The Perfect Gift for Someone You Don’t Like Very Much.


How time flies.

Peter Watts is an Angry Sentient Tumor is on the verge of release— Nov 12 according to official schedules, but if past experience is anything to go on it could be on bookstore shelves before then. (It could be on bookstore shelves now for all I know. Assuming there are any bookstore shelves any more. I don’t get out much these days.)  In any event, I’ll either be in Bulgaria or recovering therefrom when that happens, so I might as well post this now.

Another good reason to post is because Tumor just got a starred review in Booklist, which I reproduce in full because it is so packed-to-the-gills with praise that cutting any of it would be a crime against Nature:

“Former marine biologist and Hugo Award–winning sf author Watts has collected over 50 essays from his blog, Crawl, and other sources from as far back as 2004. His writing is irreverent, self-depreciating, profane, and funny, showcasing a Hunter S. Thompson–esque studied rage and dissatisfaction with the status quo combined with the readability and humor of John Scalzi. These thought-provoking essays rail against hypocrisy, question the usefulness of consciousness, and explore counterrhetorical biases and how they impact our society. With intellectual rigor, clarity, and dark humor, Watts covers subjects as widely divergent as holidays, law enforcement and surveillance, homelessness, and the intersection of science and sf in the study of dolphin language. His film criticism covers J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies, Blade Runner 2049, and the fallacy of oppression in the X-Men franchise. He shares personal stories, too: a life-threatening illness, the death of his brother. This collection of well-written essays has actual science backing up most of Watts’ opinions about politics and humanity. Give it to readers looking for a deep dive into privacy, antirhetorical biases, and other sociological issues.”

I could nitpick if I had to, of course. This blog is not called Crawl but The ‘Crawl (short for “newscrawl”). “Self-depreciating”, while probably accurate, is also probably a mistake (although not so egregious as that made by one of The BUG’s ex-boyfriends when— eager to impress during the initial stages of courtship— he proclaimed unto her that he was “self-defecating”). (That was probably accurate too, now that I think of it.) The fusion of Hunter S. Thompson with John Scalzi brings to mind some kind of Cronenbergian Brundlefly teleportation accident. But not even I can find fault with “intellectual rigor, clarity, and dark humor”. In fact, if the book is this damn good, you gotta wonder why Tachyon could only find one person willing to blurb it up front.

None of this will come as any surprise to you regulars. You’ll have read a lot of Tumor right here on the ‘crawl over the years (although I bet you  haven’t read all of it, because a lot of it hails from other sources as well). You’ll have to judge for yourselves whether the various B-sides and arcana you haven’t read justify the price of purchase— although I should highlight the awesome little bits of iconography, courtesy of one John Coulthart, that illustrate each of the “over fifty” essays (51, actually— they could have just said that). You can see a few of those just to the right. (I might also add that even if you have read all the content before, this might make the perfect Christmas gift for people you don’t like very much.)

In all honestly, it really is a nice little package. The cover design and internal layout are a delight (and I say this as someone notorious for speaking out when I don’t like the design). If you happen to wander in to the official launch at Bakka-Phoenix during the afternoon of Nov 16th— and if you ask nicely— I could sign one for you.

Hell, if you happen to be in Sofia on Sunday the 10th, I could even sign it before then.


This entry was posted on Monday, November 4th, 2019 at 10:16 am and is filed under On the Road, public interface, reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “The Perfect Gift for Someone You Don’t Like Very Much.”

  1. keithzg

    Oho! I’ll indeed have to hop on down to my local independent bookstore (Audrey’s; if there are any other independent bookstores left in Edmonton other than second-hand ones I don’t know of ’em).

    If they don’t have any copies, I’ll come back intermittently, eventually building up the perhaps false impression that many people are looking for it 😉

  2. Carbonman

    Can I get a bulk deal on Peter Watts is an Angry Sentient Tumor? I have a lot of family and acquaintances that I don’t much like, and a few that would enjoy the read.

  3. Luke

    Looking forward for my pre-order to arrive! A decent consolation prize for missing your library talk + beers last week. As a newcomer to The ‘Crawl and to Peter Watts fandom, I think I’m the perfect audience for this collection.

  4. Wattsfan#2948

    I wonder I should get this for a friend, I like to think that introducing people to Peter results in paradigm shifts, perhaps it does.

  5. Peter Watts

    Carbonman: Can I get a bulk deal on Peter Watts is an Angry Sentient Tumor?

    I believe so. Tachyon offers a 10% discount when you order at least 200kg of a given title.

    Wattsfan#2948: I wonder I should get this for a friend

    Hey, the worst that could happen is you lose a friend…

  6. Jo Help

    bookdepository just sent me an email that my pre-order is on the way!!

  7. asymon

    I’m a little worried, as my kindle ebook preorder is delayed almost three weeks (should be Nov 12 for now).

  8. David Greene

    Thanks for the blog and the music and viewing recommendations. You write some of the most engaging and thought provoking speculative fiction going. Looking forward to the essays
    David Greene

  9. D'Artagnan Lee

    Happy to report that I used my local library’s ‘suggest a title for us to purchase’ tool for this and received feedback today that the suggestion was approved. Not bad for Nebraska.

  10. Arthur Powell Shane

    On the shelves in Tempe, Arizona at least. Got my copy 2 days ago. Found in the Science Fiction section…..where else. My partner of 20 years reads every horror in the ‘Crawl but has yet to read any books. Think she’s scared to.

  11. The K

    Just got my copy here in germany in the bookstore in which i work. Will continue to sing your praises to every customer that might listen, as per usual!

  12. Rich Romano
  13. Jo Help

    My copy arrived a few days ago and I was happy to see quite a few of my favorite posts inside. A really fine idea, this book.

  14. David Light

    Note: The story you wrote re ‘The Yogurt Revolution’ = ‘Gut Feelings’ is available on the web at

  15. Ian

    My copy just arrived from the Book Depository, followed by Beyond The Rift, and the Freeze Frame Revolution. I’ve also enjoyed watching your talks online about Musk’s brain interface.