Terrifying, thought-provoking, Hugo-award-nominated novel available for download under a Creative Commons license.
From the author:
Who you do send to meet the alien when the alien doesn’t want to meet?
You send a linguist with multiple personalities carved surgically into her brain. You send a biologist so radically interfaced with machinery that he sees x-rays and tastes ultra-sound, so compromised by grafts and splices he no longer feels his own flesh. You send a pacifist warrior whose career-defining moment was an act of treason. You send a monster to command them all, an extinct hominid predator once called vampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send a synthesist — an informational topologist with half his mind gone — as an interface between here and there, a conduit through which the Dead Center might hope to understand the Bleeding Edge.
You send them all to the edge of interstellar space, praying you can trust such freaks and retrofits with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they’ve been sent to find.
But you’d give anything for that to be true, if you only knew what was waiting for them…
Available from: http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm