Depressing, but mind-opening
...Also pretty scary in spots. Siri lives in a Crapsack World, and the fact that he's almost too autistic to appreciate how depressing it all is makes it worse, somehow. Expect to spend most of the book feeling what Siri should be—but isn't—as he emotionlessly narrates events. Except blind, animal fear. Siri seems to feel that just fine, and so will you. Meanwhile, take time to appreciate how truly creepy biologists are, as Watts uses his characters to conduct thought experiments on his imaginary creatures. Everyone mentions Watts' marine biology degree when they talk about this book, and it makes sense when you read it: these are the most starfish-like Starfish Aliens I've seen in all my years of reading sci fi. They are wonderfully bizarre, and it becomes even more unsettling when one considers Watts' background, and that—if they evolved into intelligence—marine creatures could very well think in ways more utterly alien than anything from outer space. I normally like my sci fi on the cheery and enlightened, but the Downer Ending was appropriate, somehow, still leaving the reader with that all-important catharsis. The good guys win, even if it is only a moral victory, and the reader is left with many though-provoking questions. I can't share all of the ones I had after reading (not without being spoilerrific) but here are some: What is intelligence? And is our place at the top of the food chain as secure as we think? Could we be replaced, not by something smarter, or stronger, but entirely different? Ultimately, I felt enriched by reading this story, and if I didn't get many answers, I at least got some really good questions out of it.