According to Paul Di Filippo on his Speculator column for Barnes and Noble, the new Peter Watts collection Beyond the Rift is one of five “good books flying below the ‘what’s hot’ cultural radar. Worthy books that don’t receive their share of coverage in a review ecosystem with too few slots and a bias toward preordained bestsellers.”
Canadian author Peter Watts is a biologist by training and a visionary by inclination. His novels are hard-edged yet coolly psychedelic extrapolations of our gene-modded future. Possessing the stern moral acuity of James Tiptree, he also exhibits the intellectual zest of Arthur C. Clarke. His afterword to his new story collection, Beyond the Rift, is one of the best essays in recent memory about the nature of the kind of science fiction that mates these qualities. Watts is expert at inhabiting the mind of the Other, whether it’s a Cambellian shape-shifting alien in “The Things,” a future soldier high on techno Rapture in “A Word for Heathens,” or a deep-sea dweller with mysterious origins in “Home.” His killer opening sentences (“First Contact was supposed to solve everything”; “Wescott was glad when it finally stopped breathing”) are rabbit holes to strange futures.
For more on Beyond the Rift, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Hugh Sicotte. Design by Elizabeth Story.