History Literature / Blindsight

23rd May '16 2:05:58 AM Morgenthaler
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* ImprovisedCross: Exaggerated, justified, and deconstructed. Vampires have the vertical and horizontal crosswired in their visual cortex, which causes them to suffer fatal seizures upon seeing perpendicular lines. As would be expected, they went extinct when humans invented architecture.
10th May '16 11:42:46 AM OperativeKlause
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*BigDumbObject: ''Rorschach.'' Although the "dumb" part is debatable, and indeed is debated throughout the book.
14th Dec '15 9:35:08 AM jamespolk
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* CallingParentsByTheirName: Siri refers to his mother in the flashbacks as "Helen". In a large part because she ditched the real world for virtual reality. While he calls his father "Dad" sometimes and "Jim" other times.
6th Nov '15 5:41:55 AM Shnakepup
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'''''Blindsight''''' is a [[MohsScaleofSciFiHardness hard]] ScienceFiction novel by Canadian author Creator/PeterWatts. It's a dark and cerebral FirstContact story that deals heavily with issues of sentience and what it means to be an "intelligent" species. Despite being nominated for a [[HugoAward Hugo]], the novel is hard to find in stores, owing to troubles with the publisher. Deciding he'd rather have the book be easily available for anyone to read, Watts put the whole thing up [[http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm on his website]] [[DoingItForTheArt for free]].

Set in the near future, the story begins soon after an event known as the Firefall has stunned the world and unequivocally demonstrated that we are not alone in the universe. Tens of thousands of alien probes enter the Earth's atmosphere in a perfect grid, scanning the entire planet across the EM spectrum as they burn up. A powerful radio signal is generated, aimed toward somewhere outside the solar system. Scientists track the signal to what appears to be an alien vessel in the far reaches of the solar system. In need of answers that simple unmanned probes can't provide, a ship called the ''Theseus'' is built, packed with as much cutting-edge technology as its creators can muster, for the purpose of carrying a manned expedition of exploration and FirstContact.

A crew full of odd and eccentric specialists are aboard: a linguist with [[ProfessorGuineaPig surgically-induced multiple personalities]], a biologist who has given up some of his neural pathways for [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul senses and perception far beyond what a baseline human can experience]], and a top-brass soldier whose career-defining moment was [[NeverLiveItDown an act of treason]]. The narrator, a information analyst with [[EmptyShell half his brain removed]], is sent to observe these transhumans and translate for the benefit of their earthly masters. They are all led by a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]]; a genius, sociopath, and [[ImAHumanitarian cannibal]], who nevertheless is the only one coldly-logical enough to run the mission.

Depressing and pessimistic, yet enlightening, the story explores a variety of topics relating to consciousness, information theory, and neurology, and has received highly positive critical acclaim despite its relative obscurity.

'''''Literature/{{Echopraxia}}''''' (released September 2014), a loose {{Sequel}}, begins in the early 2090s with a new set of characters.

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'''''Blindsight''''' is a [[MohsScaleofSciFiHardness hard]] ScienceFiction novel by Canadian author Creator/PeterWatts. It's a dark and cerebral FirstContact story that deals heavily with issues of sentience and what it means to be an "intelligent" species. Despite being nominated for a [[HugoAward Hugo]], Troubles with the publisher made the novel is hard to find in stores, owing to troubles with the publisher. Deciding he'd rather have the book be easily available despite having been nominated for anyone to read, a HugoAward, so Watts put the whole thing up it out [[http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm on his website]] [[DoingItForTheArt for free]].

Set in the near future, the story ''Blindsight'' begins soon after an a global event known as in the Firefall near future has stunned the world and world. Coming to be known as the Firefall, it unequivocally demonstrated that we are demonstrates mankind is not alone in the universe. Tens of universe: thousands of alien probes enter simultaneously burning up in the Earth's atmosphere in a perfect grid, seemingly scanning the entire planet across the EM spectrum as they burn up. A planet, and generating a powerful radio signal is generated, aimed toward sent somewhere outside to the solar system. Scientists track the signal to what appears to be an alien vessel in the far outer reaches of the solar system. In need of answers that simple unmanned probes can't provide, a ship called the ''Theseus'' is built, built and packed with as much cutting-edge technology as its creators can muster, muster for the purpose of carrying a manned expedition of exploration and FirstContact.

A The crew full is made up of odd and eccentric specialists are aboard: specialists: a linguist with [[ProfessorGuineaPig surgically-induced multiple personalities]], a biologist who has given up some of his neural pathways for [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul senses and perception far beyond what a baseline human can experience]], and a top-brass an infamous soldier whose career-defining moment was [[NeverLiveItDown an act of treason]]. The narrator, a information an analyst with [[EmptyShell half his brain removed]], is sent to observe these transhumans and translate for the benefit of their earthly masters. They And they are all led by a literal [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]]; Vampire]]; a genius, sociopath, and [[ImAHumanitarian cannibal]], cannibal]] who is nevertheless is the only one coldly-logical enough to run the mission.

Depressing and pessimistic, yet enlightening, the story explores a variety of topics relating to consciousness, the nature of intelligence, information theory, and neurology, and has received highly positive critical acclaim despite its relative obscurity.

'''''Literature/{{Echopraxia}}''''' (released September 2014),
obscurity. It is followed by '''''Literature/{{Echopraxia}}''''', a loose {{Sequel}}, begins in {{Sequel}} set on Earth during the early 2090s with events of ''Blindsight'', featuring a new set different cast of characters.
5th Nov '15 5:34:04 PM Parakus
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* TheChessmaster: The book deals with entities that are orders of magnitude more intelligent than the average human, so this is almost a given.
** Sarasti, like all vampires, evolved to hunt humans. No matter how hard you try to out-maneuver him, he'll always be one step ahead of you. Waiting. He was sent on the mission for this exact purpose - "vampire logic" might give ''Theseus'''s crew the edge they need against ''Rorschach''.
30th Sep '15 12:28:09 PM CaptainCrawdad
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* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires turn out to have been an ancient HumanSubspecies adapted to prey on us. They existed millennia ago, before recorded history. Since they were predators, they had to have superior pattern-matching skills (all the tricks of autistic savants plus more) and general intelligence, better night-vision and the ability to put themselves into suspended animation (since, being apex predators, they had to give our populations time to rebound else they would hunt us to extinction). Unfortunately, the super-intelligence comes at a cost: their super-charged pattern recognition tends to get overstimulated when [[WeaksauceWeakness intersecting right-angles take up too much of their visual field]]. Basically, their brain ''glitches out'' and they have [[BrownNote epileptic seizures]] whenever they see anything with corners - thus explaining the origin of [[CrossMeltingAura the myth about them being weak against the cross]]. When humans invented architecture, the vampires all died out. The modern-day resurrected vampires have to take "[[AppliedPhlebotinum Anti-Euclidean]]" drugs to enable them to survive.
** It's mentioned that geneticists could have removed the glitch. They didn't because A) it would reduce their superior intelligence, and B) they're not stupid enough to create a sociopathic super-predator and remove its AchillesHeel.

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* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires turn out to have been an ancient HumanSubspecies adapted to prey on us. They existed millennia ago, before recorded history. Since they were predators, they had to have superior pattern-matching skills (all the tricks of autistic savants plus more) and general intelligence, better night-vision and the ability to put themselves into suspended animation (since, being apex predators, they had to give our populations time to rebound else they would hunt us to extinction). Unfortunately, the super-intelligence comes at a cost: their super-charged pattern recognition tends to get overstimulated when [[WeaksauceWeakness intersecting right-angles take up too much of their visual field]]. Basically, their brain ''glitches out'' and they have [[BrownNote epileptic seizures]] whenever they see anything with corners - thus explaining the origin of [[CrossMeltingAura the myth about them being weak against the cross]]. When humans invented architecture, the vampires all died out. The modern-day resurrected vampires have to take "[[AppliedPhlebotinum Anti-Euclidean]]" drugs to enable them to survive.
** It's mentioned that
survive because geneticists could have removed the glitch. They didn't because A) it would reduce their superior intelligence, and B) they're not weren't stupid enough to create a sociopathic super-predator and remove its AchillesHeel.the weakness.
30th Sep '15 12:22:26 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** This also implies that the super-strong, super-fast, dispassionate, totally amoral and terrifyingly intelligent vampires who literally eat mere humans for breakfast and care nothing for them beyond their value as food, are actually [[spoiler:far more "human" and far more sympathetic than what awaits us outside the solar system. At least, until they evolve to the point where they can dispense with their vestigial consciousness.]]
30th Sep '15 12:20:11 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** The aliens [[spoiler: don't just think in a way incomprehensible to humans. They're not even self-aware. Morality is a concept that is most likely impossible for them to parse.]]
*** It is worse than that. It is observed that since the aliens [[spoiler:regard morality and all the other trappings of sentient civilsation to be a kind of cognitive attack due to its sheer uselessness and the amount of brainpower required to understand it]], simply saying "''We come in peace!''" [[spoiler:would actually be considered something akin to an act of war]].

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** The aliens [[spoiler: don't just think in a way incomprehensible to humans. They're not even self-aware. Morality is a concept that is most likely so impossible for them to parse.]]
*** It is worse than that. It is observed
parse that since the aliens [[spoiler:regard morality and all the other trappings of sentient civilsation just trying to be a kind of cognitive attack due to its sheer uselessness and the amount of brainpower required to understand it]], simply saying "''We come in peace!''" [[spoiler:would actually be considered something akin to communicate it is seen as an act of war]].aggressive act.]]
27th Sep '15 3:53:46 PM ActualScientist
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* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires turn out to have been an ancient HumanSubspecies adapted to prey on us. They existed millenia ago, before recorded history. Since they were predators, they had to have superior pattern-matching skills (all the tricks of autistic savants plus more) and general intelligence, better night-vision and the ability to put themselves into suspended animation (since, being apex predators, they had to give our populations time to rebound else they would hunt us to extinction). Unfortunately, the super-intelligence comes at a cost: their super-charged pattern recognition tends to get overstimulated when [[WeaksauceWeakness intersecting right-angles take up too much of their visual field]]. Basically, their brain ''glitches out'' and they have [[BrownNote epileptic seizures]] whenever they see anything with corners - thus explaining the origin of [[CrossMeltingAura the myth about them being weak against the cross]]. When humans invented architecture, the vampires all died out. The modern-day resurrected vampires have to take "[[AppliedPhlebotinum Anti-Euclidean]]" drugs to enable them to survive.

to:

* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires turn out to have been an ancient HumanSubspecies adapted to prey on us. They existed millenia millennia ago, before recorded history. Since they were predators, they had to have superior pattern-matching skills (all the tricks of autistic savants plus more) and general intelligence, better night-vision and the ability to put themselves into suspended animation (since, being apex predators, they had to give our populations time to rebound else they would hunt us to extinction). Unfortunately, the super-intelligence comes at a cost: their super-charged pattern recognition tends to get overstimulated when [[WeaksauceWeakness intersecting right-angles take up too much of their visual field]]. Basically, their brain ''glitches out'' and they have [[BrownNote epileptic seizures]] whenever they see anything with corners - thus explaining the origin of [[CrossMeltingAura the myth about them being weak against the cross]]. When humans invented architecture, the vampires all died out. The modern-day resurrected vampires have to take "[[AppliedPhlebotinum Anti-Euclidean]]" drugs to enable them to survive.
7th Jun '15 5:36:41 PM FordPrefect
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* ShownTheirWork: The back of the book has a length bibliography with 133 references.

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* ShownTheirWork: The back of the book has a length lengthy bibliography with 133 references.



** Jukka Sarasti, the commander of the crew. He is the one somewhat-reassuring ace-up-the-sleeve the crew has in the face of [[spoiler:the incomprehensible EldritchAbomination that is ''Rorschach'']]. He is even (superficially) considerate to his crewmates by choosing to wear sunglasses, in deference to the uncontrolled primal fear they would feel if they looked directly into his eyes. Ironically, towards the end of the novel we learn [[spoiler:the true captain of the ships is the ''Theseus'' [=AI=], whose creators assumed that the human crew would rather take orders from a Vampire than listen to a computer]]

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** Jukka Sarasti, the commander of the crew. He is the one somewhat-reassuring ace-up-the-sleeve the crew has in the face of [[spoiler:the incomprehensible EldritchAbomination that is ''Rorschach'']]. He is even (superficially) considerate to his crewmates by choosing to wear sunglasses, in deference to the uncontrolled primal fear they would feel if they looked directly into his eyes. Ironically, towards the end of the novel we learn [[spoiler:the true captain of the ships ship is the ''Theseus'' [=AI=], whose creators assumed that the human crew would rather take orders from a Vampire than listen to a computer]]computer.]]



* TheCorruption: The supplementary material for the novel on Watts's website reveals that first resurrected vampires arose during an experimental autism treatment that used retroviruses to deliver genetic modifications to patients. Whether the result could reasonably be called "cure" for autism isn't really clear, but the thing that comes out of the other side of the treatment can certainly be said to be [[GoneHorriblyRight terrifyingly high-functioning]].

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* TheCorruption: The supplementary material for the novel on Watts's website reveals that first resurrected vampires arose during an experimental autism treatment that used retroviruses to deliver genetic modifications to patients. Whether the result could reasonably be called a "cure" for autism isn't really clear, but the thing that comes out of the other side of the treatment can certainly be said to be [[GoneHorriblyRight terrifyingly high-functioning]].
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