For years I have lamented the dearth of good "first contact" novels, but it turns out this only reflected my ignorance of the field. Simply by Googling the theme I have discovered two great ones in a row, Greg Bear's "The Forge of God" and now this one, Robert Charles Wilson's "Blind Lake." Both of these books offer plain good writing, in addition to being exciting and intriguing scifi. Scifi sometimes has a reputation for being big on gee-whiz and small on character development. But "Blind Lake" especially functions fully as a novel in this regard and not just as scifi.
I am also impressed by what comes across to me as a feminine voice in the narration of "Blind Lake," even though the story is told in the third-person, and the book is by, I presume, a male. For example, there is mention of the smells of things and people, which strikes me as something women are more sensitive to. This, again, was a welcome change from the macho aura (or maybe I should say "aroma" :-) ) of much scifi.
But there is science fiction aplenty in this book. Actually, the science is unintelligible ... but the magic of the writing kept me enthralled nevertheless. It didn't quite go into fantasy, which I would not have cared for. The book is most thought-provoking, in addition to being 100-percent enjoyable from start to finish.