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Public educÁtion in the social network VKontakte has published a list of 10 best science fiction books published in the 21st century. I added to the titles and descriptions of…

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Peter Watts

Peter Watts about himself: “He spent most of his adult life trying to decide whether to be a writer or a scientist, but eventually became their hybrid. He was awarded several awards in the field of ecophysiology of marine mammals, video documents and science fiction. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Guelf and his doctorate at the University of British Columbia. Spent ten years on training (not weak optimism, right?) And the same amount – trying to work by profession and not become a “litter” for financial groups. The latter turned out to be somewhat more complicated than he thought (ha ha) and, as a result, during the 90s he regularly received money from the “green” – for the protection of marine creatures, from the US fishing industry – for the support of a domestic producer, and from Government of Canada – for loyalty to the grave.

Having come to the conclusion that since his scientific works already include a significant element of fiction, it will be easier to add characters, a plot to them and try to enter a wider market than a handful of subscribers to the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

At first, his success in literature was, let’s say, mixed. The first novel, Starfish (1999), received a condescending nod from The New York Times, an “honorable mention” by the Prize. John Campbell and the refusal of Russian and German publishers to publish on the grounds that they considered the novel “too gloomy.” The use of such an epithet by Russians is still considered by the author to be a subject of his special pride. The release of the novel contributed to the emergence of a local cult among adolescents – victims of hormonal imbalance, who associated themselves with the main character of the book. Most reviewers emphasize the deep-sea component of the plot, while the applause for recreating the world on the surface sounded less clear; however, in the sequel (“Maelstrom”, 2001), the author decided not to develop the storyline so beloved by many readers, replacing it with a chaotic anti-utopia, which could belong to Sylvia Plath’s pen, if she had a degree in evolutionary biology. By a strange coincidence, the appearance of Maelstrom coincided with the decline of the previously mentioned teenage cult. Both books received a good press, and, I suspect, for the first time the NYTimes columnist used the terms “breathtaking” and “deeply paranoid” in the same review.

The final part of the trilogy (“Behemoth”) for production reasons was divided into two volumes, which led to the final commercial failure, although the reaction of critics was, again, for the most part, positive.

In 2006, Blindsight (False Blindness), a science fiction novel about the “first contact,” exploring the nature and characteristics of the evolution of human consciousness, was released by Tor. Contrary to all expectations, the novel survived six publishers failures, a tiny initial circulation, a complete lack of pre-orders in the largest chain of bookstores, a lack of intelligible blubberies on a wild cover design and a suicidal “leap of faith”, during which the author put the work freely available, under a notorious license Creative Commons. At the moment, “False Blindness” has been reprinted four times already, translated into several languages ​​(including, finally, into Russian and German) and nominated for awards “Hugo”, “John W. Campbell”, “Sunburst”, “ Locus, ”and“ Aurora. ”

Watts’ stories can be found in a number of magazines and anthologies, or in a compilation entitled “Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes.”

In August 2011, Watts married the writer Caitlin Sweet.

Sites and links:

www.rifters.com (official site)
www.rifters.com/crawl (blog)
Awards and Prizes:
laureate
Prize of the Nowa Fantastyka / Nagrody magazine Nowej Fantastyki, Za rok 2018 // Foreign Book of the Year (Canada)
→ The Freeze Frame Revolution (2018)

laureate
FantLab’s book of the year / FantLab’s book of the year award, 2016 // Best novel / story of a foreign author
The Things (2010)

laureate
Seiunshō Prize / 星雲 賞 / Seiunshō, 第 45 回 (2014) // Translated novel
→ False Blindness / Blindsight (2006)

laureate
Finnish Wandering Star Award / Tähtivaeltaja-palkinto, 2014 // Science Fiction Book (Canada)
→ False Blindness / Blindsight (2006)

laureate
Prize of Nowa Fantastyka / Nagrody Nowej Fantastyki Magazine, Za rok 2014 // Book of the Year (Canada)
→ Echopraxia / Echopraxia (2014)

laureate
Aurora / Prix Aurora Awards, 2012 // Fan (Other) lecture “Reality: The Ultimate Mythology”

laureate
Shirley Jackson Award, 2010 // Story
The Things (2010)

laureate
Literary Prize “Khatafi-Cyberdark” / Premios Literarios Xatafi-Cyberdark, V (2010) // Foreign novel (Canada)
→ False Blindness / Blindsight (2006)

laureate
Hugo / Hugo Award, 2010 // Short story
The Island (2009)

laureate
Black feather / Black Quill Award, 2010 // A story published in the magazine [Editor’s Choice]
The Things (2010)

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