An enormous tidal wave on the west coast of North America has just killed thousands. Lenie Clarke, in a black wetsuit, walks out of the ocean onto a Pacific Northwest beach filled with the oppressed and drugged homeless of the Asian world who have gotten only this far in their attempt to reach America. Is she a monster, or a goddess? One thing is for sure: This dark, fast-paced, hard SF novel returns to the story begun in Starfish: It survived only in the deep ocean rift where Clarke and her companions were stationed before the corporation that employed them tried to sterilize the threat with a secret underwater nuclear strike.
But Clarke was far enough away that she was able to survive and tough enough to walk home, miles across the ocean floor. She arrives carrying with her the potential death of the human race, and possessed by a desire for revenge. Maelstrom is a terrifying explosion of cyberpunk noir by a writer whose narrative, says Robert Sheckley, "drives like a futuristic locomotive.
Paperback , pages. Published November 18th by Tor Science Fiction first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Maelstrom , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Is not even a post-apocalyptical story, yet I would rather kill myself instead of living in this world. Peter Watts, you have a really sick mind. Anyhow, I would rather go underwater again among the ocean monsters. The terrestrial ones scared the hell out of me. Putting aside the setup, this was also harder to read than the first.
Not to mention the programming language mixed with specific terms from microbiology and genetics. Add to this the total displeasure while reading about all those psychos and your reading becomes a heavy drudge. Aug 03, Guillermo rated it it was ok Shelves: This was a disappointing followup to the very promising first part of the Rifters trilogy - Starfish.
Unfortunately, these tasty ingredients never settled into anything oth This was a disappointing followup to the very promising first part of the Rifters trilogy - Starfish.
Unfortunately, these tasty ingredients never settled into anything other than a soup in a satisfying manner. Pity, because it's predecessor ended off on such a great cliffhanger. We were finally going to escape the sometimes claustrophobic confines of our freak crewed undersea station, and finally see the world up top. Unfortunately though towards the of this book, I was ready to slip back into my dive skin body sheath to withstand the cold, turn on the electrolysis intake machine that replaced one of my lungs so I could breath underwater, pop my eye caps back in to peer through the gloom, and recede back into the murky depths I was so familiar with in Starfish.
Maybe that's the point-I want to live in this world as much as I'd like to live in Westeros, as in I"ll pass. The world of Maelstrom in the year is a bleak bleak place.
People look back fondly to the early days of the internet when it wasn't contaminated by self replicating AI viruses known as "wildlife". Not only that, but the rising seas have created a global ecological disaster and a chronic refugee problem along much of the world's coasts. Refugees that are crammed in giant ghettos called "The Strip" and are fed mood altering drugs to keep them pacified.
Oh and the then there's the newly discovered pathogen called Behemoth that was brought up from an undersea vent by humans and might just as well come from outerspace due to possessing a genome encoded in p-RNA instead of DNA. At least the government is sterilizing vaporizing large swaths of people with lasers in order to prevent a global pandemic that will not only eradicate mankind, but all DNA based life on the planet.
It's a craptacular world Watts has created and it only promises to get worse and worse from here on out. So while the ingredients for a really really good book were all there, I think Maelstrom suffered from a lack of focus, too much reliance on techno-babble, and lack of attention on characters. While I initially found myself rooting for the anti-heroine I grew to love from the first book, Lennie Clarke just does some bat shit stuff in this book.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped caring about her because it was becoming clear that she could care less about her self and her actions. It's tricky to use creepy nihilistic broken people as your protagonists, because it can make it hard for the audience to care or feel any sort of investment in the story.
That coupled with some incomprehensibe hard science just lost me as a reader. I ended up rooting for Behemoth to just flush the entire human race down the toilet. Strangely enough though, I actually do want to read the conclusion to this trilogy. Maybe for the very reason of wanting to watch it all burn. To see just how bad it really is going to get. Or maybe to be surprised to find a patch of light in this cave somewhere Maybe I"m being too hard on it.
The second part of a trilogy is always the trickiest. It's like the middle game in chess where pieces are moved and exchanged in preparation for some sort of assault on the enemy king- some sort of resolution. Sandwiched between the opening and the endgame, it's still unknown if Maelstrom has done enough to set up a good conclusion Oct 12, Negativni rated it it was amazing Shelves: Volition's subconscious; the command is halfway down the arm before the little man behind your eyes even decides to move.
Executive summaries, after the fact, Desjardins thought. That's all we get. That's free will for you. Novi likovi detaljnije prikazuju funkcioniranje korporacija iznu Volition's subconscious; the command is halfway down the arm before the little man behind your eyes even decides to move. Jan 26, Chris Berko rated it it was amazing.
I was kind of ambivalent about starting this because of how polarized the other reviews are. Seems like a love it or hate it kind of thing. I fall in the love it category. Yes, it is different than the first book in that it is more story driven than a character study but damn hell I love where the story goes.
Im not a rainbows and sunshine all the time type of person and I dont always need a happy ending so this book hit on all cylinders for me. The twists and revelations were surprising as well I was kind of ambivalent about starting this because of how polarized the other reviews are. The twists and revelations were surprising as well as fitting and I did not think I was cheated or feel that the author copped out on previously established truths, for me it was definitely a logical expansion on where the narrative was already headed.
Bleak, dark science fiction that takes place entirley on earth with monsters we created ourselves. Top notch entertainment if you ask me. Feb 06, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: The book of Revelations written by a bad tempered unholy lovechild of Brunner, Triptree Jr.
These are truly the end times. At least for anything human. But, then most of the cast barely is, so they continue on. This is bleak stuff. Primeval microbes, climate refugees, malevolent dolphins, phosphorescent cancerous seals, quarantines with flamethrowers, invented personalities, internet nasties, and smart gel The book of Revelations written by a bad tempered unholy lovechild of Brunner, Triptree Jr. Primeval microbes, climate refugees, malevolent dolphins, phosphorescent cancerous seals, quarantines with flamethrowers, invented personalities, internet nasties, and smart gels.
This book does what sequel should do, in that it castes new light on the events of the previous book, as events and even personalities are given a flip. Sep 12, Lorina Stephens rated it it was ok. Maelstrom by Peter Watts is the second book in the Rifters series, continuing the story of Lennie Clark, a deeply psychotic woman, part machine, who is the unwitting victim of psychological manipulation and a plague-carrier. While the first book, Starfish , proved innovative and incisively written, that innovation and incisive writing failed in Maelstrom.
The Rifters are cyber- merpeople. Perhaps the most sympathetic character, which is pretty jarring example of the state of the world in story. Dark and Troubled Past: Pretty much every Rifter. Justified see Dysfunction Junction entry. Many of the supporting, non-rifter characters as well. Happens to Alice Jovellanos. She intentionally infects Achilles with "Spartacus", a virus that removes his GuiltTrip virus but has the unfortunate side effect of removing his natural guilt.
Achilles ends up torturing and killing her to satisfy his now un-chained sadistic urges. What Achilles does to a doctor who refuses to treat his dying cat and chides him for wasting dwindling resources when the circumstances are so desperate. He paralyses him and incinerates his baby and his wife, saving him for last. N'Am-Pac deliberately chooses people who have come to perceive extreme stress and danger as "normal" to be Rifters.
Having an extremely messed-up life is one way to achieve such a state.
Of course, the other way is to make people messed up by implanting false memories. Even before the novels start the world is already halfway to the end.
North America becomes a devastated wasteland in the second and third books. This has the unfortunate but unavoidable consequence of causing mutations in anything affected and fundamentally altering all life on Earth into some new and never before seen form. Actually, in this world, the trend is to move away from connecting everything to the 'net, because once viruses started to evolve without human input, the resulting Maelstrom became a feeding frenzy of "wildlife. Prior to the events of the books, most of North America is covered by what's known as "Kudzu 4 ", a genetically super-charged solution to global warming that may or may not have spiraled out of control.
Achilles after being infected with a virus that removes his ability to feel guilt. A particularly horrific example.
Lenie was given false memories of having been being sexually abused by her father as a child to deliberately turn her into the sort of complete wreck of a person N'Am-Pac considers as potential Rifter material. The graphic scenes Achilles sexually torturing and mutilating Taka. Not to mention the brief glimpses we have of Achilles's alone time in his personal VR sims , or the way he first became aware of his sexual sadist tendencies as a young boy when he convinced his little sister to jump off a roof and then got turned on by the sight of her lying injured on the ground.
Lenie intentionally cutting the inside of her vagina before sex so she's more likely to pass The Plague on to her partner wasn't exactly appealing either, except maybe if you have odd tastes. And then there's the time Lenie casually lets a gangster rape her in exchange for passage through his turf.
You can't hurt a hallucination. What's the point of torturing something that can't even suffer? Well not French, but still close enough to count he is from Quebec. Gerry Fischer's pedophilia is due to him having an incredibly screwed up notion of human relationships due to childhood sexual abuse, and if we believe his flashback is an actual memory it seems the girl who abused him was herself sexually abused by her father and she raped Fischer because she had accepted her father's explanation that "this is what you do when you really love somebody".
In a subversion, the author seems to use Fischer to mock the concept that evil acts can be more or less excusable depending on motivation: If you did things because you were evil, you were in real trouble.
If you did the same things because you were sick, though, the doctors would sometimes cover for you. Fischer had learned to be sick. Combined with the fake memories of her abusive childhood, this pushes her over the Despair Event Horizon. In the future history of this series, America's east coast has become an enormous urban sprawl run by street gangs. Passed several times throughout the series, starting with a Nuke 'em All near the end of the first book and escalating from there.
Spartacus, it removed Guilt Trip, but also one's natural sense of guilt, and thus conscience.
The second part of a trilogy is always the trickiest. It's like the middle game in chess where pieces are moved and exchanged in preparation for some sort of assault on the enemy king- some sort of resolution. Watts just expects the reader to already have 'basal metabolic rate' stored in their heads as BMR and if not, to be able to glean it from context. It's a craptacular world Watts has created and it only promises to get worse and worse from here on out. He obtained his Ph.
The food provided to the refugees in the Strip is laced with mood-altering drugs to keep them docile. Grey and Grey Morality: Meanwhile, Achilles goes in the exact opposite direction Shadow, who is either Gerry Fischer's Imaginary Friend or an alternate personality. Lenie Clarke never really receives any dramatic comeuppance for deliberately spreading an apocalyptic plague. It's surprisingly not too bothersome to the reader, partially because it's not really that kind of universe , and partially because she's such a woobie that you just can't bring yourself to wish even more suffering on her.
It helps that she readily admits she has been responsible for millions of deaths and doesn't try to excuse or justify herself.
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It's made clear in the third book that she does feel guilt about her actions. Plus, it could be said that karma bit her in the ass when at the end of the series everyone in and around Atlantis are killed by Achilles's torpedoes. Everyone she came close to caring about was there. Justified as he's an assassin with biotech enhancements. And he's just that determined to get revenge on Achilles.
The unnaturally large deep sea fish near Channer Vent have incredibly fragile bodies. They attack the rifters indescriminately, but their gigantic razor-sharp-looking teeth just break off against the rifter's bodies. TRAC immigration web site. A Conversation with Peter Watts". Clarkesworld Magazine August Archived from the original on 12 October Retrieved 12 October Reach for Infinity , ed.
Retrieved 13 December Retrieved 26 June The Things by Peter Watts". Retrieved 6 January Engineering Infinity ed Jonathan Strahan". Archived from the original on 21 March Retrieved 29 May Retrieved 22 December Archived from the original on 14 January Retrieved from " https: Canadian science fiction writers Canadian biologists Canadian male novelists Canadian male short story writers Living people births 21st-century Canadian short story writers 21st-century Canadian male writers Creative Commons-licensed authors.