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Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In more than fifty unpredictable essays and revenge fantasies, Peter Watts — Hugo Award-winning author, former marine biologist, and angry sentient tumor — is the savage dystopian optimist whom you can’t look away from. Even when you probably should.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Tachyon Publications
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May 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who need a prod in the side
Shelves: non-fiction, on-blog
I was interested in this because I found Watts to be one of the most fascinating sci-fi writers I’ve read, with wide-ranging concepts and expertise. Interestingly, the copy came to me about pandemic isolation time, when I suddenly lost my interest in anything challenging. However, it turns out Watts’ ‘angry tumor’ approach rather worked for me.

‘Peter Watts’ contains a curated version of at least fifty of his blog posts, so presumably you could find them online, with effort. As such, I would have
Watts’ science fiction works may not be for everyone, and as it turned out, his non-fiction as well (although it should be), but they are right up my alley. And how could I not read a book of his with such a title?

This is a collection of essays, articles written for his blog and polish magazine Nowa Fantastyka. They cover various themes from politics, science, climate change, surveillance (Ed Snowden, you’re mentioned too), movies and others to personal ones as the death of his brother, persona
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Aug 06, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction, humor
i want to be best friends with whoever wrote this book

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Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Eleven years after the birth of the most neurologically remarkable, philosophically mind-blowing, transhumanistically-relevant being on the planet, we have nothing but pop-sci puff pieces and squishy documentaries to show for it. Are we really supposed to believe that in over a decade no one has done the studies, collected the data, gained any insights about literal brain-to-brain communication, beyond these fuzzy generalities? I for one don’t buy that for a second. These neuroscientists smil
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strangely enough, this angry sentient tumor has a big thing about using Peer-Reviewed articles in his essays. That's great! I think it is really funny when he uses lesser-known articles to debunk the whole methodology of psychology. Or when it's set against right-wing-religious nutters.

I read this mainly because it's Peter Watts. Period. He's smart, isn't afraid to burn bridges, and he has the whole Curmudgeon thing DOWN. Get off my lawn! But he also has a point. Many of them. And when it comes
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
How I read this: Free ebook copy received through NetGalley

I read this because I like Peter Watts as an author and wanted to learn more about him. My rating is 3.5 stars, but let me just start by saying how unfair it is to rate a book that's made up of blog posts... First of all, all of them are so different, and it's always harder to rate without a theme, and secondly, a lot of it is at least a little personal, which makes it harder to rate still.

The book starts out roughly - with a post or two
Colin Fleming
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This pissed-off sci-fi writer contains multitudes. There’s paranoid Peter, raging against the militarization of policing and cops killing black men with impunity. There’s science Peter, describing the mysteries of the human brain with boyish, wide-eyed wonder. And there’s tender Peter, mourning the loss of a cat, or offering to pay for a prostitute for his gay Baptist father, a gesture so awkward and loving that it nearly broke me. And yet, while there are many Peters, they are united by a singu ...more
Daniel Cunningham
Blindsight, Echopraxia, The Freeze-Frame Revolution? Loved them. Luckily, I still have his books to enjoy and am looking forward to starting Starfish in the month or two.

This collection of blog posts/spleen-ventings/movie reviews? Garrghhh. Ughh. Meh. There are some interesting ideas here, granted, but you have to sift through a lot of bullshit for them. And... that's not even completely true. The thing that comes through, time and time and time again, is not that Watts is a pessimist; its that
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: biog
The title is accurate. This book turned my hair white.
Steph Romm
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you love Watts, you'll love this book. I happen to be in that category, so this was a winner for me.

I've been lucky enough to attend several conventions where Peter was featured as a panelist and the same sharp-witted, quick-retorting, dry-enough-to-cut-you humour is presented perfectly in this collection of essays and blog posts. How refreshing it is to hear from someone who is unapologetic from a place of scientific intellectualism and common sense - not so often the case these days.

Is Pete
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of fun reading this book and it was a good way of getting to know a new to me author.
I laughed a lot and loved his style of writing.
I don't know if this anthologies of blog posts reflects his book but I can say it's a good and entertaining read.
I will surely read the books by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I was curious to find out what sort of person Peter Watts is, since he is known for his bleak view of humanity, exemplified in Blindsight which I really like, but I can't say I was impressed. This book is less about how he sees the world and more about how other people do or believe things that are not in line with his views and science in particular. He holds strong views in really boring topics for me like the cops and the government, climate change and atheism, and while I don’t really disagr ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays by Peter Watts is a highly recommended collection of over fifty essays.

Peter Watts may be an angry sentient tumor, but he is also an opinionated one and in this collection of blog entries he shares his many opinions, along with his anger, on a wide variety of topics. He really They are not all angry, some of them are about his cats, or other cats, but all of them are thought provoking and are going to incite some kind of emotio
Elaine Aldred
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this book really lets a reader know what they’re in for in the spirit of “It does exactly what it says on the tin”, when they pick up this book.

Peter Watts is indeed a very angry man and he knows how to express himself with outstanding panache.

On an initial reading of what are tidied up blog posts, your first impression is of a string of rants, and some quite extreme at that.

But when you put the book down, dropping it like a hot brick, the arguments linger (nay fester) and you find
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-releases
I'm going to keep my review short and to the point since I don't have a lot to say that's positive about this book; Watts is at his best when he's at his most speculative, when he's pushing the boundaries of what's known and unknown about our universe and the way reality works. Where I found myself uncomfortable was while reading his reviews—mostly of films, but of some television shows and other media as well—and disagreeing not only with his points but his approach. It has actually given me mo ...more
Dan Trefethen
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
The title pretty much says it all. Oh, and the subtitle: “Revenge fantasies and essays”. This is a selection of the author's blog postings, so while they have been edited for publication they still read somewhat like blog postings. However, they are extremely well footnoted since Watts has great interest in writing about cutting edge biology, marine biology, psychology, and related fields.

Watts is a brilliant SF author who also has a short fuse and Does Not Suffer Fools Gladly, the more bureaucr
Anne Francia Chavez
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Peter Watts is thinking cancer.

"It was malformed and incomplete, but its essentials were clear enough. It looked like a great wrinkled tumor, like cellular competition gone wild—as though the very processes that defined life had somehow turned against it instead. It was obscenely vascularised; it must have consumed oxygen and nutrients far out of proportion to its mass. I could not see how anything like that could even exist . . . "

"That was how it worked. That was how these empty skins moved o
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Essays from Peter Watt's blogs and other articles he's published

Peter Watts mentally intimidates me. I liked "Starfish" but didn't continue in the series because it was hard work. I want to read "Blindsight" but the reviews make my brain shiver. So I decided to try this nonfiction work. And I liked it! Peter Watts is a realist, and he doesn't feel the need to pull his punches or sugar coat so some of these were tough to read. They range from stories from his life (surviving flesh-eating bacteria
Peter Watts is a marine biologist-turned-sci-fi-writer-blogger-etc... and it shows! This collection of essays covers many topics, from family pets and privacy concerns to climate change and LSD trips. I enjoyed the "smaller" essays a bit more than the deeply scientific ones - which, honestly, I occasionally lost track of as I was reading. Overall, an interesting collection by a man who has had vastly varied life experiences. I didn't always agree with or understand exactly what he was talking ab ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
Peter Watts is the author of one of my favorite SF books ever, Blindsight. He also has a long-running blog called the Crawl that many of these pieces are drawn from. So I've read a lot of them before (and I wish the comments on the pieces could have been included, as he has an intelligent and witty commentariat). But there are a few new entries from a Polish SF magazine Watts writes a monthly column for, and the entire book is very much worth your time. Watts may be a cranky, pessimistic curmudg ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Im a big fan of Peter Watts' fictional work. I even likes his blog at one point. What i have come to understand by reading this book is that our opinions dont quite align. Thats no biggie, really, except "Peter Watts is an angry sentient tumor" is chock full of them at the expense of most other things. All in all, 3 stars for a combination of funny writing with tedious, almost childish, opinions.
Carolyn Rose
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Confession: I don't read much science fiction and I have no idea why I picked up this book except that the title grabbed me.
Once I started reading, however, I couldn't stop, even when the level of science got so deep my rudimentary knowledge didn't keep me afloat. His rants were on target and his outrage on the same wavelength as my own.
(Note: If you're a climate change denier or the kind of person who gets offended by the use of the F-bomb, pass this book by.)
Meg (fairy.bookmother)
I didn't really know anything about Peter Watts before reading this collection of his writing/blog posts, and the resulting collection in an acerbic, entertaining look into a myriad of subjects. It was a lot to take in all at once, so I picked at this over the course of several months. I loved his perspective on a lot of things, so if you like essays about literally anything, definitely take a look at this.

Thank you to Tachyon Pub and Netgalley for a review copy!
Peter Melancon
I've never read any of Peter Watts books, only a short story of his called Things based on the point of the Thing in Carpenter's the Thing. Reading his thoughts that span from politics, his love of cats, video games and thoughts on organized religion. I love reading insights on people, sometimes I get very good ideas from reading books like this. FYI Peter Watts has given me many reason to start blogging and I'm currently working on my first few essays.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I really really want to enjoy Peter Watts but I just can't get into the writing. The summary of freeze frame evolution and this one got me really excited to dive straight in but something is stopping me from enjoying it.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Peter Watts is angry, and he has good reason to be. Not all of the essays are outrage but they all bring up relevant points of discussion for the subject - even the ones that are less cerebral. This is a quick, well written, read that you can take as a whole or in bits and pieces.
Ricky Rieckenberg
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read, several interesting things learned

I was already a fan of Peter watts, this just made me more aware of how interesting some of his thoughts are. One thing I was not ready for was the submissions about his cats, it hurt and made me sad thinking about my own pets.
Nikita Minin
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nice selection of stuff for people who have no time to follow author's blog.

Collection of interesting ideas. Most of it is available elsewhere, but you will need to spend some time to find it.
Ben Brackett
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and thoughtful
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
this is really fucking uneven
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“I was trying to get a handle on Blindsight; I entertained and discarded any number of adaptive functions in search of that grand thematic punchline that would end the book. Yes, my protagonist would realize, self-awareness is absolutely essential because of X. The problem was, I couldn’t find an X that stood up under scrutiny; and it took me far too long to realize that Consciousness is good for nothing at all was the scariest and most existentially gut-churning punchline imaginable.” 2 likes
“Hell, Neil Gaiman took a classic that nine-year-old Peter Watts devoured without any trouble at all—Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book—and dumbed it down to an (admittedly award-winning) story about ghosts and vampires, aimed at an audience who might find a story about sapient wolves and tigers too challenging. It may only be a matter of time before Nineteen Eighty Four is reissued using only words from the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary.” 2 likes
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