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WWW:Watch(MP3)(Unabr.) [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Robert J. Sawyer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 18 2010 WWW Trilogy (Book 2)
Sixteen-year-old Caitlin Decter was born blind. But, thanks to an implant in her head, she can now see the real world—and also see webspace, the structure of the World Wide Web. There, she’s found a nascent consciousness, which she’s helped bring forth, letting it, too, see the world for the first time. The consciousness takes the name Webmind. Caitlin’s parents know about it, and so does WATCH, a secret US government agency that monitors terrorist activity on the Web (violating civil liberties as it does so). Caitlin is convinced that Webmind is benign, but her parents are afraid the public will view Webmind—which can now crack any password and read everyone’s email—as Big Brother. Caitlin discovers that WATCH is on to them. She figures the best way to protect Webmind is by having it prove its benevolence to the world by eliminating all the spam from the Internet. But Caitlin’s boyfriend accidentally reveals the secret of Webmind’s structure to WATCH. Armed with that information, the government tries to wipe out Webmind. Caitlin travels into webspace, helping Webmind overwhelm WATCH’s computers by redirecting all the billions of intercepted spam messages at them. Webmind really is trying to help humanity, but Caitlin knows that they’ve only bought a little time. The dark forces of the government—the real Big Brother—will try again to wipe Webmind out. But Caitlin is determined to triumph: she’ll show them that her Big Brother can take their Big Brother. BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Robert J. Sawyer.

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Watch is a dynamic, moving and thought provoking novel that manages to convey the book's myriad messages effortlessly and rewardingly, recommended. SF Book --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer is the author of 20 novels, and is one of a handful of authors to have won the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for Best Novel. The ABC TV series FlashForward is based on his novel of the same name. He was born in Ottawa and lives just outside of Toronto, Canada.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It often seems that there is nothing new in the world of Sci-Fi. Certainly the basic plot elements in the' www:' series (Wake, Watch...#3 in 2011) have been around forever. But Sawyer simply does it BETTER than just about any Grand Master in the annals of SF. The classic Artificial Intelligence scenario is brought firmly into the 21st century with Sawyer's profound grasp of the latest technology, philosophy,physiology,sociology, mathematics, ethics, and a host of other aspects of human knowledge, wisdom and nonsense. I have one minor quibble (the only one in all his works): having a 16 year old girl with very limited life experience explain complex ethical issues to a vast AI seems a bit odd, even if her IQ is 200. but it is VERY minor. As always, his character's seem real enough to touch (holodeck anyone?) and he brings his own brilliant plot twists to the classic themes. Hopefully Sawyer will be around long enough that we can keep his brain alive until at least 3000.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story moves along ... June 6 2010
Watch is the second book in the WWW trilogy and really sets the pace for the third book. Robert J. Sawyer answered some questions from the first book, introduced new ones and moves the whole story into a more intense plot. I look forward with great anticipation to the third book, Wonder, due out next spring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Feb. 2 2012
The WWW series was interesting. What first caught my eye was the cover of Wake. Something told me I just wanted that book. I hadn't read a book in nearly ten year, but Wake was so interesting, I had to keep reading. Watch was better than Wake, but you had to read Wake in order to understand what's going on. The final book, Wonder, probably should have been left out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  73 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WWW: Watch: Solid Second Novel in the Webmind Saga April 18 2010
By C. Baker - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
WWW: Watch is the second novel of a trilogy about an artificial intelligence, or consciousness that emerges from the World Wide Web.

In the previous novel , WWW: Wake, Catlin Decter, a brilliant 15 year old blind girl is given sight through experimental technology in the form of an implant that interprets visual signals correctly and allows her to see (in her left eye at least). Through this device she discovers a presence in the Web that starts to gain greater and greater cognitive abilities, which grows as the second novel progresses. She dubs it Webmind.

In Watch, we watch as Webmind not only develops cognitive abilities exponentially, but through the help of Catlin begins to develop its sense of ethics and, without being too maudlin, an understanding of "the meaning of life." This novel is primarily about this development, along with government agencies trying to figure out how to shut Webmind down, fearing it will become so powerful it will destroy mankind.

While I have greatly enjoyed these novels so far, and the second one is even better than the first, which is unusual for a middle novel of a trilogy, sometimes I find the interactions between the characters to be a bit unbelievable. They seem scripted more for a Grade B movie than the way people really interact with each other. And when the characters are mouthpieces for the author to pontificate a point of view on consciousness, ethics and other scientific theories, the interactions just don't ring true, even though the characters are supposed to be geniuses at math and physics.

And I wonder a bit about the lost thread about the Chinese hacker that appears in Wake. I wonder if Sawyer had abandoned that tread, or if it will somehow reappear in the next novel.

This is a good and interesting trilogy so far and very much worth reading.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World Wide Exploration of Morality May 10 2010
By Andrew Zimmerman Jones - Published on
The best thing about Robert J. Sawyer's books are that they are truly about something. This book isn't just some excuse to have the internet gain self-awareness ... instead, it's a deep analysis of what makes people (be they geek, bully, computer, or chimpanzee-bonobo hybrid) choose an ethical course over the alternative.

WWW: WATCH is a middle book in the trilogy. In WWW: WAKE (the first book), blind teenager Caitlin Decter gained sight and discovered the existence of a developing consciousness in the World Wide Web. This Webmind, as she calls it, begins communicating with her ... and that's where the second book picks up. Caitlin has to come to terms with suddenly seeing a world that she's only known through touch while also dealling with the fallout from Webmind. Fortunately, she has help from her friends and family.

Less fortunate is the fact that the American government perceives Webmind as a potential threat, especially when it gains the ability to almost effortlessly bypass password security. The government decides that it needs to be terminated, a task that is far easier said than done.

This isn't an unreasonable decision, because it is clear that Webmind (at least initially) lacks any sort of morality at all ... but this, it turns out, is a good thing, because that means it gets to choose how to behave, instead of being guided by instincts which may sway it toward bad behavior. And, as the book makes clear, we all, as conscious beings, have the ability to make this choice. The subjects of morality and ethics, in contexts as varied as teenage relationships, suicide prevention, and personal privacy are explored from the perspectives of game theory, evolution, and religion.

And if you're not interested in any of that brainy stuff about human nature, the story itself stands out as a great read in its own right. I, for one, will definitely make the choice to read the third installment when it comes out ... and look forward to it!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Disappointing After the First Book! April 24 2010
By Michael A. Newman - Published on
Let me preface this review by saying that Sawyer is my favorite scifi writer today and that I found the first book in this trilogy to be excellent. However, much to my dismay this book was difficult to get through. Caitlin has recently gained site through an implant behind one of her eyes. Her new friend, the Webmind is starting to evolve. Meanwhile a group of government scientists have detected the Webmind and want to destroy it before it becomes too powerful to be destroyed.

Caitlin eventually lets her parents know about the Webmind and they are convinced that it is someone on the Internet pulling a prank until Caitlin's father tests it out. Eventually they are convinced and are fascinated with the Webmind like it is an additional child.

Overlayed on this tale is the story about Hobo, the intelligent chimp/bonabo crossbreed. Hobo starts to get violent towards the woman who is responsible for him and the scientists have to decide what to do with him.

Meanwhile, through Dr. Kuroda, the Webmind is able to view more than text files on the internet and branches out to sound and video files. Eventually, the Webmind witnesses a teen suicide through the net. Caitlin becomes furious at it because it didn't intervene.

There comes a point where Sawyer hints that the Webmind will be to Caitlin like the computer implant that he introduced in the Hominid series.

Some of the drawbacks to this book are that you really needed to read the first book to understand what is going on and that the book drags. The deep feelings that the reader developed for Caitlin in the first book seem to be lacking here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Brother is Watching May 1 2010
By Mike Fazey - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The second novel in Sawyer's WWW trilogy is aptly named. It is indeed about watching. The newly emerged Webmind `comes out' and is greeted by humanity with some scepticism but mostly with enthusiasm. He (yes, it's a he) is watching us, learning more and more about us and trying to be helpful. However, the government watchers are a lot less enamoured than most. Big Brother finds that he now has an even Bigger Brother, and that worries him. A lot.

There are three stories happening in Watch - the story of Caitlin Decter, the once blind teenager who is the first to meet Webmind; the story of the intelligence agency trying to come to terms with the implications of such a seemingly omniscient entity, and the story of Hobo the ape who can communicate using sign language. The three strings begin to converge in Watch, but obviously we'll have to wait for the final instalment to see exactly how they come together.

As always, Sawyer's storytelling is masterful, combining big themes with authentic characters that we can all understand and identify with. The main character, Caitlin, though amazingly intelligent and perceptive for a sixteen year old (perhaps a little too much so), is also delightfully adolescent, and Sawyer manages to wrap her extraordinarily brainy thoughts and words in convincing and often charming teen-speak. He like totally does! There are also lots of popular cultural references, including one to the recent TV adaptation of Sawyer's earlier novel Flashforward, and a good deal of wit. I also learned a lot about game theory, how the worldwide web works, the differences between bonobos and chimps, Unitarianism and government paranoia (actually, I already knew about that).

My only criticism is that the final chapter is a tad overwritten and a bit melodramatic. Otherwise, Watch is a great read that sets up what should be a fascinating third volume. The big question for me is whether or not Webmind can remain uncorrupted either by power or by the powerful.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Sawyer - my new favorite sci-fi author June 13 2010
By John Gallagher - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I finished Wake, Sawyer's first book in this series, there was no question that I would be reading Watch as soon as I could get my hands on it. As fascinated as I had been with the premise of the first book (the emergence of consciousness on the World Wide Web) the second was even more chocked full of really esoteric but readily accessible and interesting real world science and technology. One of the things I appreciate about Sawyer's fiction is that there is an awful lot of real math and science for every science fiction conceit for which he asks you to suspend belief. He is definitely a big concept guy and in Watch he brings together ideas as widely ranging as game theory, evolution, ethics and the survival of our species in a page-turning tale that is dramatically driven with sympathetic characters and opposing forces without having to demonize any of the principal actors. Beyond that, it culminates in a plausible inspirational vision for cultivating humanity's highest potentials. After this I may actually read Teilhard de Chardin.

John Gallagher, Ph.D.
Indianapolis, IN
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