Maelstrom by Peter Watts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Continuing with Rifters, we've jumped out of the water and taken our horribly damaged cyberpunk gene-modded abuse-victim/victimizer plague-carrying corpse-runner MERMAID with us.
Special mentions go to the gel packs that pack a horribly efficient computational punch, a 4-billion-year-old biological computer from the deepest Trench, and a death count of most of the world's population.
Well, this IS Peter Watts and when he writes, he throws in ALL THE BEST SF GOODIES, making one hell of a spicy narrative soup that, in general, outcompetes and eats all the other modern SF out there. On ideas alone, he is one of the masters.
On narrative, in this case, however, I have to say it has a few weak points. It's not bad at all and I loved how Clarke became a world-destroying meme through fast-replicating viruses of a VERY old version. I loved the quest for discovery, too, regarding how she victimized and was made into a victim. And of course... ALL the rifters fit that bill. It was a major theme of the first book, where early victims, survivors, made the very best adaptations for deep-trench work.
Following Clarke above the water was almost as good as below, but not quite.
Still, this was a great setup for the future, and the devil is truly in the details. :)
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