Book - 1999
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Baker & Taylor
Recruited for their experiences with more stressful work environments, the operators of a claustrophobic power generating station three kilometers below the surface of the Pacific encounter unexpected challenges among the cliffs and trenches of the Juan de Fuca Ridge that bring their own unrealized potentials to light. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave

Civilization rests on the backs of its outcasts.

So when civilization needs someone to run generating stations three kilometers below the surface of the Pacific, it seeks out a special sort of person for its Rifters program. It recruits those whose histories have preadapted them to dangerous environments, people so used to broken bodies and chronic stress that life on the edge of an undersea volcano would actually be a step up. Nobody worries too much about job satisfaction; if you haven't spent a lifetime learning the futility of fighting back, you wouldn't be a rifter in the first place. It's a small price to keep the lights going, back on shore.

But there are things among the cliffs and trenches of the Juan de Fuca Ridge that no one expected to find, and enough pressure can forge the most obedient career-victim into something made of iron. At first, not even the rifters know what they have in them—and by the time anyone else finds out, the outcast and the downtrodden have their hands on a kill switch for the whole damn planet...

Publisher: New York, NY Tom Doherty, c1999
ISBN: 9780765315960
Characteristics: 317 p


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Feb 14, 2016

Rifters Trilogy Book #1

Jan 20, 2015

So far it seems straightforward enough, but like all good science fiction—forget it, all good literature—it's so much more than just the surface story.

For the nerds out there, the science in this novel is astonishingly well-researched and authoritative, and the speculative potentials are so good, so well considered, and more disturbing than what you get in the usual dystopian sci-fi that has been baked into countless clichés in books and films.

A caveat: If you're a reader who likes to cozy up and relate to your characters, then Watts's work isn't for you. Some books burn hot; this one burns on the cool side. Our "protagonist," Lenie Clarke, is one of the most impressive antiheroes ever created, full-stop. There's a hardened, prickly, and in many cases, off-putting shell to these people. Some of the supporting cast are downright repugnant. These people are aloof, hostile, an embodiment of the social dysfunction in this dismal future where corporations rule and people are cogs in the machine. (Oh wait, that sounds familiar…) Other readers said this kind of had a Blade Runner feel. A very sound comparison.

I'm pretty excited this is a trilogy and I've picked up the next two books. The cliffhanger at the end of this was ridiculous. So I guess I'm binge-reading. Guilty pleasures, people.

Aug 15, 2013

Interesting ideas put forth with some scientific basis although I use the term loosely as the author doesn't seem very skeptical. Fairly poor execution as the story is prodded along by the relative psychoses of the characters until it's revealed near the end that the world may be doomed because of them. Peripheral characters from the beginning are all of a sudden brought back near the end for almost no reason. When the author tries to be subtle and mysterious he ends up just being vague. Still, there's something about his descriptions of underwater life and the sci-fi of the cyborgs (although they somehow seem to move at the bottom of the ocean as fast as they could on land) to keep interest so I'll give the sequel a try.

Mar 12, 2013

Totally and completely hooked me. (Now I'm jonesing for the sequel, but have to wait while epl orders it in!!)
A dark vision of a future which is nearly here.

Apr 02, 2008

An intense, tightly written work of hard science fiction set deep underwater in the near future. Very dark, but it's the first book in years I COULD NOT put down until I was finished.

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