Beyond the Rift

Peter Watts

Featuring the 2010 Hugo Award winner  “The Island”  and the 2010 Shirley Jackson Award winner “The Things”
2017 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire Nominee

Skillfully combining complex science with finely executed prose, these edgy, award-winning tales explore the always-shifting border between the known and the alien. Gorgeously saturnine and exceptionally powerful, these collected fictions are both intensely thought-provoking and impossible to forget.


Beyond the Rift

by Peter Watts

ISBN: 9781616961251

Published: November 2013

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Digital Books


Skillfully combining complex science with finely executed prose, these edgy, award-winning tales explore the always-shifting border between the known and the alien.

The beauty and peril of technology and the passion and penalties of conviction merge in stories that are by turns dark, satiric, bold, and introspective. A seemingly humanized monster from John Carpenter’s The Thing reveals the true villains in an Antarctic showdown. An artificial intelligence shields a biologically-enhanced prodigy from her overwhelmed parents. A deep-sea diver discovers that her true nature lies not within the confines of her mission but in the depths of her psyche. A court psychologist analyzes a psychotic graduate student who has learned to reprogram reality itself. A father tries to hold his broken family together in the wake of an ongoing assault by sentient rainstorms.

Gorgeously saturnine and exceptionally powerful, these collected fictions are both intensely thought-provoking and impossible to forget.

Praise for Beyond the Rift

“A new book from crazy genius Watts is always cause for celebration—and this collection of short stories brings together some of his greatest work, including his mind-altering retelling of The Thing called “The Things.” Known for his pitch-black views on human nature, and a breathtaking ability to explore the weird side of evolution and animal behavior, Watts is one of those writers who gets into your brain and remains lodged there like an angry, sentient tumor.”
—io9 (Fall 2013 Must-Read Pick)

“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 killer opening sentences (“First Contact was supposed to solve everything”; “Wescott was glad when it finally stopped breathing”) are rabbit holes to strange futures.”
Paul Di Fillipo, The Barnes & Noble Review

“From the award-winning author of the Rifters trilogy (StarfishMaelstromBehemoth) comes a collection that demonstrates Watts’s skill with short fiction.”
Library Journal

“[A] sharp and incisive stylist with a rather tragic, if clear-eyed, view of human nature, and the capacity for some remarkable hard-SF inventions.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

“[T]here can be no denying Watts’s skills as a writer.”
Publishers Weekly

“”…deep, daring, and deliberately thoughtful. He’s an author who isn’t afraid to stare off into the bleakness of space and ponder our own insignificance, but one who also isn’t afraid to look inward and question the very core of what makes us human…Beyond the Rift is deep, daring, and deliberately thoughtful”
Beauty in Ruins

“5/5 Stars I’m not usually one for short story collections; normally I usually like one or two stories and then chuck the rest. But this one is freaking amazing. One story better than the next…It is far and away the best science fiction collection I’ve read in years.”
Among the Wreckage

“A wonderful collection of unique stories, Beyond the Rift had all the cogs in my brain whirring at full power.”
My Shelf Confessions

“Excellent stories that highlight the author’s versatility and strengths in writing science fiction.”
SF Signal

“Holding himself to a higher standard of storytelling, Watts uses the effects of mainstream sci-fi, yet continually aims at something deeper in humanity and society’s soul.”

“ [Beyond the Rift] was provocative and extremely well written. This is one of those collections that I think benefits from reflection after each story, and most of the stories will cry out for rereading in the future. Excellent collection  –  Very Highly Recommended.”
She Walks Softly

“Watts ranges from huge-scale ideas (“The Island,” with a living membrane surrounding a star) to the immediate (what if airport scanners grew sophisticated enough to detect even potential criminals, in “The Eyes of God”)? He asks the questions that the best science fiction writers ask, but that the rest of us may be afraid to answer.”
Chicago Tribune

“…one of the best short story collections I have ever read.  Every story is engaging, interesting, and thought provoking.”
The MT Void


Peter Watts is a science-fiction writer and a marine-mammal biologist. He is the author of the Rifters trilogy (Starfish, Maelstrom, and Behemoth) as well as Blindsight, The Island and Other Stories, and Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes. He has received the Aurora, Hugo, and Shirley Jackson awards. Watts lives in Toronto.

Praise for Starfish

“No one has taken this premise to such pitiless lengths—and depths—as Watts.”
New York Times (A New York Times Notable Book)

“Fizzing with ideas and glued together with dark psychological tensions: an exciting debut.”

“Watts makes a brilliant debut with a novel that is part undersea adventure, part psychological thriller, and wholly original.”

Praise for Blindsight

“Intellectually challenging hard science fiction.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Watts continues to challenge readers with his imaginative plots and superb storytelling.”
Library Journal

“Far better than anything in the warmed over sci-fi of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Too bad the literary types who drooled over that one won’t give Watts a try.”
Ottawa Citizen

“It seems clear that every second Peter Watts is not actually writing must be spent reading, out at the cutting edge of all the sciences and all the arts at once.”
—Spider Robinson

“A brilliant piece of work, one that will delight fans of hard science fiction, but will also demonstrate to literary fans that contemporary science fiction is dynamic and fascinating literature that demands to be read.”
Edmonton Journal

“A shocking and mesmerizing performance, a tour-de-force of provocative and often alarming ideas. It is a rare novel that has the potential to set science fiction on an entirely new course. Blindsight is such a book.”
—Karl Schroeder

“Peter Watts amps up the sensawunda throughout the book. This is a very ambitious story, very successfully done. As a novel, it’s gripping enough that my last-weekend glance to fill in details became a complete rereading. Rare, that, but this is a rare book.”
San Diego Union-Tribune

Blindsight is fearless: a magnificent, darkly gleaming jewel of a book that hurdles the contradictions inherent in biochemistry, consciousness, and human hearts without breaking stride.”
—Elizabeth Bear

Blindsight scores over Watts’s earlier books—and, indeed, most SF around these days—in its narrative drive, the sustained urgency of its telling. It’s a dense but astonishingly readable book…. [Watts is] one of the two or three best hard SF writers around, and this is his finest book to date.”

Blindsight does, among other things, what hard SF should aspire to but in fact so rarely achieves: demonstrate the literary value of a scientific worldview.”

Visit the Peter Watts website.


The Things
The Island
The Second Coming of Jasmine Fitzgerald
A Word for Heathens
The Eyes of God
Flesh Made Word
Mayfly (with Derryl Murphy)
Hillcrest vs. Velikovsky
Repeating the Past
A Niche

Outtro: En Route to Dystopia with the Angry Optimist