Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor
by Peter Watts
ISBN: Print: 978-1-61696-319-4; Digital: 978-1-61696-320-0
Published: November 2019
Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Digital
With over fifty unpredictable, scathing, hilarious, and more-than-occasionally moving essays about science, politics, family, pop culture, religion and more, Peter Watts — Hugo Award-winning author, former marine biologist, and “angry sentient tumor” (via Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous) — shows why he is the savage dystopian optimist whom you can’t look away from … even when you probably should.
[STARRED REVIEW] “Irreverent, self-depreciating, profane, and funny, showcasing a Hunter S. Thompson–esque studied rage and dissatisfaction with the status quo combined with the readability and humor of John Scalzi.”
Which of the following is true?
Peter Watts is banned from the U.S.
Watts almost died from flesh-eating bacteria.
A schizophrenic man living in Watts’s backyard almost set the house on fire.
Watts was raised by Baptists who really sucked at giving presents.
Peter Watts said to read this book. Or else.
With Watts’s infamous penchant for blunt, honest, and deep reflection, these retrospective essays provide a view inside his head and even into his heart.
Praise for Peter Watts is an Angry Sentient Tumor
[STARRED REVIEW] “Former marine biologist and Hugo Award–winning sf author Watts has collected over 50 essays from his blog, Crawl, and other sources from as far back as 2004. His writing is irreverent, self-depreciating, profane, and funny, showcasing a Hunter S. Thompson–esque studied rage and dissatisfaction with the status quo combined with the readability and humor of John Scalzi. These thought-provoking essays rail against hypocrisy, question the usefulness of consciousness, and explore counterrhetorical biases and how they impact our society. With intellectual rigor, clarity, and dark humor, Watts covers subjects as widely divergent as holidays, law enforcement and surveillance, homelessness, and the intersection of science and sf in the study of dolphin language. His film criticism covers J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies, Blade Runner 2049, and the fallacy of oppression in the X-Men franchise. He shares personal stories, too: a lifethreatening illness, the death of his brother. This collection of well-written essays has actual science backing up most of Watts’ opinions about politics and humanity. Give it to readers looking for a deep dive into privacy, antirhetorical biases, and other sociological issues.
“Peter Watts will shatter your illusions, crush your dreams, and vaporize your defense mechanisms, because he cares. He cares deeply about our world, and he respects you enough not to coddle you with reassurances. These essays are proof of that—they are tough love for the mind.”
—Karl Schroeder, author of Ventus and Permanence
About the Author
Peter Watts is a former marine biologist and a current science-fiction author. His debut novel in the Rifters series, (Starfish) was a New York Times Notable Book, and his novel (Blindsight) has become a required text in undergraduate courses ranging from philosophy to neuroscience, and was a finalist for numerous North American genre awards. His shorter work, including Beyond the Rift, has received the Shirley Jackson, Hugo, and Aurora awards. Watts’s work is available in twenty languages and has been cited as inspirational to several popular video games. He lives in Toronto.
Praise for Peter Watts
“Watts, undoubtedly, is a genius.”
“Peter Watts is some precisely engineered hybrid of Lucius Shepard and Gregory Benford, lyrical yet hard-edged, purveyor of sleek surfaces and also the ethical and spiritual contents inside.”
“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.”
“Peter Watts blows my mind every single time.”
—Kelly Robson, author of Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach
“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.”
“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.”
“Watts continues to challenge readers with his imaginative plots and superb storytelling.”
“Possessing the stern moral acuity of James Tiptree, [Watts] also exhibits the intellectual zest of Arthur C. Clarke.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Barnes & Noble Review
“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, author of the Callahan Series
“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.”
Praise for The Freeze-Frame Revolution
2018 British Science Fiction Award nominee
A Publishers Weekly Staff Pick / Summer 2018 Read
A Goodreads Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy title of Jan-August 2018
Locus Recommended Reading List
“This—THIS—is the future of science fiction.” —Richard A. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon
“The Freeze-Frame Revolution is a delicious morsel of hard science fiction . . . The setup of the book is irresistible, and the science is high-concept.”
“The Freeze-Frame Revolution (Tachyon), the shortest and latest novel from Canadian Peter Watts, is as brilliant and enticingly acute as any of his earlier and longer work.”
—Seattle Review of Books
“The Freeze Frame Revolution is the purest driven high concept.”
—Richard Morgan, author of Altered Carbon
“This is definitely vintage Watts—outstanding, exciting, and terrifying.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and Walkaway
“The latest from Watts (Blindsight, 2006) packs a significant punch into a small package.”
[STARRED REVIEW] “SF fans will love this tale of bizarre future employment and genuine wonder.”
[STARRED REVIEW] “Entertaining and provocative, brilliant and ambitious, The Freeze-Frame Revolution is compelling science fiction with heart.”
“A gripping story of a deep human future—the dependent relationship between human and AI tangles and grows with the delicious creep of suspense to the very last page. Watts is a poet when it comes to science..”
—Justina Robson, author of Keeping it Real
“Watts takes familiar-seeming SF tropes and accelerates them towards lightspeed, until they become something chillingly other. A gripping tale where galactic timescales collide with biology and age-old human dilemmas.”
—Hannu Rajaniemi, author of The Quantum Thief
Visit the Peter Watts website.
Everything I Needed to Know About Christmas I Learned From My Grandma
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Why I Suck
The Black Knight. In Memoriam
Zounds, Gadzooks, and Fucking Sisyphus
10 Actually, You Can Keep a Good Man Down…
HemiHive, in Hiding
The Dudette With the Clitoris, and Other Thoughts on Star Trek Beyond
The Life Sausage
The Yogurt Revolution
A Ray of Sunshine
The Least Unlucky Bastard
No pictures. Only Words
Prometheus: The Men Behind the Mask
The Halting Problem
Chamber of Horrors
The Best-Case Apocalypse
Nazis and Skin Cream
Dr. Fox and the Borg Collective
And Another Thing (The Thing,2011)
Oprah’s X-Men: Thoughts on "Logan"
Cambridge Analytica and the Other Turing Test
Life in the FAST Lane
Smashing the Lid Off Pandora's Box
The Split-brain Universe
The Limits of Reason
Changing Our Minds: “Story of Your Life” in Print and on Screen
The God-Shaped Hole
In Praise of War Crimes
The Last of Us, The Weakest Link
Martin Luther King and the Vampire Rights League
Black & White
Gods and Gamma
“PyrE. Make them tell you what it is”
Understanding Sarah Palin: Or, God Is In The Wattles
The Overweening Overentitlement of the Happy-Enders
The Cylon Solution
The Physics of Hope
A Renaissance of Analog Antiquity
Pearls Before Cows: Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049
Lizards in the Sink with David