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

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  32 reviews
“A brilliant bastard.” —Cory Doctorow
“Comfort, of course, is the last thing that Watts wants to give.” —New York Review of Science Fiction


Which of the following is true?

-Peter Watts is banned from the U.S.
-Watts almost died from flesh-eating bacteria.
-A schizophrenic man living in Watts's backyard almost set his house on fire.
-Watts was raised by Baptists who really
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Tachyon Publications
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Claudia
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,
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Tucker
Aug 06, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
i want to be best friends with whoever wrote this book
Bradley
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
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Gavin
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
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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
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Annarella
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.
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 ...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
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Joe Karpierz
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was describing this book to a friend of mine a little while ago. I said that John Scalzi writes serious blog posts, and he writes funny blog posts. He skewers people, he gets angry, he comments on current events, politics, things going on in the areas of science fiction and fantasy. And then he puts a bunch of them into a book which probably sells like crazy (I don't know for sure, given t that I haven't bought any of those books nor have I bothered to dig into their sales figures). He *knows* ...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
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Greg Chatham
I check in on Peter Watts' blog throughout the year, and I agree with him on a lot of things. I also agree with his opening statement here. Why is this a book?

For the most part, the blog entries collected here don't feel dated. (Except for the occasional movie reviews, which bring up some good nitpicks but are too snarky for my taste.) But they do feel inessential, and the entire project suffers from this same aura of indifference. "Here are some blog entries I did, but not all the ones you
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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
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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
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Kend
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 ...more
Rt
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very lefty sf author writes about the world, including his pets (ah, the joys of loving a difficult cat) and the fact that we’ve pretty much guaranteed a climate apocalypse and very few people seem to have noticed. The best bit was his description of a spat he had with David Brin over whether individuals could respond to pervasive government surveillance with surveillance of their own: “Brin reminded us; our leaders are Alphas. Trying to ban government surveillance would be like poking a ...more
Pamela Scott
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...

I’ve read a few pieces by Peter Watts but not enough to really rate or judge him as a writer. I decided to read this because I’m the kind of reader who loves to know what goes on inside the mind or writers, such as what motivates them and what kind of person they are. I also loved the title. I really enjoyed this collection of essays and blog posts. They cover a wide range of topics and not all of them are related to writing or science fiction. Many of the
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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 ...more
Paul
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wide-ranging set of blog posts and essays from a whip-smart author. He writes VERY well, of course (and is rightfully a well-respected author). It was fun getting to know him (and his cats) a little (especially since I'm in the middle of one of his novels). Among other things, he is a self-described geek (a good thing). He also knows himself well, and has a good sense of humor. You don't have to be a fan of the author to enjoy this.

A big thank you to Tachyon and NetGalley for the ARC
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Björn
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.)
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.
M
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.
Victoria
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.
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.
Celia Palomares
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely found myself laughing out loud at certain parts
Andrey
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
this is really fucking uneven
Tyler Simmons
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hilarious, acerbic, scornful, thoughtful, and all around just so fun to read. I don't always agree with Watts, but I thoroughly enjoy his work and would love to be friends with that guy.
Ben Brackett
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and thoughtful
☄k.c.☄
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Peter Watts is an author that I haven't read from before this, but I will definitely be changing that soon. This was a great reading experience for me. A collection of blog posts ranging from his personal life and upbringing, movie reviews and current events, Watts presented things in ways that I, a person who isn't a big fan of blogs, really enjoyed. Also included were parts about science! Which was awesome! Watts is a former marine biologist, and I loved getting information and perspective on ...more
Stephanie (Librarianish) Davidson
#98 in 2019. This is a very strange book. But its also hilarious, and I know a handful of people who would probably really enjoy it, and so I'm going to recommend it to them right now.

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“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.” 1 likes
“Of course, no one’s immune to these biases; I’ve caught myself cherry-picking data on more than one occasion. To that extent we all live in glass houses. But there are ways of error-checking yourself, if you care to use them. The scientific method, at its heart, is a set of tools explicitly designed to break through bias and shine a light on the empirical information underneath. Recognizing our prejudices, we can overcome them. But one thing we cannot do—and it has taken me so very long to realize this—is reason successfully with those who reject such tools. Logic doesn’t matter to a Jehovah’s Witness. Fossils mean nothing to a creationist. All the data in the world will not change the mind of a true climate-change denier.4 You cannot reason with these people. You cannot take them seriously. It is a waste of energy to even try.” 1 likes
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