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WWW Audiobook

WWW: Wake

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Publisher's Summary

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.

But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, 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 more and more intelligent with each passing day.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Robert J. Sawyer.

©2009 SFWRITER.COM Inc.; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The thematic diversity - and profundity - makes this one of Sawyer's strongest works to date." (Publishers Weekly)
"Unforgettable. Impossible to put down." (Jack McDevitt)
"Thoughtful and engaging, and a great beginning to a fascinating trilogy." (Robert Charles Wilson)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2030 )
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4.1 (1296 )
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4.3 (1295 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John 04-23-17
    John 04-23-17 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
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    8
    8
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    Story
    "amazing"

    loved the book and the presentation was one of the best so far. it's my first audio book with more than one narrator. and it really enhanced my experience and enjoyment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathieu Sicard-Gagné 04-03-17 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "Sci-Fi done right. A movie for the ears."

    This is an AI story that actually gives hope. Explores the mind, and it does it with heart...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E. 12-05-16
    David E. 12-05-16
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing"

    Engrossing story, loved it, will enjoy listening to the story again and again, a trilogy all the better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 11-05-16
    Tracy 11-05-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    87
    62
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    "Very Surprised and Super Pleased!"

    This book was a great accidental find for me on a sale recently. I took a chance and was not disappoInted!

    Very intellectually written, I feel I went back to school!

    The intermingling of the voices made this book fly! I was so disappointed when it ended I eagerly downloaded the second book to start it.

    Also, not only was yhis fun for me as an adult, I can see how this might be a book a teenager would enjoy too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ssemerys 11-03-16
    ssemerys 11-03-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    163
    10
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    "Amazing story that enlarges the listener."

    The character development is real, the ideas are profound, and the ride grows exponentially more interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnathon 10-21-16
    Johnathon 10-21-16 Member Since 2017
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    33
    3
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    Story
    "Interesting take on AI"

    I gave the narrator 4 stars because of her annoyingly perfect representation of a teenage girl. in retrospect I guess I should have gave you 5 stars because of this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 10-12-16
    David 10-12-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "YA SF, already a bit dated"

    Robert Sawyer seems to write sci-fi novels in a classical vein but updated with contemporary science and modern tropes. Which is good when it works, but is also going to make them little time capsules like a lot of the old Asimovian and Heinleinian stuff. Unfortunately, Sawyer is no Heinlein or Asimov, so this was only an okay story. It's the first part of a trilogy, and I may read the rest eventually but it did not grab me.

    The first problem is the main character, Caitlin. Caitlin is a teenage girl, and Sawyer goes out of his way to write her talking and acting like a teenage girl. But a very smart teenage girl, of course. So she alternates between being a math prodigy (with the online nickname of "Calcu-Lass") and a typical girl mooning over the school hunk and complaining about her embarrassing parents.

    I have seen worse depictions of teenage girls written by middle-aged men (I'm looking at you, Heinlein), but Caitlin didn't seem entirely believable to this middle-aged man. She's just a little too perky and smart and perfect and teeny.

    Caitlin is blind, so the first of the three main threads in this book concerns her gaining vision thanks to an experiment by a kindly Japanese scientist who figures out how to tap into her visual cortex. I can't speak to the authenticity of her depiction as a blind person learning to see, but the plot device here is that somehow, Caitlin also becomes able to "see" the World Wide Web.

    What she discovers is that there is a nascent artificial intelligence "awakening" within the web. So there are many predictable parallels between Caitlin learning to correlate new visual images with things she's known her entire life, and the entity becoming aware of a reality outside itself.

    The third thread doesn't even connect to the first two threads at all - it's the story of a chimp-bonobono hybrid demonstrating unusual intelligence. I.e., possibly a third type of "awakening" of a sapient being. This subplot doesn't go anywhere - it's obviously meant to develop events for the next book - which annoyed me because even if you are writing the first book in a series, you should make each one deliver some kind of payoff.

    Wake is already dated - Sawyer drops a lot of real names for verisimilitude, so there are frequent references to Google, Wikipedia, LiveJournal (!) and iPod Shuffles (!), as well as contemporary celebrities, writers, and politicians. Written in 2009, that means this book is already referring to things a lot of teenagers will barely be familiar with ("Wait, people still use LiveJournal?"), and in ten years, people are going to be saying "What's that?" about a lot of his tech and brand references.

    Basically, this entire book was setup for the real storyline, which is about the birth of a self-aware AI. As a Young Adult novel, I don't know how relatable Caitlin is to the average girl, but as a science fiction novel, I felt it was rather flat and lacking in drama. It was an okay read, but the rest of the series isn't being bumped to the front of my TBR list.

    I did enjoy the audio production of this book - the different voices, male and female, and historical sound clips made it an enjoyable listen and did contribute to Sawyer's attempt to actually ground this story in the real world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 09-21-16
    Linda 09-21-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Incredible!!"

    This story is without a doubt the most imaginative I have read in way too long!! Can't wait to read the next one....audible, u guys did a super special fantastic job, heck I ran out of adjectives!! Thank you 😘

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    solsta 09-16-16
    solsta 09-16-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "brilliant
    "

    Wasn't sure what to expect from a new writer. Four stories that form one epic tale.
    This is definitely on my must read list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AJ houston 09-06-16
    AJ houston 09-06-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    9
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    Story
    "Shallow sermonizing"
    What disappointed you about WWW?

    This review is about all three books. The series started with a great premise. The spontaneous emergence and development of consciousness on the web was handled nicely, but the story went downhill from there on because the author diluted the focus on science, and replaced it with half baked liberal dogma. I would rather read green party manifesto for a better understanding of those topics. When I pick up a book about AI, I am not looking for sermons on feminism, gay rights, animal rights, and so on. Author did great injustice to the lead human protagonist as well. Caitlyn started as a nerd and ended more like a whiny nympho. What sort of a math genius teenager is surprised by a Monty Hall problem?


    What could Robert J. Sawyer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Nothing, I am no one to tell him what to write. Other readers might like him. I will wait for the next Neal Stephenson book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    performance was OK, except for some deadpan dialogue delivery by male voices.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from WWW?

    No comments.


    Any additional comments?

    Science fiction for humanities majors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Nicholas
    Herne Bay, United Kingdom
    6/12/11
    Overall
    "Very engaging (if you're prepared to work with it)"

    I was very impressed with this book - surprisingly so, in fact. My general encounters with science-fiction books have fallen into two categories - things written by Iain M Banks, and things I hated. So I was taking a risk here.

    The review deserves two parts - one for the book itself and one for the production of the audio-book, which is interesting enough in it's own right. To cover that, I love the idea of varying the narrator according to the context of the story. This is a story that links together many stories and themes, and to give each of them their own voice makes it both more interesting and easier to follow. I tend to listen while driving which means occasionally I have to focus on other things - having an audio reminder of roughly what's going on is very helpful.

    The story is complex and, in the beginning, far from obvious. Stuart's review noting that there seemed to be no link between the threads is fair, but it becomes clearer later on. This is a book about consciousness, about separation, acquisition and loss of senses, about the very idea of what is to be. Inevitably an ambition like that is going to lead to some confusion at first, and I got the impression perhaps to a few half-formed ideas getting dropped along the way. The thing about China does make sense, but you have to think about why - nobody gets spoon fed their explanations here.

    The point about the maguffin not really making sense - without wishing to spoil things, the idea of lost packets leading to greater things - is correct. It doesn't make sense. I think the best approach here would have been to adopt the approach Star Trek's producers took when asked how the intertial damping works - they said 'very nicely thanks' and left it at that. The story is really about what it is to be and about varying perceptions of different entities - I don't really care about TCP/IP packet loss.

    Overall - great book, interesting ideas and even a few funny jokes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    East Kilbride, United Kingdom
    5/10/11
    Overall
    "Narrated with superb tone"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book for several reasons. I did enjoy the technical aspects of the story and the way they are explained in the flow of events. Above all though, my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by the cast of narrators. I have listened to a lot of audio books in the past few years and would say that the narrators here would be hard to beat. I enjoyed the way in which the different strands of the story where being told by different people. The person covering the central characters was superb. She was able to lend an emotion to the storytelling which indicates a rare talent. It is a tremendous performance and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Have already purchased the other books in the series. Money well spent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ruth
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    8/31/10
    Overall
    "Nicely Different"

    I enjoyed this book very much and the narration (esp. the choice of different voices) helped in the characterisation. As the author notes at the beginning, the perspective of someone who has never seen is an interesting one, and the changes that happen as the story evolves only serve to accentuate that. It became the audio equivalent of a page-turner for me, and I am eagerly looking forward to 'WWW: Watch'.

    One thing that did appeal is that the approach Sawyer takes to the book is very different to that used by most sci-fi authors. As someone reasonably well read in sci-fi world, I have become somewhat bored by the constant reworking of similar ideas and plots. The characters Sawyer portrays are believable and of sufficient depth (while not being so deep that we get lost in descriptive text), and though the plot is relatively simple it is not too predictable either.

    Minor Spoiler Alert:

    The only disappointment, from my perspective as someone who understands how the net works very well, is that the way the net intelligence is supposed to have evolved didn't make sense. In some ways I would have preferred not having that explanation - just 'somehow it happened' - although a more believable version would have been even better! The author's description of automata is essentially Conway's 'Game of Life', which is well known and indeed capable of quite amazing things given the simplicity of the rules. However, Life does rely on condition rules - if this then that - and to my knowledge, this doesn't happen with packets on the net as described here.

    However, and despite the above disappointment, a good listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Relativitydrive
    London, UK
    4/23/10
    Overall
    "A Beautiful Book of Hard SciFi"

    Well written and expertly presented in this audiobook format with original music and perfectly chosen voices.

    A book of subtle beginnings leading the listener into conclusions that the author is just about to layout for you. At times emotional and at times Hard SciFi. A must for the SciFi fans and those wishing for more of a personal book.

    Highly recommended to all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Erica
    11/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story jumps a little too much but good anyway"

    Fantastic story, curious how all the characters paths intertwine. Narrators are great, Especially the older lady. her voice is so warm and rich I want to give her a big hug!!!
    Being blind myself I was curious to see how this would be handled, and there are differences between the book and real life for me.
    I'm looking forward to the others in the series, The one distracting thing I found was the toing and froing between points of view for just a sentence or so, then flipping back. Thankfully there wasn't too much maths, which I was worried there would be, but hearing binary rendered as audio was just plain tedious. That's a downside of the format though as audio rather 'than the actual book's fault.
    Great read. Unusual, and quite outside my comfort zone. .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Rawson
    Birmingham, UK
    8/16/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lightweight sci fi done well"

    This is a thoroughly entertaining read. It's not going to boggle your brain with endless details about science, but there is enough there to keep things interesting. As a former maths student I found the brief forays very entertaining without being at all heavy. The main story makes clever use of a couple of tangential story lines which never quite knit in as I had expected but are still made very relevant in the main plot. I also enjoyed the way the author gives you a first person account from the AI's point of view as it becomes conscious. Very nicely done. A thoroughly enjoyably holiday read perhaps. I'm looking forward to the next one now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Davis
    Cornwall, UK
    7/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved the idea but wasn't gripped"
    Would you try another book written by Robert J. Sawyer or narrated by the narrators?

    Possibly as I enjoyed Flashforward however I listened to Hominids but didn;t enjoy that so depends upon whether the synopsis looks intriguing.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Interesting concept being able to see the web and restore sight to the central character. Least interesting was the amount of waffle from the online entity which didn;t add anything to the story


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    When the eye-pod finally works


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Maybe as it could be condensed and pared down to a more manageable size


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D. J. Wilkinson
    Oxford UK
    9/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved this book, clever and thought provoking"

    An interesting set of parallel stories which are metaphors. I got quite caught up with the main character, a young blind girl. My only quibble with the book is that a couple of the stories lines are left (to my mind at least) incomplete. I hope the author writes a follow up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M
    Bradford, United Kingdom
    8/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just couldn't finish it"
    What was most disappointing about Robert J. Sawyer’s story?

    Forced myself though most of this book. I've only got an hour to listen to. I care so little about the story that I can't even be bothered to find out how it ends.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I found the voice of the main character (the girl) to be very annoying after a while.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    stavanger, Norway
    9/13/12
    Overall
    "For old and young math geeks"

    Feels real and believable, and as you read the next two books in this series you’ll get more and more drawn in to the lives of the characters in these books. I won’t say too much about the story, I don’t want to spoil any more of the story than is in the description. But the book is quite heavy on the science behind its claims without bogging down the story with useless facts. Just enough to make the whole premise of this emergent AI seem not only plausible but quite likely. A great take on AI Sci-Fi, the likes I have not read since “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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