STARFISH. New York: Tor, . Octavo, boards. First edition. The first book of the Rifters trilogy. In a near future world beset by crises (energy is waning, the ecological health of the planet is increasingly precarious), Rifters are teams of humans selected to operate geothermal power plants in the Pacific benthos; to fit them for this imprisoned existence, they have been physically transformed into something like cyborgs, and mentally damaged to shape their behavior according to the goals of their masters in the world above. Watts's presentation of group stress is crude but intense, and the complexities of the long story never entirely distract the reader's attention from the nearly intolerable psychodrama. An effectively alien underwater microbial species known as the Behemoth, which lacks DNA, threatens to invade the upper world, ending DNA-based life; a threat which is delayed in Rifters. But as MAELSTROM opens, a nuclear explosion causes a tsunami which devastates the Pacific Rim, and the new species spreads; B-MAX and SEPPUKU focus with quite extraordinary grimness on the savage interactions amongst the damaged cadre of Rifters, who may be at the first stages of evolving into posthuman beings; and upon Homo sapiens in the grip of a terminal crisis that may bring on the end of the world." - John Clute, SFE (online). The author's first novel. "... a fine piece of noir SF ..." - Anatomy of Wonder (2004) II-1217. A fine copy in fine dust jacket. (#146632).
"First Edition: July 1999 / ... / 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on copyright page.