After the Firefall, all eyes are locked heavenward as a team of specialists aboard the self-piloted spaceship Theseus hurtles outbound to intercept an unknown intelligence.
©2006 Peter Watts; (P)2008 Recorded Books LLC
I should have known better than to read a book I saw recommended on 4chan. Blindsight doesn't have even the vague pretense of hard SF. It feels like a Frankenstein plagiarism of Ray Kurzweil, John Scalzi, and Sam Harris, that was assembled by someone suffering a traumatic brain injury. Narrator starts okay, but eventually runs all is voices together. I supposed even he couldn't remain unaffected by this dross.
The head of the Earth mission is a vampire with a (magic) implant to automatically dose him with (magic) anti-euclidean drugs so he doesn't die whenever he sees a right angle. Vampires are a thing, you see. Brought back from extinction by magic because of reasons, the novel has vampires not even worthy of a Twilight joke. I cannot explain how awful this book is by any means more expedient and less spoiler-ridden than that. Space Captain Magic Vampires to the rescue.
Now that I've posted this review, I'll be refunding it. This was the most pretentious piece of trash I've ever read. It's too awful to only blame Peter Watts for writing it. His editor ought to be fired and his publisher chased from civilization by pitchfork wielding mobs.
Very interesting and thought provoking concepts are explored in this story. It's a future where people with mental disorders or brain defects are not only "fixed" but also enhanced beyond "baseline" humans, at some expense to their humanity. On top of that there is the existence and integration of a mythical bloodline, first contact, and an interesting solution for long-distance multi-year space travel.
The story is told as a first person narrative about a first contact with an entirely unfathomable entity. The character's purpose on the mission is to be the equivalent of an embedded reporter, but with the added responsibility of translating the actions of the enhanced humans on the mission into baseline understandable terms. Exactly what this means is hard to explain, because the reader is only human. :-) Although he is enhanced himself, his abilities permit him to straddle both sides of the situation... And this struggle of understanding his ability is one of the themes.
The narrator does a great job of evoking the character's tone. The narrating character's enhancement makes him emotionally stunted, so the narrator reads the story in a fairly monotone voice. In my opinion this really adds to the story and makes the character's behavior more understandable. It really makes him stand out as apart from normal humans.
Definitely one of my favorite stories.
I really enjoy this author and the questions he raises here about the nature and bare utility of consciousness. The details and world are convincing and interesting, and the characters are all very 3d. The fact that non-male and non-caucasian characters exist and have interesting things to say and do is refreshing as well. He delves into tech, philosophy, Linguistics, and cognitive science with what is obviously a lot of research and thought, and will likely give most readers something new to ponder.
Truly extraordinary sci-fi. A post-scarcity world in the late 21st century is confronted by an entirely alien life form. Oh, and there are vampires in the future too. Great.
Solid hard Science Fiction leaving the reader with much to ponder after the narrative ends. This is definitely the perfect audio book for that long haul drive.
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
I put off reading this book for a while because of some reviews I read. I need to stop doing that. You can shoot holes in any novel, and Blindsight is no exception, but for me this is classic science fiction. Strip away some of the silly stuff (like a vampire commanding a crew), try to look past the fact that the main character is not very endearing, and you're left with an awesome description of indescribable aliens. Page after page is chock full of scientific concepts centered around a discussion of consciousness and its value. The characters were strange and interesting. I highly recommend this book for the hard and near-hard sf enthusiasts.
A complex work that needs to be read in print. Complex descriptions based on analytic geometric constructs requires long pauses to work out the 'vision'.. A great book but just not suited to audio.
too many to count
A brilliant, speculative, and very densely written work. I had to re-listen to the first several hours twice - but it was entirely worth it.
If you have some understanding of human neurophysiology this is a great story. That said, there is quite a bit of technical jargon. This is not your average "humans meet aliens" space opera. Instead it's an examination of the nature of consciousness and how humans would be able to understand beings that have a totally different way of existing and communicating.
The reader was adequate, but his tendency to have very similar voices for all the characters sometimes left me confused as to who was speaking and when transitions were happening.
Siri Keeton because I can relate to him (sort of). He's an outcast even among outcasts. I also enjoy the very mechanical way in which he views people. I understand that, though Siri , due to his radical hemispherectomy takes it to the nth degree.
When the characters start to question the importance of sentience. Sent chills down my spine.
Yes. It made me think. Hard. I was brooding all day after this one. It put my brain to work as I tried to sort out my feelings on it. What am I? Am I meaningless? Could my intelligence survive without my consciousness?
It really made me think.
There are so many ideas batted around in this story that it will be worth a second, third, and even fourth read.
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