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Wake: Book One In The WWW Trilogy
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The last time I did a book review was in high school, and if I'm not mistaken, it was likely for THE CHRYSALIDS; which was a brilliant science fiction novel by the way!

With that said, I am going to try to do justice to the latest book I've read: Robert J. Sawyer's WAKE - the first in his WWW trilogy.

Here is a blurb from Robert's site about the book:

'Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math ' and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. When a Japanese researcher develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation.

But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. Once the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something ' some other ' lurking in the background. And it's getting smarter ''

In addition to Caitlin's story are a couple of seemingly unrelated events in other parts of the world. In China an outbreak of the bird flu (H5N1) is handled by the Chinese government by culling the humans that are infected as well as shutting the country off from the rest of the outside word by cutting its internet and phone connections to hide their transgression. Elsewhere, in a research facility, a Bonobo/Chimpanzee hybrid that can use ASL (American Sign Language), produces art that defies what they are 'supposed' to be capable of. Youtube videos and political strife follow. Thirdly, a growing intelligence on the world wide web begins to take form. It strains to come to terms with itself and its surroundings, yet it begins to evolve. And, like Annie Sullivan, reaching down into the depths of Helen Keller's mind, Caitlin makes a connection with this web-based entity and strives to teach it.

I consumed this book. Like with his Neanderthal Parallax novels, I completely empathize with these characters. They lift off the page and pull you along with them, particularly Caitlin. Her ability to 'see' through people and her edgy humour are brilliantly achieved and you can't help but admire her strength of character and resolve. The use of biological terms and technology are meshed throughout the story in a way that it isn't dumped on you. (It should be noted that I have a biology and information technology background, so I felt like this book was written for me. But with that said, the way he reveals the information would easily engage anyone without this knowledge.)

There are wonderful parallels and references to Helen Keller and her rise to awareness from the dark place in which she once lived as well as timely topics and subject matter that is deftly interwoven in the story. He engages in real world debates (i.e. the intelligence of apes and their ability to use sign language, the cross-breeding of species, the potential self-awareness of the internet, etc.) and employs throughout some some witty references and poignant gibes. It is obvious that Mr. Sawyer took his time to research well before writing this and it is no wonder he was won such honours as the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

This is a fantastic beginning to a much anticipated series. It ends well, but leaves you hungering for more. I very much look forward to what will come in the next novel and how Mr. Sawyer is going to engage me further in the coming books, WATCH and WONDER. Whether you are a science fiction aficionado or not, add this book to your Must Read list. It will not disappoint.

Hominids: Volume One Of The Neanderthal Parallax
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2008
Analog magazine has been printing a serial of this novel in the past couple of issues. I have read the first two parts and I eagerly await the rest. Robert J. Sawyer is always a fantastic read and this book is definitely going to continue the trend. If you like Sci-fi, you owe it to yourself to pick up a RJS book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2009
It's impossible to get anything done around the house when there's a new Robert J. Sawyer book out. Absolutely engaging from start to finish. I feel for the characters, I am moved by the events that take place, & even though I will not be writing any math papers anytime soon, I always feel smarter after I've finished a Sawyer book. I loved all the Canadian "nods", & the easy, seamless way the story flips back & forth between China, California, Japan & Ontario...& how Sawyer can write so effortlessly from the point of view of a teenaged blind girl is beyond me!

Robert J. Sawyer is made of awesome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2009
Like most of Sawyers works this book is filled with extra nods to Canadians.

And like most of his works contains elements which should never be left out of science fiction: thinly veiled political commentary, using technology that is not completely understood to create a believable and unique scenario, and finally the exploration of some aspect of humanity. While not my favourite Sawyer novel [Rollback], this series could easily become my second favourite if the middle and end follow through with the setup this beginning presents.

A must read in my humble opinion.
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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 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 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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