Written by: Peter Watts
Narrated by: T. Ryder Smith
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
Release Date: 10-23-08
Publisher: Recorded Books
To be honest I don’t think I’ve heard of or read anything from Peter Watts before Blindsight. If everything he’s written before is half as good, I’ll certainly be reading it at some point. Straight to the point – Blindsight is probably the best Sci-Fi audiobook I’ve read this year. Let me tell you why.
Blindsight has most of the elements that are common in Sci-Fi novels – the plot unfolds in the future, somewhere near the end of the century, we have some sort of a post-economic society where working is not mandatory, the human body and mind are completely explored and can be easily fixed, manipulated and upgraded as easily and routinely as it is to get an appendix removed or go the dentist. We’ve somewhat explored the Solar system – a few bases on Mars and several other planets but no interstelar travel. Yet, there are very unique themes and cool ideas I’ve not encoutered elsewhere.
For example, vampires (yep, you read that right). In Watt’s novel, vampires are a real sub-species that diverged from the rest of humanity at some point during the evolution process. Everything that he describes about them seems so scientifically sound that it makes me think real life scientists might just discover it to be true at some point (shivers). Well, but there aren’t any vampires now, right? Yeah, because they went extinct, but in the future with some clever gene splicing and other biology tricks, humanity brings back to life those human-hunting monsters for it’s own purposes. It turns out vampires are orders of magnitude smarter than us and can solve problems in different and more efficient ways than base-line humans. And what do you know, when an unknown alien species takes a picture of humanity with it’s pants down, the space ship Theseus is sent to investigate a strange signal near the edge of the Solar system carrying the most weird crew possible with a vampire captain named Sarasti.
Peter Watts’s writing is simply amazing. From the first few sentences I was sucked in. In fact, I’m re-listening the audiobook so I can appreciate the small details I’ve missed at first (I rarely do that but it’s so worth it in this case). The action unfolds from the first-person point of view of Siri Keaton, who is also part of the Theseus crew because of his abilities as a synthesist (kind of a psychologist who can read people based on speech patterns, body language, etc.). Little do they know, that what they’re going to find is going to question everything they know about intelligence, consciousness and intelligent life in general. I want to tell you so much more but I’ll leave it at that so we can call this review spoiler-free.
The narration by T. Ryder Smith is nothing short of amazing. His calm, composed and analytical rendition of Siri is spot on and oh just how creepy he makes Sarasti’s voice! If you love your Sci-Fi hard, you’ll definitely want to check out Blindsight. There’s so much cool science intertwined with the plot, it will make your inner geek squeal of joy. The point is, if you haven’t read/listened to it yet, go get it! If you don’t, you’re missing out on one of the greatest Sci-Fi novels of 2013!
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