Peter Watts (author) bigraphy, stories - Canadian biologist and writer

Peter Watts (author) : biography

1958 -

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".

The creative director of Bioshock 2 has cited Watts's work as an influence on that game.


Awards and critical reception

"Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts." -- James Nicoll, SF critic.


  • 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

The Island:

  • 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 ()
  • 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

A Niche:

  • Tied with "Breaking Ball" by Michael Skeet for the Prix Aurora Award in 1992.

Personal life

In December 2009, Watts was detained at the US/Canadian border by American border guards performing a reportedly random search of the rental vehicle he was driving. Watts is alleged to have assaulted a Customs Officer and was turned over to local authorities to face charges. According to a border patrol 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.

In February 2011, he contracted the rare disease necrotizing fasciitis in his leg, which he has blogged about on his website.

He married fellow author Caitlin Sweet in August 2011.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine