Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Maelstrom (Rifters, #2)” as Want to Read:
Maelstrom (Rifters, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Maelstrom (Rifters #2)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  2,309 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
An enormous tidal wave on the west coast of North America has just killed thousands. Lenie Clarke, in a black wetsuit, walks out of the ocean onto a Pacific Northwest beach filled with the oppressed and drugged homeless of the Asian world who have gotten only this far in their attempt to reach America. Is she a monster, or a goddess? One thing is for sure: all hell is ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 18th 2002 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Maelstrom, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Maelstrom

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 18, 2013 Guillermo rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a disappointing followup to the very promising first part of the Rifters trilogy - Starfish. It was a strange mix of Neuromancer for its neo-cyberpunk/hacker elements, Outbreak for the viral contagion threatening mankind, Mad Max for the anarchy that ensues in much of the world's devasated coastlines, and a little Aeon Flux thrown in for Lennie Clarke's clad in black, bad-ass, nihilistic anti-heroine cybernetic self. Unfortunately, these tasty ingredients never settled into anything ...more
Oct 13, 2016 Negativni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Volition's subconscious; the command is halfway down the arm before the little man behind your eyes even decides to move. Executive summaries, after the fact, Desjardins thought. That's all we get. That's free will for you.

Maelstrom je drugi nastavak Rifters serijala koji opisuje što se desilo nakon bombastičnog kraja Starfisha . Radnja je prebačena na kopno, a Watts je glavni lik (Lenie Clarke) na još jedno zanimljivo putovanje.

Novi likovi detaljnije prikazuju funkcioniranje korporacija iznu
The book of Revelations written by a bad tempered unholy lovechild of Brunner, Triptree Jr., and Bester (and to continue this horrible metaphor, foster cared for by Gibson and Egan). These are truly the end times. At least for anything human. But, then most of the cast barely is, so they continue on. This is bleak stuff. Primeval microbes, climate refugees, malevolent dolphins, phosphorescent cancerous seals, quarantines with flamethrowers, invented personalities, internet nasties, and smart ...more
Lorina Stephens
Oct 02, 2011 Lorina Stephens rated it it was ok
Maelstrom by Peter Watts is the second book in the Rifters series, continuing the story of Lennie Clark, a deeply psychotic woman, part machine, who is the unwitting victim of psychological manipulation and a plague-carrier.

While the first book, Starfish, proved innovative and incisively written, that innovation and incisive writing failed in Maelstrom. There are pages and pages of technical exposition which slows the narrative, angst and violence which for the most part seems gratuitous and wi
Bill Purdy
Dec 18, 2008 Bill Purdy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Hard, bleak sci-fi fans
Recommended to Bill by:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
W pierwszym tomie trylogii o ryfterach, „Rozgwieździe”, Peter Watts ustawił poprzeczkę niezwykle wysoko. Książka przytłaczała klaustrofobicznym klimatem, zachwycała psychologią postaci i fascynowała nieznanym światem podmorskich głębin. Gradacja napięcia w końcowym fragmencie powieści i pozostawiające czytelnika z wieloma pytaniami zakończenie budziły natychmiastową chęć sięgnięcia po kontynuację – „Wir”. Na szczęście, kolejne dzieło Kanadyjczyka, choć różne od swojego poprzednika, nie zawodzi.

Jan 13, 2013 Gaby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading should not be a chore, yet I'm starting to realize those brief interludes in my life in which I'm "too busy to read" just mean one thing: that I'm forcing myself to read something I'm not really into. I got through Starfish because Watt's deep sea descriptions were fascinating, but I don't think I'm going to force myself to read any more of Maelstrom than I already have. Nothing wrong with bleak dystopia, apocalypse, viruses, violence- only that for those things to matter to me, the ...more
May 30, 2011 Nicole rated it liked it
Took me awhile to finish this, but not because I didn't enjoy it. Same nostalgic experience as the first book in the series; this was fun for me to read. The emotional and bioscience plots were sharp and engaging and just plausible enough. The network/cyberpunk side of the plot felt a bit tacked on/hand-wavy to me, but not many authors can really pull that off fully anyway.

I liked it enough that I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish the series. I just kinda have to see how the world ends (or does
Jul 17, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worth successor to Starfish and (for me anyway) a great page-turner. I was a bit disappointed at first to see that Lenie would again be our protagonist, or whatever Watts thinks passes for a protagonist. I've enjoyed these two books of his that I've read so far because I appreciate an author not pushing me to automatically root for their version of the "good guy". I could complain that Watts pushes a little hard on the "see how complex this character is?" - having a traumatic back-story doesn' ...more
Jan 08, 2014 A. rated it liked it
I keep coming back to ideas in this book. Most recently, I was struck by the parallels between Watts's prediction of permanent refugee populations housed off the coast of the United States on constructed sand bars, and the emerging problem of refugees displaced by climate change. Watts's vision of the management of hopeless refugee populations (some displaced by anthropogenic weather patterns) by faceless bureaucracies feels disturbingly prescient.

In general, I think Watts has written one of th
Sep 18, 2012 Gavin rated it really liked it
Maelstrom is the second book in Peter "Blindsight" Watts' Rifters trilogy.

Straight out of the door I took issue with it because I really thought that Starfish was good enough to be left where it was at the conclusion. The character arcs had progressed nicely, the plot had come to a satisfying conclusion and you were left with the feeling that things could be taken forward, but were better left up to you for how you think they'd go.

That said, he does make a very honourable stab at convincing you
Sep 12, 2013 Сергій rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books
The plot of the novel if far from simplicity. You'll find yourself in the same confusion as the heroes -- some will be wandering around, digging here, there, connecting dots, some will be pressing their line with no certainty in what they're doing... The tittle is really appropriate -- just like the Internet of the future, it's a maelstrom.
It'll take some courage and persistence to survive and outlive the book ;-)
I enjoyed "Starfish" better that this one and I'm still hesitant whether to read "B
Oct 03, 2013 Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who read Starfish and wants more
For the first third or so of this book, it was everything I've come to expect from Watts's writing - terrifying plausible hard sci-fi that enthralls me to the point where I don't want to stop reading. The rest of the book still maintains this quality, for the most part, but it stalls a little beyond the halfway point and the direction it takes is a bit... unsatisfying. It's to be expected, given how different this is from Starfish (less character, more plot) and what was likely a fair bit of ...more
May 06, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it
This was definitely a lot messier than Starfish, but it was still really solid. Still prescient even though it was written well over a decade ago (coming up to 20 years) the technology and philosophy are hugely engaging. Don't read if you don't have a nihilistic bent. Could have been tidied up and have fewer characters, but overall very satisfying.
Isabel (kittiwake)
Jun 02, 2016 Isabel (kittiwake) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sfbrp-read
I found Maelstrom even more exciting than the first book in the series, and (view spoiler).
Aug 19, 2013 Joey-Joey-Jo-Jo rated it did not like it
Eco Imp
Oct 25, 2016 Eco Imp rated it liked it
Not as good as the first as the story drags across the states. I could see where this was going and just wanted to get there. Hoping #3 wraps up better.
Ian Mathers
Dec 21, 2013 Ian Mathers rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
"It is a tribute to the brilliance of [Watts'] writing and his intense evocation of character that the reader is willing to see the end of life on Earth as we know it as a satisfactory resolution to almost any of his stories." (Candas Jane Dorsey)

That quotation is such a perfect summation of the feeling of reading Peter Watts I'm a little tempted to just let it stand as my review. Starfish wasn't exactly a feel-good book, although it was certainly bleakly satisfying, but the thing Maelstrom does
Dec 01, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
Maelstrom continues the story begun in Starfish. Lenie Clark has narrowly escaped death at the bottom of the sea, and now wants revenge on those that launched the nuclear strike. She doesn't know that the reason for the strike was that she's carrying an organism that could threaten all life on Earth, and is spreading it everywhere she goes.

Watts explores a lot of ideas in this book... computer viruses that co-evolve along with a pandemic, public servants charged with protecting us who are progra
Laura Rainbow Dragon
Jul 30, 2015 Laura Rainbow Dragon rated it it was amazing
Her deep ocean home has been destroyed, but Lenie Clarke lives. Now she has returned to dryland, a mythic mermaid washed ashore, tortured by the overwhelming desire to go home yet unable to return to the only home she has ever known.

To some, Lenie Clarke is an avenging angel, come to bring justice to the world and free the slaves from oppression. To others, she is the agent of the apocalypse, a monster from the depths, intent on destroying the world. To all, Lenie Clarke is a means to an end. Sa
This is a difficult book to review, simply because it's so completely different from the previous book in the series that it's nearly like starting all over again - new setting, mostly-new characters, and a cryptic plot which leaves pretty much no clue as to where the third book is going to go with the storyline. Compared to Starfish , Maelstrom is much more action-oriented, and less focused on the characters themselves - which might be why this one feels so much less satisfying, with most main ...more
Jun 03, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Metaphorical extremophiles
Recommended to Alan by: Powell's Hawthorne
Turn Charles Stross' gleefully hyperkinetic Accelerando upside-down, and Maelstrom is what shakes out. Still supernaturally accelerated, Maelstrom's bleak future starts with a nuclear bomb dropped into a deep-sea vent, and resulting earthquakes that destroy much of the Pacific Northwest. It gets bleaker from there, piling disaster upon disaster in a series of grim revelations that just keep getting more and more frightful.

Which is a good thing. Watts' talent keeps Maelstrom riding just on the ri
Maelstrom follows several characters through the near future on the brink of apocalypse. Due to environmental degradation and technological proliferation, America and most of the world seems to be spiraling out of control. We follow Lenie Clarke, a deep rift diver who barely survived treachery to make her way ashore on the besieged beaches of California, as she looks for answers and justice. We watch her progress through the eyes of Sou-Han, a security computer operator grappling with a personal ...more
Malia Ebel
This is the sequel to Starfish, Peter Watts' hard science fiction novel about a group of humans engineered to survive deep undersea ("rifters") and their chance encounter with an ancient disease hidden in a rift.

At the end of Starfish . . . spoilers ahead . . . the company in charge of gas/oil exploration of the deep sea rift where the rifters were based triggers a massive earthquake in an effort to prevent the ancient disease from coming ashore. The plan was to also kill the rifters, who had co
Mårten Ericson
Jul 18, 2013 Mårten Ericson rated it liked it
I more or less stumbled on to Peter Watts first book in this series while searching for some underwater SF – clearly a rare genre even within the science fiction community itself. It’s fair to say that I loved "Starfish". The book contains a deep-sea SF-story about a community of severely disturbed personalities trying to cope with life in a 3000 meter abyss. The glory of the book is the claustrophobic, sociopathic human meltdown that takes place there in the vast and total darkness among ...more
Jul 22, 2013 James rated it really liked it
Beebe Station is toast, scoured from the sea floor by nuclear sterilization, and the mind-fucked half-human Lenie Clarke is dead as far as N'AmPac GA is concerned. Too bad they're wrong.

Watts continues his trilogy by opening on the very much alive Lenie Clarke, using the talents gifted to her by her Rifter implants for underwater survival to make her way to the mainland. She's pissed, and out for revenge.

It's not too hard for Clarke to work out why her former employer intended to wipe her right
Aug 29, 2015 Michel rated it liked it
Okay,first things first. Akkoord dathet een leutigheidje is omde MacGuffin van dienst, een soort organisme / virus / gedoe dat in competitie komt met alle andere leven op aarde, een fancy naam te geven alsβehemoth,niet met een b maar met een griekse beta, zoals in beta-versie en zo.

Akkoord. Maar twee dingen:

1. Eenhoofdletterβ is gewoon B, dusminstens in het begin van een zin zou er moeten Behemoth staan en nietβehemoth.

2. Eenβ is geen ß, nondedju. Indit boek was elke vermelding van het ding niet
Jan 12, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Maelstrom is a sequel to Starfish but it doesn’t feel like it. The first eighty precent of Starfish focused on the ‘Rifters’, the strange bioengineered crew of the deep sea station the Beebe. The tone and mood was strange and foreboding, the people who had been human became almost alien.

Maelstrom follows the story introduced in the last twenty percent of Starfish. In an attempt to eradicate a bacteria like life form the evolved on the deep sea vents, a giant nuclear explosion was set off destroy
Nov 30, 2010 Michèle rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Maelstrom, de Peter Watts, chapitre deux sur une vingtaine (sur internet).

Je connaissais Watts par ses nouvelles en francais, nottamment NIMBUS, que j,ai lu dans la revue Solaris, traduite par Élisabeth Vonarburg.

Le 8 décembre 2009, l’auteur de SF fait arrêter par le Homeland security, puis malmené (pour faire un euphémisme poli) par ces agents qui cherchent avant tout des terroristes, alors qu’il retournait au Canada. Son blog ici. Je suis allée voir son site et contribué à sa défense légale.
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This one I didn't read on my phone, this one I had a real hard paper copy of, so quaint and real, an artifact of a forgotten age. I ALSO had it on my phone, though, and I did read a few chapters that way, torn between the ancient and the modern! What will become of me!

Nothing nice, according to Peter Watts. If we thought things were dark on the bottom of the ocean, we had no idea how inky-black things were going to get back on the surface.

In an effort to destroy a planet-threatening microbe, a n
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Scratch Monkey
  • Ventus
  • Eastern Standard Tribe
  • Postsingular
  • Cyberabad Days
  • Scardown (Jenny Casey, #2)
  • Probability Sun (Probability, #2)
  • Star Dragon
  • Ghost War
  • Vacuum Flowers
  • Czarne oceany
  • Everyone in Silico
  • Hal Spacejock
  • End of the World Blues
  • Ascending
  • Moonseed (NASA Trilogy, #3)
  • Nova Swing (Empty Space Trilogy #2)
  • Neptune Crossing (Chaos Chronicles, #1)

Other Books in the Series

Rifters (3 books)
  • Starfish (Rifters, #1)
  • Behemot (Rifters, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Rumors had their own classic epidemiology. Each started with a single germinating event. Information spread from that point, mutating and interbreeding—a conical mass of threads, expanding into the future from the apex of their common birthplace. Eventually, of course, they'd wither and die; the cone would simply dissipate at its wide end, its permutations senescent and exhausted.

There were exceptions, of course. Every now and then a single thread persisted, grew thick and gnarled and unkillable: conspiracy theories and urban legends, the hooks embedded in popular songs, the comforting Easter-bunny lies of religious doctrine. These were the memes: viral concepts, infections of conscious thought. Some flared and died like mayflies. Others lasted a thousand years or more, tricked billions into the endless propagation of parasitic half-truths.”
“But only part of him was listening. Another part, even if it hadn't read Chomsky or Jung or Sheldrake—who had time for dead guys anyway?— at least had a basic understanding of what those guys had gone on about. Quantum nonlocality, quantum consciousness—Desjardins had seen too many cases of mass coincidence to dismiss the idea that nine billion human minds could be imperceptibly interconnected somehow. He’d never really thought about it much, but on some level he’d believed in the Collective Unconscious for years.

He just hadn’t realized that the fucking thing had a death wish.”
More quotes…