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A ''[[UsefulNotes/HugoAward Hugo]]''-nominated science fiction novel by Creator/RobertCharlesWilson.

Blind Lake is a small town in the desert, built around a large scientific installation called Eyeball Alley. There, researchers use technology [[BlackBox even they don't fully understand]] to observe alien life on a distant world.

Then, abruptly, the town is put under total military {{Lockdown}}. No contact with the outside is allowed, not even communication. Trapped in Blind Lake, the characters try to adapt to their new situation and figure out the reason for their sudden isolation.

The story switches between the viewpoints of a number of characters. Among the most significant are:
* Marguerite Hauser, head scientist at Eyeball Alley
* Ray Scutter, her control-freak ex-husband
* Tess Hauser, their OracularUrchin daughter
* Chris Carmody, a disgraced journalist with a martyr complex
* Subject, an alien being observed by the facility

!!This novel provides examples of:

%%* AlienGeometries: The interior of the Starfish
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: Posited as a possible fate of the former inhabitants of [=HR8832/B=]
%%* BerserkButton: Ray over his [=DingDongs=].
%%* BizarreAlienBiology: Subject
%%* BlackBox: The [=O/BECs=]
* {{Bowdlerize}}: Marguerite name-drops Bowdler during her speech on language.
* BrownNote: Discussed as a possible reason for the information lockdown
* CargoCult: Not a major part of the plot, but the Crossbanks Starfish inspires some cults
* DrivenToSuicide: Chris wrote a muckracking book about a man who subsequently committed suicide. Chris blames himself.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Subject. Part of a deliberate effort not to anthropomorphize the aliens.
%%* AFormYouAreComfortableWith: Mirror Girl
%%* FreudianExcuse: Ray
%%* HeManWomanHater: Ray
* {{Lockdown}}: Of the entire town, with not even communication allowed
* NamingYourColonyWorld: Goes the "Numbers and Letters" route with [=HR8832/B=] and [=UMa47/E=]
%%* NietzscheWannabe: Ray's philosophy
%%* OracularUrchin: Tess
%%* OrganicTechnology: The [=O/BECs=] and the Starfish
%%* ThePhilosopher: Sebastian
%%* RageAgainstTheReflection: Tess
* RedShirt: Bob, who dies mere pages after his introduction to prove the danger of the situation
* SanitySlippage: Ray becomes more and more unbalanced as the lockdown continues
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Ray tells Marguerite that their joint-custody arrangement for Tess was crafted by lawyers outside of Blind Lake, who they can no longer contact. Inside Blind Lake, he is the law.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Marguerite complains that, in their attempts to maintain a neutral scientific perspective and avoid mistakenly anthropomorphizing the aliens, they've been reduced to this; for instance, having to say "Subject ingested a bolus of vegetable matter" when they mean "He ate a plant".
* TouchedByVorlons: Tess. And Subject could be considered to be "Touched By Humans".
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: No specific date is given, but it can be inferred to be about 2047 based on an offhand comment in the narration about ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Favorite_Brunette My Favorite Brunette]]'' being a century old.
* VillainousBreakdown: Ray, during his speech about the [=O/BECs=]