Existence by David Brin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: 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.”
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
June 2014 book group selection. Not well received - nobody finished. One member quit after 34 pages, one member made it about halfway and set it aside, I gamely plugged away, skipping bits...and with about 75 pages to go...I don't know that I'll finish. Two members didn't even make it to the meeting. The common theme from folks was: boring.
This particular book was slow to develop, with characters that weren't all that engaging, and a semi-interesting topic that got lost in a plethora of "stuff". And, from my point of view, not very interesting stuff - it was small paragraphs of exposition that I thought intruded on the story and made everything more fragmented than it needed to be. Though, one book group member liked the "stuff" and not the rest of the story.
I've read many books by Brin in the past, I've listened to him on panels at scifi conventions (he's a fascinating and well articulated speaker), and I've watched the PBS series (?) he narrated on what would happen if humans disappeared from the earth. His extensive knowledge comes through in this book, I could hear his "voice", but this book somehow fell short of his usual engaging characters and topics.
Recommended with reservations.
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