Hard Science Fiction, and also Vampires
– Recommended without hesitation
Read if you liked: Childhood’s End, The Three-Body Problem
I picked up this book after Noah Smith published his list of sci fi novel recommendations on his substack. Definitely check it out if you’re a science fiction fan. I can vouch for every entry on the list that I’ve read, and I’ve since read several of the books that were unknown to me. All have been excellent.
The plot of this novel is about humanity encountering an extremely strange, very advanced alien species. Like most hard science fiction though, the book is actually about exploring what it means to be human, and how expanding our understanding of science challenges that understanding. In particular, Blindsight discusses the nature of consciousness and the mind.
It’s a perplexing and provoking journey through the mind and all its quirks and foibles (at least as far as we can understand them now). It approaches the “problem” of consciousness through a novel angle and will leave you with a lot to think about when you’ve finished. Also there’s vampires! I’ll let you discover more about that on your own though. Like the rest of the book, it’s a completely original take – one so good that it leaves you thinking “could the author be on to something real, here?” If you want to learn more about the in-universe narrative behind the vampires, the Peter Watts (the author) published a great “lecture” on the history and ultimate rediscovery of this supposed lost human subspecies.