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Blind Lake Mass Market Paperback – June 29, 2004

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765341603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765341600
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wilson (The Chronoliths) grapples with the ineffable in a superior SF thriller notable for credible characters and a well-crafted plot. In the mid-21st century, revolutionary new technology allows scientists to watch life forms on planets circling other stars as if they were just a few feet away. At Blind Lake, one of two installations devoted to this purpose, Marguerite Hauser studies an enigmatic alien being who has been dubbed Subject, while also dealing with her ex-husband, Ray Scutter, a mid-level bureaucrat who constantly questions her fitness to have custody over their daughter, Tessa. Then Blind Lake mysteriously goes into lockdown the day after Chris Carmody, a journalist beset by self-doubt and a sordid past, arrives in hopes of finding a story that will restart his career. Automated trucks continue to deliver food, but all communication with the outside world is cut off. Military drones kill anyone attempting to break the quarantine. As the months pass, the installation's large population begins to come unglued. In particular, Ray, who disapproves of Marguerite's new relationship with Chris, starts to stalk his ex-wife. Tessa's possible contact with an alien even stranger than Subject adds to the suspense. Thoughtful and deliberately paced, this book will appeal to readers who prefer science fiction with substance.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

An expert creator of sf thrillers provides another superior example. Blind Lake is Minnesota's version of the Area 51 of that series (see Area 51: Nosferatu [BKL Jl 03]), but, thanks to as-yet incomprehensible technology, Blind Lake researchers study live, lobster-like aliens on a distant planet, not crashed UFOs. Nerissa Iverson and Raymond Scutter face personal and professional conflicts since their recent divorce, and she believes there are features common to all sentient beings' thought, while he believes that culture is arbitrary and aliens will always be incomprehensible. Then, without warning, the military seals the facility off, Scutter starts stalking his ex-wife, and she suspects that at least one alien is aware of being observed and may be trying to communicate. Wilson builds suspense superlatively well, to a resolution that packs all the emotional wallop anyone could wish. Wilson's fans will come looking for this one, and others will follow. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Sawyer on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Need I say more? Wilson is consistently one of the finest writers in OR OUT of the science-fiction genre, and this book, like several of his previous novels, has been named a "New York Times Notable Book of the Year."
The premise is fascinating, and developed in surprising directions: new quantum-computing technologies allow the imaging of day-to-day life on alien worlds. A pair of US government labs -- Crossbank and Blind Lake -- are devoted to watching the action unfold on two separate extrasolar planets. But suddenly Blind Lake is locked down: no one can get in or out, and no communication with the rest of our world is possible. Why are the all-too-human researchers there being quarantined? And what happend at Crossbank to warrant this?
Beautiful, often poetic prose; finely nuanced characters; science right at the cutting edge; and great metaphysical/philosophical ruminations. What more could one ask? Let's hope this one snares Wilson his well-deserved Hugo and Nebula Awards.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Russell Clothier on August 16, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Blind Lake is a typical Robert Charles Wilson novel, and I mean that in the most positive way. It is a masterful blend of hard sci-fi and human interest, of cosmic ideas playing out in the lives of real, accessible people. It is a balancing act few writers can pull off, but Wilson has honed the art to perfection.

The story is set in the near future. Blind Lake is a government research lab devoted to processing images captured by a space-based interferometric telescope array powerful enough to see the surface of planets around neighboring stars. A set of self-evolving quantum computers called "O/BECs" are brought in to enhance the signal. They succeed to the point where scientists on Earth use "the Eye" to follow the day to day life of a sentient alien, "the Subject," who lives on a planet in Ursa Majoris. However, the code has evolved beyond human comprehension. Things take a spooky turn when the telescopic array breaks down beyond repair, but the images from Ursa Majoris continue to flow... Without warning or explanation, all contact is severed between Blind Lake and the outside world. Why? What is happening outside? And what, if anything, does it have to do with the Eye?

What makes Wilson so successful is his ability to wrap big ideas like this into a genuine, human story. We view the events at Blind Lake through the eyes of Chris, a journalist with baggage; Marguerite, a mid-level researcher; Ray, her obsessive ex-husband, now chief administrator of the facility; and Tessa, their daughter, a quiet girl who seems to be hearing voices. Their stories provide the canvas on which the larger events take place. The characters are rounded and natural, with quirks, viewpoints, and histories all their own. And the same goes for the Subject and his world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G W on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Blind Lake is a military installation set up to observe an alien on a faraway planet through a telescope controlled by a quantum-computer AI. Three journalists, each with their own history, come to Blind Lake to write a magazine piece. Soon after they enter, and without any explanation, the entire complex is quarantined and all contact with the outside world is totally cut off, heightening tensions amongst all in the complex the longer the isolation drags on.
The alien followed by the complex provides the background for the interaction between these three journalists, Marguerite Hauser - a researcher studying the alien's behavior, her psychotic ex-husband who is left in charge of the administration of the complex and their daughter Tess - a loner who is constantly questioned by Mirror Girl, the name she gives to her reflection that keeps on asking her difficult questions.
Some great and original SF, while at the same time giving life to the characters and not losing tempo with the stoyyline. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Seachranaiche on August 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A consistent theme that runs through Robert Charles Wilson's novels is that people carry on. Inexplicable events occur but people must still get by from day to day, and their struggles for normalcy actually lend even greater credence to the speculative science that Wilson explores.

Consciousness is at the core of "Blind Lake": is consciousness a self-organizing manifestation of the quantum foam, able to tunnel instantly below time and space? And if it is, how would we perceive it? The characters in "Blind Lake" perceive it as an accidental discovery, the ability of powerful computers to extrapolate and refine data from telescopes into images of clarity from the surfaces of worlds thousands of light years away. How the computers do this is not understood, but the images are there nonetheless.

As time goes by, though, there are perturbations and glitches in the computers; aliens on distant worlds seem to know that they are being observed, and these observations seem to take on the need to fall back from the scientific method and into narrative for interpretation--where science seeks to explain, narrative embeds memory as a means of communication across time and space.

These concepts are deep, but Wilson leads the reader in step by step through the normal struggles and trials of his characters. This keeps "Blind Lake" from running away with itself, and provides a story that is fast-paced and entertaining. But the story ends too quickly. Even though Wilson's concepts come across clearly by the end of the book, the emotional need for narrative fulfillment is cut short. There was just a bit more story to tell.
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