The Colonel

Book cover of The Colonel.
Book 1.5 of the Firefall series


The Colonel is a short story that serves as a bridge between Blindsight and Echopraxia. It follows Colonel Keaton—the father of Siri Keaton—as he investigates whether the Bicameral hivemind poses a threat to baseline humans.

The story is very short, less than 40 pages, and acts more like a prologue to Echopraxia. It begin with a hivemind attack on a remote geoengineering site, which prompts the colonel’s investigation of the Bicameral hivemind and his final decision to join them in the deserts of Oregon.

One of the strongest aspects of Watts’s Firefall series is the world-building, and The Colonel packs in a lot of detail for such a short story: the concept of hiveminds from Blindsight is expanded upon; we glimpse geoengineering, AI-controlled weapons, people with bioengineered brains, and even a quaint restaurant in LA where the food is still prepared and served by humans.

I was initially hesitant to dive into Echopraxia because many readers who loved Blindsight disliked it, but The Colonel made me eager to continue the series.