Blindsight

cover

Read Conditions

  • You are interested in hard sci-fi
  • You are interested (and capable) of reading extremely dense dialogue
  • You can suspend disbelief regarding the existence of certain supernatural beings

Thoughts (spoilers)

Well... where to begin. The ideas in Blindsight are much, much better than their execution. There's probably about a dozen new concepts I hadn't seen in sci-fi before. Most interesting to me was the very beginning, where spacefarers seemingly dehydrate their bodies to enter stasis.

The novel is incredibily dense, and requires you to re-read sentences 5-6 times before what it means actually sinks in. It's certainly a writing style, and might be offputting to some, especially those who aren't already familiar with a lot of sci-fi. I didn't mind it, it was kind of like a puzzle, but it does wear you thin sometimes.

The plot itself wasn't particularly impressive: earth gets photographed by aliens, alien signal is discovered, transhuman crew goes intercepts aliens, aliens are ameoba-like and very very different, nobody can tell what the other "wants" (in the sense that they even "want" something), it's all very confusing, the humans' ship is destroyed and the main character heads back to earth in a pod to report. Again, the ideas that are all related to those plot points were more interesting that the plot points themselves. For example, technology implies belligerence was quite interesting. Sentience is a weakness was also pretty interesting.

The preceding imagine you are so-and-so text to some of the chapters was kind of pretentious. I'm reading a novel, of course I'm supplanting my person into the characters. It's like a bad standup comic leading a joke with what's up with that?! (i.e. Sattelites! What's up with that?!).

I wasn't able to suspend my disbelief that vampires are real, sorry. Moreover, vampires seem like a bad stand-in for actual sci-fi; functionally Sarasti was just a superintelligent human with a taste for human blood. That character could easily be replaced with a semi-successful government experiment, get rid of all the needless vampire nonsense. Maybe there was some sort of motif in there about predator/prey or the nature of man, but I couldn't get past the vampire thing, so it's moot. Dragons can offer a motif about sin, I still don't want them in my sci-fi novels. The vampire aspect was by far my least favorite part of the novel.

Overall, it was interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone other than sci-fi die-hards.