Blindsight / Peter Watts
Synopsis – Future transhumans chase after a signal through outer space, find a planet, capture some of its inhabitants, and torture them to learn sciency stuff.* In the process, the planet does a number on their perceptions, and they freak out about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but mostly about the definitions of “humanity” and “consciousness.”
Reaction – A hard sci fi story with hard sci hypothesis formulation. I’m already one to seek out and twist my mind with the deepest of the deep questions, and this book twisted my mind to the point of shearing. Along the sheared edges, new crystals grew. Lucky for me, I’m fond of fractals. Read this book if you’re ready to think about the meanings of perception, evolution, and morality unconventionally and logically. Hal lives.
Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.
*Of course, the storyline is much more sophisticated than my synopsis, but in the interest of omitting a multitude of spoilers, I kept it unsophisticated.
Dreamlander / K.M. Weiland
Synopsis – Future Hero gradually discovers his nightmares are actually real life in an Other Dimension. Future Hero crosses over into the Other Dimension and becomes Reluctant Hero, falls in love with Ice Princess, and leads an Epic War, via fate. Then Reluctant Hero becomes Fabled Hero when his continued presence in the Other Dimension causes Both Dimensions to plunge into Catastrophic Global Climate Change.
Reaction – The “real life” scenes were peppy and punchy. The transitions and the “dream life” scenes were full of contradictory descriptions and disjointed cause and effect, even for a dream world. Choppy, shuffled sequence of events within many scenes. The “dream life” scenes summoned an army of halting proper nouns, as often found in fantasy novels, and long, drawn-out political, tactical, and battle descriptions. It’s rare that I enjoy the historomantasy genre, and this proved no exception. A chore to get through. I did, however, slog through to the end, just to give it a full chance.
Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.
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