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Crysis: Legion by [Watts, Peter]
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Crysis: Legion Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Biologist, author, and convicted felon, Peter Watts (author of Blindsight and the Rifters trilogy)  appears to be especially popular with people who have never met him. At least, pretty much every award his work has received comes from overseas (with the exception of a recent Hugo, which probably won on a sympathy vote in the wake of recent encounters with the Department of Homeland Security).  His science fiction, oddly enough, has been used as a core text in science and philosophy courses as well as the usual gamut of sf electives;  he only wishes his actual science had been taken half as seriously, back in the day.  Both he and his cat have appeared in the prestigious journal Nature.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The thing is, I thought it was all our fault.

It's not that far off from what the Greens have been whining about since the last goddamn century. Global warm--sorry, anthropogenic climate change. Tidal waves, rising sea levels, half the planet's population wandering around looking for a place to crash since their homes got flooded out. There's malaria in the Baltic now, did you know that? A tropical disease. In the fucking Baltic. And somehow South America turned into bloody Siberia when no one was looking, something about melting icepacks short-circuiting the ocean currents. The whole world's fighting over fresh water like a pack of starving dogs with one stripped bone among them, and then Brazil started shooting all those sulfates into the stratosphere and--well, it was turning out just like the environazis said, only way worse and way fucking faster. None of the really nasty stuff was supposed to happen for another forty or fifty years, right?

So we're fucked, and it looks like we fucked ourselves, and all the alarmist whitecoats we shat on before are telling us it's too late now, it's all planetary thermal inertia and unstable breakpoints and big ships turn slowly. There's no way to keep the place from blowing up but maybe we can at least contain the explosion a bit, you know? Try to keep the peace, share whatever's left of the loaves and fishes, keep the worst of the riots from hitting the good ol' US of A. Maintain some kind of order.

That's why I signed up. That's why all of us did. We'd fucked things up by snarfing pork rinds and playing video games while the world turned to shit, and joining the marines was-I don't know. Penance. A chance to make amends.

Except it wasn't us after all, not really, not yet. It was these fuckers from outer space, it was that bloody cryo weapon of theirs, that secret run-in way over in fucking China. We may have primed the avalanche, but Ling Shan was the snowball that started it rolling. And that was just a skirmish, that was so small they even managed to cover it up. A presidential directive or two, a few strategic pulse bombs to fry seismo and satcam, maybe a handful of surgical kills to take care of any Koreans out fishing in the wrong place at the wrong time. All you're left with is a few fuzzy rumors so whacked that not even Fox News would stoop low enough to run with them. Then when the whole world starts listing to starboard a couple of months down the road, you blame it all on greedy shortsighted humans and their damn fossil- fuel economy.

But it was just a skirmish, Roger, and you know what?

So's this.

-N2-2 Alcatraz/Prophet (tentative desig.-awaiting update),
excerpted from Manhattan Incursion Debrief


Voice-mike intercept, Forensic Debrief, Manhattan Incursion
Subject ID: Unknown (code name Alcatraz)

Laurence Barnes, I think. Prophet.

Alcatraz, then. Whatever. It doesn't matter. Of course I know the stats: I'm dead, not senile. Name, rank, serial number. Doesn't mean shit. That's not who I am anymore.

I'm the guy being debriefed by a low-level functionary because his bosses are too chickenshit to risk being in the same room, that's who. You expect me to think you volunteered for this gig? You think the higher-ups wanted to bring you into the loop, you think they wouldn't be in here themselves if they weren't afraid I might go off the reservation again given half a chance?

You're lying.

No, that's an empirical fact. Your skin conductivity just went up 13 percent. Your eye saccades increased by 24. And you don't want to get into your vocal stress harmonics. You may think you sound pretty solid, but believe me: In the upper registers you're squealing like a little girl.

I can tell stuff like that now. It's not the augments--it's not just the augments. I'm not reading numbers off a tactical overlay or anything, it's more--integrated. I just know this shit. I know a lot of things I'm not supposed to.

But you've got nothing to worry about. Really. If I had any interest in killing you, you'd have been dead before you got through the door. You must realize that.

Doesn't help much, does it?

How do you want to do this?

From the top, then: They put us out to sea the moment the media blackout came down. I mean the moment-- Chino was watching Body-Swap Boxing when the Emergency Broadcast Signal cut in. One minute after that MacroNet starts talking about some kind of massive explosion in New York, and literally three minutes after that we're hauling ass down to the water. There's a Swordfish surfacing off the dock, hasn't even finished blowing its tanks before we're piling inside. Haven't even checked our gear. We are mobilized, man, we're moving just this side of outright panic and we don't even know why. They barely get the hatch closed before we're back underwater.

We strap in. You can hear the screws turning through the hull. The Swordfish is basically a troop carrier with a big drive and a few missile tubes thrown in so it won't feel like such a pussy around the hunter-seekers, but even a Sword has the usual stealth options so you can get in and out without a fuss. They're not engaged. Wherever we're going, apparently we can't even afford a lousy 6 percent cloaking deficit.

Then it's a classic case of hurry up and wait. For eighteen hours. Nobody tells us shit, and the shit they do tell us keeps changing. First we're going to be docking with one of those big inflatable jellyfish down in the mesopelagic, keep us safely off the game board until we're needed. I'm thinking that's okay, at least there's decent headroom in those things, at least they're big enough to let you get away from the-but no, now suddenly we're heading back inshore. And then we're circling off Christ-knows-where for fuck-knows-how-long. Some of the guys try to catch a few winks but the CO handed out the usual stims at the six-hour mark so everyone's boosted on GABA and tricyclics and that supernephrin stuff that makes your joints ache for two fucking weeks post-engagement. I keep a forty of tequila in my kit- you know, strictly for medicinal purposes-and I crack it to take the edge off. Offer it around but nobody else wants any. They say it makes a bad mix with all the neurotropes. Pussies.

Anyway, we're strapped in, we're wired, we're climbing the walls. And suddenly the whine of the screws picks up, the night-lights kick in, and the whole compartment turns bloody red, like one of those Asian necro parlors where they use longwave to make the corpses look prettier. It doesn't take an AI to figure out we're deploying to New York but the CO won't even give up that much. Says we'll get briefed on-site. So we're sitting there in our camo, cheek-to-jowl, and everybody's making up these fairy tales to fill in the gaps. Syntheviral attack, moho nukes tunneling up under Broadway, some kind of coup at CENTCOM. Leavenworth--you know Leavenworth? No, of course you don't--Leavenworth weighs in with his usual crazy-ass theories, says he heard some Venter Biomorphs went all Skynet and turned on their masters, and he won't listen to half the squad pointing out that the Venter labs are way the hell over in California and if we're really heading into the replicant wars don't you think they might, you know, airlift us instead of taking a submarine through the Northwest fucking Passage?

I don't think Leavenworth believed that shit half the time himself. I think he just liked yanking our chains. I'm really going to miss him, if I ever get that part of my brain back.

Every now and then you can hear chatter drifting back through the forward hatch; turns out there's at least six other boats deployed, under orders of some Colonel Barclay I've never heard of. And yeah, big surprise, we're all headed up the East River for Upper Manhattan. Except suddenly we aren't. Suddenly we're detached from the main group and diverting to Battery Park. Secret rendezvous, CO tells us. Maybe a rescue mission. I don't know if he's giving it up or making it up.

So everybody's making these wild-ass guesses and Chino even starts a pool for chrissake, right there in the sub, and I'm sitting there and all I can think about is--

You know I was afraid of water, right?

I mean, of course I didn't tell anybody--I worked through it like you're supposed to, even came in third in the open-water trials last year. It's not a problem. But I almost drowned back when I was eight. Kinda stuck with me. You must have known. There were all these tests. You must have sniffed it out during the psych workup.

Thought so.

So everybody's jammed in there with their theories and Chino's got his pool going, and it's been eighteen hours now and I've been white- knuckling the bench for at least ten of 'em. Parchman figures I'm hungover but all I can think about is: a measly seven centimeters of biosteel between me and the whole Atlantic Ocean and I don't care how strong they say it is, a bunch of threads squeezed out of some gengineered spider's ass is not gonna keep an ocean out forever.

Probably the last time I was right about anything in this whole shitstorm.

Finally some voice comes over the comm, tells us it's time to saddle up. And that's when we hear a ping-not sonar, not our sonar anyway, just a single, solid beat resonating throughout the hull. Everybody falls silent for just a second, and Behrendt looks around and says, "Anybody hear that?"-

And something kicks us hard in the side.

No alarms, nothing coming over the comm link, just one ping and a giant boom and the whole boat's rolling to port. We don't even have time to scream; there's one microscopic whatthefuck moment and the hull opens up like some giant took a can opener to us. The far side of the compartment just crumples: snaps Behrendt's back like a toothpick, turns her into a rag doll right before my eyes, and then a crossbeam or bracket or some fucking thing tears free of the forward bulkhead and squashes Beau...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3336 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (March 22, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 22, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IPP8UA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,822 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nickolas X. P. Sharps VINE VOICE on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I heard that Crysis 2 I knew very little about Canadian author Peter Watts. I did know that he was a hard science-fiction author and an associate of the amazing Richard K. Morgan but that was the extent of my knowledge. I planned on purchasing Crysis: Legion to round out the Crysis 2 experience but I didn't have high hopes for a deep story with interesting characters and complicated themes. I've read video game novelizations before, some are better than others, but rarely ever are they ground breaking master pieces. Let me tell you, I got both Crysis 2 and Crysis: Legion on Tuesday and had finished both by Wednesday. And then I was ready for another go.

Crysis: Legion is probably best read as a companion to the game. I would actually play Crysis 2 for a couple hours and then read up to that point in the book. It was a really cool experience. The main characters of first person shooters are generally left as hollow as possible, a mould for the player to pour themselves into. The one problem this presents is the complications to plot that arise. The cool thing about reading Crysis: Legion at the same time as playing the game was the very unique and vocal character Watts crafted out of the mould that is Alcatraz. Watts creates a real character here, with a believable voice. As a Force Recon Marine, Alcatraz has a pretty foul mouth but he also offers an insider view on this world that is both plausible and wildly different than our own. Alcatraz has a past and present and the reader gets a glimpse at all these things through some very cool name dropping. The narrator mentions these major events off hand that lend credence to the reality of the Crysis universe.
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I picked up Crysis: Legion before playing the game. In fact, I read the first 50 pages through an online promotion over at the del rey site. If you are on the fence about purchasing the book the excerpt there will make up your mind (apparently external links are frowned upon; use google).

Six hours later, give or take, I had acquired a copy and read it from cover to cover. A few days after that, having played the game, I sat down to skim the book before writing this and shortly found that I had read the entire thing through again.

Having read some of Watts' previous work I was skeptical that his style would translate well into an action format, but his prose turns out to be portable across genres while his cutting-edge scientific and biological vocabulary are perfectly suited for a book meant to give the game more technical depth. Watts transforms the mute Alcatraz into a colorful and compelling narrator, supplemented by interviews, technical notes and even a senate subcommittee hearing, all of which are somehow not boring. At times the narrative can get a little thin as the cerebrally-enhanced Alcatraz uses metaphors too frequently in order to dumb things down for his interviewer(and the reader); at other times technical jargon may leave the reader behind; and those who have played the game may notice some blatant and deliberate retconning of the sillier bits. Such minor faults are easily forgiven in what by all accounts was a rushed project, and in fact my biggest quibbles related to the book are actually the relative shortcomings of the game, in which a number of scenes which would have been visually or narratively striking are absent or less well implemented.
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Watts has taken a recipe for disaster (step 1: novelize a first-person shooter) and cooked up something surprisingly fresh. "Legion" is a book that will disappoint all the right people. Gamers picking it up expecting typical ooh-rah military science fiction will be surprised to find that the novel focuses primarily on the ramifications (both physiological and psychological) of the protagonist's symbiosis with a battlefield prosthesis. With both barrels blazing at homophobes, technophobes, mercenaries, and denialists, Peter has blasted out a book that would've likely given pause to an American game developer.

Fortunately for us, Crytek is European.

This book doesn't feel as important as the work Watts does when he's working in his own universes, but it's genuinely thought-provoking nonetheless.
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Ever wanted to be a superhuman? Crysis legion takes us on a first person view of what such a process might be lime a a young marine is critically injured while on a rescue mission only to be saved by a mysterious figure in an advanced nanotech combat suit mad from alien technology who then inserts the mortally injured marine in his suit so that he might complete a vital.mission the suit's original wwater can no longer accomplish.

He discovers he is becoming far more than human as the suit integrates itself with and into his body and brain, but to become more than human also means to no longer be human. There is a price to pay for becoming a post human. The author, Peter Watts, is a hard core scientist and writes hard science fiction. This is in some ways a hard sf superhero story. It's also very good even if you nevery played crysis.
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