Reading Peter Watts is like reading a synopsis of the latest issue of PopSci. His range of hard SF topics is so broad, moving easily through biochemistry, astrophysics, paleogenetics, linguistics, whatnot, that you almost need the latest SF lexicon to keep up. The mindset is something like: "Eschew the simple direct statement, find the closest sci-tech reference, no matter how obscure, and let the reader deal with it." For an SF geek, that's just, like, heaven on earth.
[b:Blindsight|10660291|Blindsight (Barnes & Noble PLATINUM Classics)|Peter Watts|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1302473974s/10660291.jpg|47428] is brimming with engaging ideas, including the blindsight referred to in the title, that it's easy to lose track of the story. But with bursts of action, written so sparely and tangentially (couldn't think of a better word that means 'indirect' as in seeing something out of the corner of the eye) that one really has to slow down and pay attention, Watts keeps the reader on a leash. It took me a while to warm up to the concept of the synthesist, but Watts is so earnest in binding everything together in his story-weaving that there is no choice but to accept the lead character's rationale-for-being. In the end the novel hangs on a theory I can only describe as anti-existentialist (or else risk giving too much away), where Watts really gives us a big pill to swallow. Hopefully, at this point the reader has invested enough time and attention that heshe will keep on. If you do, there's the sweet reward of a story and novel that will haunt your thoughts for more than the typical page-burner.
This was my first Watts book and am keen to see what else he is serving at the Hard-SF-Rock Cafe.