Prepare for a different kind of singularity in Peter Watts' Echopraxia, the follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight
It's the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.
Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat's-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he's turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out.
Now he's trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. To his left is a grief-stricken soldier, obsessed by whispered messages from a dead son. To his right is a pilot who hasn't yet found the man she's sworn to kill on sight. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with something they will only call "The Angels of the Asteroids."
Their pilgrimage brings Dan Bruks, the fossil man, face-to-face with the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought itself.
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Hugo-winner Watts attempts "faith-based hard SF" in this dense, fast-moving companion to 2006's Blindsight set in a late-21st-century world of genetically resurrected vampires, weaponized zombies, and Nobel-winning monastic hive minds. Daniel Br ks, obsolete in every way human in a posthuman world, a field biologist despite biology's merger with technology, an atheist despite religion's recent triumphs over science is dragged onto a Rapture-guided ship, the Crown of Thorns, and taken on a mission to investigate possible transmissions from the lost spaceship Theseus. Br ks is soon trapped between a vampire and a physics-breaking "postbiological" organism. Watts displays his knack for meticulously researched, conventionally unsympathetic characters, and their complex manipulations give color to an environment in which it is difficult to distinguish bloody catastrophe from "plans within plans." The novel delivers an intricately inventive and coolly deterministic lesson in the futility of trying to outthink evolution, less a critique of human transcendence than an indictment of its basic assumptions.