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(Firefall #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  30,164 ratings  ·  2,628 reviews
It's been two months since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since - until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who to send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn't want to meet? Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder, and a ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Tor Books
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Luis Guimarães
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Dave Firefall is the series, Blindsight is book 1; Echopraxia is book 2.

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  30,164 ratings  ·  2,628 reviews

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Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of hard sci-fi, first contact
This is a very dense book, packed with ideas. Although Watts mentions he's a biologist by training, you wouldn't know it: between all the astronomical events, the neurological side effects of radiation and methane exposure, and the philosophy of consciousness, it feels like half a college curriculum in here. It also is not an easy book. I ended up waiting to finish it on a free day, where the book and I could spend as much time as we needed. In this way, it reminded me a great deal of Miéville's ...more
mark monday
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
what is Consciousness? how did the silly human race evolve beyond the herd instinct, beyond our reptile brain? how, and why? what is the purpose of our individuality, what is the need for our sense of self, what use is Human Connection, why are we even equipped with Empathy? for some naive, kinda-sorta spiritual folks (like myself), these things may explain the existence of God. but that's rather besides the point of the question. does empathy help us in the long run, does the ability of humans ...more
This book was absolutely nothing like I expected. Little did I know that for my hard SF adventure I needed to be comfortable not only with astronomy and physics and biology but also a hefty dose of philosophy and neuroscience and evolution — and a mind-boggling exploration not even into the nature of conscience but in its utility or complete lack thereof. There are enough abstract concepts for my mind not just to grapple with but to grudgingly admit defeat against.

What is it about? Well, on a su
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, horror, sci-fi
Wow. This was a tough one. It was a very good hard sf book that I don't think I'll be coming back to anytime soon. As others have said: "abandon all hope ye who enter here." A well written, excruciating exploration of the human "problem" where it turns out that it really is a problem. How do you take a book whose central premise seems to be that the development of self-awareness in human evolution was a wrong turn that wasn't meant to happen at all? That it was in fact contrary to the entire dev ...more
Lady Luna. ✨

**So this review will be extremely short**

“He wasn't just grasping at the limb, I realized as I joined them. He was tugging at it. He was trying to pull it off.
Something laughed hysterically, right inside my helmet.”

Okay so I have decided hardcore sci-fi isn't my thing, I get confused with all the descriptions and literally had to google half the words in this book. The writing was a little tedious, 100 pages in and I still didn't have a clue what was going on and nearly put
This is one of those novels that make me feel like it's a wonder to be alive. Of course, that's a subjective statement implying consciousness, and therefore I am an evolutionary throwback who is spinning his wheels. And because I read this book and feel that the logic is unassailable, I still happen to think this novel makes me feel like it's a wonder to be alive.

Notice, of course, that this is the inverse of a depressive reasoning, and this is intentional, because this novel makes me feel like

Yeeeaahhh... I'm kinda not sure what I just read or how I should feel about this book. So, I'm going to revert to my usual fallback position of "random typing to see what words show up" and call it a review.

Look ma, no consciousness! O_o

So, one the one hand, I can see how certain types of readers would think this book is brilliant and love it. This is smart, hard sci-fi, dealing with matters of humanity (as most SF does) and asking some really interesting questions about what sentience is and w
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Greg by: Raja
You know you're in for trouble when the dedication of the book says:

"If we're not in pain, we're not alive."

One of the quotes before the novel starts is:

"you will die like a dog for no good reason"

And the quote that starts the first chapter is one by Ted Bundy!

But still, it's a sci-fi book about could I not love it?


I've always loved Science Fiction, and not just because books about the future are inherently cool. The reason I've always
May 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
Okay, I gave this book TWO second chances because I had heard great things about it, but I eventually gave up.

It's certainly a gutsy choice to have a person with no empathy as your main character, but it's pretty hard to get readers to care about someone who has only a vaguely intellectual interest in other people. Especially if the story is told in the first person by this character.
So as a result, we know that one guy is a vampire, and another guy has some kind of prosthetic senses, and there
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jokoloyo by: Stuart
This is not an easy read. The book is a hard science fiction with a lot of ideas, maybe too much for some people that has no special interest in one or two of the science that mentioned in this book. It sure gave me some things to check in internet, like blindsight (it is a real life phenomena), and other science stuff appeared in this book. This book is also discuss about behavioral and consciousness, oh just read other reviews for details, I am not good discussing heavy subjects.

My only concer
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 Stars 
This was a brilliantly unique alien contact story that was like nothing I had ever read (or watched) before. Blending together science fiction and horror, this novel was dark and creepy in a rather innovative way. This narrative was very dense in terms of plot and scientific theory. Admittedly, some of it went over my head, but what I did understand, I absolutely loved. This story was incredibly thought provoking and often mind bending as it discussed topics such communication, intelli
Manuel Antão
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Epiphenomenal Consciousness: “Blindsight” by Peter Watts

“I am the bridge between the bleeding edge and the dead center. I stand between the Wizard of Oz and the man behind the curtain. I am the curtain.”

In “Blindsight” by Peter Watts

What if: There is only one consciousness that we all share? (Universal Consciousness)
What if: People are caught in the illusion of separation? (Encouraged by the limitations of the five senses)
What if:
Twerking To Beethoven
BR with Pizza, spaghetti, mandolino, Luciano Pavarotti and you can't even sing who happens to be a way quicker reader than ole Twerk.

I learned an awful lot of new words while going through this book, mostly because I found myself being forced to in order to even follow its most basic level of dialogue. Hands up, you bastids, who knows what "malapropism" means? Ha! Gotcha. I do now, but that's because I googled that shit along with heaps of funny words that I have now forgotten.

In the really tec
Jun 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007hugonominees
I'm still having a hard time figuring out what I think about this book. I don't believe that it is well written, but I also don't believe that it is a bad book. Let's start with the first one. I've had a brief note up here for a while about this book that pretty much defines why I don't think it's well written. Take a look at this quote:

"There have always been those tasked with the rotation of informational topologies, but throughout most of history they had little to do with increasing its clar
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Yes, it is not quite as good as I’d been told, but orders of magnitude more brilliant than anyone had conveyed. Which statement will be very puzzling to anyone who hasn’t read the book, but just take my word for it: it makes perfect sense. And yes, this book will deservedly win this year’s Hugo, if the rumblings are right. Sorry, Temeraire, you’ll have another shot, I’m sure.

So. The actual review. Summarizing this book is quite difficult without being far too parsimonious or far too verbose. It
Caro the Helmet Lady
When I occasionally for a longer period of time drift closer to the shores of mainstream literature, books like Blindsight remind me in the form of the hard kick in the ass why I like sci-fi.

The many ideas that Watts stuffed into it are at least very interesting, if not mindblowing. Lets not forget that the book was written some 15 years ago, but to me it didn't feel outdated at all, never mind that since then many authors and screenwriters made use of many concepts. But trust me, nobody else si
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Crank up some Xenakis and Penderecki and abandon hope all ye who enter here. A book as monolithic and labyrinthine as the alien artifact at the heart of it. A grim yet psychedelic book which probably earns Watts place as the new James W. Campbell. A dystopia and a first contact story bent into odd shapes like a bristling metal sculpture. Disturbingly, as hallucinatory as most sections of this book are, Watts seemed to have scientific rational for most of it. A stunning look at consciousness, ide ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I spent a majority of this book being lost. Not so lost in the ludicrous amounts of science jargon as I was confused by the "who/what is this?" Though the author sacrifices story and pacing at every convenience to flex his brain and show off all the cutting edge science theory he reviewed to prepare for writing this, my main bitch is simply not being able to follow even basic conversations held between characters. Every character/space ship/astral body in this book has a name, and possibly an ad ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Gendou
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blindsight: Mind-blowing hard SF about first contact, consciousness
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is ‘hard SF’ in the truest sense of the term - hard science concepts, hard to understand writing at times, and hard-edged philosophy of mind and consciousness. It aggressively tackles weighty subjects like artificial intelligence, evolutionary biology, genetic modification, sentience vs intelligence, first contact with aliens utterly different from humanity, and a dystopian future where
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Was there ever a book with a more fitting title?
Kara Babcock
I’ve had this book on my to-read list for several years now, and I feel like the me who added this book would have liked it more than the me who ended up reading it. One of the nice things about having Goodreads to help me track my reading, what I’ve read and what I want to read, is that sometimes I can remember why I’ve put something on my list. In this case I can’t, specifically, except maybe that I heard about Peter Watts or Blindsight somewhere, maybe io9, and it seemed like something I coul ...more
Michelle Morrell
In order to expand my reading, I've been making an effort to put more hard scifi into my rotation, to get out of the "fluff rut" I've been in, riding books that are easy to consume but ultimately unsatisfactory. So, after many rave reviews (and a Hugo nomination), I chose Blindsight.

A shower of sparks streak from the sky, flashing the entire planet in what is obviously an outside intrusion, an alien snapshot. A crew of genetically modified people are sent to find first contact before it finds t
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: self-styled xenobiologists
...I absolutely tore through this book. An utterly fascinating read; well-done in both its science and its style. Watts makes some clever choices in structuring his narrator (and consequently, the narrative) without it coming across as a gimmick or some other bit of contrivance. So we have this faithful guide working in our favor and a good entry point for the story.

And then he slowly unfurls idea after idea that link together into a shillelagh to bash your brain in. At one moment near the end,
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
"How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of conciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the Djin, when Aladdin rubbed his lamp." -Thomas Huxley

Blindsight is a very imperfect creation. It sputters and starts, it rears it's head, looks around, drops a poop on your lawn and asks you to just figure it out in your spare time please. I'm going to piggy back a little bit on some of the great reviews I just read (especially Ma
Whew! That was something.
I think I can safely say that this was the most complicated book I've ever read. I can now easily take on Joyce's "Ullyses", it will be a stroll in the park.

The concept here is brilliant. The questions about consciousness, intelligence and sentience are mindboggling. Yet it all is presented on such a high scientific level and in such a complicated narration structure that I can't blame readers who emotionally gave up on it. Because of this I deduct one star, cause I thin
Oleksandr Zholud
This is one of the strongest hard SF novels of the 21st century (so far). I read is as a part of monthly reading for October 2020 at Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group for the book was nominated for Hugo in 2007.

On a surface it is a first contact novel: something alien signals late XXI century Earth with thousands of meteorites burning in our sky. The planet by that time has almost reached singularity, so a strange crew is gathered, headed by a vampire. It is not a fantasy as one can guess
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Why do putatively brilliant scientists insist on explaining simple shit to one another? Their sole purpose appears to be strolling out at key intervals of the story and expounding on pop science.

"Oh hi, did you know that according to Game Theory the most efficient cooperative strategy is reciprocal altruism?" Game theory may not be common knowledge, but it's hardly arcane either. The UK actually has a TV show built around it.

Similar bleeding edge opinions on consciousness, neurology, and lingu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A real clever and thought provoking read. Deals with a tonne od subjects, consciousness, identity, philosophy, gender, death way too many topics to list. I loved the heavy science element and the characters. Its a first contact novel with a twist. I think the only negative for me, is that it occasionally got lost in its own cleverness which made some of the plot a little scattered or uneven to follow. Not one yo usually be obsessed with heavy scifi novels, but this is one the better ones i read ...more
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