in order to convey the depth and breadth of his startling future. Existence is Brin’s first novel in 10 years, and it’s been well worth the wait.”The Guardian.

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“Featuring memorable characters and masterly storytelling, Brin’s latest novel provides food for thought and entertainment. Fans of Vernor Vinge and Arthur C. Clarke, as well as Brin’s own sizable fan base, will enjoy this multidimensional story.”Library Journal starred review.

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“It’s not just the near future that is in focus here but the whole timeline of existence, its image refracted through the lens of human civilization.” —online review.

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“Brin’s thoughtful, multilayered story explores a first contact scenario where every twist reveals greater peril. His longtime fans will especially appreciate that this story could be read as a prequel to 1983’s Startide Rising, while those not familiar with his work will find it an impressive introduction to one of SF’s major talents.”Publisher’s Weekly starred Pick of the Week.

“Whodunits are a sure thing in publishing — just about everyone loves a good mystery — but Brin’s multifaceted novel proves that another question resonates just as powerfully with most people: Are we alone in the universe?”  — The Los Angeles Times.

Finally, watch the vivid trailer by Patrick Farley, sample the excerpts on my website, or listen to the audio version.

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