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(Firefall #1-2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  979 ratings  ·  81 reviews
This is the Omnibus edition of Blindsight and Echopraxia .


The day sixty-five thousand objects burned briefly around Earth: an unexplained moment of surveillance by an alien intelligence. We called it Firefall.

Two months later, we sent the Theseus reconnaisance mission into deep space. Somewhere past Jupiter, we lost co
Hardcover, 720 pages
Published September 25th 2014 by Head of Zeus
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Peter Watts Firefall is Blindsight and Echopraxia in an omnibus edition. Do not buy this unless a) you've read neither; b) you've read a digital version of Blinds…moreFirefall is Blindsight and Echopraxia in an omnibus edition. Do not buy this unless a) you've read neither; b) you've read a digital version of Blindsight and want a physical artefact to remember it by; c) you're a completist. I wrote an intro note to this volume warning people that it contains 50% previously published words, but I'm seeing that Amazon lists Echopraxia and Firefall as "frequently bought together', which is troubling. I'm guessing there are some seriously pissed-off readers out there.

I'm sorry for any confusion. If you want to read Echopraxia without having to pay for Blindsight all over again (and you want to support your local publisher, instead of simply feeding the New York Maw), Head of Zeus will be putting out a standalone version a few months down the road.


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Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-watts
Note: links inserted in the review contain minor spoilers.

I’ve had my fair share of sci-fi works, with mind-blowing ideas and, at times, with worlds and concepts hard to imagine. But this duology was the most dense and tough I had read so far.


02/13/2082: Earth is surrounded by 65,000 alien objects, named Fireflies which after a little while, burned in atmosphere. Humanity is caught off guard and reactions are all over the spectrum. The quest in pursuing why/who/what se
Firefall is an omnibus edition of Blindsight and Echopraxia. While my review of Blindsight is and ever shall remain "The most mind-numbingly horrifying thing I've ever read.", Firefall was something quite different.

Before I even start reviewing Firefall I want to say that nobody alive works as hard as Watts: and that it's completely worth tracking down the two prequels to this piece, The Colonel and Orientation Day

Set parallel to the Theseus mission out to Big Ben, Firefa
Nick Imrie
I put this book down, went into the kitchen where my boyfriend was making tea, threw my arms around him and buried my face in his neck. “We're animals!” I told him.

He looked at me suspiciously. “Are you saying I smell?”

Of course not, but how to explain to him that I just spent hours in the world of Firefall: an intensely cerebral place where everybody is fixed on the zero-sum struggle for survival plotted through game theory and the ruthless manipulation of minds, brains, genes, and bodies by be
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I am naked as I type this. I was naked writing the whole damn book”. I have to comply with the protocol when writing the review too.
- “Living fourteen thousand years didn’t make me a genius, I just had time.
- Time... You can’t see it, you can’t hear it, you can’t weight it, you can’t... measure it in a laboratory. It’s a subjective sense of... becoming what we are instead of what we were a nanosecond ago, becoming what we will be in another nanosecond. The whole piece of time is a landscape exi
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just started reading this today. Its an 750-page combined version of Watt's "Blindsight" and "Echopraxia". I had mine shipped-over from the UK more than a year ago, but its now available in the States.

I first thought, I was just going to read the second part, "Echopraxia". After reading the Forward, I decided to start at the beginning, because it was a long time ago that I'd read "Blindsight", and I only vaguely remember it. I remember some tropes like vampires, AI, and 'real' Newtonian spacef
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly astonishing. This book has dared tread to places I’ve never even considered existed and managed it all with nail-biting tension. Watts explains concepts that are by their very nature post-human, post-homunculus, but does so in ways which are engaging and understandable for us basic humans. Where he got his ideas, I will never understand, regardless that he spells them out in detail in the post-script! Completely unique and masterful in scope and design.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, sci-fi
Joy of joys! This book finishes at 88%, and the rest is acknowledgements and notes. Thank goodness, but this was a slog.

Or rather, Echopraxia - the second book in the duology - was a slog.

The compendium of Firefall is made up of Blindsight and Echopraxia. The two cover the fallout of first contact.

In Blindsight, we travel with the crew dispatched to investigate the source of the objects which alerted Earth to the undeniable fact of alien life. Siri Keeton is our narrator, and he's there strictly
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blindsight is rather hard science fiction (for a first contact novel featuring vampires in space, um) that - as good scifi should - asks difficult questions, in this case about humanity, consciousness and emotion. I found it interesting and thought-provoking rather than enjoyable - good brain food, but don't expect a light at the end of the tunnel or much else in the way of sustenance for the heart.

More thoughts on Blindsight.

Like Blindsight, Echopraxia may be one of those books that will sit be
Nathan Griffiths
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
So this was an omnibus of two books (Blindsight and Echopraxia) which tell seperate but related stories of first contact with aliens in a near-ish future. The first part of the omnibus (Blindsight) was as dense and sometimes impenetrable as other reviews had lead me to expect - however the overall story of the spaceship & crew encountering a genuinely disturbing and quite original alien entity did engage me and there were a few thrills and chills in there that kept me reading.

However. The secon
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Dnf. Only managed to get through the first book.
Started out interesting and new but faded into a drama more than an alien exploration. Rape and victim blaming trigger warning and possible stockholme syndrome where the victim tries to save his rapist which is even worse because in this society people don't have sex physically, they have sex virtually so. Yeah. Didn't want to drag myself through the second half.
Dave White
Apr 20, 2018 marked it as never-finished
Full of great ideas, but would it kill to make it a bit more approachable? People on the internets are prising it for it's inovative ideas, but also mention how it took them 3 reads to appreciate it. Aint nobody have time for that.

I'm torn tho, reading about the book seems like such an interesting experience and yet when I open the actual book my mind just automatically starts skipping paragraphs.
Lena (Sufficiently Advanced Lena)
Blindsight is for sure a 5 stars. What an incredible book.

But Echopraxia... I don’t know... it would have liked it better it was a story outside this universe. Blindsight was just too good and the companion didn’t make it justice. Echopraxia gets something like 3.75 , I’m not really sure how I feel yet

Still I can’t wait to keep reading more from Peter Watts
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's one of those books that makes me think, and one of those books that make me a bit melancholic, which means that it all in all is a very good experience.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Firefall is an omnibus collection of Blindsight and Echopraxia - two novels by Canadian sf author Peter Watts, and set in the same universe, that deal with a cataclysmic first contact event.

After the titular Firefall event, in which the Earth was surveilled by an unknown force using a grid of spaceborne objects that created a terrifying visual spectacle seen by millions, the planet embarked on a concerted effort to seek answers. The ship Theseus, staffed by Earth's best and brightest, embarked o
May 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
The good

There are some really interesting concepts in the world Peter has built. I wont give them away but they definitely kept me reading long past the point where the plot and characters had completely lost any hook.
The main character had a really cool condition and seeing how he managed it was fascinating. Unfortunately the best interaction he had involved some conflict quite early and it was mostly downhill from there. His relationship gave good insight into him but when he fails to really d
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Firefall comprises two novels - I've just finished reading the first, Blindisght, and here is its review

I couldn't finish part 2, unfortunately.
Winter Sophia Rose
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dark & Gripping! Loved It! ...more
The Dragon Reads (Joyce)
It's not the book, it's me.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Oh, where to start? Reading this double hard SF offering made me giddy with glee! If you don't have at least a passing interest in the sciences and emerging tech, you will probably hate this. If your eye was drawn to a mention of zombies and vampires, stop right there. There is absolutely nothing for Twilight and Walking Dead fans here. Move on.

In Blindsight, the first of two novels incorporated into Firefall, Watts draws on current and nascent: biology, neuroscience, propulsion, particle, mate
Brian S
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars (8 out of 10)

Overall, a very interesting and enjoyable science fiction read.

I think the first book, Blindsight, had the more original, imaginative, and compelling sci-fi elements to it, but the characterizations and overall plot fell a bit flat for me. I think the very nature of the characters, particularly the main protagonist, does not help since he is by his very nature not a very relate-able person. I also found the pacing and writing quality to be a bit inconsistent,
This was a tough read, so tough that I had to take a break part way through. There is no way that this could be described as a light read.

The story is told from the point of view of Siri Keeton, who clearly has a neurological disorder. Is this what the world looks like from the point of view of an autistic? The other characters are distant and barely described in the text. We don't really meet them, we just hear what they had to say.

The text is a dense, at times, difficult to penetrate. I think
John Gray
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book, Blindsight, is excellent, told from the point of view of a truly unique character, Siri, who is chosen to go on a first contact mission on board a ship called Thesus. Peter Watts knows his stuff (which prompted me to undertake some fascinating reading to catch up) the science is hard and cutting edge, yet never overpowers the story being told. The aliens involved are properly exotically alien too, fully original in a way I'd never considered before.
The next book, Echopraxia, is
Carl Barlow
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A compendium of two connected novels, being Blindsight and Echopraxia.

Blindsight was not written to make friends. It's concept heavy, it asks you to sympathise with very broken people (often so broken it's hard to call them people), the author's voice is often so loud you can't but help think he likes it's sound too much... and the italics!

Echopraxia, though, is a more polished affair altogether - much more the novel, much more accessible... much less italicisation.

Both are promoted as novels of
Mar 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
DNF at page 610. Whilst it is jammed-packed with great science that kept me reading so close to the finish, the writing is not enjoyable - in fact it's barely readable. I liken it to a long journey on a corrugated gravel road: constant jarring vibrations. Except in this case you can stop the journey at any time, because it ceased being worth it. I just got tired of trying to follow what was going on; the introduction of concepts, bio-technology, physics, etc., and events is unforgiving to the re ...more
Tom Henry
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First off, two stories in one omnibus edition, stories that are linked together through father and son (but set within a few years of each other), both separate, extraordinary journeys from Earth to space and back again: fusing together diverse characters (melding hunters and their prey into an unlikely galactic search team), pitting them against an unknown, unquantifiable threat, and then watching the whole thing unravel. Is there intelligent life out there? You bet, and even the dead can't sav ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had previously read echopraxia without reading blindsight. stupid move. so I bought this and read it properly. its amazing. it is so tough and my intellect was often foundering. despite this I found it to be totally engrossing, banged through it. hard sci fi with lots of horror. its a first contact novel as good as annhilation
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 first book, 3.5 for the second. Really good, difficult story about how the mind works (or doesn't), consciousness and free will, disguised as a SF novel. The afterword with 150 scientific references explaining everything makes me want to read it again soon, so I'll probably understand what happened better!
Dec 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I seriously dislike the weird style of this omnibus. Confusing jargon and the slightly shallow story didn't help either. I have read Blindsight twice in attempt to recheck if I have missed anything -- don't walk my steps and steer clear of it.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
At first I found this a really tough read and it took me a while to figure out what was actually going on! It is ultimately about humanity, what is it that makes us human and questions why. Moments were a real head fuck. Not for the faint hearted or those who are psychologically stable.
Richard Marshall
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full of pseudo science that is grounded in natural laws but which may or not become fact. Well developed narratives that are admittedly blurred by the science overlay but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
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Other books in the series

Firefall (2 books)
  • Blindsight (Firefall, #1)
  • Echopraxia (Firefall, #2)

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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
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“We all come into the story halfway through, we all catch up as best we can, and we're all gonna die before it ends.” 11 likes
“The strident emotional belief that children made you happy, even when all the data pointed to misery. The high-amplitude fear of sharks and dark-skinned snipers who would never kill you; indifference to all the toxins and pesticides that could. The mind was so rotten with misrepresentation that in some cases it literally had to be damaged before it could make a truly rational decision—and should some brain-lesioned mother abandon her baby in a burning house in order to save two strangers from the same fire, the rest of the world would be more likely to call her a monster than laud the rationality of her lifeboat ethics. Hell, rationality itself—the exalted Human ability to reason—hadn’t evolved in the pursuit of truth but simply to win arguments, to gain control: to bend others, by means logical or sophistic, to your will. Truth had never been a priority. If believing a lie kept the genes proliferating, the system would believe that lie with all its heart. Fossil feelings. Better off without them, once you’d outgrown the savanna and decided that Truth mattered after all. But Humanity wasn’t defined by arms and legs and upright posture. Humanity had evolved at the synapse as well as at the opposable thumb—and those misleading gut feelings were the very groundwork on which the whole damn clade had been built. Capuchins felt empathy. Chimps had an innate sense of fair play. You could look into the eyes of any cat or dog and see a connection there, a legacy of common subroutines and shared emotions.” 7 likes
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