Peter Watts alert

Peter Watts is a brilliant science fiction writer — I have written about all four of his novels on this blog (Starfish, Maelstrom, Behemoth, and (at greatest length) Blindsight).

Earlier this week, returning home to Canada from the US, Watts was assaulted for no good reason by US Homeland Security guards at the border, and charged with a felony for supposedly assaulting a Federal officer. Cory Doctorow has the whole story at BoingBoing, here. Watts’ own account of the incident is here.

Watts was released on bail, and is back home in Toronto, but he needs money for his legal defense. I am going to make a contribution, and I urge all everyone reading this to do likewise. (There are details on how to contribute on the BoingBoing page I cited already).

This is something that could happen to anybody, given how security mania connected with the so-called “war on terror” has become so completely excessive and out of control. But it sort of hits home when I see this happening to somebody whose work I greatly admire. (I do not know Watts personally, though I exchanged email messages with him once).

3 Responses to “Peter Watts alert”

  1. kvond says:

    There’s not much detail in those accounts, I have to say. Just why was he assaulted?

  2. Steven Shaviro says:

    I don’t know anything more than you do, Kvond, except that I have read (and greatly admire) all of Watts’ novels (I do not know if you have read them or not).
    There is a new(er) report from the Associated Press:
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ihal_ZndPpgnalzkKiRQDzK0AwdwD9CI4PIO0
    which adds the information that “the U.S. attorney’s office declined to prosecute and that the case was turned over to city police in Port Huron, about 55 miles northeast of Detroit.”

  3. kvond says:

    Well, the article is a litte bit clearer, but not to be the one in want of facts, if the story is “This guy writes cool stuff, and border guards are essentially Fascists” I cannot follow. At this point I would want to know the nature of his resistance, at least from his pov. As people are rallying to pay for his defense, I wonder at the silence.

    Let’s put it this way, Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite Sci-fi writers (in face all out fiction writers) of all time, but if someone told me he got in a scrap with Police, I would probably say, “It figures.” Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pay for his defense either.

    I haven’t read his books, and will check out your writing on them.

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