Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

Existence, by David Brin

This is a sci-fi book with ambitions, I like that. It covers many of the common themes, augmented reality, AI, robots, environmental pollution, etc. but the book also has some interesting twists on things like autism and media/the tendency for people who don’t listen to move to the top… Approaching self-righteous indignation (the enemy of reason) as a brain-altering addiction is brilliant. There are almost too many parallel stories as many of them are not really given any opportunity to be developed, and sometime it feels like some of them are just there to make a point. But as many of the points are well thought through that is not much of a problem.

I would like to have more details on the developments (social and technical aspects in particular) and a little less rambling on first person from the characters. Just because a person talks a lot does not mean that you get to know the person.

But the book is written with passion for the issues that are covered. It is one of these books where you know there is an author with so many ideas that he struggles to fit them into the story. The fact that some aspects feel a little artificial in the story does not bother me at all. It is like a journalist who really cares about an issue and don’t focus all their skills of how things sound.

The book is stronger on the technology part than the social/political part (as most sci-fi books are). I wonder if it is because so many sci-fi authors have a naïve understanding of how the world operates and think everything is driven by technology, or maybe more correct, feel frustrated that the world is not defined by technology?

The ending is a little frustrating and although I guess there is an attempt to end on a 2001 note, it just feels like David did not really know how to end a quite epic story. This is particular frustrating as before the last four pages with the ending there is a full chapter that does not really provide anything to the story.

But these last 10% (I’m still not used to e-books without numbers) would probably be fully acceptable on their own, but in contrast to how good the book was up until then they feel mediocre.

So all in all a great relaxing book that provide enough unique twists and turns to keep you interested all the way.