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A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew--people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater--down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness.

Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

Starfish, the first installment in Peter Watts' Rifters Trilogy

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Sep 16, 2014
ISBN: 9781466881150
List price: $9.99
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Ugly, dark and rivetting. Future corporate Dystopia at its most seductive worst. But most of all, the story of revelation told from the bottom of an undersea trench by a crew of intentionally and unpleasantly unbalanced mental cases. This book is a shadowy psychological play about deep, ugly secrets and necessities and the uncovering of a corporate plan of cold global expediency in the effort to effect survival.read more
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HIs subsequent BLINDSIGHT made this a keeper.read more
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It's the mid-21st century, and humanity needs sources of energy that don't exacerbate global warming. One excellent spot for geothermal energy is the deep sea rifts where the continental plates meet. But if you have trouble finding mentally healthy people who want to be heavily cyborged to survive down there, what do you do? Get some dysfunctional folk instead!Watts capably depicts a not-terribly-pleasant future where the cyborged “rifters” cope with their lives in the deep sea and the machinations of the corporation that employes them-- and suddenly seems to consider them expendable.read more
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Ugly, dark and rivetting. Future corporate Dystopia at its most seductive worst. But most of all, the story of revelation told from the bottom of an undersea trench by a crew of intentionally and unpleasantly unbalanced mental cases. This book is a shadowy psychological play about deep, ugly secrets and necessities and the uncovering of a corporate plan of cold global expediency in the effort to effect survival.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
HIs subsequent BLINDSIGHT made this a keeper.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It's the mid-21st century, and humanity needs sources of energy that don't exacerbate global warming. One excellent spot for geothermal energy is the deep sea rifts where the continental plates meet. But if you have trouble finding mentally healthy people who want to be heavily cyborged to survive down there, what do you do? Get some dysfunctional folk instead!Watts capably depicts a not-terribly-pleasant future where the cyborged “rifters” cope with their lives in the deep sea and the machinations of the corporation that employes them-- and suddenly seems to consider them expendable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When reading I find it difficult to overcome the editor, the cynic, the person sitting there blue pencil in hand ready to pounce on clumsy characterization and phraseology, implausible premise and plotting.Happily, Peter Watts, author of Starfish, put that editor and cynic to sleep, so that for the first time in several novels I was drawn in and engaged. It is a dark, inner world into which Watts calls us, made chilling by his choice of a cool, third person point of view. I found myself immersed, indeed overwhelmed, by the pressures of the deep sea, by the pressures of living with your own psychosis let alone the psychosis of others, and Watts' use of metaphor in the outer world reflecting the inner is subtle, compelling, and utterly convincing. There were a few moments dissemination of scientific information interfered with the narrative flow, but those moments were, thankfully short and not enough to completely arrest the action. My only other complaint was the ending begs a sequel, which perhaps is the intent. As a stand-alone novel, however, Starfish does not satisfactorily conclude all plot threads. It should be noted that complaint is minor indeed.Altogether a very memorable read. I'd easily recommend Starfish and Peter Watts to anyone.
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I just couldn't get into it. I guess I prefer my flawed protagonists to not whine as much about how messed up their life is and oh woe is me how did I sink so low (literally in this case...).
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I found Starfish at the library one day while I was killing time. I picked it up and couldn't put it down. I ended up keeping the book out of the library until I could find my own copy, but even now I have a hard time describing what it is about Watts' prose that I find so electric. Starfish is not a book without faults. However, I really do feel that its good bits outweigh the problematic ones. Set in the near future, the story centers on a group of severely damaged people hired to work deep sea vents. These people are hired because some corporate goon has determined that damaged people are the ones best able to cope with living in the deep sea, the Rift. The novel is deeply introspective and character-driven, focusing on the protagonist Lenie Clarke as she adapts to the underwater environment and the people she works with. The story is a slow-burning psychological thriller just as much as it is science fiction. Watts' writing is luscious, tightly composed, and highly evocative. He does have a habit of using technobabble; he was a marine biologist and it shows. However, I find that I don't really mind it because he manages to make it feel natural (as an added bonus he includes a bibliography for some of the ideas he plays with, if you enjoy that sort of thing).
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