Starfish (Rifters 01) by Peter Watts

I will never thank dear Melfka enough for recommending books for me. Thank you, my dear, I owe you.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew–people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater–down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness.

Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

My impressions:

I could have written a very short review of this one, really one-line short: it would be enough to say I was smitten by the book and immediately wanted to read its second part (so yeah, please kindly follow my example). But of course I know you would feel disappointed ;p. Let me elaborate a bit – I promise to keep my musing decently short.

First of all let me say that the narration is incredibly smooth, with fantasy elements present there all the time but shown in such a way that they seem ordinary and normal. It takes really a lot of skills to give your readers such a feeling. An artificial ‘lung’ drafted instead of one normal? Phew, happens all the time. Oh, wait, it is an artificial lung enabling you to breathe underwater like fish without aqualungs and cylinders with oxygen…A sentient gel which takes complicate decisions usually reserved for intelligent humans? Nothing special, until you realize it’s even something more than AI…

Secondly Peter Watts belongs to the rare species of sci-fi authors who can not only weave a great story with three-dimensional, interesting characters but also have an excellent understanding of science and technology involved, never forgetting about the psychological aspects. A case in question: Starfish.

Its characters are psychopaths:  child molesters, murderers, sadists and other violent offenders, along with the victims addicted to their abuse. Like Lenie Clarke, a woman whose hellish childhood made her scarred for life but also strangely addicted to a specific form of violence. Society cannot help her so they offer her a job – one year in an underwater station along one of the stranger Earth’s ocean rifts. Out of sight, out of mind? Maybe.

Lenie, with with six other misfits, will face months of darkness, isolated in a claustrophobic station and bereft of many sensory stimuli which ordinary humans enjoy. Her body will be bio-mechanically and electro-chemically modified. How will it change her character? Will her demons disappear or will they roar even louder?

If you want to know the answer, read the book. 🙂

Final verdict:

Nothing to add, my badge tells more than hundreds of words.

Rating icon with the words "one brilliant book" and a small butterfly on it.

Other books by Peter Watts reviewed on this blog:

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10 Responses to Starfish (Rifters 01) by Peter Watts

  1. Melfka says:

    You don’t owe me anything. Or, we’re in the constant circle of owing each other. 😉

  2. blodeuedd says:

    Brillaint, cool 🙂 It has been a few meh ones lately

  3. heidenkind says:

    Glad to hear he’s back to form with this book!

  4. Carole Rae says:

    Awwwe yayy I am glad you liked it. 🙂 I’ve heard good things!

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