"A writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation" (New York Times) concludes his mindbending trilogy.
Webmind - the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web - has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated. Caitlin Decter - the once-blind 16-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind - wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn't act, everything - Webmind included - may come crashing down.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Robert J. Sawyer.
Listen to the rest of the WWW Trilogy.
©2011 Robert J. Sawyer (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Sawyer shows mastery in his ability to move between complex scientific concepts and genuine and realistic characters....Wonder...is fast-paced and immediately engaging." (The Globe and Mail)
"The shining star of this near-perfect production is Jessica Almasy as the sweet teenager who introduces WebMind to the world. Her equal is Marc Vietor, the voice selected by the machine because of his brilliant work reading audiobooks. (Good inside joke there.) This story, the audiobook equivalent of a page-turner, challenges the listener to pick a side: human or machine. The answer is surprising." (Audiofile)
I am a huge fan of Robert J. Sawyer or at least I was till I read this book. I have met him several times and he signed my complete set of the Neanderthal Parallax. However, I was very disappointed with his effort here. While Flashforward was one of his best stories to date, I was sorry to see that it's success and industry's weak effort to make it a TV show caused Hollywood's liberal elite to have a negative effect on him. By the time WebMind makes his acceptance speak late in the story I had become tired of the liberal, secular diatribe that was continuously being trodden out. A majority of it had nothing to the story and just became annoying by the time you reached the end. In the past he has kept these issues at the ???food for thought??? level. There are several examples of this in Calculating God and the aforementioned Neanderthal Parallax where I would stop reading to sit and think about a point that had been made, but it here it crossed the line to just plain preaching/bashing.
I realize as an author it is his prerogative to write as he see's fit and I still look forward to his next story, but if this trend continues, I am sorry to it will be the last I read.
I thoroghly enjoyed this trilogy and was especially gratified that Sawyer was able to end it on a high note. "WWW:Wonder" has more than enough plot twists and surprises to earn a 5-star rating -- both for this book and for the trilogy as a whole.
Some readers may find Webmind more than a little reminiscent of Hollus - the alien for Sawyer's "Calculating God." But for those of us who also enjoyed the latter, Webmind has earned a well-deserved place in the pantheon of memorable RJS characters.
I liked the series very much.
If you liked the other 2 novels, you wont be disappointed.
Web-mind is cool !
This book was so politically biased and predictable I could not help but think it should be marketed to the tween audience. I have no interest in reading the other two previous books by this author.
I felt like I was being lectured to. Even if I agree with the authors philosophy, I still felt it was in my face. I don't like being preached to! I think almost 1/2 of the last book is preaching, including one 25 min. lecture. That was torture. If it wasn't the second to last chapter, I would have stopped listening then.
The story was good, but I think he forgot to finish hobo's part. The humans never even realized that he had web sight too, and was painting it. I waited for that the whole trilogy.
non, I think I would have liked to see some of the characters developed more.
The readers were fantastic, one of the best I have heard yet.
Computational cognition, ethics, transhumanism, etc.
Web mind. If you really want, you don't actually have to read the first two books… But I still recommend them.
Now that Webmind is public knowledge and communicating with others besides Caitlin, it feels like she was an unnecessary in this book. In fact, if she had been removed, it really wouldn't have effected the plot.
My second observation is that the author is clearly terrible at writing romance. There isn't much, but the small amount that's there detracts from the story. I think Sawyer needed a reason to introduce another character in book two, and giving Caitlin a boyfriend was the first thing he thought of.
Finally, the ending seems a lot more anti-climatic than the rest of the book implies. There are people in the book who envision a situation like in the Matrix when they think about Webmind. Without much fanfare though, they suddenly change their minds.
Despite the above complaints though, this was an enjoyable read. The ideas of sight, consciousness... and really just the whole science fiction aspect counterbalance the fact that Caitlin is your typical teenager with all the annoyances that come with that.
A brief word on the narrators: Marc Vietor is the voice of Webmind and Jessica Almasy is mainly the voice of Caitlin. Specifically about Veitor... well, there is no other way to say it... he is Webmind.
The final book of the Robert Sawyer's WWW series, "Wonder" attempts to answer the ultimate question: Can an entity who knows everything. Unlike the first two books, however, it appears that Sawyer was attempting to make "Wonder" more accessible to those who had not read the previous volumes. A good 1/3 of the book involves the characters recapping action that occurred in the previous two books. This repetition becomes tedious at times, and detracts from the narrative flow of the story. I think from the onset, this story was broken down to be a trilogy, however, the final act, edited appropriately could have been told in two volumes instead of 3.
Jessica Almasy & Mark Vietor continue with their excellent characterizations from the point of view of Caitlyn and "the entity". The production greatly suffers for the disappearance of Jennifer Van Dyke's narration of the Primate Researcher Shoshanna. The passages from her point of view are ready by Almasy in this production. While there is nothing technically wrong with Almasy's characterization, her intonation and emphasis differ greatly from what we might have heard had Van Dyke had continued with the role. With the three volumes being a "tight" package, this change is somewhat jarring.
You will have to make up your own mind, about how satisfied you are with the ending of the series. Perhaps it takes the well known exclamation "Information longs to be Free." to the extreme, and I still am not very settled with how "the entity" manipulates people as a means to the end he seeks. In "Wake", "the entity" is given his prime directive by Caitlyn and the bulk of the story revolves around how an independent observer with virtually unlimited power would achieve that end.
Completing my thoughts across the books, however, I was very entertained by Sawyer's writing style and enlightened by his knowledge of both pop culture and hard science, blending it together into an interesting brand of science fiction that is highly contemporary and teeters on the edge of the possible. This was the first of his works I've read and I'm eager to go back and check out his other writings, especially the original novel "Fast Forward" upon which the ill fated ABC series of the same name was based. It will be fun to see what was actually intended and left hanging by the aborted production.
Instead of focusing and developing the story the author seems to be preaching a very disturbing agenda. He tries to build a story where his agenda is right because the result is better for humanity. In his opinion child pornography and teenage sex is morally right. His justification is "everybody does it, why should we be ashamed? While teen sex is common it shouldn't be encouraged as morally right. We shouldn't be saying sending nude pictures is morally right.
Per the story:
Atheism is best
Teenage sex is morally ok
Child pornography is ok
Hackers can be used for the good
Republicans are bigots
Liberalism is the natural result of humanity
While the series does open up interesting issues we shouldn't encourage our teens to read it.
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