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Blindsight av Peter Watts
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Blindsight (utgåvan 2006)

av Peter Watts (Författare)

Serier: Firefall (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,1961145,134 (3.91)105
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, somethingen 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 calledvampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send asynthesist--an informational topologist with half his mind gone--as an interface betweenhereandthere, 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...… (mer)
Medlem:barrettam
Titel:Blindsight
Författare:Peter Watts (Författare)
Info:Tor Books (2006), Edition: First Edition, 384 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek, Ska läsas
Betyg:
Taggar:s16

Verkdetaljer

Blindsight av Peter Watts

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    The Best of Edmond Hamilton av Edmond Hamilton (jen.e.moore)
    jen.e.moore: Slightly misanthropic stories about how humanity is not necessarily the apex of creation.
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    Starfish av Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Classic bleak sci-fi.
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    The Freeze-Frame Revolution av Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
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    A Fire upon the Deep av Vernor Vinge (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Excellent hard sci-fi which contains concepts which will challenge your mind.
  10. 01
    Foreigner av C. J. Cherryh (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two books that push the boundaries on our understanding of what constitutes alien cultures and intelligences.
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engelska (112)  italienska (1)  finska (1)  Alla språk (114)
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This book was a head trip. Mostly in a good way--I enjoy books that are poetic and nonlinear. The science was hard, but luckily I was already aware of a lot of the neuroscience referenced so it didn't confuse me.

I liked getting a lot of backstory on the main character, and a bit on the others as well. The flashbacks were good, and the whole idea of a main character who's missing half his brain and isn't naturally empathetic was interesting to me.

That said, there were a lot of things I didn't like. For instance, in the flashbacks, the MC's parents have a conflict-filled relationship, in which the father is avoidant and the mother anxiously seeking attachment, but the father is excused and the mother condemned in the narration. It wasn't always clear if this was a bias of the narrator or of the author, but I did find it disturbing to read a man excused for never interacting with his family, while a woman is condemned for . . . caring? It was strange. In one scene, the father chokes the mother for feeding Siri "empathy pills," and we are told that Siri (who is a flawless reader of body language) recognizes her expression as "triumph." Like, what? She's actively being abused but we are still forced to see her as manipulative, while the father is the brave hero defending his son. So either Siri is a much more unreliable narrator than we thought, or this is just abuse apology.

Also, the entire thesis of the book is that consciousness is a bad thing, that we'd be more fit as a species without it. And I don't feel it was proved at all, in part because it's not entirely clear how exactly consciousness is defined. Is it just introspection? In places in the text, it's connected with empathy, but obviously one can have empathy without being aware of it, just like we can have any other skill without being aware of it.

By connecting consciousness with empathy, Watts shoots his thesis in the foot. Because if there is no empathy without consciousness, then we have to argue that empathy itself is evolutionarily unfit, and . . . it's not, at all? It helps groups to understand each other and develop win/win solutions. Without the ability to introspect about our own behavior, to make better guesses about the motives of other beings, we'd pretty much be doomed to never creating civilization at all. Heck, a character toward the end actually seems to affirm this, when Sarasti attacks Siri in order to make him like normal people (I assume, conscious/empathetic) because he will be more convincing back on Earth if he is. If there is *ever* a time when consciousness is a useful thing to have, even a vital thing to have, that implies it isn't the harmful epiphenomenon we are told it is.

The ending is also ambiguous and confusing. I'm not sure what happened to the aliens or why. That's . . . kind of important?

So, four stars for being well-written and interesting, minus one star for being flat-out wrong. ( )
1 rösta jennelikejennay | Dec 31, 2020 |
I guess this was never going to live up to the hype. I probably would have liked it more going in blind. I feel greedy saying so, but incredible ideas and worldbuilding aren't enough to carry a book for me (any more?).

Some of the ideas in here are pretty interesting--just not as mind-blowing as I was led to expect. They're certainly better than the prose and the dialogue, which were (imo) serviceable at best, juvenile at worst. ( )
  dwarvensphere | Dec 13, 2020 |
This is a shining example of hard sci-fi. My overall criticism of the genre is always that the science is not really science, but this book gets super close to having believeable science. It is chock full of amazing sciency-stuff, which is why it is so cool. It's ideas of consciousness are fairly groundbreaking, and the end section really gets to my nerd sensitivities. However, this book falls apart with its writing clarity completely, as many key examples of the science Watts must have worked so hard to think up are just very difficult to decipher. I also don't like the full nerd boner that Watt's has for himself. He could back off the pretentiousness slightly.

Despite giving this book a 4, of course it is still one of my favorite books just for its amazingly originial take on consciousness and what unconscious beings would be like. ( )
  4dahalibut | Dec 13, 2020 |
An astonishingly smart, idea-rich story, threaded through with horror and dark humor. Absolutely top-tier SF.

Think Galactic discussion notes: http://positronchicago.blogspot.com/2016/09/think-galactic-blindsight.html ( )
  jakecasella | Sep 21, 2020 |
This is a hard read in a few ways and I can’t say whether I liked or disliked it. There’s a lot of science, a lot of facts to remember and pieces to keep track of, enough flashbacks and other narrative tricks that I’m tempted to call the story nonlinear even though it isn’t, and on top of that, the narrator-protagonist is, if not a psychopath, certainly psychopath-adjacent. I think this is a book you have to read a few times to really understand, but a single read-through will still shake you pretty badly.

Watts does a wonderful job getting into the narrator’s point of view, and the confusion, emotionlessness, and minimalist description that comes from it. He’s good at characterization in general, which is impressive considering how much Siri*, the narrator, has got to be missing. This is as much a story about humans and interpersonal dynamics as it is about first contact, and the arguments and discussions about first contact ethics and procedure wouldn’t be what they are without that strong underpinning.

Watts has also done a great job with the science. There are some really cool ideas in this book, ideas I as a science nerd hadn’t come across or only mildly had, and the science I did know decently, like the linguistics, he outlines accurately but without going over the top on it. And the science goes beyond the aliens and the human ship, because Watts also speculates about AIs and advances in neurology, and what the world would look like with those in place. I definitely came out reconsidering assumptions about all sorts of things and I’m not sure I like the conclusions.

Which is fine. Hard SF like this is supposed to make you think.

In terms of the story itself, this is well-structured and paced, with some epic twists and great, scary action scenes, and all the flashbacks and suppositions and things fit, though it might not always be obvious at first glance that they do. (That said, I’m still a bit miffed that so many flashbacks had to do with the ex-girlfriend, though I can see Watts’ reasoning for that decision, I think.) It’s tight and weird and creepy and a little claustrophobic.

So yeah… this is a good book and a good example of hard science fiction, a difficult mental and emotional read, and something I’m glad to have read. I might not know how to feel about it after the fact, like I usually do, doesn’t detract from any of that and if you’re into hard SF or are intrigued by the premise, I’d certainly recommend it.

*Yep, that threw me every single time his name was said too.

To bear in mind: Creepy alien artifacts. Mind-and bodyfuckery, including hallucinations and loss of autonomy. Probably not great for people with arachnophobia or similar triggers. Not able to speak to the neurodiversity stuff, but there’s a character who’s given herself multiple personalities and a possible-psychopath.

7/10 ( )
2 rösta NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (3 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Peter Wattsprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Pringle, ThomasOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Shimada, YoichiÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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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, somethingen 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 calledvampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send asynthesist--an informational topologist with half his mind gone--as an interface betweenhereandthere, 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...

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