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Echopraxia

(Firefall #2)

by
3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,735 ratings  ·  624 reviews
Prepare for a different kind of singularity in this follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight

It's the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldie
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Tor Books
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Miles
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
In Echopraxia’s “Notes and References,” Peter Watts admits that this book might be a literary “faceplant.” I’m inclined to agree. This second installment in the Firefall series is impossible to assess without comparing it to its stunning and disturbing predecessor. Blindsight was innovative, expeditious, and chillingly fulfilling; Echopraxia is desultory, slow, and largely unrewarding. It signifies an unwelcome turn for an otherwise promising series.

Many of Echopraxia‘s failings are apparent fro
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Bradley
The novel is surprisingly easy to place in the taxonomy of great science fiction. Of course, to do so, one must first place Blindsight in it's proper place. It was a philosophical discussion on consciousness. Echopraxia, follows it's predecessor's conclusions, necessary story extrapolations, but it takes a sharp right turn when it brings up its primary philosophical mode. We put down consciousness for a moment, and pick up the discussion on free will. It might help to know the definition of the ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2014/11/17/r...

I thought I would be going into Echopraxia with two strikes against me. First, the fact that I haven’t read Blindsight which is the first book in the Firefall series, and second, there was the worry that the book would be too “hard sci-fi” for my tastes. Fortunately, neither really ended up being an obstacle. Sure, I had my issues with this novel, but those have little to do with my original concerns.

It’s hard to explain a
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Stuart
Echopraxia: Nowhere near as good as Blindsight
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
I was extremely impressed by Peter Watts’ Blindsight (2006), a diamond-hard sci-fi novel about first contact, AIs, evolutionary biology, genetically-engineered vampires, sentience vs intelligence, and virtual reality. It is an intense experience, relentless in its demands on the reader, but makes you think very hard about whether humanity’s sentience (as we understand it) is really as great as we generally think
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Karl
This copy 40

This set of two books is limited to 300 signed and numbered copies. Each book has a ribbon marker and signature page signed by Peter Watts and artist Thomas Walker.

Published February 2020.
Jason
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014, e-books
5 Stars

Echopraxia by Peter Watts is a rare case where the sequel outdoes the beginnings. I loved Blidnsight, I would have never imagined a case where I thought that a sequel would make for a better and longer lasting read….Wow…here it is. Echopraxia takes the philosophical approach of blindsight one major step further. Watts coins this book himself as “a faith-based hard science fiction novel”, what an oxymoron…

“Finally: free will. Although free will (rather, its lack) is one of Echopraxia’s cen
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Terry
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, horror, canadian
Ok, so it’s pretty clear that Peter Watts doesn’t think very highly of the human race. When I look around at the state of the world we’ve made I have to admit that I’m not sure I can blame him. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like he thinks much of the possible post-human solutions to the ‘problem’ either. Man, what’s a species to do?! Given the general tenor of Watts’ books I think the answer might be: just roll over and die…after sufficiently (and pointlessly) railing against the inevitable of c ...more
Gwern
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi The Reader
Peter Watts returns readers to the dystopian world of Firefall with Echopraxia, the second novel in the series.

Meet Daniel Bruks, an outcast biologist with a secret. He's struggling to continue with his scientific studies in a world that has ceased to make sense after the alien contact in Firefall.

"The Theseus mission would be well past Pluto by now. If it had found anything, Bruks hadn't heard about it. For his part, he was sick of waiting. He was sick of life on hold, waiting for monsters or s
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Daniel
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I’ve got fairly mixed feelings about this one. Loved its predecessor, Blindsight. And I enjoyed seeing more of that world here, along with Siri Keaton’s father. (He is not the main character though.) For the most part I quite liked Echopraxia while I was reading it. Up until the ending. The ending was really pretty unsatisfactory.

On the other hand, after reading this possibly borderline spoilery review: http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/fer... and looking at the book from the perspective suggest
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Erik
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite (…or because?) some strong thematic disagreements, I'm happy to give Echopraxia four stars. While it's not without flaw, it's bold, experimental, courageous, honest, intelligent, and, above all, thought-provoking. After Blindsight and now Echopraxia, I can say Peter Watts is shaping up to be one of my favorite hard sci-fi authors; he is to neuroscience & psychology what my favorite sci-fi author, Greg Egan, is to physics & mathematics.

Echopraxia follows the journey of baseline non-posthu
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Lightreads
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Follows Blindsight, which was that hard scifi first encounter space horror novel arguing – rather revolutionarily at the time, less so now – that consciousness (the singular I self) is an evolutionary mistake, and a costly one.

Blindsight was interesting as hell; this book less so. As Watts himself says in the end matter, "Echopraxia is to autonomy as blindsight is to consciousness" (and if you can follow that, you are officially his target audience). He's referring to the conditions, but of cour
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Ric
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cool, profound, geeky SF just like its predecessor Blindsight, and behaving just as badly. Will explain that last thought in a bit. In terms of gosh-wow elements, Echopraxia delivers. Smart vampires, augmented humans, targeted plagues, an insolar journey to Icarus, alien fungi, and action and conflict to pull all these together. Watts sticks to "painting pictures" and demonstrating through action rather than "explaining", and with minimalist portraits, making for a challenging read, at best. Tha ...more
11811 (Eleven)
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Spiritual hard sci-fi with zombies, vampires, and a little demon possession? That pretty much sums it up. Yeah.

This was less a sequel to Blindsight and more a story of similar events happening in the same world. The setting is mostly the same. The continuity kinda takes a back seat. Still, I enjoyed it. The author's voice is crazy unique, if nothing else. It is extremely highlightable.

I recommend to fans of the first book.
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Chris Berko
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
If Blindsight was the movie Primer, this one is more like the movie Armageddon, bigger with more going on. I liked the two Firefall books and I enjoy reading challenging science fiction sometimes but in terms of pure entertainment I had more fun reading his Rifters novels. I had to do some research after completing to help me understand more of what happened because my baseline human brain could not keep up in some parts, and I tip my hat to the author for consistently providing dark depressing ...more
Mr. Windup Bird
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 51-100
Worthy sequel I would recommend to those who liked Blindsight.
York
Fantastic ideas and fast moving action helps make this Watt's best...
Peter
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Echopraxia, posthumans rule the world, but there's still a place for ordinary baseline humans... just barely, as a failsafe, a measure of comparison, a pawn in the schemes of hive minds, alien intelligences and more. Daniel Bruks is one such baseline, manipulated into joining a scientific religious order out on a search for the source of signals from space, which may be an alien intelligence, but the hive mind thinks might be God.

This is a follow-up to Blindsight one of my favorite SF books
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Kdawg91
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
NObody does hard scfi like Peter Watts. If you want your mind blown out of the back of your head with crazy science and over the top ideas, this is for you.

Guess what?!?!? He can write too, not only do you get a wild story, you get a well written one and you care about what happens to the characters.

check this one out.

Barry
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A brilliant end of the Firefall series. The first book, Blindsight, is a convoluted trip to the deep space to basically argue about consciousness versus intelligence; what matters more not only for a species to survive but to thrive. Echopraxia is a similarly convoluted trip (to the sun; hence, the cover) that picks up the thread at the end of the first book. Only, this time we're not discussing consciousness ((view spoiler) ...more
Daniel Roy
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Reading Peter Watts makes me feel smart, but boy does he make me work for it. Echopraxia, a sister novel and "sidequel" to the magnificent Blindsight, is a case in point: it's whip-smart, sometimes dense if not outright obscure, and it ultimately rewards its readers with a hefty dose of mind-bending concepts.

Without going into too much detail about the book's grand ideas and revelations, Echopraxia discusses such major topics as God, the religious experience, free will, and consciousness. In thi
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Daniel Kenefick
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Echopraxia, along with its predecessor Blindsight, is some of the best hard Sci-Fi to come out in a long time. Like all good Sci-Fi, Watts given us a very human story (ironic, given many of the characters are "post"-human) and uses it to introduce interesting ideas. The book moved quickly, and was quite the page turner.

However, this book is a tough read. It took me a little bit of thinking to realize exactly what happened in the end (which is appropriate, given how the main character is surround
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Thomas Johansson
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks, 2017
This is more like technobabble verbal masturbation than a proper story with proper characters. There simply needs to be a more engaging plot with characters you actually care about. This had neither, rather going into INCREDIBLY detailed technical descriptions about philosophical musings or gadgets and doodads. There is no emotional connection here. The precursor Blindsight had emotion. It was really weird with a lot of technobabble too, but you cared about it in that one because of the emotiona ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is not a mind-blowing novel, but a mind-big-bang one. Blindsight and Echopraxia are the best exploration of consciousness in the history of science-fiction literature.
Tim Hicks
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
So who's this book FOR? That's a key question. Part of me thinks Watts wrote it for himself, as an exercise in tying together a lot of ideas about religion, consciousness, the mind, awareness, etc. within a framework of SF. To make it palatable and interesting? Maybe. If so, did it work? I'm not sure.

Especially after reading the afterword and references, I felt a bit of "hey, let's see if I can get it ALL into this book. When I was in grade school, I was a superb speller, and when we were asked
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Kyle Muntz
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it
It's been a few years since I read Blindsight, but I remember being incredibly impressed with that book (maybe to the extent I'd consider it a favorite). There's so much Watts does well in that book: he combines an unbelievably smart, concept heavy meditation on consciousness with a meticulous, well-rendered future--which, aside from its roots in modern science, is just full of interesting things. And he did it with propulsive, nearly perfect prose and an engaging premise with strong plotting, d ...more
B. Rule
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an interesting read but it lacks the explosive, indelible idea that propels Blindsight and made it so memorable. Despite its weaknesses, it's worth the read.

Watts has an instantly recognizable jargon-laden, noirish patois that marks every page. He's good at describing minds through computational metaphors stripped of sentimentality, which he does to great effect here. There are interesting iterations of his central conceit carried over from Blindsight (e.g., the hivemind Bicamerals, zom
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Greg
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Trying to figure out a way to review this. My thoughts are kind of messy at the moment. I'll get there eventually. As Watts himself likes to say, "neurons do not fire spontaneously...the switch cannot flip itself."
Amber Dunten
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Only Vampire and Zombie Novel I'll Read
I officially hate undead stories – at least I began to hate them after the success of Twilight brought us an absolute onslaught of paranormal romance trash. Vampires and zombies jumped the shark around 2008, and now we're neck-deep in them. But Watts' SF version of a vampire – an extinct predator existing only in our racial memory as a myth, and brought back by a Jurrasic Park-style marvel of genetic engineering or “gengineering” – is fascinating enough
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Marija S.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Watts' writing was the thing I needed in my life, without knowing it, until I stumbled upon Blindsight.

His writing is neurotic and addictively uncomfortable in a way that makes us humans investigate that dark cave despite the creeps it gives us, makes us crawl deeper into the claustrophobic darkness, it takes us down the most unexpected corridors and, once we gratefully emerge out into the sunlight, makes us turn back and poke our heads in again. Because the cave and the darkness hold the
...more
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