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Starfish (Rifters Trilogy) Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Watts is investigating monsters. Gigantic deep sea monsters, surgically-altered-from-human monsters, faceless jellied-brain computer monsters--which monsters are human, which are more than human, which are less? Watts keeps the story line stripped down to showcase the theme of dehumanization. The anonymous millions who live along the unstable shore of N'AmPac come under threat (a triggered earthquake, and perhaps a disaster that's slower but even more pitiless) from their own dehumanized creations. But Watts is less interested in whether Lenie can save the dry world as in whether she can save herself. In Starfish, Watts stretches the boundaries of humanity up, down, and sideways to see whether its dimensions reveal anything we'd be proud to be a part of. --Blaise Selby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
People who represent the dregs of society (child abusers, violent criminals, sociopaths) are genetically, psychologically and "mechanically" altered to survive in this harsh climate. However, what no one counts on is what will happen when these same people fulfill their need for danger just by staying alive, and become, if not friends, then certainly allies. Furthermore, no one considers what they might encounter in that ancient habitat, and what it will mean for the rest of the planet.
That's about all I can say about the plot without spoiling it, but this is definitely a book you will want to pick up, for several reasons. First of all, the writing is absolutely breathless; Watts has perfectly translated the mind numbing pressure found at the ocean bottom into a palpable sense of tension that permeates the novel. Secondly, his characters are brilliantly conceived and realized. The reader never exactly feels sympathy for them, but they are incredibly complex and evolve in unexpected, but realistic, ways. Finally, although this novel is classified as "science-fiction" that really does it something of a disservice. It's not that there's anything wrong with SF, but this novel is much more; it's about our insatiable demand for convenience, and what it's doing to our planet (both geo-politically and environmentally) and what it is doing to those who get left behind by the pace of change.Read more ›
This book explores the characters that mind the underwater rift, a big vent in the deep sea. They have all been modified to live and work under the intense pressure of the ocean. With time, some of them feel more comfortable in the cool embrace of the water than with their own kind, with one even "going native."
Lenie Clarke is the main protaganist, and she is likable, despite her many faults. You just feel for her when she's lying on the ocean floor, falling asleep alone in the dark rather than going back to the dismal station environment. No one in the "Company" anticipated the profound impact this environment would have on these outcasts from society.
It's really a fast read with compelling dialogue and motivations. An excellent read. Take it to a beach or poolside. It works well next to water. :)
The lead character, Lenie Clarke, is an adult survivor of abuse and one of the earliest success stories. She's grown to be comfortable with the bioengineering and implants which are necessary for anyone to survive at 3000 feet down. She's become the unacknowledged leader at Beebe station on the Juan de Fuca rift. Also stationed at Beebe are a variety of pedophiles, manic depressives, and those who've volunteered to avoid a prison sentence.
The undersea world is vividly imagined, complete with horrific, overgrown fish-monsters who make periodic appearances and attacks. Some of the crew begin to "native," preferring the cold, dark sea to the oppressive interior of the station. One, pedophile Gerald Fischer, actually begins to devolve into something not entirely human anymore, in a very emotional, tragic development.
About the only flaw the story had was the rushed, hurried ending, with a threat to the existence of life as we know it suddenly thrust into the midst of an otherwise very grim, yet satisfying story. The book might have used another hundred pages or so to adequately contain all the ideas on display. Despite this, I'd still recommend the book very highly.
Anyway, the best thing about this book is the science, particularly the author's in-depth speculation on "how to get a human to live several miles under water". Everyone's seen the Abyss. I'm sure the author was chuckling watching Bud Brigman descend the fathoms and still survive, even with that transluscent pink oxygenated flurocarbon swill in his lungs. That scene may have been the author's impetus. Or maybe Deep Star Six.
The pyranosal RNA thing, however....not too keen on that. Seems like the author was looking for an excuse to keep the deep-sea-ers down there, and the author pulled that from his nether regions. Doesn't matter.
Anyway - I wander. Great book. Good writing. Accurate science (I'm a biochemist). Compelling and scary characters. And there will be a sequel. There has to be. I look forward to it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found the initial premise of the book (living near a sea bed vent hole) interesting but the book started slowly for me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by DonnaRussell
The book is not as interesting as I'd hoped. As with many series it leaves a number of questions unanswered, but since the entire first novel is character development with very... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent. Great writing, great narrative. I was really captured by this book.Published 2 months ago by Anders Winkel
It is way too subtle for me - not a lot said explicitly about what people are doing. I think it implied a lot more than I understood and it is written in a unusual tense that threw... Read morePublished 4 months ago by xaqbazit
What a confusing mess. So we have a small group of scientists (rifters) living and working on the ocean floor abusing each other and taking risks swimming amongst sea monsters and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by NYCUsedBookSeller
Really different--and a great read. Bio-enhanced social misfits recruited to run a maintenance station at the ocean floor of the Juan De Fuca rift gradually seem to morph into a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Chit-and-chat
Claustrophobic, anti-social and aggressive, Watts' doesn't telegraph he's about to punch you in the throat and then, as you're gagging, kick you in the nuts, he just gets on with... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tghu Verd
An incredible piece of work, exquisitely detailed, better than the challenging Blindsight/Echopraxia cycle. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Cheopys
Peter Watts work is, as always captivating and spellbinding. The characters are rich and believable even in the ways that they are broken and torn. I don't think Mr. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sychotic1@yahoo