Book - 2006
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Two months since the stars fell...

Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown.

Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath.

Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune's orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route .

So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to meet the alien when the alien doesn't want to meet?

You send a linguist with multiple personalities, her brain surgically partitioned into separate, sentient processing cores. You send a biologist so radically interfaced with machinery that he sees x-rays and tastes ultrasound, so compromised by grafts and splices he no longer feels his own flesh. You send a pacifist warrior in the faint hope she won't be needed, and the fainter one she'll do any good if she is. You send a monster to command them all, an extinct hominid predator once called vampire , recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send a synthesist --an informational topologist with half his mind gone--as an interface between here and there , a conduit through which the Dead Center might hope to understand the Bleeding Edge.

You send them all to the edge of interstellar space, praying you can trust such freaks and retrofits 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 only knew what was waiting for them...
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780765312181
Call Number: WATTS
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: Science fiction.
Life on other planets -- Fiction.


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Apr 15, 2016

Few books can be called an epiphany that permanently alters both your world-view and your own self-image . Watts' books should be read for as long as individual identity may endure. I have read science fiction for over 50 years and BLINDSIGHT was the one first-contact story that was challenging, entertaining, and ultimately - chilled me to the bone! Enjoy. (When you are ready for more, ECHOPRAXIA awaits.)

Jan 10, 2015

On the surface Blindsight by Peter Watts seems like your standard first contact science fiction story with just a weirder cast of characters, but there is nothing ordinary or formulaic about this book. I was completely blown away by how deftly Watts blends the science and philosophy together—really, the blurring of cognition and consciousness—into vivid storytelling. It was weird. It was profound. I'm still reeling.

I enjoy science fiction, but I've always been the kind of fan that was more into Star Trek or literary works casually inflected with science fiction, than deep forays into the genre. Blindsight is totally hard-core, and I almost gave up in the early chapters. Passages dense with terminology abound; the author even includes a wonderfully recondite 18-page appendix at the back of the book on the technical aspects covered. Yes, serious stuff. But I hope this won't turn people away. It's a common snub to think about stories built on a science-heavy framework as cold and inaccessible, that they are devoid of poetry and emotion and pageantry. But Blindsight has all these things. As Elizabeth Bear put it (, "his work is rigorous, unsentimental, and full of the sort of brilliant little moments of synthesis that make a nerd’s brain light up like a pinball machine. But he’s also a poet—a damned fine writer on a sentence level, who can make you feel the blank Lovecraftian indifference of the sea floor or of interplanetary space with the same ease facility with which he can pen an absolutely breathtaking passage of description."

mmhallock Oct 09, 2014

An engaging hard SF first contact novel featuring an alien lifeform far different from any other book you've read.

May 28, 2014

First encounter with strangest aliens yet. Overall I was disappointed with this book. It had a lot of potential and I really liked the parts discussing how you would know if something is conscious or if that is even important. While there are some very good parts the story was too jumbled, too much made up techno babble, and the characters were not engaging (and even confusing as to who was who or what). It seems like a stretch to have vampires and be hard sci fi to me. Show me a Vampire fossil or that whole concept is BS as far as being real science.

Jun 11, 2013

Well-written and plausible future science. Story dragged a bit; a lot of introspection and the ending disappointed. But four stars for this book, and look forward to his next one.

Mar 13, 2013

This book was my introduction to Peter Watts.
This guy is the real deal: a purveyor of real Hard SF. His hooks are now deeply set in my mind, and he's got me coming back for more.
The man was a real scientists and knows how to research his ideas. Not only that, but (if you really want to know) he'll spill his secrets and share with you the list of references from which he pulls and weaves his many ideas.

Dec 11, 2012

If you want to read a great book that explores human psychology, fear, the nature of humanity, and the nature of the human mind, read this book. If you want to read a book about the possible mysteries of alien life, and possible transhuman life, read this book. It explores many deep and hard scientific principles. It has Aliens, but they are not E.T. It will blow your mind with its exploration of human consciousness and the human mind. If don't want to read a book like this, go read Twilight.

May 08, 2012

Hard as diamond Sci-fi, with actual biology and neuroscience, instead of the usual hand waving, and a strong, well written plot, characters and world to boot. aka typical Peter Watts. Not for those beloved of action novels and traditional sci-fi due to heavy science usage (aka jargon) and high concepts/page ratio. Make sure to read the appendix and check out Watt's website for the backmatter on his vampires too. Also all of his prior works are available for free on there.

ColemanRidge Sep 22, 2011

On the first page of Peter Watts's web site, there is this quote: "Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts." —James Nicoll. You have been warned. If you want a rollicking good time among jolly companions, rollick right on out of here. Now, here's why you should read this book anyway. It's old-school hard science fiction of the best sort. It is a novel of ideas. Specifically, the book is about why consciousness evolved when it is not necessary for any part of rational action, and, in fact, interferes with action. Watts presents two possible answers. One is the vampire Sarasti, who is not at all conscious and is nevertheless perfectly alert, intelligent, and efficient. Sarasti argues that consciousness is an evolutionary accident, and on its way out. The other possible answer is the soldier Amanda Bates, who is conscious, conscientious, and as a result, a little bit slower than she would otherwise be.

AnneDromeda Aug 12, 2011

There was a bit too much jargon for me in the book, but many readers with an interest in The Singularity or first contact will find much to enjoy here. (In that sense, the 3-star rating is more a reflection of the reader than the read - I am willing to freely admit I wasn't bright enough for this one.) This book could also make a good recommendation for readers on the Autism spectrum, as the main character - though not born into the Autism spectrum - shares a lifestyle and mindset that may resonate.

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