Peter Watts 2014. Echopraxia. Tom Doherty Associates: New York. 383 pp.

Another great hard SF discovery. Hard like diamond. A very unsettling read, a rush, written to be read likewise. Like running downstairs three steps at a time in the dark. In thongs. In the rain.

Probably I should have read Peter Watts’ Blindsight first, but that is now lined up for the future, when a decent interval has elapsed so as not to risk more permanent mental disturbance.

Oregon is a desert. Genetic engineering of nearly everything hs been happening for decades, so that few humans are unmodified (except the protagonist). Hence there are zombies (soldiers with consciousness removed for battle) and vampires notably the wonderful and scary creation Valerie. And hive minds. The extent of change and damage to global society and cultures is thankfully not developed beyond the horizon of the narrative. But it isn’t inviting. For those who find it terminally so, Heaven awaits in a vat.

From this a space voyage and even more disturbing discoveries. What is reality? What is consciousness? Is there a God and of what nature?

Even without the 25 densely referenced pages of notes appended, it is very clear that Peter Watts is ferociously well-read. This further reading, and his other novels, become urgent to read.