Jun 062012

Existence by David Brin
Source: Review copy from Tor Books via Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website

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.”

Thrown 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.

This book seemed like disconnected, vaguely related collections of stories that were pieced out in short snippets. Each chapter focussed on one storyline, but was short and cut abruptly to the next one.

I found it hard to figure out and keep track of all the storylines. Mostly because I only liked a few of them, mostly the ones that had some action happening like Peng Xiang Bin’s story, or Tor’s zepplin adventure. The majority of the time it seemed that nothing much was happening.

Another feature I found hard to follow was all the slang and unexplained verbiage. Yes, I know futuristic science fiction often has new language, but it is usually either explained or self-explanatory. The major of the slang in this book had my re-reading passages to figure out the meanings.

Overall, this story was too broad and reaching for me. There was a lot going on, and it seemed that the book lost focus and drifted by in uncohesive pieces. Due to this, I was only able to make it through about 40% of the book before I gave up due to lack of interest.

Challenges read for:

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012

2012 Ebook Challenge

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