NOT the end of the world
Here David reads an interlude from EXISTENCE -- asking why folks in every age and culture seem fixated on the World's End. From Ragnarok to Revelation to comets... a short but thorough (and amusing) tour of this perennial obsession with doomsday!
Brin reads Chp. 1...
For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and Gerald Livingston has to clean up the mess. Only... there's something spinning a little bit higher than he expects. It isn't on the orbital maps. An hour after he grabs the Object and brings it in, rumors fill Earth's infomesh about an "alien artifact." Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, this 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.
... and Chp. 2...
David also reads Chapter Two of EXISTENCE. "Aficionado" portrays an Age of Amateurs, where passionate citizens take their hobbies to new heights. Hacker Sander and other rocketeers hurl themselves skyward for the thrill of it. Meanwhile, other citizens fiercely monitor the environmental toll.
... and Chp. 3
Finally, David reads Chapter Three of EXISTENCE. In "Sky Light," aice reporter Tor tries to mine Sandiego for one more exclusive before assuming her new job center-frame in Restored Washington.
What is the secret of EXISTENCE?
Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is Everybody? Do civilizations make the same fatal mistakes, over and over? Might we be the first to cross the mine-field, evading every trap to learn the secret of Existence?
Astronaut Gerald Livingstone grabs a crystal lump of floating space debris. Is it an alien artifact, sent across the vast, interstellar gulf, bearing a message from far civilizations?
"Join us!" What does the enticing invitation mean? To enroll in a great federation of free races?
Only, what of rumors that this starry messenger may not be the first? Have other crystals fallen, across 9,000 years? Some offering welcome... and others... a warning?
This masterwork of science fiction combines hard-science speculation and fast-paced action with the deeply thoughtful ideas and haunting imagery that David Brin (best-selling author of Earth and The Postman) is known for in more than twenty languages.
Sample EXISTENCE Stories
Want to try out some sample chapters? These all work well as stand-alone stories too.
The Smartest Mob
A complete novella, "The Smartest Mob" offers a full adventure-excerpt from Existence. A news reporter finds herself aboard a passenger Zeppelin that might -- perhaps -- have been turned into a weapon of terror. No one will listen -- not the government or the Zep company. No one, that is, except a semi-random band of amateurs, scattered around the globe.
"Aficionado" takes you on a wild rocket ride -- the new sport of the super-rich in 2050. Hacker Sander is spoiled, temperamental and a champion rock-jock, expert at the game of Space War... till a crash landing throws him into lethal peril. His sole hope? A tribe of strangely savvy sea creatures, with a secret need of their own.
The Shelter of Tradition
In "The Shelter of Tradition," it's 2050 Shanghai, and a mother and her child must flee dark forces in broad daylight while evading the gaze of a hundred million cameras on every ledge and lamp-post. Her only hope is assistance from a strange little boy... and the refuge of the Wonderful World of Disney and the Monkey King.
Another novella-excerpt from Existence tells the story of a brave Chinese man trying to make a life in the flooded boundaries of Shanghai, who stumbles upon a great and terrible discovery, in "Shoresteading."
The Blackjack Generation
Here's an 'Interlidolude' from EXISTENCE that describes how we will keep our 'machine mind' offspring loyal to us humans.
These stories are certain to draw you toward the bigger adventure of Existence.
EXISTENCE: vivid previews!
...then come back,read complete, stand-alone novella chapters from Existence, plus reviews!
(Bonus! Farley's brief video teaser of Existence.)
Reviews and Testimonials
"I recently listened to David Brins latest novel, Existence, a very large novel - in ideas, content, and pages - about the not-too-distant future of humanity. It hooked me right away and I've been running a lot more lately because of my looking forward to listening to the novel. Now I've finished it I'm not sure I can find a similarly enthralling listen."
--Santa Barbara (CA) Independent
"In his usual fashion David Brin has written an understated masterpiece that is a truly amazing complex piece of literature. Brin is a fantastic writer who has gone back to the well and delivered an absolute gem..."
--Book People (Austin, TX)
"Science fiction fans were finally given what they crave: Real science explained and possible science dreamed, all wrapped up in an excellent story. After reading it, you feel like you've done an A-level and experienced a cultural event. Daring yet plausible, challenging yet rewarding, it raised the bar for grown-up alien contact sci-fi."
--The Sun (UK) Best of 2012
"Set mostly in the mid-twenty-first century (though the plot extends for several decades), Existence is, among other things, a veritable encyclopedia of SF concepts and subgenres. An inventive alien-contact story lies at the heart of the novel, while much of its science-fictional technology derives from the legacy of cyberpunk but moves beyond most cyberpunk to contemplate the potential of a genuinely posthuman future. Along the way, Brin also injects elements of political intrigue, space opera, media satire, class warfare, and post-disaster (economic, environmental, and nuclear) recovery efforts."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"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
"If you are among those who have complained that there is insufficient hard science fiction, imagining a future that is a realistic extrapolation based on what we now think are genuine possibilities and genuine constraints, David Brin's novel Existence may be what you have been longing for."
"So, if you like thinking about Big Ideas in novel form, buy Existence. And, if you would like to retain the Fair Information Principles in a near future of surveillance in public, consider Brin more carefully when you imagine how life will and should be in the coming decades."
--Peter Swire, Concurring Opinions
"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."
--Rob H. Bedford at SFFWorld.com
"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 [Stand on] Zanzibar throne, and a worthy one, Version 2.0 of his similar performance in 1990's Earth."
--Paul Di Filippo, in BarnesandNobleReview.com
"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?"
"Some books make grand claims in their titles that seem impossible to satisfy — but David Brin's "Existence" is completely justified. The award-winning futurist (his other novels include "Earth" and "The Postman") is interested in nothing less than humanity's past, present and future in his complex new novel.... 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?"
--Los Angeles Times
"(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."
"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
"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
"Brin's narrative navigates the globe as his large cast of characters deals with the prospect of what the aliens have to offer. There are shocks to come, including the existence of competing artifacts (these aliens are a contentious lot), as well as the disturbing possibility that it may all be a hoax."
"Ultimately, the book is a call to explore and delight in not only the beauty and the diversity of the entire universe, but especially our own home planet and all that reside here."
--The Emporia Gazette
"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."
"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
"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
The Wall Street Journal review of Existence is clearly very positive and boils down to "very very interesting from many directions." Alas, I wish they had actually said that in a quotable way!
Some unique takes on the philosophical aspects of Existence, from the Center for Human Consciousness.
Bloggers are certainly talking about Existence with their friends, family and fans. Here are just a few:
Marianne de Pierres
Adventures in Open Source
Two Dudes in an Attic
What Mark Read
100 Trillion Connections
Adventures of a Bookonaut
Teddy's Rat Lab
Random's 23 Cents
The Bleeding Inkwell
Shades of Sentience blog
Best Fantasy Stories blog
A Forum of Ice and Fire
For Winter Nights
Falcata Times blog
Winnipeg Free Press
Violin in a Void
Geek Speak Magazine
The Trek BBS
for UK EYES ONLY
To celebrate the release of EXISTENCE in paperback, Orbit Books (UK) will also re-release the Uplift books as two omnibus editions and re-release Earth and The Postman with specially-designed new covers.
pick up the audio version of EXISTENCE
Film & Media Rights
Queries about film or media rights to:
EXISTENCE! a novel of our future
... and already racking up predictive hits! This article (by Steve Outing), examines how journalist Tor "relies on credible smart mobs and ubiquitous connection" (and tru-view glasses suspiciously similar to Google Glass!) to break a story.
articles related to EXISTENCE
Novels of the near-future explore present-day themes and issues, and Existence is no exception. Here are a few articles and interviews that touch on them:
- Can Google Glass and Facebook combined create a population of real-world Tors?
- Can we expand our notion of Existence?
- How do we restore optimism to science fiction?
- Are we alone in the galaxy?
- How will the people of 2036 predict the end of the world?
EXISTENCE study guide
The Uplift Trilogy (Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heaven's Reach) continues the stirring saga that began with Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War. The entire series is available in paperback and ebook.
I also released a companion to the series. Contacting Aliens: An Illustrated Guide To David Brin's Uplift Universe is a fun tour of the many alien races in the Uplift Universe.
I've posted here two short stories based in the Uplift universe. One, "Aficionado," first appeared in Popular Science and is now part of Existence. This story details the very beginnings of Earth's Uplift Project. The other, "Temptation," first appeared in Robert Silverberg's anthology Far Horizons and features the adventures of a female dolphin on the faraway world, Jijo, who must escape from two of her own kind and then penetrate a deeply dangerous ancient secret.
Mary's Favorite Bit
Mary Robinette Kowal, one of my favorite "whipper-snapper" young authors of the next generation, runs a nifty cool web site that now features a series called "My Favorite Bits where writers are invited to describe a snippet of scribbling — from a novel or story — that made them especially proud or happy. In my own contribution to Mary's series, I dance around one of the best (according to many pre-readers) moments in Existence... without actually describing, or spoiling the scene. Instead, I use it as an excuse to discuss the importance of suspense.
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Contact David Brin by email.