Blindsight.

Technology implies belligerence.

First Contact.

One of the most popular tropes of science fiction. We had everything: benevolent aliens (either powerful or being at human mercy), malevolent enemies attacking Earth, for some strange reason always losing horribly, rarely indifferent ones. And my favourite kind: aliens that are, well, alien. In all meanings of this word, both physically and mentally. Stories featuring them are hardest to write, but also most interesting.

Blindsight (Peter Watts) is one of them and I dare to say it is one of the best, even if science already marched on. We are not sure what is deal all the way to very end of story. Even human crew can cause you perplexions – are they really humans? Genetically modded, mentally augumented, minds warped in unexpected directions, with vampire at steer, whatever they represent, they are humanity ambassadors. Main protagonist himself is ironical – emotionless half-brain (literally) that never fail to see all in other people – intermediate between us and half-AIs or overgrown brains-in-vats.

In story there are many themes and more or less dubious scientific claims, that nevertheless are thought-provoking. Is this alien ship (that does not look like any classic SF ship, by the way) and its crew really ship with real crew? Are you really only rubber-stamping bureaucrat in frontal lobe? Are current (beginning of 21st century) psychologists and psychiatrists was – are – little more than modern shamans prescibing mind equivalent of bloodleting? How to contact and understand aliens that see danger, take offense, readies to fight hearing phrase “I come in peace” already at first word?

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