Computational cognition, ethics, transhumanism, etc.
You're not prepared for the 2020's unless you're reading relevant scifi. RJS's www trilogy should be mandatory for all youngsters, but it's critical for 80s kids & older. We laughed at our parents, but the exponential returns of technology (partly due moores law) guarantee we will be surpassed even further. Be sure to also see childhoods end.
The background research, references and speculation involved are excellent. The story is well thought out and the performance rendered is addictive. Could not stop buying all three books and having a marathon listening session.
It's no great secret that Caitlin and other researchers posit that Web Mind is composed from internet packets whose Time-To-Live (TTL) counters never reach zero. Because they never reach zero, they hang around on the web forever. These packets behave like cellular automata. At a high-level, this means Web Mind is rather fragile.
It is, however, a secret from a division of the National Security Agency called the Web Assessment Threat Containment Headquarters (WATCH). As the name implies, WATCH monitors the web for potential threats. They first become aware of Web Mind through its interception of the signals sent by the implant in Caitlin's eye. WATCH can't decode the data without writing a program to implement some very complex algorithms. They need to figure out how Web Mind is created to form a plan to eliminate it.
We also see Web Mind's existence become public. It communicates instantaneously with everyone who contacts it, and helps find missing people, prevent suicide, etc.
It’s funny watching small minds play big games. The fact Mr. Sawyer can look up others ideas and fold them into what he thinks the world should be, does not make it so.
The story was wonderfully done, but I didn’t need or want to be preached at for a quarter of the book. Just like actresses that should shut up and act and musicians that should shut up and sing Mr. Sawyer should shut up and write.
Follow me on Goodreads too!
What can I say about the middle-book of a trilogy?
I disagree with the notion that this book can stand alone – it’s like picking up a book from Chapter 7! I liked Book 1, so I predictably moved on to Book 2… and of course will finish the story in Book 3…
It’s a boring review, I know – but the story is not over so what can I say? Great story, very interesting, I love it but really I wish it was all just one volume.
I listened to this on a long drive to a friend's house. Audible had put it on the 2-for-1 credit sale, where they had offered several second-book-in-a-series books. I read the first book of this trilogy three years ago when it was nominated for a Hugo Award.
In the first book of this series, Caitlin has gained sight for the first time, and ends up also being able to see the world wide web from her implant. Not too long after, she starts communicating with WebMind, an unknown consciousness brought up from the web itself. This book starts with her communicating more with [him], telling her parents, and the worldwide internet security people learning about it.
It is interesting to read a book about internet security in light of recent events. Robert J. Sawyer actually uses Caitlin and WebMind to make the argument that surveillance isn't bad, in fact people do less illegal activity when they know they're being watched. So that was an interesting conclusion, and that idea combined with the multiple narrating voices made the ending very creepy. I'm not sure he meant it to be, but I definitely found it to be. 1984 isn't true! Surveillance makes society better! What.....
The author's info-dumps are a little silly. We learn a lot about evolution during a makeout session. I don't like it when a main character knows everything, is wiser than everyone, or can figure out anything on her own. It actually makes the book less exciting to have everything laid out for the reader that way. Her parents are so supportive! She can outsmart the NSA! Yeah.
For the most part, the audio production by Audible Frontiers was well done. The woman narrating Caitlin was great, but seemed to use accents on a whim (Caitlin and her mother are from Texas but their accents only show up every once in a while), and the two American characters' sections had such low volume that I had to keep adjusting in my car. I don't want to be thinking about production as I listen to a story, and I had to. The other misstep was having the author introduce the story.. usually a good idea, but RJS was a bit pompous about how his 2nd books of trilogies are always the best, and how LUCKY I was going to be to hear this, which might be his BEST BOOK EVER. I almost turned it off right then! I was glad I stuck with it, but fair warning.
The second volume of Robert Sawyer's "WWW" trilogy picks up right where we left off at the end of "Wake". The once blind, now sighted hero Caitlyn struggles to deal with the exponentially expanding intelligence of an unknown and non-corporeal entity. Their bond is strong, but as much trust as Caitlyn puts into her new friend, there are dangerous others who fear for the destiny of the world as the entity becomes more and more omniscient. Plotlines that hang from "Wake" start to coalesce in a meaningful way and many questions are answered, while others remain for the final volume.
This book, the best of the series, moves at a brisk pace as the entity contemplates "his" role in his "new" world. Excellent narration propels this story beyond theatre of the mind into a whole new stratosphere. As perspective changes among the players, the readers are able to make each character distinctive.
Like the first book, this one ends without a definitive climax, rather sets up the pieces for the final book. Plenty happens,and if you enjoy cyber-thrillers with smart, sound science to back it up, you'll find this enjoyable.
I would listen again because the story is wonderful.
Webmind is my favourite character because of his growth.
I'm sorry but I can't get past the supposed Canadian accent especially noticeable with the character Matt. I live in Canada and have never heard that accent.
The author says be believes this second book in the trilogy is the best of the three. I just downloaded the third book so we will see. I will say that Watch was better than Wake because there was more intrigue involved when governments start hunting for the source of internet autonomous intelligence. It is a well used theme in ScFi for governments to see everything they don't understand as a threat, the fun part is that in this case its a benevolent intelligence and that surely would raise the suspicions of any government don't you think? There is no doubt in my mind that these books are well worth the reading, they are light but just thought provoking enough to hold my interest and for me as a retired network engineer, not a bad basic primer on the fundamental workings of the internet. Fun, entertaining and a bit thought provoking - good SciFi to me.
Sci-fi, detective, cozy. Only give 5s to those books I think stand above the rest. 4 is a good solid book. 3 is average, nothing special.
Great idea and thought provoking. A bit utopian and overly simplistic in its implications.