Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ten recent science fiction novels that raise huge, important questions

Charlie Jane Anders, editor at io9, named ten "great science fiction novels, published since 2000, that raise huge, important questions." One entry on the list:
Blindsight by Peter Watts (2006)

This Hugo-nominated novel is available online for free, so you can see for yourself why so many people recommend it as a blockbuster idea-driven book. Some 80 years in the future, alien devices arrive and take a snapshot of the entire planet Earth — then self-destruct. The crew of the starship Theseus sets off to find the alien intelligence that sent the machines, with a vampire captain and a crew of weirdos. Along the way, the book asks lots of tricky questions about the nature of consciousness — as one character says, "we're not thinking machines, we're feeling machines that happen to think." Danielle Parker explains in her review:
Some of [Watts]' questions include What is the nature of consciousness? and, more important, What is its value? Is self-awareness a survival trait, or is it an evolutionary dead-end? If we meet intelligent aliens, will they think? Will they be something completely different from our own self-aware, gene and DNA-based model? Throughout the book the author tinkers with the whole concept of mind and self-awareness.
Read about another title on the list.

Also see-- My Book, The Movie: Peter Watts's Rifters trilogy.

--Marshal Zeringue