Saturday, November 25, 2006

Peter Watts

Some while ago Tor US sent me an ARC of Peter Watts’ excellent book Blindsight, which I read almost in a state of shock because it was so good, and for which I wrote the blurb:

Blindsight is excellent. It's state-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one. Like a C J Cherryh book it makes you feel the danger of the hostile environment (or lack of one) out there. And it plays with some fascinating possibilities in human development, and some disconcerting ideas about human consciousness. What else can I say? Thanks for giving me the privilege of reading this.”

A short while after this I was checking a few things out on the net when I discovered Peter has an excellent website here -- particularly worth checking out is his lecture on Vampire Domestication To my delight I discovered that he already had four other SF books published, so I got chatting with him and arranged a books exchange. Subsequently I received signed copies of Starfish, Maelstrom, Behemoth B-Max and Behemoth Seppuku (The last two here are actually one book divided into two for the benefit of American book sellers – perhaps their staff have been suing for RSI damages caused by lifting any book of more than 110,000 words).

I’ve read all four books now and though I don’t think the last three are as good as Blindsight (which I have to say is the best SF book I have read in years), I definitely put them in a league ahead of most stuff out there. Really, if I hadn’t read Blindsight, Starfish would have been at the top of my best SF book list for the last few years, with the others a short distance behind it.

Why these books are not much more well-known and why they are not published in Britain is a complete mystery to me. Maybe, as some reviewers have opined, they’re too dark and cynical. Maybe they’re too intelligent. Whatever. I think they are far more deserving of plaudits than so many we’ve seen on the shortlists of various awards over very many years.


Anonymous said...

I read Starfish several years ago, and yes, quite impressed, though that was dense and dark. Just a couple of days ago, I obtained Blindsight. I'll plunge into it at your recommendation.

Are you familiar with other Canadian authors? All of Robert Charles Wilson's literary SF is worth reading, especially Chronoliths. Also Karl Schroeder's hard SF books are fine. I'd recommend Ventus and Lady of Mazes. And Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber is so charming.

- montmorency

Neal Asher said...

montmorency, the only one of those I've read is Karl Schroeder. Tor US sent me his 'Sun of Suns' which was pretty enjoyable. I may well give one of those others a go since I recognise that title 'Lady of Mazes'.

Um, because blogger beta kept demanding pass words every time and because I couldn't change that in IE I've changed over to Firefox. Can someone tell me why the books on this blog post sit one above the other in Firefox yet side-by-side in IE?