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If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 66 comments

“The link between surveillance and fear"

A Suicide Bomber’s Guide to Online Privacy is the title of a keynote talk that Peter Watts (previously) gave to the International Association Of Privacy Professionals' Canada Symposium.
My immediate reaction was that this had to be some kind of cruel hoax. But they hooked me anyway, with what basically came down to a double-dare: “You’ve got a chance to talk to the regulators who enforce privacy law and the executives as big companies who make decisions about what to do with your data – what do you want to say to them?” Well. Since you ask.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 20, 2014 - 32 comments

"So yesterday, we saved him the trouble."

Author Peter Watts (many times previously) eulogizes his cat Chip [more inside]
posted by figurant on Nov 18, 2013 - 36 comments

RIP Ronald Francis Watts

Peter Watts eulogizes his gay Baptist father.
posted by infinitewindow on Jan 18, 2013 - 21 comments

The short, unique life of Zombie Pidge

Step 1: Compose your post to MetaFilter: Description: An inspirational Holiday Tale from Peter Watts. Step 2: Justify using the words "inspirational", "holiday", and "Peter Watts" in the same sentence: I'm grading on a curve. Step 3: Do you want to warn us about any pictures? Yes, I'm warning you. (Remember last time?) Seriously, some animal lovers may want to skip this.
posted by maudlin on Jan 6, 2012 - 18 comments

Kick biological determinism in the balls

His vows: "We come here today in defiance of biological reality. We know that mammals are not monogamous (except for a few species of meadow vole with abnormally high levels of endogenous oxytocin) ..."
Her vows: "Your vows make it clear why I love you: your intellectual rigour, and your honesty, and your eloquence, and the way you leaven these with profanity – they’re the very things that I fell for, even before you made an x-rated cephalopod reference on a rooftop patio ..." [more inside]
posted by memebake on Aug 30, 2011 - 14 comments

Renovation

Blogging the Hugos: Decline (part 1, part 2, part 3), is a series of blog posts covering some dystopian trends in recent Hugo nominees and itself winner of the of the BSFA award for non fiction. Meanwhile the 2011 Hugo finalists have been announced, with Mefi favorites featuring strongly: In Best Novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (previously), In Best Short Story The Things by Peter Watts (previously). Doctor who features heavily under Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (too many posts to mention), but has strong competition from Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury.
posted by Artw on Apr 24, 2011 - 27 comments

Peter Watts presents: Flesh-Eating Fest '11

Peter Watts presents: Flesh-Eating Fest '11 (NSF the squeamish pictures several clicks further into this link). SF writer Peter Watts (aka The Plastinated Man) has survived a near-lethal bout with necrotising fasciitis (Wiki link with disturbing image at the top). Part 0 (Mildly icky picture of a small sore on his leg.): "Anybody know what this thing is?" Part 1 (no images): "Some of you may have heard by now that I got hit with a serious case of necrotising fasciitis (more luridly known as “flesh-eating disease”) late last week. I’m told I was a few hours away from being dead." Part 2 (no images): "Let us start with the fact that I contracted flesh-eating disease during the course of getting a skin biopsy — that it was being all precautionary and taking proper medical care of myself that nearly got me killed." Part 3 (ohgodohgodohgod - very graphic photos): Recovery at home shown in words and pictures. Some of the photos show cute cats and a smiling, competent home nurse. Most do not. You have been warned.
posted by maudlin on Mar 2, 2011 - 106 comments

The Island

The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
posted by Artw on Sep 5, 2010 - 31 comments

Better Smile When You Cross That Border, Part II

Remember Peter Watts, the Canadian sci-fi writer who in December was arrested and charged with assaulting a border agent, resisting arrest, and being an asshole after being pulled over for inspection while leaving the US because his rental car had Washington plates? He was today found guilty of "failure to comply with a lawful command" by a Port Huron, Michigan, jury. Part Three, The Sentencing, will take place April 26. Watts faces up to two years in federal prison. [more inside]
posted by FlyingMonkey on Mar 19, 2010 - 138 comments

I shared my flesh with thinking cancer

The Things - The Thing from the point of view of the thing, by Peter Watts (previously, previously, previously)
posted by Artw on Jan 4, 2010 - 49 comments

FizerPharm: Flexible ethics for a complex world

Peter Watts on Vampire Domestication (embedded Flash video, must click to start). The mythical corporation FizerPharm ("Trust. Profit. Deniability.") share their detailed research into the evolution and possible commercial applications of Homo sapiens whedonum. You will learn: How and why the "crucifix glitch" came about. Why you should run from a blushing vampire. How many kilograms of human are needed to make one kilogram of vampire. How vampires resemble two year old humans, domestic shorthaired cats, and lungfish. And why "survival of the fittest" should be reconceptualized as "survival of the least inadequate". [more inside]
posted by maudlin on Dec 24, 2006 - 19 comments

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