Friday, February 6, 2015 |
It's the eve of the 22nd century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.
Echopraxia is the follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight.
"Fifty thousand years ago there were these three guys spread out across the plain and they each heard something rustling in the grass. The first one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, and it was a tiger but the guy got away. The second one thought the rustling was a tiger and he ran like hell, but it was only the wind and his friends all laughed at him for being such a chickenshit. But the third guy thought it was only the wind, so he shrugged it off and the tiger had him for dinner. And the same thing happened a million times across ten thousand generations - and after a while everyone was seeing tigers in the grass even when there were`t any tigers, because even chickenshits have more kids than corpses do. And from those humble beginnings we learn to see faces in the clouds and portents in the stars, to see agency in randomness, because natural selection favours the paranoid. Even here in the 21st century we can make people more honest just by scribbling a pair of eyes on the wall with a Sharpie. Even now we are wired to believe that unseen things are watching us."
From Echopraxia by Peter Watts ©2014. Published by Tor Books.