In Blind Lake, Robert Charles Wilson again brings us his unique brand of science fiction: a character story wrapped around a mystery with a meaty sci-fi center. Blind Lake is set in a top-secret government research facility in Minnesota. The facility is doing ground-breaking research into what appears to be a sentient alien species. The strange thing is that no one really understands how the alien images are being recovered by the facility's self-evolving quantum computers. And when the entire facility is quarantined with no warning or explanation, things really start to get weird.
While the characters are well done, most of the story taking place at Blind Lake is actually pretty boring as far as sci-fi goes: we spend a lot of time with Chris, the self-loathing journalist, a mildly autistic little girl, and her narcissistic and paranoid father. The interaction between these characters is standard fare for daytime drama. Frankly, I found some parts of it perfectly yawn-worthy. The only other complaint I have is that the phrase "It could end at any time," was repeated so often that I felt like I was playing a drinking game.
That said, the ideas underlying Blind Lake are incredible. Not since Sagan's Contact and Wilson's later novel Spin have I found myself truly awed by a story's concepts. In addition, this novel contains some of the most beautiful passages I have ever read regarding the human species and our desire to learn and evolve. Wilson breathes life into a seemingly dead universe. He is a true genius.
The narrator a deep, commanding voice that works perfectly for Chris and Ray, but he struggles a bit with female voices. This isn't uncommon with male narrators and Snyder performs admirably. His reading is, for the most part, quite good.
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