Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: WWW Trilogy by Robert J Sawyer

Robert J Sawyer has created an unforgettable series in the WWW Trilogy of which Wake and Watch are the first two books.

Wildly thought-provoking, Wake introduced us to the idea of the sentient Web in the form of Webmind. Caitlin Dektor, a teenage girl who was born blind, receives the gift of sight with the aid of a signal-processing retinal implant. This technology also gave her the unexpected side effect of being able to 'see' the digital data streams of the World Wide Web. Within the Web she perceived an extraordinary presence - then she woke it up.

In Watch, a secret government agency which monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States becomes aware of this emerging online consciousness and, convinced that Webmind represents a threat to national security, wants it purged from cyberspace. Caitlin believes in Webmind's capacity for compassion and will do anything and everything necessary to help her friend, even if that means alerting the whole world too Webmind's existence.

This series is truly interesting, taking ideas which have been around for some time, and exploring the intersection between those ideas and real people. I particularly enjoyed the way in which we follow not only Caitlin and Webmind and they explore what Webmind is capable of, but also Caitlin's own growth as she relearns life with sight, reading, writing, watching movies, kissing boys, all the typical 16 year old girl things! Also the ape Hobo and his paintings are an interesting side story with links to Webmind's mission to increase the happiness of humanity.

The end of Watch leaves many things open-ended, not least the situation in China and the government agency's attempt to purge Webmind and i am really looking forward to Wonder, the concluding book in this trilogy, which is due out in April 2011.

Definately high on my 'books to recommend' list, this is a fun and thought-provoking read, enjoy!!

Reviewed by Justine

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