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Two months after the Earth is taken over by an alien species, a space probe detects a faint signal from the edge of the solar system and attempts to make contact, despite the dangers the signal hints at, relying on a linguist with multiple personalities to make the first contact and attempt a peace agreement.

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Nov 15, 2009

"Blindsight," by Peter Watts, provides a reading experience that is rather difficult to describe. So, there are two things to say:
1) I was confused throughout much of the book...
2) But I still really liked it and will definitely return to it again someday for rereading.
These may seem like mutually exclusive circumstances, but this is a unique novel in that way.
It must be said that Watts jumps right in to the hard-science techno-babble, and thankfully I kept up enough with the biology and chemistry references that it sort of made up for my deficiencies in the physics arena.
However, it isn't so much the science terminology that made things difficult; Watts plays hard and fast with big concepts of sentience, consciousness, and intelligence. Then there is his relentless tendency to nickname everything so that I was constantly trying to remember what "Jack," "Big Ben," and "Burns-Caulfield," actually WERE.
There is something both frustrating and energizing about a book that asks so much of its reader.
I would recommend this book to readers who like to be challenged, and who enjoy working for a payoff. This book will not give one for free, but if the work is put in, the mind-boggling ideas and emotional revelations that are spring-loaded within its pages are quite powerful.

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