Blindsight is the Hugo Award–nominated novel by Peter Watts, "a hard science fiction writer through and through and one of the very best alive" (The Globe and Mail).
Two months have past since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since—until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn't want to meet?
Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can't feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find—but you'd give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .
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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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Excellent and thought-provoking book. If you're a fan of hard sci-fi, definitely give this a read.
A must read.
Better the second (and third) time through
This is one of the most unique books I have ever read. There is a lot of philosophical meat held together by a science fiction plot. What does it mean to be sapient? Consciousness? Language? Neither? On top of these big questions, Watts does a superb job of making the reader feel claustrophobic and uneasy.
For me, the main negative aspect is Blindsight can be jarring during the first reading. There are time jumps and digressions, and the descriptions can be confusing.
I still haven't picked up the sequel, Echopraxia, but I'll be reading it soon!