Shannon Muir Reviews Existence
Author: David Brin
Publisher: Tor (part of Macmillan)
Gerald works salvaging what appears to be interstellar junk for unusual finds, and makes an unexpected discovery of an object that appears to be a communication device with alien races. Meanwhile, a poor Chinese man named Peng Xiang Bin does similar reclamation from under the sea, and discovers a rival object; not knowing what it is, he inquires publicly about it and finds many people on his tail interested in the artifact, which ultimately forces him to flee his wife and child. Add in a determined media journalist, a man curious about blackmail in politics, a mother scientist and her estranged son, and you have many voices searching out our reason for Existence. The novel is highly complicated, and on a big picture thought level as futurist David Brin is known for, and in the the end is more about the subject than the characters – some of which seemed to disappear with tons of loose ends behind. A long book at approximately 550 pages, this is not a fast read. However, Brin also puts forward a lot to think about in terms of what defines human existence both in the perspective of comparing to other races and other humans. If you like books that make you consider things in new ways, Existence may just be your cup of tea.
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review via NetGalley, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.