Starfish by Peter Watts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am a sucker for books set underwater. So keep the recommendations coming!
When this one was recommended to me quite a while ago, I was hesitant. It sounded pretty strange, potentially filled with really unlikeable and twisted characters. Well, they were, mostly. But the supposedly healthy and normal people topside were not necessarily a lot saner or nicer in the long run.
I ended up liking this quite a lot and I already downloaded the sequel. Kudos, Peter Watts! So, the book…
Welcome to Beebe Station.
You’re three kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. You’re perched on the shoulder of an active volcano. The local fauna is very large and very nasty. If it doesn’t kill you, a mudslide or an erupting smoker probably will.
Your fellow employees are rapists, pedophiles, borderline psychotics, and victims of same.
You feel very lucky to be here.
This is a damn sight better than the life you left behind.
Nice introduction in the prelude. Makes you anxious for whoever is going to end up living down there.
Chapter 1 gives us a tour of black smokers, gulper eels and other weird deep sea fish…
Our main character, Lenie, is as odd as expected. Not quite sure how things work with other people. Afraid to go outside at first. But by chapter 2 already more comfortable out there in the dark than inside the station, with another person.
Outside it‘s apparently only dark when you have the lights on…
While I read the opening chapters, the soundtrack of Jaws was playing in an endless loop, by the way…
In part two we met all of Lenie‘s weird and dysfunctional colleagues. Things got stranger and tenser. And stranger still in the following parts. But somehow these pretty horrible characters started to grow on me.
I ended up rooting for the rapists, pedophiles, borderline psychotics, and victims of same. I guess you will either like this book a lot or hate it fiercely.
The reference books mentioned at the beginning sound really interesting. I was tempted to look up some of his sources, but the likelihood that I would actually read any of these books is slim.
Here is an old and partly defunct website for the book, I would suggest reading it after you‘ve read Starfish, as it gives away some background information:
About the author: http://www.rifters.com/real/author.htm
5 smoking, monstrous, bio-luminescent stars.
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