Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Well, my inquisitive young tadpole,"

said the head cheese (smart gel) to the neurocognitist in Starfish by Peter Watts (which was the January selection for my book group~so you can see how caught up i am on my over-towering-about-to-topple book pile.) You have to be crazy to be a Rifter (someone who lives in the Channer Vent of Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the deep blue sea~and if you weren't already crazy that constant pinging noise as well as the darkness would surely put you there soon.) I'm really not trying to be clever here (though i have been known to do that from time to time)~those chosen to undergo the necessary surgeries and bio~adaptations to live under the sea are victims of various physical and psychological abuses as well as a few general sociopaths thrown in for good measure because those are the temperaments considered pre-adapted for the type of work required of those stationed on Beebe (named for William Beebe, who in the 1930s claimed to have spotted a seven-foot seadragon)~those stationed there are often sentenced to the work as opposed to less savory options and they end up preferring it there.

"the night is my companion and solitude my guide, would i spend forever here and not be satisfied, and i would be the one to hold you down...

into this night i wander, it's morning that i dread, another day of knowing of the path i fear to tread, oh into the sea of waking dreams..."

~Sarah McLachlan Possession*

As you might imagine Starfish is peopled with some very interesting characters, some of them actually likable. It is hard sci-fi, and as such i struggled with some of the material (like things seemed to be left unsaid which i really wanted to be said~and i don't like to consider myself dumb, but sometimes i have to give into it :() Even though it goes to the root of why i used to not be a (HUGE) fan of sci-fi, i still found the book an enjoyable, thought-provoking (quite) read, and would very much recommend it. If you found that contradictory i guess you'll just have to live with it;).

*this is the song that Watts recommends as Starfish's theme song, and that you play it in a dark room fully cranked to prepare yourself for reading the book~perhaps that is what i was missing~that or sleeping for a bit at the bottom of the sea...(that actually does sound a bit soothing)

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