Blindsight Hardcover – Oct 3 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Canadian author Watts (Starfish) explores the nature of consciousness in this stimulating hard SF novel, which combines riveting action with a fascinating alien environment. In the late 21st century, when something alien is discovered beyond the edge of the solar system, the spaceship Theseus sets out to make contact. Led by an enigmatic AI and a genetically engineered vampire, the crew includes a biologist who's more machine than human, a linguist with surgically induced multiple personality disorder, a professional soldier who's a pacifist, and Siri Keeton, a man with only half a brain. Keeton is virtually incapable of empathy, but he has a savant's ability to model and predict the actions of others without understanding them. Once the Theseus arrives at the gigantic and hideously dangerous alien artifact (which has tellingly self-named itself Rorschach), the crew must deal with beings who speak English fluently but who may, paradoxically, not even be sentient, at least as we understand the term. Watts puts a terrifying and original spin on the familiar alien contact story. (Oct.)
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Sf's best visionaries have played out the ever-popular theme of alien first contact in so many different ways that fresh variations are now in short supply. Yet Watts manages an entirely unique approach in this mind-bending novel. In 2082, with utopia waiting just down the electronic pipeline in a virtual domain called Heaven, Earth experiences the sudden shock of a baffling extraterrestrial visitation in the form of bright probes that surround the globe. Within days, the lights vanish, leaving only a faint signal of outbound communication near the Kuiper belt. Possessing few clues about the aliens' culture or intentions, scientists dispatch an unlikely exploration team that includes a linguist with multiple-personality syndrome, a cyborg biologist, and a spectral captain whose genetic code incorporates vampirism. Watts packs in enough tantalizing ideas for a score of novels while spinning new twists on every cutting-edge genre motif from virtual reality to extraterrestrial biology. Watts' fifth, finest, most-fascinating book. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Blindsight is not an easy or fast read since ideas and concepts are constantly being thrown at us and take time to absorb but it is well worth the effort. The end game is full of plot twists and surprises. My only complaint is the story is a little bit too lean - character development and background information on the other crew members was weak and I felt it difficult to relate to them. eg When a crew member is killed it just doesn't register or mean anything to me. And it should. Nonetheless this is a great example of diamond hard Science Fiction and one of the best books of the year. Buy it!
It can be haunting, hard to read at times (you`ll be flipping a few pages back time to time going WTF just happened) and at times just plain scary.
GET THIS BOOK NOW.
The novel bowls along at a fantastic pace with never a dull moment and Watts' impeccably researched and inspired insight into the nature and purpose of consciousness marks him as one of the finest, though, sadly perhaps the least prolific, modern science fiction writers I've ever encountered.
This is first and foremost a story of first contact. The tough part was to identify the alien(s) and distinguish between smart technology and sentience. While the reader is following the story of the aliens, we are also learning about Siri, his life and how he fits in with the rest of the crew. It's a very different world than the one we live in now. People can be moded with all sorts of implants though I am left wondering whether that makes them more or makes them less human in the end.
I enjoyed the path of this story, but will admit, that at times I couldn't follow whatever philosophy Mr. Watts was discussing. Several time, Sarasti, the vampire, had to lead Siri to understand something. This something was never stated, I imagine that I was supposed to be able to follow the logic and figure it out myself, I never did
Most recent customer reviews
Brilliantly horrifying maelstrom of ideas and non-stop action and reflexion, at the very edge of humanity. Post-humanists, behold and ponder !Published 3 months ago by Élisabeth Vonarburg
A lot of mishmash to stretch an otherwise interesting story.
If you are looking for adventure and good science-fiction then you should look elsewhere. Read more
This novel will make you question your concept of consciousness. The subconscious' involvement on critical thinking is presented brilliantly by Peter Watts. Brilliant.Published 11 months ago by Implied Zero
Fast, sometimes hard to follow, but tremendously clever and packed with more concepts and ideas than most novels. This is pretty much what Sci-fi should be. Highly recommended.Published 13 months ago by yan e fossat
Brilliant. Unique. Hard SF. Horrifying. Peter Watts is bent! I will be buying everything else he's written.Published 15 months ago by Erik D. Young
Though it is hard science fiction it is unusually dense with psychology and ideas about consciousness and sentience. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Remo B. Wieland