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on December 29, 2015
I like science fiction. I LOVE science fiction that has great developed stories, that are totally believable, especially the science.
The future painted by Sawyer is not only believable, but likely.
I love this trilogy.
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When blind fifteen-year-old Caitlin Dector has an opportunity to see for the first time via an innovative programming experiment, she and her parents are hopeful. The procedure doesn’t quite go as planned, however, as Caitlin winds up seeing web connections instead of the physical world. After a couple of tweaks and reboots, she eventually sees both worlds. But something else is going on in web world, an unknown entity appears that Caitlin realizes is a form of intelligence. Meanwhile, research scientists in the U.S. are discovering that a chimpanzee named Hobo can do much more than sign a few words. And in China, a young hacker wants to know why his government has shut down net access.

It was disappointing that the three separate stories do not converge. In fact, the Chinese storyline has fallen off the grid by the last third of Wake. Hobo’s story isn’t resolved either, but given the complex concepts author Robert Sawyer brings to light, this is one of the few stories where a sequel is essential.

The theme in all three plots is about what happens when technology advances to the point where fearful individuals resort to irrational and destructive behavior to stop it. Although Caitlin is a great character and the book certainly poses interesting questions and possibilities, many of the programming details were way over my head. Still, I enjoyed this read, and was left pondering the perplexing, hi-tech world a little differently and with more wariness.
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on April 3, 2013
I loved the 3 books, it's anticipation at it's best, and has that human touch.

working in projects I realize how much organization helps avoid pain and efficiencies make people happier with the same resources.
If you can add morals and ethics to that you should have a winning combination.
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on March 30, 2013
I am not a great science fiction fan - but I love everything Sawyer has written. This book is part of a trilogy and I recommend you read all three. My young adult children have enjoyed this set as well as hubby (who NEVER reads this genre).
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on February 10, 2013
Sawyer is a remarkable writer. I used to read classical SF and I stop for many years. Sawyer brought back my attention to Science Fiction.
He is mixing delicately the reality with elements of SciFi. Also his imagination still keeps a contact with now a days facts, science and social changes. I like the introspective thinking of all characters. He also brings to front page nowadays researches and hot subjects from science and social/behaviour changes in our society. I like him because he talks about future but he talks mainly from human and moral thinking perspective.
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on March 24, 2011
Like all of Mr. Sawyer's books, this one is a joy to read, full of interesting ideas and written with far more human insight and foresight than is common to the genre. I'll admit, the brilliant 15 year-old heroine does seem more male than female while the the webmind has an oddly female feel to me but this may just be a personal point of view. I was disappointed, like many others, to find that Jagster doesn't really exist which made me wonder about a lot of the other information about web function that is mentioned in the book, but at least it made me look into it which, to my mind is very good sign in any book. But why is the fictional group Lee Amodeo mentioned so often. It felt like Mr. Sawyer was trying to plug something, I hope there is an answer to this mystery in upcoming books.
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on February 20, 2011
I'll read most anything Sawyer writes because his ideas are fascinating and original, but I'm beginning to lose my enthusiasm after reading this.

Sawyer has brilliant, intriguing ideas, and he conveys them well - it's the main reason I'll read most anything he publishes. Unfortunately, each new book appears to be pandering to the masses: simple reading level, shallow characters with some gimmick to keep one's interest, cultural references that are like ad placements... this story felt like filler to a bigger story, maybe detailed in its sequels. I devoured it quickly, but it'll be forgotten quickly too.

I know Sawyer can write brilliantly - many of his short stories (from Iterations and Identity Theft: And Other Stories) are as engaging as his novels, but they're succinct and tight; and his website has wonderful essays. Maybe the novel-form gives him too much leeway for throwing in unnecessary cliches and cultural references as filler. One has to wonder if he's paid for the endorsement-like tidbits he includes.

I have little interest in reading the sequels to Wake: Watch and Wonder (WWW, Book 3). Maybe I'll pick them up if I see them in the Bargain Bin.
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Much of what goes into a review, if we're honest, is about personal taste and preference, bringing to that our own world view. In a way, it's that latter point that underpins Sawyer's much-acclaimed novel, Wake.

I have to admit I wanted more. And by more I don't mean quantity. Not even do I necessarily mean quality. What I wanted was more depth. But, again, that's a point of personal preference.
Still, it was that superficiality, that lack of depth, that kept me from completely engaging with the story Sawyer crafted. There were pages, even whole chapters, spent on geek-speak, which for geeks is great (I am reminded of the quartet of Big Bang Theory), but which for me caused a complete arrest of the plot, action, and character development, to the point I found myself skimming. Again, I must mitigate that statement with the caveat this is purely personal taste. I know, simply from the astonishing sales numbers for the novel, there are thousands out there who would disagree with my point of view.

This is my review, however, and so I can only bring to that review my own perspective.

Having said all that, I found the underlying concepts of the story - an awakening artificial intelligence, and the moral issue of allowing artificial intelligence to propagate - concepts which have been dealt with previously. And so, if I'm going to read about something that has previously been explored, I'm hoping for something new to be introduced to the discussion. Again, that lack of depth, that lack of uniqueness, left me hungry.

It wasn't until the last 10% of the book I found myself absorbed by relationship dynamics and characterization, and the tension around that relationship. Much of the emotional depth of that last 10% could have been infused throughout the previous 90%, and had that been achieved, the fact little new had been added to the lexicon of artificial intelligence would have been completely mitigated by a profound story about defining relationships between alien species.

But, then, maybe that's an entirely different story than the one Sawyer wished to tell.

Would I recommend Sawyer's novel, Wake? Sure I would. If you love SF and aren't interested in the touchy-feeling aspects of literature, then yes Wake is for you. If you want something else, if you're looking for profundity and provocation, then no, Wake isn't for you.
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on May 22, 2010
When I read the back of this book which told of a girl somehow connecting to the consciousness of the Internet I was somewhat skeptical. However, I had heard great things about Robert J. Sawyer, namely that he wrote thought provoking science fiction, and thought perhaps this book would be worth it. Indeed, it was worth it! This is a science fiction novel for people who enjoy science fiction themes without the whole extraterrestrial side of sci-fi.
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on May 12, 2010
This should be a great book, but it's not.

I really enjoy near future science fiction and while the premise of an emergent intelligence based in the internet isn't new, it is interesting. The author appears to have done his homework, introducing many concepts related to the complexity of information and the structure of the internet and discusses. That in itself might be textbook interesting, but if you're doubting that it will make for an interesting story, you're not too far off the mark. It kind of reads like a textbook. When the author does get into any sort of character building it comes off as tacked on and cheesy in a soap opera-ish way. Granted the characters are cast as run of the mill suburbanites, but they must have some interesting qualities and history, no? The main plotline is about a girl who regains her vision through an artificial implant (another interesting concept, and likely not too far out there), but even that doesn't feel exciting. I get the feeling that the actual experiences of someone regaining their sight after never having it was one of the only not-well-researched portions of this book. Perhaps there aren't many cases to study...

Previously I've read Sawyer's "Calculating God" and enjoyed it. There were was still the battering of Canadianisms, but I have to say in "Wake", it just felt over the top, and I am Canadian. He went so far to mention "Future Shop" as where a new computer was bought. Why is that relevant? Why would you possibly expound on something as mundane as purchasing a desktop PC in a book about emerging Artificial Intelligence? Who knows. Anyhow, Calculating God was good, lighthearted Sci-Fi. Not my favorite by any means but definitely better than this one.

I'd like to give him another chance, a Canadian, near future science fiction writer tackling themes around information technology and artificial intelligence. I expected to love this book. I didn't even really like it.

I may give watch a chance and see if the story get's deeper, but I think I've got a few others to read first. I'd recommend checking out Charles Stross if you're interested in the themes of this one. It's definitely further out there, and "lighthearted" isn't a word I'd use, but it's good stuff.
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