Saturday, June 14, 2008


Blindsight by Peter Watts was originally published in 2006. My paperback copy is 384 pages. Because Blindsight was a Hugo Award finalist, I had high hopes for it; regrettably it did not live up to my expectations. First, I enjoy hard science fiction and Blindsight wasn't quite hard enough for me or rather the focus of the science didn't correspond with my interests. Second, it seemed that Watts wasn't quite as concerned with the development of characters, and a clear narrative to push the plot forward as he should have been. The whole vampire thing was silly. There were, however, some neat ideas introduced. Blindsight was an OK book. I'm rating it a 3.

Amazon; From Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright © Reed Business Information

"Pack animals always tear apart the weaklings in their midst. Every child knows that much instinctively." pg. 14

"So I survived that and a million other childhood experiences. I grew up and I got along. I learned to fit in. I observed, recorded, derived the algorithms and mimicked appropriate behaviors." pg. 17

"But that, that distance - that chronic sense of being an alien among your own kind - it's not entirely a bad thing.
It came in especially handy when the real aliens came calling." pg. 18

"The whole world had been caught with its pants down in panoramic composite freeze-frame. We'd been surveyed - whether as a prelude to formal introductions or outright invasion was anyone's guess." pg. 38

"They [Historians] didn't have too many thought on the probable prevalence of intelligent, spacefaring extraterrestrials, but if there are any, they said, they're not just going to be smart. They're going to be mean." pg. 79

"The blind spot's moving....It's....tracking us." pg 94

"That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." Trevor Goodchild pg. 268

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