I came to The Mountain in the Sea for the cephalopds (I love cephalopods) but I stayed for the fascinating meditation on consciousness and personhood. I loved this book.
This compelling debut is impossible to put down, a delightful embroidery of the rush of scientific discovery and the pain of isolation, asking hard questions about what society is and what it means to truly understand another creature
A hugely accomplished debut.
Less a science fiction adventure than a meditation on conscioussness and self-awareness, the limitations of human language, and the reasons for those limitation, the novel teaches as it engages
An action thriller with profound consequences. Groundbreaking stuff.
A high tide of ideas and emotion. A compelling vision of other minds sharing our world - a vision you will long to be true
Readers of Peter Godfrey-Smith's Other Minds and Eduardo Kohn's How Forests Think will delight in an Anthropocene adventure that brings their ideas so vividly to life.
I loved this novel's brain and heart, its hidden traps, sheer propulsion, ingenious world-building and the purity of its commitment to luminous ideas.
A wildly original, gorgeously written, unputdownable gem of a novel. Nayler is one of the most exciting new voices i've read in years.
[A] brilliantly clever and compelling thriller.
A novel of ideas... [a] cerebral but not self-satisfied book that also features welcome episodes of comic relief and tightly choreographed action... It is successful entertainment as well as a warning.'
Nayler's debut is in equal parts page-turning near-future thriller and a profound exploration of language, communication and otherness... exhilarating and kaleidoscopic.
The Mountain in the Sea is intelligent, ambitious and thought-provoking. . . For its thoughtful depth, its dealing with big ideas such as the manner and matter of intelligence and communication and its education about the oceans, it is very, very good.
Both a profound meditation on the way human actions are affecting the world we live in... but also a breathless thriller and a perfect example of world building, this is a breakthrough novel which I expect to have a major impact over years to come.
Nayler's masterful debut combines fascinating science and well-wrought characters to deliver a deep dive into the nature of intelligent life . . . As entertaining as it is intellectually rigorous, this taut exploration of human - and inhuman - consciousness is a knockout
This is a tour de force in showing how well fiction can explore society's challenges and problems. It also is a delight that, while asking difficult questions, the author offers some hope for humankind, and redemptive joy in the struggles involved in facing our environmental battles.
With a thriller heart and a sci-fi head, The Mountain in the Sea delivers a spooky smart read. Artificial intelligence, nascent animal sentience, murderous flying drones: like the best of Gibson or Atwood, it brings all of the plot without forgetting the bigger questions of consciousness, ecocide, and scientific progress. Truly a one-of-a-kind story.
Exceedingly ambitious . . . [This] is a novel that is alert, intelligent, open
Ray Nayler has taken on the challenge of a near future that's less certain than ever, and made it gleam - not only with computer terminals and sentry drones (we love those, sure) but also polished coral and cephalopod eyes. From these pages, I got the sense of William Gibson, and Paolo Bacigalupi - and Donna Haraway, and Octavia Butler. This is a planetary science fiction, and a profound new kind of adventure, featuring ? among so many other wonders ? the best villain I've read in years. In the end, the enormity and possibility of this novel's vision shook tears loose. What a ride; what a feeling; what a future.
Full disclosure: in all my years as a science journalist, I could never quite get my head around the so-called hard problem of consciousness. I could recite the theories, but it wasn't until I read Ray Nayler's The Mountain in the Sea that I truly understood it in my bones. This book has many layers. It has the clothes of a futuristic eco-punk or cyberpunk thriller, the guts of a philosophy seminar and the soul of a religious tract.
The Mountain in the Sea is a first-rate speculative thriller, by turns fascinating, brutal, powerful, and redemptive. The book poses profound questions about artificial and nonhuman intelligence, and its answers are tantalizing and provocative.