David Brin (''The Postman'', ''The Uplift Trilogy'', "Earth") how the idea for his new novel "Existence" came to him, and what was its genesis.Mr Brin replied: ''In addition to being a fiction author, I am also an astronomer and one of my areas of research is SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). So, of course, all this overlaps with science fiction. You might say that I have been exploring the concept of 'the alien' all my life. Along the way, I became involved in the arguments over the so-called Great Silence -- the question of why we see no signs of other civilizations out there.''
''Might planets be rare? That is being answered right now as we discover solar systems all around us. Might life itself be harder to start than we imagined? Or intelligence? Or technology?''
''Or might all intelligent races stumble over the same sets of disasters, over and over again? Such as nuclear war or ecological mismanagement?''
''So you can see where the book's title. 'Existence' comes from. But the story is not all somber! Ultimately, it is a book about human endurance and hope.''
We asked Mr Brin who the character Gerald Livingston is, and what motivates him.He replied: ''Gerald is an astronaut who has a special, though low-rated job, piloting a whirling tether craft that snags orbital space junk to clean up the mess we humans have sent up into space above the Earth. One day he grabs something unusual. Something VERY unusual."
Early rumors on Earth start circulating, in the novel, about this 'something VERY unusual' that Livingston snags and it appears to be an 'alien artifact.' We asked Mr Brin what the early first rumors say or guess at.
He explained: "Is it a spaceship? A message in a bottle? It appears to carry virtual passengers who try to communicate with us. But how? And is this the first such stone from space? Or have there been others?''
In the book, the alien artifact is what Mr Brin has described elsewhere as a ''game changer''. We asked him to explain what he meant by that term, without, of course, giving away any spoiler alerts. He noted:
'If we got contact with alien civilizations, would that not be a 'game changer'? Especially if they offered us cool new technologies? Ah, but what if there's a price to pay?''Readers will want to know what the aliens want to communicate to the Earthlings, of course. We asked Mr Brin if he could tell us something about this without giving away any spoilers.
He replied: ''No spoiler. Watch the lavish, beautiful preview trailer for the book (with paintings by Patrick Farley)." [LINK to TRAILER www.tinyurl.com/exist-trailer ]
And Mr Brin added: ''You can see what their first words are -- 'Join us' -- ! Ah, but what does it mean?''
After contact, there are many reactions on Earth . Fear is one of the reactions. We asked Mr Brin to tell us a little more about this first reaction. He replied:''How do you think your neighbors would react to such news? With a wide range of emotions and reactions, from fear to hope and so on. We are a highly-diverse species! Is that a strength or a weakness? Readers can watch the trailer, and then read some sample chapters here at
Then, if readers wish, please join me online for a Twitter chat: June 20 - 4 pm Eastern time (1 pm Pacific time , 21h GMT) - #TorChat.
''Thanks for this brief interview and introduction to my new book 'Existence' and and I hope readers, new ones and old ones, will have fun exploring the ideas in the book! ''