Blindsight is a first contact story that turns out to be more about the humans than the aliens, something that was more than a little disconcerting. The narrator explicitly functions as an "interpreter" between pre-Singularity humans and a variety of post-Singularity humans, the types of which include functional multiple-personalities, cybernetic human-machine interfaces, a vampire, and an AI. None of the post-humans seem particularly incomprehensible in their thoughts and behavior, which makes me question the need for a translator -- or perhaps serves to point out how effective he is at translating. Suffice it to say, none of the post-humans were especially convincing at being post-human, nor were they especially interesting as characters. They existed primarily to personify their post-human type.

The aliens were at least convincingly alien, though the nature of their alienness approached the level of a plot device. This would have bothered me more had more time been spent exploring their nature; as it was, they felt thin. The book resolves almost nothing about the aliens themselves. Indeed, very little actually happens.

That said, the book isn't badly written. Fans of first contact novels might prefer to look elsewhere; fans of psychological speculation in a science fiction setting will be rewarded for their interest.

Sun Jan 17 20:59:01 CST 2010 by matthew@infodancer.org. Comments

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