In a shock to Canada’s sci-fi community, Peter Watts, writer of the deep-sea based science fiction “Rifters Trilogy,” has been convicted of obstructing and resisting a police officer in Michigan. Earlier reports that he was also convicted of assault were incorrect. According to police reports, the Toronto author was returning to Canada when his car was selected for inspection. He stepped out of the vehicle to ask what was going on, was ordered to lay down and didn’t obey fast enough. Officers then punched, pepper sprayed and restrained him. Watts says he did “nothing to provoke” the border guards, and that he was assaulted for simply asking why he was being searched. Other Canadian writers, such as Cory Doctorow, have spoken out on Watts’ behalf, calling the American government authoritarian and criticizing it for demanding blind obedience at border crossings. The author’s sentencing is scheduled for April 26th, and he could face up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
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