Another clip show, to clear the decks before I dive back into these gratitudinal e-mails (I’m sending thank-yous to everyone who donated to my legal fund. Even spending 60-90 minutes/day at this task, it’s gonna take forever to get through them all — but if you chipped in, you’ll be hearing from me. It may be in 2013, but you’ll be hearing from me).

BoY: I think we’ve officially run out of Best-of-Year collections for “The Island” to appear in. I’ve just printed out a contract for Hartwell & Cramer’s Best SF #15, which makes a total of five so far. On the one hand I’m glad this story went over so well, but on the other hand it’s supposed to be but one part of an epic story cycle.  Now, just thinking about continuing that project makes my balls crawl back up into my abdomen. There’s no way the next story can do anything but face-plant in the shadow of its predecessor.

See how I did that? Turned good news into failure? It’s kind of a superpower.

OOP: For those of you who’ve been wondering — and who haven’t checked out the thousand-and-one-SF-related sources that have been talking about this lately — no, my books have not all gone suddenly out-of-print as part of a dastardly Homeland Security plot to starve my income stream leading up to trial. Amazon has stopped selling all books from MacMillan (of which Tor is a subsidiary), as part of a war over pricing policy for Kindle editions. The subject has already received saturation airplay from sources far more knowledgeable than me, so I won’t go into any details here — except to say that from way down here, it looks like two 800-lb gorillas fighting over who gets to rip us off more.

AvaStarfish: As Michael_Gr and Greg Lemieux have recently pointed out, io9 has just posted John Pavlus’s essay on “Embodied Cognition“, which leads off using Bruce Jensen’s glorious cover art for Starfish; talks about “Avatar”, “District 9and Ender’s Game for a couple of screens; then brings it all home with a brief-but-flattering nod to Gerry Fischer, the devolving pedophile fish-boy from my debut novel. I’m glad the little dude finally made the big leagues.

Shock: being both the game, and my reaction. Even those of you who haven’t played the brilliantly retro deep-sea underwater video game Bioshock will at least have heard about it: the unparalleled creepy ambience, the philosophical ambition, the metacommentary — and the most brilliant act of narrative judo I’ve ever seen in an FPS, in which the fundamental constraints of the computer-game format become an integral feature of the story itself.

Well, apparently the sequel is about to hit the shelves, and in a recent interview the  Creative Director of Bioshock 2 spills some of the influences behind this new iteration. Karl Marx. Jim Jones. John Stuart Mill.


No shit. Jordan Thomas says as much right there in his answer to the second question. And so let me just say, in between the squeeing, uh, 2K Marin? I’m available. And I just wrote this little story called “The Island” that’s actually based on an idea for a computer game…

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday February 03 2010at 02:02 pm , filed under ink on art, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

21 Responses to “BoYOOPShock”

  1. Wow… it’s like Jordan Thomas is reading my mind. Only the other day, I was thinking that the next BioShock game could take some inferences from Starfish. Or The Island, of course.

  2. On the note of Bioshock, did you get a chance to play System Shock 2? It was the predecessor for Bioshock, and while less sophisticated in graphics it still stands as one of the all-time greats in pc games for its atmosphere and characters. Dr Polito and the AI Shodan would be right at home in the world of Blindsight I reckon.

  3. Both Barnes & Noble and Borders have your books for sale and ready for shipping…

    Since Amazon and Borders parted ways, Amazon has had some difficulties in what it used to offer. Whole sections of my book wishlists have been marked by “no longer sold” statements.

    Still, you can buy via the Amazon Independent Bookseller Marketplace, where some of your books still exist for purchase through cyberspace.

    Barnes & Noble


    Searching for “Peter Watts” in Books, “Blindsight” and “Rifters” on all three internet stores, and “Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes” on Borders…

    and hey, I did not know you translated Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House and Other Plays”…and “Peer Gynt: A Dramatic Poem”…

  4. Re: Bioshock 2

    Have you seen the launch trailer?

    I did some FX work for it. The watery bits towards the end get a little eaten up by video compression artifacts, sadly.

  5. See section toward bottom: Competing With Zombies. Note that the links for Doctorow and Peter are reversed. 🙂

  6. If one of the adoptable Little Sisters in the second game has a squeaky laugh that immediately signals her location, I’m gonna be pissed.

  7. All this talk of “boy, oops and shock” and something doing something into
    your abdomen, has reminded me of Keipernicus’ generous offer to make
    “a fully functional (and anatomically correct) Lenie”…

    …well, just make sure she is not of a plasticity nature, or you may melt with her.

    Melt With You…

    As an alternative, here are some cute, grumpy and weird fuzzy, vinyl, plastic, plush and metallic things to play with!

    You broke my heart, my plastic heart…

  8. Oh please market yourself to more game companies. A Peter Watts game story would be phenomenal.

  9. I bought a copy of The New Space Opera 2 today. I hold you personally responsible.

    Sleep well.

  10. Congradulations!

  11. Dam Squid – Two things to bring cheer of darkling light into
    governmental agency goofups and dangerously cute
    secretive squids from hell…

    A Dam Letter!

    A Cute Squid!

  12. @Horatius: I’ve never played System Shock, but I have heard the raves.

    keanani said: I did not know you translated Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House and Other Plays”…and “Peer Gynt: A Dramatic Poem”…

    I also run a winery in California and, I think, an art gallery in New Zealand. Also, unfortunately, I collect child porngraphy in Upper Dickers, UK.

    Brian Prince said:

    Have you seen the launch trailer?

    Man, that’s gorgeous. They’ve really improved the face renderings (which was always a bit chunky in the original, maybe because all those guys tended to wear masks all the time anyway)

    I did some FX work for it.

    NO SHIT! You must tell us more. Are you part of 2K M, or an outside contractor, or what? The water effects were superb in the original, but they look even better in the new trailer.

    Sorry. I’m gushing. I just really liked that game.

    keanani said something else, too:

    A Dam Letter!

    Of course, what that transcript doesn’t show is how Michigan state trooper kicked down the beavers’ door the following week and disappeared them into an ICE castle…

  13. Ah shit, gotta burst a bubble. The trailer is all pre-rendered, using no in-game assets. Just the fluid voxel data I simmed for the ghostly smoke trails behind the dancers came out to 130 gigabytes. It’s all film-res stuff created just for the trailer.

    Although what I’ve seen of the game itself does look lots more polished than the first one.

    I work at Blur ( We do a lot of game trailer and cinematic work, although we’re trying to do more in the realm of features. We did a few shots for Avatar, and Cameron’s trying to help us get a new Heavy Metal movie off the ground. An R-rated SF/fantasy animated feature is apparently something of a hard sell in Hollywood.

  14. James Cameron on future of space travel (WaPo OpEd):

  15. Brain Thawts & Randy Relativity – Wandering around downtown Honolulu, I came across a hardback “Blindsight”. I was stoked. It wasn’t in the sale bin. I prefer my keeper books hard, rather than soft.

    Now I can allow my softy version to be touched by the grubby hands of others who may wish to borrow it.

    “O him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms,
    she speaks a various language…” ~ William Cullen Bryant
    “Thanatopsis” – written at age 17

  16. “Brain Thawts & Randy Relativity – Wandering around downtown Honolulu, I came across a hardback “Blindsight”. I was stoked. It wasn’t in the sale bin. I prefer my keeper books hard, rather than soft.”

    Understandable. I’m sure I’ll find my own hardback as well when the time comes. Hopefully get it signed, too. In the meantime, I can always view the e-version.

  17. “See how I did that? Turned good news into failure? It’s kind of a superpower.”

    Well, at least you’re not blaming us.

  18. I would never blame anyone for reprinting my stuff. I’m still kind of taken aback that some of it gets printed in the first place.

  19. Cool on the Bioshock 2 front.

  20. Kung Hee Fat Choy! 🙂

    “Like the dolphin who guides you, you bring us beside you
    To light up the darkness and show us the way,
    For though we are strangers in your silent world
    To live on the land we must learn from the sea,
    To be true as the tide and free as a wind swell
    Joyful and loving in letting it be…”

  21. I saw the trailer for Bioshock not too long ago and thought it had a ‘Starfish’ type look!