I made a passing reference to the Rifter
books in a post in my "real" journal.
For those not familiar, from the "about the author" on his site:
His success has been, shall we say, mixed. His first novel, Starfish, netted a "Notable Book of the Year" nod from the New York Times, an honorable mention for John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and rejections from both German and Russian publishing houses on the grounds that it was "too dark". (Being considered too dark for the Russians remains one of Watts's proudest accomplishments, although he remains puzzled by the translation of his book into Italian.) This also marked the beginning of a diffuse cult following of angst-ridden blogging teenaged girls who identified with Starfish's central character.
Starfish was universally praised for its evocation of the deep-sea environment; the applause for its rendering of the surface world was somewhat more muted. The sequel, Maelstrom (2001, Tor), takes place almost entirely on land: it therefore avoids the elements that readers most loved about the first book, replacing them with a sprawling entropic dystopia in which Sylvia Plath might have felt at home, if Sylvia Plath had had a graduate degree in evolutionary biology. The critical response was generally as positive as it was for Starfish, which may come as a surprize to those who've noted a virtual absence of laudatory quotes on the paperback edition (someone fucked up in Production); both books received starred reviews from Booklist, and Maelstrom may mark the first time that the NY Times used the terms "exhilarating" and "deeply paranoid" to describe the same novel. Maelstrom's release did, however, mark the end of a diffuse cult following of angst-ridden blogging teenage girls who identified with Starfish's central character.
Behemoth, the concluding volume of what had inadvertently become the "Rifters Trilogy", was released by Tor Books in two volumes for industrial-policy reasons that Watts understands even though he still thinks they suck the one-eyed purple trouser eel. Even bisected, and notwithstanding a certain inevitable sense of been-there-done-that, Behemoth garnered a fair bit of critical praise (another NYT rave, starred review from Publisher's Weekly- just check out the damn blurbs page), although more squeamish reviewers grumbled that Watts had gone too far with this whole sexual sadism thing.
I've yet to read Behemoth. I loved the first two, and Peter Watts himself is funny as hell.