I read quite a few books this week. I had to choose which one would be best to review, so I chose Blind Lake. I've read several of Robert Charles Wilson's novels, and he is a pretty good novelist. Some of his books have been listed as "New York Times Notable Books of the Year". Blind Lake is no exception. The book starts off slowly, with a glimpse into the wasted life of Chris Carmody, a science writer who had written an expose' of a well-liked scientist's life and lies, and when the scientist dies in what could be a suicide, Chris becomes a pariah. He and two other writers have travelled to Blind Lake to do a story on the observatory there, delving into a world circling a star 50+ light years away.
The original radiotelescopic observations had an extremely high signal-to-noise ratio, and so special quantum computers called O/BECs were developed to extract signal from the noise, and somehow, they were so efficient that the original signals were no longer needed, and the O/BECs could actually fine down the information to be able to follow the activities of individual creatures on this planet.
Just as Carmody and his fellow writers get started, the entire base goes into lock-down, and no-one is allowed in, or out, and there is a complete information blackout. Unfortunately, all the higher level administrators had been in a conference out of the country, and the highest level administrator left is a little man, Ray Scutter, with an axe to grind.
The interactions between Carmody, Scutter, Scutter's ex-wife Marguerite Hauser and their child Tessa, are fascinating, and we watch Scutter disintegrate, and Carmody and Marguerite begin to put something together, as we see Tessa and her "mirror girl" become a central focus point explaining the reason for the lockdown.
Wilson's wonderful explication on the need for narratives in our life and our universe, and the philosophical underpinnings of the creation of a new life form are enjoyable to read. I give Blind Lake a high recommendation and say, find it, and read it. You won't be sorry.
Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Wright