Hard science fiction?
First read (June 2012)Edit
Didn't know where to stick this information so it's here for now. The entire text is available online so I ran it through Notepad++ and found the following. It has 99135 words, and 555292 characters (that's an average of 5.6 characters per word, not far off my current assumed standard of 5.5 :)). At 350 words per page that would cover 288 pages.
Was bored with A Game of Thrones and had just finished 'Britpicking' Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality which I'd read largely on my phone, so I sort of looked for something else I could read on my phone. I originally found Blindsight online and thought I might be able to bash through it in a few days. Turned out to be an actual novel in length, so I read it from the 16th to the 23rd of June to read it.
I was vaguely perturbed the whole time by the writing style - frequently you didn't know what a sentence was talking about until half way through due to some poetic phraseology or other artistic obfuscation - and there was a great deal of scientific theory, of dubious establishment, so that overall the plot itself wasn't really the focus of the book.
But I found it very interesting, one certainly doesn't find science fiction like this even within hard science fiction, it was a great attempt at a fantastic story with thoroughly realistic (-seeming?) premises.
Simultaneous books: George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones