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Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson
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Blind Lake (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Robert Charles Wilson (Author)

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6791724,497 (3.56)13
Robert Charles Wilson, saysThe New York Times, "writes superior science fiction thrillers." HisDarwiniawon Canada's Aurora Award; his most recent novel,The Chronoliths, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Now he tells a gripping tale of alien contact and human love in a mysterious but hopeful universe. At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch. Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why. The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed; that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma. Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers. But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....   Blind Lake is a 2004 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.… (more)
Member:dalai-lt
Title:Blind Lake
Authors:Robert Charles Wilson (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2004), 400 pages
Collections:Wishlist
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Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson (2003)

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» See also 13 mentions

English (15)  French (2)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
What is a person?

A new technology (that is not understood) allows us to see, through a screen, other planets. We're watching two different ones. One has a sentient, alien life that builds cities and makes things, but seems entirely unlike humans. And the base using this technology is suddenly cut off, quarantined, from the outside world. Left alone, to wonder what happened.

A good, old sci-fi tale about scientists playing with stuff they don't understand, vast alien societies (or not), even vaster alien intellects (or not). And some basic human insanity, to spice things up.

Young Tess may be crazy... or she may be communicating with an alien presence. Her mother may be overly-sentimental... or onto a breakthrough of galactic proportions. Her ex-husband almost certainly is crazy... and suddenly, due to the quarantine, he's in charge. And then there's the weird stuff.

Robert Charles Wilson is another writer that I find easy to read. And fun. Certainly, this is not as good as Darwinia, but it's just about as strange.

( )
  James_Patrick_Joyce | Oct 24, 2020 |
Extremely slow to start, but much like the technologies in the story, the events intensify exponentially. After a certain point I couldn't stop reading until I had finished. Now it's late and I realize I haven't eaten in many hours.

It's a good book, not without flaws, but more creative and substantial than most. ( )
  atomoton | May 19, 2019 |
Thrilling, so especially good for people who read both sf and mystery/thrillers. Interesting science, ideas, and characters, exciting plot - but somehow not all that memorable. I read several pp before I realized I'd already read it a while ago. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
While this is no "Spin" it's certainly a solid Science Fiction novel with an interesting near-time science concept, great world building and thoughtful characters.

Blind Lake has more of a suspense angle than what you find in typical SF - more of an SF thriller. It starts slow and builds to a very solid ending. I liked the technology aspects quite a bit in this book as the author takes you quite beyond current thinking and into consequences that are quite profound. Without giving too much away, while the primary story lines are quite mundane, there's a mysterious undercurrent that is only presented in glimpses until the end.

As a general read, it may be paced a bit slowly for non-SF readers and the ending may be a bit obtuse for those same readers. For SF readers the end is its own reward. ( )
  johnnyapollo | Oct 11, 2015 |
I'm not sure how I feel about this one, other than "I'm not sure." I like reading Wilson's stories because he is great with coming up with unique (to me) ideas. The stories however never seem to completely satisfy me. In this case there are several storylines and I didn't really care for some of the characters or their problems, and yet some I did, quite a bit. This was written in 2003 and it is a near future but not quite tomorrow story, almost a bit of a thriller in part. The book goes at a rather slow pace, which perhaps explains why this doesn't feel like a fast-paced thriller! That sounds silly, but that is partly how it feels, like a slow paced thriller. For a 2003 book Wilson does well looking at the near future with everyone downloading their entertainment to watch when they want and really dependent on their online access - most everything feels familiar. The "Big Idea" though is pretty advanced. The "REALLY Big Idea" that develops towards the end reminds me of other work by Wilson where he is trying to give us something beyond our comprehension. Despite this, the novel is really a relationship story - the characters here could be having their problems in a variety of settings.

A couple of elements that tweaked me a little while reading are resolved as the story progresses. One thing that I don't think was handled well was integrating the several viewpoint characters into one narrative. We would get so far and then jag back without necessarily knowing it to an earlier time with another character. This would only become apparent when the story caught up with a scene from someone else. It just didn't seem to be handled as well as I've read in many other stories. On the plus side there is some real strong characterization in here, esp the 11 year old girl who may be slightly autistic. She's different. I got a real sense of the world she lived in. Other good character portraits in here as well, including the girl's mother and a journalist. 4 stars for imagination and characterization. Less for the rest. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 31, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Charles Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Folio SF (349)
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Robert Charles Wilson, saysThe New York Times, "writes superior science fiction thrillers." HisDarwiniawon Canada's Aurora Award; his most recent novel,The Chronoliths, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Now he tells a gripping tale of alien contact and human love in a mysterious but hopeful universe. At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch. Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why. The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed; that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma. Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers. But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....   Blind Lake is a 2004 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.

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