Peter Watts (author)
Peter Watts' acceptance speech at the 2010 Hugo Awards ceremony
Peter Watts (born 1958) is a Canadian science fiction author and marine-mammal biologist.
His first novel Starfish (1999) reintroduced Lenie Clarke from his 1990 short story, "A Niche"; Clarke is a deep-ocean power-station worker physically altered for underwater living and the main character in the sequels: Maelstrom (2001), βehemoth: β-Max (2004) and βehemoth: Seppuku (2005). The last two volumes comprise one novel, published split in two for commercial considerations. Starfish, Maelstrom and βehemoth comprise a trilogy usually referred to as "Rifters" after the modified humans designed to work in deep-ocean environments.
His novel Blindsight was released in October 2006 and was nominated for a Hugo Award. The novel has been described by Charles Stross thus: "Imagine a neurobiology-obsessed version of Greg Egan writing a first contact with aliens story from the point of view of a zombie posthuman crewman aboard a starship captained by a vampire, with not dying as the boobie prize." Watts is currently writing two novels: Sunflowers and Echopraxia, a "sidequel" about what happened on Earth during Blindsight.
Watts has made his novels and some short fiction available on his website under Creative Commons license. He believes that doing so has "actually saved [his] career outright, by rescuing Blindsight from the oblivion to which it would have otherwise been doomed."
In addition to his novels and short stories, Watts has also worked in other media. He was peripherally involved in the early stages of the animated science fiction film and television project Strange Frame. He also worked briefly with Relic Entertainment on one of the early drafts of the story that would eventually, years later, become Homeworld 2. However, the draft Watts worked on bears no resemblance to the one used for the released game. More recently, he has been recruited by Crytek as a writer and art consultant on Crysis 2. Technological elements from Blindsight have been referenced in the fictional Crysis 2 "Nanosuit Brochure".
Watts obtained a bachelor's of science degree in 1980 and a master's of science degree in 1983, both from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC from the Department of Zoology and Resource Ecology in 1991.
In December 2009, Watts was detained at the US/Canadian border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) performing a reportedly random search of the rental vehicle he was driving. Watts is alleged to have assaulted a CBP Officer and was turned over to local authorities to face charges. According to an officer, the authorities used pepper spray to subdue Watts after Watts became aggressive toward officers. According to Watts, he was assaulted, punched in the face, pepper-sprayed and thrown in jail for the night. The officer later admits in court that he has punched Watts. A jury found Watts guilty of obstructing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. He faced a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Watts blogged about his sentence saying that because of how the law was written, his asking: "What is the problem?" was enough to convict him of non-compliance. In April 2010 he was given a suspended sentence, and a fine. However, due to immigration laws, Watts' felony conviction prevents him from re-entering the United States.
- Starfish (July 1999, Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-312-86855-0) (available online)
- Maelstrom (October 2001, Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-312-87806-1) (available online)
- βehemoth (published in two volumes) (available online)
- Blindsight (October 2006, Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-7653-1218-1) (available online)
- Crysis: Legion [Paperback], released on March 22, 2011. Novelization of the game Crysis 2.
- Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes (November 2002, Tesseract Books, ISBN 978-1-895836-74-5)
- The Island and Other Stories (2012, Creative Commons-licensed e-book) (available online)
- Beyond the Rift (2013)
- "A Niche" (Tesseracts, 1990)
- "Nimbus" (On Spec, 1994)
- "Flesh Made Word" (Prairie Fire Magazine, 1994)
- "Fractals" (On Spec, 1995)
- "Bethlehem" (Tesseracts 5, 1996)
- "The Second Coming of Jasmine Fitzgerald" (Divine Realms, 1998)
- "Home" (On Spec, 1999)
- "Bulk Food" (On Spec, 2000) with Laurie Channer
- "Ambassador" (Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes, 2002)
- "A Word for Heathens" (ReVisions, 2004)
- "Mayfly" (Tesseracts 9, 2005) with Derryl Murphy
- "Repeating the Past" (Nature Magazine, 2007)
- "The Eyes of God" (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume 2, 2008)
- "Hillcrest v. Velikovsky" ("Nature Magazine", 2008)
- "The Island" (The New Space Opera 2, 2009)
- "The Things" (Clarkesworld Magazine, January 2010)
- "Malak" (Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan) January 2011
Awards and critical reception
- Finalist 2010 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)
- Nominee 2010 BSFA Award for Best Short Story
- Winner 2010 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Short Story
- Nominee 2011 Hugo Award for Best Short Story
- 3rd Place 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
- Finalist 2011 Locus Award for Best Short Story
- Won the 2010 Hugo Award for the Best Novelette
- Nominee for the 2010 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award 
- Nominee for the 2010 Locus Award for Best Novelette 
- Nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novel (official announcement)
- Nominated for the 2007 Campbell Award
- Nominated for the 2007 Locus Award for Best SF Novel
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Geffen Award
- Won the SFinks Prize (by Polish s-f oriented quarterly magazine "SFinks") for Best Non-Polish Language Novel for the 2008.
- Nominated for the 2000 Campbell Award
- Jonas, Gerald (March 20, 2005). "Science Fiction: Across the Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Stross, Charlie (January 31, 2006). "Trivia: Who are the business people?". Retrieved December 14, 2009.
- Watts, Peter (January 23, 2008). "Stop me if you've heard this one before.". Rifters.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Watts, Peter (January 14, 2008). "A Farewell to "Gerbils"". Rifters.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Watts, Peter (February 11, 2008). "Petepourri". Rifters.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Watts, Peter (January 24, 2009). "Rip-Off Alert". Rifters.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Watts, Peter (16 July 2009). "Please Stand By for an Important If Ultimately Uninformative Announcement". Rifters.com. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- "Nanosuit Brochure" (PDF). Crynet Systems. (page 7)
- Plant, Michael (February 1, 2010). "BioShock 2: The interview". The Independent (London).
- Watts, Peter (1991). Hauling out behaviour of harbour seals, Phoca vitulina richardsi, with particular attention to thermal constraints. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.
- Rushowy, Kristin (December 13, 2009). "War of words ends in author's arrest at border; Toronto science fiction writer accused of assault following 'altercation' at U.S. border crossing". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
- Watts, Peter (December 11, 2009). "Not the Best of Possible Worlds.". Rifters.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- "Watts guilty of Blue Water Bridge assault". Port Huron Times-Herald. March 19, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2013.(subscription required)
- Nickle, David (April 26, 2010). "Peter Watts is Free". The Devil's Exercise Yard.
- "Aggravated Felonies and Deportation". TRAC immigration web site. 2006.
- Ashby, Madeline (April 27, 2010). "Sometimes, we win.". Tor.com.
- Watts, Peter. "Flesh Eating Fest '11".
- Watts, Peter. "He Said/She Said".
- The Island and Other Stories at Goodreads
- Peter Watts – Beyond the Rift cover art and synopsis reveal at Upcoming4.me
- Watts home page
- Locus Online: The Website of The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field
- "2007 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "1992 Aurora Awards". The LOCUS Index to SF Awards. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- http://www.rifters.com – personal website
- Review of Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes, short story collection available online
- 2004 Interview at The Agony Column
- 2007 interview at SF Diplomat
- Audio review and discussion of Starfish at The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
- Peter Watts at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database