So, Canadian sf writer Peter Watts got worked over at the border, was found guilty of obstructing the border cops, and is now awaiting sentencing. It sucks, truly, but nothing I can do, except post about how it sucks, for what that's worth, which isn't much.
When I first started getting into online texts a few months ago, some of my first ebooks were the popular free Creative Commons ones, and Peter Watts came up right after Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. Watts's stuff seemed cool, I read a bit of Starfish, but then other things in life intruded. Now with Watts waiting on the judge's gavel, I brought the files back up and read them. And damn, they're amazing.
Blindsight starts off with a childhood scene reminiscent of the raw candor in the first pages of Ender's Game. Then there's the team of scientists on a spaceship, like in the movies Sunshine or Alien, but this time with a crew of smarter, more extreme characters. And it's not just the story, which there's plenty of, it's also a real novel of ideas. And such big, important, fundamental ideas, about humanity and intelligence and sentience. What more can I say? Maybe I need more time to gain perspective, but I'm fairly confident in giving it a 5 out of 5.
Starfish has more damaged characters in extreme environments, maybe doesn't scale the same heights as Blindsight, but still top-class sf. I've read of half the short stories so far, Bulk Food and Flesh Made Word stand out.