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Echopraxia by Peter Watts

Echopraxia (edition 2014)

by Peter Watts (Author)

Series: Firefall (2)

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3421350,348 (3.75)16
It's the eve of the twenty-second century and Daniel Bruks is a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational. He awakens one night to find he is at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside out. He's trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with 'The Angels of the Asteroids.'… (more)
Authors:Peter Watts (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2014), Edition: First Edition, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Echopraxia by Peter Watts

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
'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 vote RobertDay | Feb 19, 2018 |
Echopraxia, along with its predecessor Blindsight, is some of the best hard Sci-Fi to come out in a long time. Like all good Sci-Fi, Watts given us a very human story (ironic, given many of the characters are "post"-human) and uses it to introduce interesting ideas. The book moved quickly, and was quite the page turner.

However, this book is a tough read. It took me a little bit of thinking to realize exactly what happened in the end (which is appropriate, given how the main character is surrounded by beings who are much smarter than he is). Compared to Blindsight, there is less time out of the action where the ideas and the significance of plot items could be discussed. This puts more on the reader to actively think through what has happened.

Watt's writing remains witty, and everything has a slightly sardonic taste. And you have to love Sci-Fi with footnotes.

Bottom Line: Read it. Read Blindsight too, and spend some time thinking about both. ( )
1 vote dwkenefick | Apr 20, 2017 |
For whatever reason I plodded through this book. It has vampires and zombies and talked about big issues with hard science and it should be right up my alley, but it wasn't. It seemed like a rehash of BLINDSIGHT without any plot and the protagonist was the most uninteresting person in the book.

( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
enjoyed it from a brain stretching viewpoint- worlds away and imagination twisting realities... ( )
  Brumby18 | Aug 25, 2016 |
Watts deviously piggy-backs on the ideas of Blindsight all the way to the sun, then leaps off on a bungee cord for a dive back down the gravity well. That doesn't make sense. Daniel Bruks, a biologist studying animals in the desert, is caught up in a battle between a vampire and her zombies and a hive-mind of cognitively-adapted monks who use a tornado to defend themselves. After the fight, a truce, but the common run of humanity are terrified by the glimpses afforded by the battle into how far these creatures have moved beyond them, and Bruks finds himself in space, headed sunward to the Icarus, which powers a significant portion of the Earth, and is also the last link to the Theseus, lost out in the Oort Cloud. Compared to the augmented and advanced minds around him, Daniel is a roach, but that's not an insult, that's a realistic assessment of his chances of survival.

Hard hard sci fi. Big ideas that takes the obsolescence of the idea of free will completely for granted and works on from there. Survival in a universe where consciousness is a side effect is what's at stake. What exactly we might end might end up as if we survive is a whole other thing. ( )
1 vote Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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.
added by libron | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 17, 2014)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Wattsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anderson, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For the BUG.
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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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