I'm not going to spoil anything, suffice to say that the object that is encountered in space is nothing like anything portrayed in science fiction before. The exploration narrative goes far beyond Clarke's Rama, and Watts poses some very interesting philosophical questions along the way.
The book has some minor narrative issues that annoyed me, but still a great read.
Interesting - but a "strong sign" of what? A strong sign that it is not a good book, or worthy of award recognition? There is a strong horror element to the book that would turn off those who dislike disturbing reading. Maybe 20%? Regardless, whatever we might suppose "worthy" to be, I think we can agree that it means something other than popular.
For comparison, Blindsight by Peter Watts is often trotted out as one of the best in the sci-fi horror genre. It has a similar profile - arguably slightly less positive, with 29% at 3 stars or fewer.
I'd say they are somewhat similar novels - well written, imaginative, original takes, genre-bending, and just not everyone's cup of tea.
SF horror is an important subgenre because it's been the source of so many movies. Hollywood loves science fiction with horror elements. Hell, look at VanderMeer's Annihilation.
One of the best SF horror novels is Peter Watts' Blindsight; terrific fun. Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo, I think you could include Legacy of Heorot by Niven, a lot of Stephen King's novels are SF horror, such as Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher. Dan Simmon's Carrion Comfort is horror, but it has strong SF elements, etc.