Review: WWW: Watch, by Robert J. Sawyer

This is the second in Sawyer’s WWW trilogy, where we see the world wide web emerge into a conscious entity, making first contact with a blind girl whose sight has been restored through a computer implant along her optic nerve.

Now in the second book, we have young Caitlin deciding who to trust with the knowledge of the Webmind and what to do about it. Meanwhile, the story of the sign-language chimp finally connects properly with the rest of the story, and some of the world government’s begin to take notice of what’s going on.

I found this book more grounded and believable than the first. The way various people reacted was pretty much spot-on. The optimistic people imagined the possibilities. The paranoid people saw the danger. It was very much a first-contact situation with the full spectrum of reactions.

I’m definitely looking forward to the conclusion WWW: Wonder, but I’m pacing myself.

Review: WWW Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer

I don’t remember how I first came across this one, but the basic idea is that the Internet becomes self-aware. It was an idea I have toyed with from time to time but never figured out how to turn it into a story. Sawyer did.

It’s mostly told through the POV of a blind teenage girl who gets an experimental implant to grant her sight, but there are also some other characters scattered around the globe playing their own parts. While the girl’s operation is at first deemed a failure, time changes that. I don’t want to say too much about that, because it’s a spoiler worth preserving, though I will say I was initially annoyed by what she sees via her implant. Still, I recognized it was required by the plot, but I was glad to see it go.

We also see some of the story told from the POV of the emerging sentience of the internet. While generally told in small snippets, I found that part very interesting. Over the book, it goes from a barely aware sentience to a fully self-aware, communicative mind. That in itself was an interesting journey.

So, overall I enjoyed it, with only minor points of nit-picking. It’s clearly the first in a trilogy, so I look forward to seeing where the rest of this goes.