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Blindsight > The reason for vampires

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Pol Llovet (_pol) | 5 comments Am I crazy, but the vampire thing was justified in the 4th paragraph of the book

1) it wasn't just genetic engineering, it was paleogenetics. Vampires were a real breed (homo vampiris), but they went extinct. They were brought back because...

2) The vampiric torpor state allows humans to hibernate for interstellar travel. So vampire genes were pulled out of the genome and engineered into humans so that they could achieve the torpor state (but without the other enhancements/defects).

I thought this was totally obvious and all of the comments on the podcast confuse the heck out of me. Seriously, it's right there in the beginning of the book.

Quote:
They're back now, after all— raised from the grave with the voodoo of paleogenetics, stitched together from junk genes and fossil marrow steeped in the blood of sociopaths and high-functioning autistics. One of them commands this very mission. A handful of his genes live on in your own body so it too can rise from the dead, here at the edge of interstellar space. Nobody gets past Jupiter without becoming part vampire.

There! There it is! All of it! Am I taking crazy pills?

I know, i know, we are done with the book and on to the next one, but I just listened to the wrap-up podcast and couldn't let it slide without at least a quick rebuttal.


message 2: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 741 comments Mod
No you're not crazy, but that explanation is apparently not enough for everyone, hence all the discussion. I tried to make the argument that there was some scientific justification, nut all anybody said was "but vampires!"


Nick (Whyzen) | 1260 comments Thanks Pol for pointing that out. I somehow let that slip by me from the first half of the book. But then again the whole vampire thing didn't bother me as much as it seemed to bother others. While I wasn't happy with the wrap up of this book I did really enjoy the conversations the characters had. Some of the more serious conversations really drew me in.

As far as being crazy, I don't know Pol, what do the voices in your head tell you?


AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1314 comments I don't think the problem is that people missed this section. The problem is that in a supposed 'hard SF' novel the author could not come up with an adequate way of explaining extended cryogenic sleep. Instead he used something that hasn't a shred of historical or scientific evidence.
It's not a bad idea if you think about it, but somehow it doesn't fit into the context of the book.


Mike Betts (michaelbetts) | 256 comments Seems like the biggest problem with vampires in Blindsight is that the novel was (evidently) sold as hard science fiction. I wonder how hard Watts thought it himself.


Micah (onemorebaker) | 1065 comments Tom wrote: "No you're not crazy, but that explanation is apparently not enough for everyone, hence all the discussion. I tried to make the argument that there was some scientific justification, nut all anybody..."

I think you made good arguments on the podcast Tom. I'm in your camp of being able to let most things slide a little. The book did feel more like a thriller/horror novel to me because of the Vampire story line. I did like the right angles explanation, I thought it was original.


Pol Llovet (_pol) | 5 comments Also, it occurred to me during the discussion that the motif of predator and prey was an important one in the book. I think that it was important to the author that one of the internal tensions of the group be a predator/prey one. Now, he has a couple options here. He could use a sociopath (it would be hard to believe that earth would send a human sociopath on such a mission), or use another alien that we encountered that against all odds finds humans tasty.

So, he settled on a vampire. Which also offered up a solution to the hibernation issue. And we already have a conceptual notion of "human-like creature whose natural prey is humans", so he doesn't have to spend too much time describing it. I suppose he could have used some other mythical nasty bipedal creature (ghoul, wight, yeti, whatever), but I think that would have been perceived as even more silly.

Anyway, it seems this particular issue is a dead horse, and the voices in my head are telling me to let it go and get started on the hundred thousand kingdoms.


message 8: by Victoria (vikz writes) (last edited May 06, 2011 10:25AM) (new)

Victoria (vikz writes) (VixtoriaVikzwrites) This book must have some merit; if we're still talking about it.;)


Peleken | 29 comments To an extent, all mythical creatures have a basis in reality. I've often wondered how so many cultures could have common mythical elements such as vampires and dragons. It's a cool concept to explore, maybe in it's own book. One day, we'll find some sort of dragon fossil with a human femur in it's stomach.


Victoria (vikz writes) (VixtoriaVikzwrites) Peleken wrote: "To an extent, all mythical creatures have a basis in reality. I've often wondered how so many cultures could have common mythical elements such as vampires and dragons. It's a cool concept to exp..."

Frederick Nietzsche claimed that the Greek Gods had become archetypes. Perhaps, mythical beasts have too.


Dan | 14 comments I kind of stayed off the forum a little while I was reading Blindsight. I finished it yesterday, checked in here and was surprised how controversial the vampire thing was. Since it seems like people were so against it I spent some time trying to come up with reasons why it might have made sense that there "had to" be a vampire. From a storytelling perspective, it made sense because it let Watts make parallels while discussing the ways that different species evolve over time.

Vampires are smarter, quicker, stronger than humans. And they prey on humans. It would be easy to think that they must be superior to humans. But as a freak part of their mutation, they have a weakness for right angles -- as seen in the crucifix. (I thought that alone was pretty genius. Doesn't everyone leave out that part of vampirism now just because it sounds dumb? Watts made it work) That weakness is what let them be hunted down and eliminated.

The whole "Blindsight" concept basically says that we could perform perfectly fine without our self-awareness getting in the way of things. (view spoiler)

That's some pretty bleak stuff.


Peleken | 29 comments I agree with Dan for the most part. However, why would anything "evolve" into convulsive seizures whenever it looked at a corner?

I break out in a rash and my tong swells up whenever I eat a walnut so I guess I'm pretty evolved.


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