I’m a sucker for space stories. I love ‘em: being out there among the stars, colonizing worlds, travelling FTL, encountering new life forms, fleeing from said life forms. The sci-fi writers that get me the most excited, however—the ones that separate the space wheat from the cosmic chaff—are those who back up their ideas with plausible science, thereby bringing the stars within reach. So it should come as no surprise that I find Peter Watts’s Blindsight so effing awesome.
At its core, Blindsight is a tale of first contact. It’s got everything you could want: a ship named Theseus that “eats” ions to churn them into manufactured matter, an AI captain that keeps its own council, a crew of genetically and mechanically altered transhumans, and an all too believable and terrifying alien anomaly, aptly named Rorschach (the likes of which haven’t been encountered since Clarke’s Rendevous with Rama).
Ironically, however, the element of Watt’s brilliance that truly shines for me is much more terrestrial in nature. Sort of.