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Echopraxia (Firefall) af Peter Watts
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Echopraxia (Firefall) (udgave 2014)

af Peter Watts (Forfatter)

Serier: Firefall (2)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4661739,980 (3.82)17
It's the eve of the 22nd century and the beginning of the end. Humanity splinters into strange new forms with every heartbeat: hive-minds coalesce, rapture-stricken, speaking in tongues; soldiers forgo consciousness for combat efficiency; a nightmare human subspecies has been genetically resurrected; half the population has retreated into the ersatz security of a virtual environment called Heaven. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to reveal itself. Daniel Bruks has turned his back on it all, taking refuge in the Oregon desert. As an unaugmented, baseline human he's an irrelevance, a living fossil for whom extinction beckons. But he's about to find himself an unwilling pilgrim on a voyage to the heart of the solar system that will bring the fractured remnants of mankind to the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought. 'If you only read one science fiction novel this year, make it this one!... it puts the whole of the rest of the genre in the shade... It deserves to walk away with the Clarke, the Hugo, the Nebula, the BSFA, and pretty much any other genre award for which it's eligible. It's off the scale... F**king awesome!' Richard Morgan. 'State-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one' Neal Asher.… (mere)
Medlem:bhuesers
Titel:Echopraxia (Firefall)
Forfattere:Peter Watts (Forfatter)
Info:Tor Books (2014), 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***
Nøgleord:speculative-fiction

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Echopraxia af Peter Watts

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» Se også 17 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
Disappointing. Covers very similar ground as the first novel but regresses plot-wise significantly. I think they spend most of the book on this ship traveling to meet aliens, which seemed like it was character building, and then they meet the aliens for the climax, and its the same aliens as before, and the action scenes are fractured and hard to follow, and I didn't find myself enthralled or cheering for the characters.

First book was one of my favorites so this is for sure a letdown. Mostly because it was a strict subset of the other book's awesomeness. ( )
  4dahalibut | Dec 13, 2020 |
The novel is surprisingly easy to place in the taxonomy of great science fiction. Of course, to do so, one must first place Blindsight in it's proper place. It was a philosophical discussion on consciousness. Echopraxia, follows it's predecessor's conclusions, necessary story extrapolations, but it takes a sharp right turn when it brings up its primary philosophical mode. We put down consciousness for a moment, and pick up the discussion on free will. It might help to know the definition of the title: The involuntary repetition or imitation of another person's actions.

I loved the old topic. I rather prayed that it would continue, and it did in a lesser capacity. But instead of blowing my conscious mind again, we came along on a Hard-Sci-Fi ride that bumped me about on a God trip.

Wait! Wait, you might say. Is this a lovecraftian mashup with hard sf? Nope. Then is it an unintelligent social-dynamic exploration thing? Nope, not at all. Then what is it?

It's an exploration of how biology wires us to look for god, and how that expression manifests in all the new subspecies of human, and it happens in some of the most surprising of ways. Why do his absolutely friggin' fantastic portrayals of vampires believe in God? They're so smart that we've enslaved them to play the stock market or work out the hoariest of mathematical calculations. They glitch when they see right angles, unless they're put on a drug cycle, but more than anything, they're the most frightening thing from humanity's past, and the reasons are constantly renewed.

Seriously. I'm in awe. Vampires are so damn unpredictable, and it's worse because they can fly ahead with so many strange mental predictors to play everyone out in real life as if we're just pawns in chess. You think you've heard this tale? Try again. These aren't any kind of vampire I've ever seen. Try describing an autistic savant as an ultimate predator and you might have a slight inkling, but believe me, these vamps are better. They're hardly one or two dimensional, and they definitely don't match up with anything remotely social.

If they can see ahead so far as to play with all our destinies, then we've got just a small part of this novel revealed. Unfortunately for us, every species likes to play god, and let's not forget the alien species that still makes me shiver in delight and awe.

For a novel that devotes so much attention to free will, I rarely had a feeling that I had any during the reading of it.

I think I play a game with novels that most of us play to a more or less greater degree. I enjoy trying to parse out the plot well before the official reveals. For this novel, I really tried. Unfortunately, I was consistently left floundering because my brain had short-circuited in much the same ways that the characters did, as well. We are wired this way. We see the tiger in the bush, whether or not the tiger is really there. We draw eyes on the wall and immediately extrapolate a deity that watches over us. I get it. And I love how these quasi-post-singularity humans mess with their own programming along the spectrum, to greater or lesser successes in warding off the tiger.

Even aliens have to deal with the tiger. You know what I mean, you Kipling readers. It's all about eat or be eaten, even when you're discussing God.

The one thing I love the most about the novel is the main character. It was a severe departure from Blindsight, because he isn't one of the many strangenesses that came out of humanity's evolution. He is an honest baseline human surrounded by others who are smarter, faster, and more adaptable than him. I won't get into his story because it's quite fun in the novel, but suffice to say, it's worth it.

Is this a worthy successor to Blindsight?

That's an excellent question. I truly loved Blindsight, and most of that was due in particular to the main topic at hand. Echopraxia, by contrast, is up against a very, very long tradition of writers who have all tried to tackle the same question. I did particularly enjoy how Peter Watts gave credit to Dune, which was an excellent example of the same.

On the balance, Echopraxia is a fantastic standalone novel. As a direct sequel, there are a few solid connection points, but it doesn't need or beg for true resolution from Blindsight.

If I try to balance the two novels together, Blindsight's weight will knock Echopraxia off the scale. It only suffers in direct comparison, but by itself it rocks.

Do I recommend the novel? Hell yes. Great action, great characters, excellent suspense, and (again) fanfuckingtastic aliens.


( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
... Basically, the same as the first book in the duology.

Reading the endnotes, however? Fantastic! Lots of great research, written more clearly than the novel itself.

It's still quite good, but the action is too muddy, which does not help the theory come across. ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
It's Peter Watts and it was well-written and I finished it, so it got three stars. But:

1. too much of the book was scientific exposition about random studies he took out of context to support some of the book's more outlandish ideas. I really didn't need late-21st-century characters soliloquizing to each other about cutting-edge psychological theories from the end of the 20th century. I'm pretty sure by then we'll have made some progress that resolves some of the faux-contradictions he discusses.

2. Bruks is a jerk. Why is he a jerk? We have his pseudo-dead wife theorizing at the end that he's a jerk because he's a coward but he wants to be brave, and ugh. I don't buy it, and even if I did, he's *still* a jerk. If the only way you have of dealing with your fear is being randomly cruel to people who are trying to help you, you can just go to hell.

3. I enjoyed Blindsight, but that was in spite of the vampires, not because of them. In Echopraxia, I just could not deal with the vampires. I don't know why or what changed but every time Valerie floated around terrifying people, I just rolled my eyes. The addition of zombies did not help.

4. The book opens with a quote about how, if you reach the peak of one mountain and realize that there is another higher mountain to climb, the only way to do that is by heading back down into the valley. It's pretty clearly intended to say that if humans ever encountered a more advanced alien civilization, we'd have to become stupider before we could begin to advance towards their superior form of intelligence, which Watts posits as being non-sentient (consciousness, he argues, just gets in the way--we'd be better off without it, like ants or bees, which he assumes without evidence do not have individual consciousness). So he sets up a novel in which various groups of humans try, through various means, becoming more intelligent by subverting their individual consciousness in favour of greater intelligence through non-sentience. This, in the spirit of the original quote, means "entering the valley" or becoming stupider, so of course all of these augmented experimental humans die and the one regular human--who just happens to be a straight white scientist dude, totally coincidentally--is the only one to survive. Wish fulfillment, much?

Science Fiction authors, hear my plea: we are full up on stories about how the underqualified, aimless, antisocial straight white guys with a horrible secret in their past somehow accidentally out-think and out-survive all of the more qualified, smarter, nicer, more successful women/minorities/surgically augmented super-geniuses. It's not credible and as a fiction trend it's really fucking annoying. You used to assume that of course the straight white guys were automatically better than everyone so of course they would win in the end; now that this is no longer an option, you have us trying to believe that even when they're *worse* than everyone they *still* win in the end.

5. It's NOT hard science fiction. At all. Anything that has vampires and zombies in space is pure fantasy. He just sprinkles in some dialogue references to scientific studies he doesn't understand.

Casey, I'm blaming you. :p ( )
1 stem andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
'Echopraxia' is a sequel to 'Blindsight', but it does have some important differences. The action is not directly connected with the earlier novel, though obviously the setting and situation is the same. There is some crossover in characters, but no personal appearances. There is a greater emphasis on action here, and we see more of the future Earth society; however, don't be misled into thinking that the cerebration lets up for a minute. Again, we have a group of barely functional characters in a ship of exploration following the manifestation of alien intelligence over the Earth; but this time, instead of heading out towards the Oort Cloud where the action seems to be, they are heading inwards, towards the telematter station 'Icarus', suspended above the Sun and beaming energy back to Earth, as well as to the distant spaceship 'Theseus'. Some of the clues unearthed in the investigation of the alien event, the 'Firefall' of the omnibus volume's title, pointed back to 'Icarus'. Our point of view character, Dan Brüks, is a biologist who appears to get caught up in serious interfactional fighting between orders of monks in a desert monastery. But things are not what they seem, and he finds himself on board the spaceship 'Crown of Thorns', heading for the sun. Dan is a "baseline" - an unaugmented human, something of a rarity in his world - and so represents us, the closest to Everyman you'll see in this novel.

I said that there was more action, and that's true; but just as with 'Blindsight', you need to keep your brain in gear. Ultimately, we find out much more about ourselves and our own future than we ever do about the aliens; and once again, science fiction shows us that the only truly alien planet is Earth.
2 stem RobertDay | Feb 19, 2018 |
Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
A paranoid tale that would make Philip K. Dick proud, told in a literary style that should seduce readers who don't typically enjoy science fiction. ... Watts' nihilistic meditation on evolution and adaptation is by turns disturbing and gorgeous, with a biologist's understanding of nature's indifference. ... This scientifically literate thriller's tight prose and plot create an existential uneasiness that lingers long after the book's end.
tilføjet af libron | RedigerKirkus Reviews (Jul 17, 2014)
 

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Fifty thousand years ago there were these three guys spread out across the plain and they each heard something rustling in the grass. The first one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, and it was a tiger but the guy got away. The second one thought the rustling was a tiger and he ran like hell, but it was only the wind and his friends all laughed at him for being such a chickenshit. But the third guy thought it was only the wind, so he shrugged it off and the tiger had him for dinner. And the same thing happened a million times across ten thousand generations - and after a while everyone was seeing tigers in the grass even when there weren't any tigers, because even chickenshits have more kids than corpses do. And from those humble beginnings we learn to see faces in the clouds and portents in the stars, to see agency in randomness, because natural selection favours the paranoid. Even here in the 21st century we can make people more honest just by scribbling a pair of eyes on the wall with a Sharpie. Even now we are wired to believe that unseen things are watching us.
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It's the eve of the 22nd century and the beginning of the end. Humanity splinters into strange new forms with every heartbeat: hive-minds coalesce, rapture-stricken, speaking in tongues; soldiers forgo consciousness for combat efficiency; a nightmare human subspecies has been genetically resurrected; half the population has retreated into the ersatz security of a virtual environment called Heaven. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to reveal itself. Daniel Bruks has turned his back on it all, taking refuge in the Oregon desert. As an unaugmented, baseline human he's an irrelevance, a living fossil for whom extinction beckons. But he's about to find himself an unwilling pilgrim on a voyage to the heart of the solar system that will bring the fractured remnants of mankind to the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought. 'If you only read one science fiction novel this year, make it this one!... it puts the whole of the rest of the genre in the shade... It deserves to walk away with the Clarke, the Hugo, the Nebula, the BSFA, and pretty much any other genre award for which it's eligible. It's off the scale... F**king awesome!' Richard Morgan. 'State-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one' Neal Asher.

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