Memento with Scramblers: Krivoruchko Crushes It.

It started out modestly enough; a handful of CG artists banding together to make a few hi-def stills for the rifters fan-art gallery. Then it grew into a kind of Blindsight fan site; then a faux trailer for a movie adaptation that did not exist.

Finally, a short film in its own right: snatches of Blindsight recalled by Siri Keeton during one of his waking interludes in the aftermath of that novel. Spectacular highlights arranged in reverse order, Memento-like.

Four years they’ve been working on this: some forty people scattered around the world, eking out time on weekends and in the wee hours. A month and a half of solid number-crunching on home machines while the meat slept, just to render sequences that had already spent years in development. Web designers and storyboard artists and voice actors and CGeniuses: squeezing in an hour here and there around the edges of their lives. At this end, dire warnings from (former) agents about how my endorsement of such a project could jeopardize option deals (fan-made noncommercial status notwithstanding, potential interests might regard such a project as an IP infringement): averted when said interests visited the site themselves, and came away unthreatened and delighted. Four years of intermittent back-and-forth while the project took shape; four years of being told, gently but firmly, that No you can show them this but you can’t show them that just yet, we’re not ready.

Now they’re ready.

Go to blindsight.space. Take it all in: the soundscape; the wall o’scramblers (each tentacle run by its own rudimentary AI, like the arms of an octopus); the combat sequences and the 4D tactical interfaces. The amazing bits you’ve already seen over the years, and the more-amazing bits they held in reserve until now. Don’t miss the “Memories” wing of the site: separate chapters that take you behind the scenes of everything from character development to scrambler architecture to spaceship design, from concept sketches to final product (heavily interlaced with email excerpts between Danil and I, going back and forth as the project took shape).

I have one warning: I can’t get the actual short to run in Firefox under Linux. I don’t know if it’s just my system or a wider issue (it runs fine using Brave and Chromium under Linux, for whatever that’s worth). But it’s no big deal if you encounter similar problems: the film is also available on Vimeo.

A small masterpiece, folks. I am honored and humbled (you should thank Danil for that last thing if nothing else). Watch it many times. Download it in all its 4K glory. Spread the word.

Times like this, I think I must be the luckiest midlister in the whole damn genre.



This entry was posted on Monday, October 12th, 2020 at 11:28 am and is filed under blindsight, ink on art. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

76 Responses to “Memento with Scramblers: Krivoruchko Crushes It.”

  1. GM

    Very nice. Love the scramblers.

  2. Ashley R Pollard

    Awesome, awesomeness. You win the internet for having the coolest fans.

  3. Peter Watts

    Ashley R Pollard:
    Awesome, awesomeness. You win the internet for having the coolest fans.

    I really do.

    I just wish more of them worked for Netflix.

  4. Brandon Figueroa

    I watched it a half dozen times this morning after receiving the notification email. Absolutely incredible. And it’s about time for a reread as well.

  5. Nik Tatarnic

    This is brilliant. I guess having quality source material brings out the best in people. I think it’s time for me to reread Blindsight and Echopraxia.

  6. Jeff Bobo

    Very happy for you, Pete. Looks great, Anyone know anyone at Netflix?

  7. asd

    Not only did this actually come out, but it’s this fucking good? Damn.

  8. Sergey Simakov

    What a great visualisation! To be frank, deep in mind, I was always considering the concept of scrambles a bit mediocre (just a meatball with tentacles), but having seen the magnificent work of Danil it’s perfectly clear that the only mediocre thing is my imagination.

    And what a great design of the incursion suits! I think he’s managed to find a balance between the relative bulkiness (which is necessary for such kind of protective euipment) and visual usability.

    Awesome

  9. Nestor

    Damn sweet, you do get the best fanart.

    Fwiw site works on my firefox on lubuntu, better than the vimeo embed actually.

    Surely in this age of hungry content producers someone will snap this up and turn it into a miniseries or something. Best timeline, and all that.

  10. Heath Graham

    Wow, that’s stunning.

  11. ken

    Damned excellent.

    I would imagine that getting a feature-length version of this would require a dump truck full of cash and a Pixar-level render farm.

    Nevertheless, if the unblinking eyes of Netflix or Amazon turn their gaze upon this, I encourage you to join the project as showrunner.

    I imagine three seasons, each with 4 episodes: season 1 is Blindsight, season 2 is Echopraxia, season 3 is your yet-to-be-released third installment.

    Just don’t go all George R.R. on us – we’d like to see that last installment sometime in our lifetimes.

  12. Ashley R Pollard

    Peter Watts, I really do. I just wish more of them worked for Netflix .

    So do I. I really want to see this as a film or series, perhaps someone could tell Netflix about this?

  13. Dale

    Just thought I’d chime in that it works just fine for me in waterfox on Linux 🙂

    And isn’t it awesome? if only it was about 20 hours longer.

  14. Seth C Keipper

    I got so many chills watching firefall…it looked almost exactly like I imagined it but not in fleeting glimpses. So awesome and proud of you as ever, Peter.

  15. vodkaferret

    Beautiful. The voices for each character sound *nothing* like the ones in my head (well, except Bates maybe) but that’s not to say it’s wrong. I mean, clearly *my* voices are the right ones but still 😉

    Its lovely. the ambience is exactly right. the lighting fits the movie in my head, either your writing was so good that we all saw Rorsasch *exactly* the same way or they just lifted that fucker straight from my mental picture: so many things are exactly right. it’s a fantastic piece of work. Let’s hope you’re a midlister so lucky you have a celebrity fan who will bung these folks a million or two to make the full length work.

    I’ve had the artwork from their website as my laptop wallpaper, phone wallpaper, phone lockscreen for a couple of years now…. after such long anticipation life often disappoints. I’m not disappointed one iota. I bet you’re not too 🙂

  16. Rich

    Wow. More. So when is the full length feature film coming out?

  17. vodkaferret

    on a complete side note:

    – many of your long term readers will have signed up for notifications from blindsight.space
    – of those that didnt, they might have already found the movie via this post
    – Blindsight is undoubtedly your finest work (IMHO, but I dont expect much argument)
    – between the release of the short, and this post, and etc etc… how many people will be inspired / re-inspired to read Blindsight this week? I have no idea on the over /under, and maybe the release date was bigger.. but you might set a world record for “number of people reading Blindsight” simultaneously this week.
    – that would be pretty cool.
    – Personally I know many people who say they’d love to read more but just don’t have the time, between work and home and movies and Netflix and CNN and Fox News and etc etc. This is a great way to bring them back to reading 😉
    – What do you think the world record is for number of people reading your books on a given day is? I have no idea – ar least.you know your sales figures. What would your best guess be?

    (for the record, and probably the most controversial thing about this whole post. I believe your finest work is Blindsight. The second best is Crysis. It’s just soooo much fun !!)

  18. Phil

    Beautiful! It’d make a fantastic series! Love the Memory section, too – I always wonder how shows are put together and what the print author thinks of the way hir material’s being handled – and all that’s here in one of the smoothest, best designed websites I’ve seen. I really hope someone picks up the whole package and allows you guys to run with it.

  19. Anonymous

    Sergey Simakov:
    And what a great design of the incursion suits!

    Yep. I found myself thinking ah, so *that’s what they look like. Makes sense “

  20. listedproxyname

    Terrific surprise! I’ve had no idea what to expect from the first second to the last, and yeah, I do admit, it is a good summary of a Movie That Can Be. I’m positively stunned at the quality of the audio and models – it does not cheap out on anything. I’m going to study side logs as well, slowly.

    Needless to say, I’ve imagined a lot of things – different. I have different kinesics memory and experience (I own VR headset, to boot) and my understanding of space battle is almost first-hand. Here on screen everything is moving so smooth and plastic, while I expected a lot of jittery and erratic struggle. In culmination of the novel the Theseus is losing control, nothing is stationary and everything spins different direction, casting shadows and angles, it would be an impossible shot to take, you would need someone with the godlike talent of Chris Nolan to make it look good.

    On the opposite, I was mesmerizing by Sarasti’s introduction, his voice so hypnotizing, you can almost believe that he is almost human.

    Side note: there is a famous manga that I’ve read almost 15 years ago. By that time there was also a short animated series, 6.5 episodes, which can be found as “Wizzu Blame log 1-6 + Extra”. Total running is like 30 minutes. Absolute carnage of alternative animation, I am rewatching it every year since then.
    Last year, they’ve finally made full-scale adaptation with Netflix, all modern graphics.

  21. The K

    @listeproxyname

    Ive watched the Blame! adaption on Netflix. It was..okayish. Some great visuals, if a bit janky animation, but way too many humans and not enough eldritch insanity for my liking. I do agree that Blame! Is a modern classic, though, and the art style and the design of especially the Silicon Life would fit Blindsight like a T.

    Also, DANG that piece of Blindsight animation was incredible. Full movie when?

  22. V

    That’s really not how I imagined your novels at all. But good for the people who made that.

  23. Dale Allen

    Gotta say this Blindsight trailer is pretty rad. Sort of reminds me of something I would see on Neill Blomkamp’s Oat Studios.

  24. Tony K

    Dear Peter,

    First of all, thank you for all your creations, and I am a bit thrilled to write this.

    Have you seen this video? (caution: flickering images)
    https://vimeo.com/359263425

    It is a music video for the song ‘Heroist’ by Apparat, but in fact, it looks more like a short film adaptation of ‘Echopraxia’. Moksha Mind part, in particular.

  25. Richard Morgan

    THAT is a thing of beauty! Fuckin’ awesome!

  26. Peter Watts

    Sergey Simakov: (just a meatball with tentacles)

    Yeah, but you say that as though it’s a bad thing…

    Nestor: Fwiw site works on my firefox on lubuntu, better than the vimeo embed actually.

    Which release are you running? I’m still on 18.04.

    Or maybe my privacy plug-ins are messing things u— nope. Still won’t run.

    Nestor: Surely in this age of hungry content producers someone will snap this up and turn it into a miniseries or something.

    Eh. There’s been sporadic interest since almost the day it was published, and nothing has materialized. It’s currently under option with a so-called “shopping deal”, and another party has expressed interest in the rights when the current deal expires, but after 14 years I’ve learned to keep my hopes on a tight leash.

    Ashley R Pollard: I really want to see this as a film or series, perhaps someone could tell Netflix about this?

    Actually I think someone at Netflix may have already passed on this about three years ago. Before “Nightflyers” came out, anyway.

    vodkaferret: I believe your finest work is Blindsight. The second best is Crysis.

    I don’t know if I’d agree with “second best”, but I admit I’ve got a certain guilty fondness for that book myself…

    Tony K:
    First of all, thank you for all your creations, and I am a bit thrilled to write this.

    Rise, my child. Your sins are forgiven.

    Have you seen this video? (caution: flickering images)
    It is a music video for the song ‘Heroist’ by Apparat, but in fact, it looks more like a short film adaptation of ‘Echopraxia’. Moksha Mind part, in particular.

    It’s pretty compelling, I’ll admit. It doesn’t really remind me of Echopraxia specifically, but then again the mood it conveys would map onto any number of nightmare platforms.

  27. Drexaan

    I’ve been waiting for this for so long!
    Their website was actually the reason I found out about Blindsight and it’s been one of the best things that have happened to me. I’m so glad they released it and I’m hopeful that someone will eventually notice the short and throw a production budget at it.

    One can hope, at least : D

  28. GM

    TBH, in the age of We Will Produce Anything, I’m constantly amazed at all of the great SF literary properties still lying in suspended animation. Blindsight, Hyperion, Neuromancer, A Canticle for Leibowitz…

    Clearly, the only thing to do is finish the final Blindopraxia book and shop the trilogy, Peter. HINT HINT HINT HINT.

    (also, Echopraxia is Peter’s best novel and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on)

  29. Benjamin J Esposito

    GM,

    On point with everything! My prediction is that “Blindsight” will be ‘discovered’ sooner than later and optioned. The book (both books, actually) fits the zeitgeist of 2020 quite well, IMO. Far from being a “midlister,” many of us compare current genre offerings as to how well they compare to your body of work.

    Best wishes and continued successes, sir!

  30. Daniel Smith

    *clap clap clap clap clap clap clap*
    I give a standing ovation on the internet.

    The behind the scenes stuff was just as engrossing as the trailer. Just exceptional work. Someone hurl millions at all involved and make full film!

    I have to say, the suit tumbling down to that seething mass of scramblers, and the blood entering the capsule, just exceptional.

    Also Peter, I just discovered your amazon author page. LOL
    Love your work. I will send you some financial-appreciation without Amazon getting in the way, they insist they can’t sell me anymore of your Audio books because of where I live now.

  31. Troutwaxer

    Stunning. Just perfect.

    …except that we’re missing the other two hours of the movie!

  32. Nestor

    Peter Watts,

    I’m on 20.04.1 LTS, on a potato laptop someone gave me recently (That was slightly less a potato than the one I had before), latest firefox. I have a bunch of privacy add ons (That are probably the browser equivalent of good luck charms for all the good they do) but all I had to disable was noscript, Iirc.

    BTW I recommend you install* zram – apt install zram-config is the easiest way, it replaces disk swap for a voodoo “virtual swap” made out of compressed RAM but it really does work for old and creaky laptops/PCs.

    Isn’t Bezos a sci fi fan? My headcanon is that amazon acquired the Expanse because he liked it and wanted to keep watching it.

    (Can you have a “headcanon” for reality? I say yes, yes you can. Historians probably have a proper term for it. Fuck ’em!)

    Big props to Danil for carrying this wriggly baby to term!

    * OK technically “enable”, zram is there already.

  33. Anonymous

    Nestor,

    I think the term for ,”rl headcanon” is “conspiracy theory.,”

  34. Fatman

    Nestor: Can you have a “headcanon” for reality?

    Isn’t all reality headcanon anyway?

    Like everyone else, I’d love to see the film expanded to feature length. Kickstarter? Patreon?

  35. Daniel

    This sets a pretty high bar for the TV series that’ll have to be made eventually.

    I’m glad to see others love Blindsight as much as I do.

  36. Jed

    Completely off-topic:

    1. Here is some more recognition of Blindsight (nothing new, I know, but still) – https://www.polygon.com/21516173/best-new-science-fiction-books-scifi-last-15-years

    2. I googled “crawl peter watts” to get here and ended up on the previous version of the blog, where one of the last entries is “Ogling Obama, Defending Dubya”. It was somewhat optimistic. How the world has changed in the last 12 years.

  37. Some enterprising fans went and adapted Peter Watts' Blindsight as a short film – A2M1N

    […] with its own unique vantage point, but which otherwise captures the look and feel of the book. On his blog, Watts calls it “a small masterpiece,” and says that he’s “honored and humbled” by the […]

  38. Chris Jackson

    This is phenomenal – I’ve watched it about 8 times already. I can’t get the final scene out of my head.

    For the complete pile of fucking shit that 2020 was, this gave me a tiny sliver of happiness.

  39. ABR

    Wow. All I can say is more! Please, more!

  40. Niecałe pięć minut zachwytu – kronikaparanoika

    […] Komentarz autora powieści niech posłuży na komentarz, bo mi, szczerze mówiąc, brakuje nieco słów. […]

  41. Tran Script

    That part where Rorschach emerged from the clouds was really cool.
    Also, I might as well say it here: Echopraxia > Blindsight.

  42. Anonymous

    Tran Script: Echopraxia > Blindsight

    seconded.

  43. GM

    Anonymous: seconded.

    There are literally dozens of us!

  44. Peter Watts

    GM: There are literally dozens of us!

    I am heartened to hear it— I myself believe that book has got a bit of an unfair rap— but you are an exceedingly rare and precious breed. Those who prefer Echopraxia to Blindsight may well qualify for assistance under the Endangered Species Act. If there still is an endangered Species Act.

    Dozens, indeed. Barely enough for a captive breeding program.

  45. camiroi

    I don’t understand how Blindsight doesn’t get an adaptation and something like Dune does. I know I may get thrashed for trashing Dune, but after reading it recently, I was and still am aghast and nonplussed that it’s popular. I’ll grant that maybe I didn’t “get it,” but in contrast there is so much…meat, for lack of a better word, in Blindopraxia that finishing it is like returning from Oz and trying to convince yourself that a black-n-white farm existence devoid of the marvels you’ve seen is worth continuing. So then you start reading Ted Chiang and realize you may have raised your bar for SF expectations so high that there’s no going back. Anyway, the planet is dying, so why am I bothering to complain about a missing adaptation? I was lucky enough to find Blindopraxia, so I’ll be content with that.

  46. Daniel

    Echopraxia gains more from re-reading. But I find myself re-reading Blindsight more often. Maybe it is because plotwise, Blindsight is fairly straightforward. The minimal plot lets us focus on imagining we are Siri Keaton, and explore new ideas. It’s kind of relaxing. Echopraxia definitely has a plot, several of them apparently, although we never seem to get to figure it out. That’s a lot less relaxing.

    Or maybe I’ve read Blindsight too often and now it seems more straightforward than it really is. But there isn’t much plot, is there? It’s kind of amazing how even the central insight of Blindsight has little to no connection to the plot, as in the story of what happens to the characters. If you hadn’t helpfully repeatedly announced it as the important bit, underlined, twice, skimming readers who just follow the plot might have missed it entirely, mind-blowing though it is.

  47. GM

    Peter Watts: I am heartened to hear it— I myself believe that book has got a bit of an unfair rap…

    There’s a phenomenon that happens often – perhaps someone has named it – where an author’s follow-up to a popular novel is better written but, in becoming more nuanced and more complex and more demanding, it loses some of the qualities that made the first more popular in the first place. And some of the novelty has worn off, of course, because an artist is always going to bring some of the same stuff to every project. It’s always nature and nature.

    Mieville’s ‘Perdido Street Station’ and ‘The Scar’ come to mind. And they aren’t novels, but ‘Empire Strikes Back’ was less financially successful than ‘Star Wars’.

    Echopraxia is a better novel. Blindsight is more fun.

  48. GM

    *always NURTURE and nature

  49. Mac

    Peter,

    Did a re-read the week before to get me in the mood.

    It was wonderful if about 1 hour 56 mins too short. Hopefully it inspires a commercial deal for a full film!

    My only quibble – I wanted Siri’s dad to sound more world-weary, less matter-of-fact. But it’s a small thing.

  50. Richard Morgan

    At the risk of being obvious, the whole point about Echopraxia and Blindsight is that they are completely different books. I don’t see one as being better than the other any more than I see Laphroaig being better (or worse) than Lagavulin; both are damn fine single malts in their own right, both do different things on the palate, I keep a bottle of both handy in my cabinet. But obviously if you go to a shot of Laphroaig expecting Lagavulin, you’re going to get a bit of a shock.

    I didn’t go into EP expecting a Blindsight retread, so I was fine with it. I just rocked up to Pete’s Bar and Grill and asked “What you got cooking, then? Hit me.” I knew it would be good because Pete’s a mean fucking chef. I also knew he has a tendency to put interesting new stuff on the plate, so I wasn’t put off when that was exactly what happened.

    Blindsight is a flume ride; EP is a snorkel session along a reef in full bloom. Blindsight is Evil Dead 2, EP is Candyman. Blindsight is creeping around a haunted house until the monster shows up; EP is sitting in the upstairs bedroom of the haunted house doing a jigsaw that you just know, when it’s complete, is going to show you what’s been standing right behind you all along. Vive la fucking difference – and Pete, any chance of another chef’s grill special anytime soon????

    (these metaphors brought to you by a guy who’s already best part of a year late on his latest book 🙂

  51. Daniel

    If nothing else, Echopraxia lets us signal sophistication that distinguishes us from from the unwashed masses who only know Blindsight. Blindsight is Goth Stanislaw Lem at this point, anybody who wants to claim taste in science fiction has to have an opinion on it so it is automatically pedestrian. You’re only truly ingroup if you have an opinion on the difference between Blindsight and Echopraxia.

  52. Fatman

    Richard Morgan: I knew it would be good because Pete’s a mean fucking chef. I also knew he has a tendency to put interesting new stuff on the plate, so I wasn’t put off when that was exactly what happened.

    Beat me to it. While people may prefer one sci-fi author over another for a host of reasons, OGH is certainly the most mind-blowingly innovative, by far.

  53. The K

    Holy shit, there are other people that also think that Echopraxia was at least as good, maybe even better than Blindsight! And here i thought i was about the only one. I also have to admit that i liked the Crysis novel almost as much as Blindopraxia.

    Goddamn at this point i would sell one of my kidneys for the third Omniscience book.

  54. Tran Script

    I mean Blindsight was fantastic except for the part where the aliens had ATP, but Echopraxia just had a bit more, I don’t know, insanity I guess. I’ll admit it confused the hell out of me and I had to read the AMA afterward to understand exactly what was going on, but the tone and atmosphere of that book was just so good.

  55. Jon L

    I found the short movie via twitter, and then found the book on Amazon. Interestingly, the Kindle edition of the book has 14 variations, all from a range of dates and prices (you have to expand the formats section and then expand the Kindle format specifically to see this). The various Kindle editions also differ in their “page count” as well, which has me wondering, which is the *right* digital edition?
    I’m concerned that others may be somehow listing additional kindle editions/prices somehow (due to the CC license maybe?) or that the publisher doesn’t know how to publish revisions with corrections without creating a new price entry every time.

    In other words, which edition best represents your words and would also result in money in your pocket?

  56. Peter Watts

    Tran Script: I mean Blindsight was fantastic except for the part where the aliens had ATP

    You know, I wondered about that myself when I was writing Blindsight. I don’t have anywhere near the biochem background to know, but in my gut I wondered if ATP wasn’t a bit too pedestrian to survive in such an exotic environment. But it was a small point, I figured I’d already done my due diligence in making the scramblers sufficiently alien, and most people would probably be impressed by the mere fact that I knew what ATP is. So I let it slide.

    I take it there’s some incompatibility I don’t know about?

    Jon L: I found the short movie via twitter, and then found the book on Amazon. Interestingly, the Kindle edition of the book has 14 variations, all from a range of dates and prices (you have to expand the formats section and then expand the Kindle format specifically to see this).

    I’m not seeing 14 variations, but I am seeing one weird-ass one that’s “independently published” I was unaware of. The CC license doesn’t enter into it; that’s purely noncommercial, and whoever put out this bootleg version is charging money for it. I should probably contact Amazon about it, except I already did that for a bootleg edition of “Starfish”, and their bot responded that I hadn’t tendered the right information for them to act (I had, but not in the right order), so I resubmitted with all tees crossed and eyes dotted and I never heard from them again. Honestly, if someone released a virus that burned Amazon down to the pixels I would dance in the streets without a mask.

    In terms of legitimate commercial releases in English, there are three available in both paper and Kindle; the Tor original (red-bordered cover, corkscrew flying over giant ball of pubic hair); the 2020 “Tor Essentials” reissue (basically the same book with a different cover—pea-soup-colored text box over a cloud of cigarette smoke which I think is supposed to represent a Rorschach Blot, with a “special introduction” by Elisabeth Bear which was actually first posted online back in 2011); and “Firefall”, an omnibus of Blindsight and Echopraxia released by Head of Zeus in the UK.

    I couldn’t speak to which puts more money in my pocket, but the UK edition has far and away the best cover art.

  57. Nestor

    Blindsight and Echoprachia are like Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, both are good, but the second one has a lot of power creep. Goku is blowing up planets and the scramblers are now hacking reality by riding backwards on a one way energy transmission. Likewise Valerie is unstoppable until she decides to let herself be killed while Sarasti, charismatic as he was, basically died like a bitch and was revealed to be a puppet all along.

    (Note that I really liked DB back in the day, I don’t consider this a negative comparison…)

  58. Tran Script

    Peter Watts: You know, I wondered about that myself when I was writing Blindsight. I don’t have anywhere near the biochem background to know, but in my gut I wondered if ATP wasn’t a bit too pedestrian to survive in such an exotic environment. But it was a small point, I figured I’d already done my due diligence in making the scramblers sufficiently alien, and most people would probably be impressed by the mere fact that I knew what ATP is. So I let it slide.

    I take it there’s some incompatibility I don’t know about?

    The first problem is that, using humans as a comparison, you’d need a LOT of ATP to come with it preloaded. Assuming that some average human uses 7500 KJ in a day (I googled a bit here and it seems reasonable) and given that the hydrolysis of ATP is about 50 KJ/mol that’s 150 moles, and since it has a molar mass of 507 g/mol that’s about 75 kgs of ATP (the wikipedia for ATP will give you about the same value).

    The second problem is that given that ATP (and GTP which is used by e.g. Ras for cell signalling, and UTP which is used in glycogen synthesis, and I’m pretty sure CTP is also used by something) are literally nucleotide building blocks it would be very weird for an organism which has no genes or transcription to have these lying around.

    (I liked the idea of no genes btw)

  59. Colin

    That was excellent! It inspired me to re-listen to the audiobook version over the last couple days. I like how the voice actors in both the video and the audiobook arrived at similar takes on Sarasti’s voice. Delightfully creepy.

    Going through the audiobook of Echopraxia now. (I read it on paper last time). Fingers crossed we’ll get Omniscience sometime soon!

  60. ken
  61. GM

    Likewise Valerie is unstoppable until she decides to let herself be killed while Sarasti, charismatic as he was, basically died like a bitch and was revealed to be a puppet all along.

    Silly comparisons to bad children’s TV aside, I think it’s pretty clear that Val didn’t sacrifice herself. She wanted to enter into a dialog with the invaders, and probably acknowledged a certain amount of risk, but I don’t think she knew she was going to get shived until the moment of shivening. The entire book is a sequence of apex predators, toying with organisms far below themselves for arcane reasons, finding out that there are bigger motherfuckers on the block. Starting, of course, with the protagonist and his traps. All’s fair in love and evolution.

  62. Daniel

    The UK edition is awesome, and worth having even if you already have a digital copy. The sheer size of it is a great conversation starter. I still wish it had The Colonel in it, but I’m hopeful the final edition with Omniscience will have that.

  63. Lars

    Tran Script,

    Yes, I was wondering about that as well, although I had a figure of 65 kg of ATP got through by a human body every 24 hrs – in fact, as i understand it, there’s only about 60 g or so of ATP in the body at any given moment, so that’s a hell of a lot of ongoing regeneration from ADP. The scrambler environment is anoxic, too, which rules out oxidative phopshorylation, which has the greatest ATP yield per molecule respired.
    Missed out on the relationship between ADP and adenine, which is annoying, as I was telling my students about that recently. But scrambler molecular biology could be radically stripped down from that of an earlier, more complex, independently-living ancestor.

  64. Peter Watts

    Tran Script: The first problem is that, you’d need a LOT of ATP to come with it preloaded. … The second problem is that given that ATP … are literally nucleotide building blocks it would be very weird for an organism which has no genes or transcription to have these lying around.

    Huh. I never even considered the gross mass angle. Fortunately I left myself a loophole:

    whatever Rorschach started out as—­could have drifted for millennia before it washed up ­here. That’s a lot of time to build up an energy reserve for bouts of high activity, and once ­you’ve laid the groundwork, glycolysis is explosive. Two-­thousand-­fold boost, and no oxygen demand.”
    “Scramblers sprint. Their whole lives.”
    “They may come preloaded with ATP and burn it off throughout their lifespan.”
    “How long would that be?”
    “Good question,” he admitted. “Live fast, die young. If they ration it out, stay dormant most of the time—­who knows?”

    So I left myself a “may”. So given that Cunningham was wrong, maybe it’s Rorschach that acts as the ATP reservoir, and the scramblers replenish themselves at little recharging-nipples. Or maybe he wasn’t wrong, and individual scramblers just have very short lifespans. Run out of juice after a day or two. (Although that might not jibe with how long Stretch and Clench stayed alive in captivity).

    Also, don’t forget that scramblers themselves are literally not complete organisms; significant elements of their metabolism are extracorporeal, mediated via magnetic fields and radiation. Scrambler ATP doesn’t have to power the same level of metabolic expenditure as ours would.

    As for the nucleotide angle, for the time being I think I’m gonna grasp at the lifeline Lars threw out. But these are cool points. And if Larry Niven could retcon the Ringworld after people pointed out it was unstable, I don’t see any reason why I can’t bring this up in a future story. (Maybe the Fourth Wave turns out to be real; maybe they showed up a couple of months after Theseus detonated, and started poking around in the wreckage…)

    Honestly, I should be paying you guys. This is really good stuff.

  65. Lars

    Peter Watts,
    For what it’s worth, you could consider the mitochondrial genome – it’s thought that a lot of the genes from the genome of the free-living ancestral prokaryote wound up relocated in the nuclear genome, leaving the mitochondrion with a plasmid bearing a small number of genes coding for proteins that have to be made right there on the spot. If scramblers became something like organelles for Rorschach, their biochemistry could reflect this – Rorschach could carry most of their metabolic machinery. You’d have something like the blood-clotting cascade, where it’s difficult to see today how it could have evolved (the argument for “irreducible complexity” you get from creationists depends upon this) – it’s conceivable that the whole complex is actually extremely simplified from a much more complex original cascade that had a lot of redundancy.

  66. H. Mann

    Peter Watts,

    Future story? Sounds very promising!
    Dear Mr. Watts, if the future story is coming, can we hope for some more details about the vampires? Maybe you can include one in the Fourth Wave’s crew?

  67. CB

    Awesome. Anywhere we can listen to and/or purchase the soundtrack? I couldn’t find anything on the website, and I loved what I heard in the film and in the memories section. Sounds like excellent creepy/atmospheric music to write to.

  68. Tran Script

    Peter Watts: And if Larry Niven could retcon the Ringworld after people pointed out it was unstable, I don’t see any reason why I can’t bring this up in a future story.

    If you’re going to retcon it it’d be a good opportunity to come up with an entirely alien biochemistry. Maybe somehow pulses of radiation direct synthesis of nanomachinery by exciting certain atoms or something, how’s that for an alien ribosome.

  69. Jon L

    Peter Watts: I’m not seeing 14 variations, but I am seeing one weird-ass one that’s “independently published” I was unaware of.

    Here’s a screenshot:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/v57fMr8bMrSbmusf6

  70. Nestor

    GM,

    I think your reading comprehension is a superficial as your appreciation for animated entertainment. Valerie’s last words are not directed at Bruks. And Dragon Ball is wonderful entertainment for teens, but you have to encounter it at the right age, for me 30 years ago at 13 it was a perfect fit. I admit I’m doing a “Siri Keeton” like rotation of wildly different topologies for entirely the wrong audience, but I stand by it. I won’t elaborate further though, fear not 🙂

    Here’s a very Wattsian headline I found recently: Escaped cloned female mutant crayfish take over Belgian cemetery

    Also this artist seems to have been on a Blindsight fanart kick lately. I think they’re already represented in the gallery but most of this stuff is brand new, at least I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen “Jukka Sarasti as a merman” before. I must say the whole stabby hands sequence does have strong Yaoi energy once you look at it that way…

  71. GM

    I think your reading comprehension is a superficial as your appreciation for animated entertainment. Valerie’s last words are not directed at Bruks.

    Oh, it’s ON motherf… ah, who has the energy anymore.

    I do know that Val is addressing Portia, but disagree with the fact that it inevitably implies a sacrifice. Here’s Peter on the issue:

    “My sense is Valerie knew that what she’d just done qualified as an attack on Portia, that Portia might fight back, and that even a vampire might have a hard time taking on that particular antagonist when it really got going. Whether she knew she was going to die at this point, or simply let her guard down because she’d accomplished her mission and had thus become expendable, is left as an exercise for the reader. It doesn’t change the plot either way.”

    For what it’s worth, I agree that it doesn’t change the plot. My argument is aesthetic . If Val is Moses, well, Moses didn’t sacrifice himself. Vampires are lone predators, and while Echopraxia has an interesting subplot about some of them evolving a kitbashed nascent social conscience, Val should probably remain Moses and not become Jesus. And the novel is literally a fractal evolution of people who think they are in the evolutionary driver’s seat – Bruks and Cunningham (and by association, humans), the posthuman council (and by association, posthumanity), Val (and by association, vampires). They also represent ideologies that fail in the face of Portia: science, the Rapture of the Nerds, religiosity. Vampires then become representative of a kind of weaponised Libertarianism, and again, self-sacrifice kinda muddies that a bit.

  72. Jon L

    Hmm, I clicked on one of the various kindle prices for Blindsight, the one for Oct 21, 2020. The cover has been set to an image from the Blindsight short film, and the book is categorized as “Children’s eBooks”. wth.

  73. Jon L

    In talking with Amazon support via live chat, I reported the copyright violations for Blindsight, and they’re supposedly escalating on their side. They also recommended that the author (Peter) additionally report the copyright violations as well at the bottom of the book’s page listing.

    Then support linked me to Peter’s Author page on Amazon and said that the book entries listed on that page should be the official non-3rd-party sales listings. Which is a shame, as the “official” edition is only $1.50, while all the copyright violators are $4-10 at least.

    Something interesting I noticed, at least one of the Kindle editions has an introduction that the “official” Kindle ebook does not contain.

    And finally, I noticed some of the physical editions are selling for a crap-ton of money (hardcover is over $100 for example). Shame there’s so much shady shit occurring around the book on amazon.

  74. listedproxyname

    Peter Watts: And if Larry Niven could retcon the Ringworld after people pointed out it was unstable, I don’t see any reason why I can’t bring this up in a future story.

    TBH I do believe that Blindsight lore consists mostly of Unreliable Narrators. They do see things from their perspective and believe in their own consistent narrative, but it does not mean they do not confirm to widespread rumours and beliefs. Like, everybody are convinced that vampires did exist and went extinct, but on personal level, all they can base their observation is those specimen they find before themselves. In fact, this future is far enough from our “normality” that any number of impossibilities can be explained to keep the story going, and nobody will be able to discern the change of story from the change of point of view. Unless it gets annoying, that is.

    These are my observations, anyway: One of the major points of first novel is the effect of observer, and not everybody get to that level – what we assume aliens are based on narrative by Siri, and him alone. He is the sole professional interpreter, and therefore his opinion influences ours, and therefore it does not matter for the purpose of narration what Scramblers really are, only how he sees them. Therefore it is a matter of introduction of another interpreter to see something else entirely.

    (Now that I said that, I realized that making a movie is, in fact, an introduction of another point of view and can, therefore, generate it’s own narrative. Oh, bother.)

  75. Phil

    Amazon is currently offering to sell me an obviously copyright infringing eBook of Blindsight that someone has uploaded using the FeedBooks ebook here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blindsight-Annotated-Peter-Watts-ebook/dp/B08M3WZ122/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=blindsight&qid=1605629072&sr=8-2

    It still has the non-commercial use only annotation on the inside cover of the “look inside” view.

  76. Maciej Starzycki

    It made me reread Blindsight, then Echopraxia. And man, they are so good. Either I got smarter since last time I read it, or my english got better. Or – as someone mentioned here earlier – Echopraxia gains more from re-reading. It sure did for me.

    One thing that bugs me.
    Blindsight is Siri’s narration. The one that Col. is listening over and over during the Echopraxia. But we also know (or I completely misunderstood the book), that it was actually manipulated by the aliens to do stuff to the Colonel. So – is the story reliable in any extent? Or is what Col listens to in Echopraxia, different from what we read in Blindsight?