Continuing with notes and resources for this month’s book club reading, Peter Watts’ Blindsight, here are some fun links to explore.
First, readers should explore Peter Watts’ own Website and the supplemental material he posted. Not only are the endnotes from the book expanded there (“for extra credit”), but he provides microfiction in the form of “primary” documents on the Firefall event, Theseus, Burns-Caulfield, Rorschach, vampires, etc. He also provides alternate jacket covers that use the original art proposed for the book, not the one that was unfortunately altered for the first edition; and art from the various editions of all his books, including foreign editions of Blindsight.
Next, there are a number of exciting tools online for exploring the Solar System.
- A prodigious time sponge for nerds like me: Solar System Visualizer on the University of Maryland’s Astronomy Workshop site. You can select scale, speed, bodies to include, etc. They also have other educational apps and simulations.
- Play with a Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud model on GravitySimulator.com. The site has several other fun simulations and articles on a slew of other bodies in the Solar System.
- NASA site sections on the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud and on comet exploration.
- A useful NASA overview on understanding cosmic distance scales.
- An interactive visualization of the scale of the Universe, from micro to macro.
- A user-friendly infographic from Space.com: the Solar System explained from the inside out.
On the future of space exploration and “realistic” spaceships:
- Lovely space art illustrations on Space.com’s Pinterest board. Space.com also has several other Pinterest boards worth exploring, check their various themes.
- The results of the ESA’s 2003 and 2005 contest: Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications.
- Realistic 3D Space Ships created using Google Sketchup.
- A Tumblr of Realistic Spaceship Illustrations.
On the novel Blindsight itself (these links contain spoilers, of course!):
- The ever-reliable(!) TV Tropes site has collected a list of tropes used in the book.
- A review on Bookslut.com.
- Another of Tor.com: “The Consciousness Glitch”.
- “The Hard SF of Peter Watts,” by Cillian McGillycuddy.
Illustration: Concept art by Sparth (Nicolas Bouvier) for the French edition of Blindsight (published by Univers Poche).)