WWW : WATCH by Robert J. Sawyer
“Caitlin was wrestling with the implications of this, but it was her mother who got it first. “And Webmind sees through Caitlin’s eye, right? Caitlin is his window on our world.”
Caitlin found herself looking down, pleased but a tad embarrassed that the conversation had suddenly come around to her and вЂ“
And she saw what Webmind had written at the end of her transcript of Kuroda’s comments, glowing blue: You really did uplift me. You gave me the perspective and point of view and focus I needed to become truly conscious. Without you, I wouldn’t exist.
Caitlin looked up and allowed herself a warm, satisfied smile. “Go me!” she said.”
Review by Ann Wilkes (MAY 8, 2010)
In Robert J. Sawyer’s WWW : Wake, the first book of this trilogy, Caitlin Dector acquired sight through an optical implant that communicates with a device she calls her Eye-pod, which decodes the scrambled signals going to her brain from her eye. But before that she became the first person to “see” the World Wide Web, as a byproduct of the Eye-pod along with her own acquired ability to conceptualize Web connections. Caitlin encountered something else in the background of the Web: an emerging intelligence she dubbed Webmind. Caitlin adjusts to seeing the world around her for the first time, while Webmind began to see it through her.
In WWW : Watch, Caitlin realizes that the responsibility of guiding this emerging intelligence is too much for one teenage girl. Her parents help her to enlist the help of Doctor Kuroda, the inventor of the device which gave her sight, to give Webmind the ability to see the Web the way humans do, to access the images and videos.
Meanwhile, the NSA’s WATCH (Web Activity Threat Containment Headquarters) closes in. Caitlin teaches Webmind right from wrong and urges “him” to intervene rather than just watch as he sees people hurting each other or themselves. The exponential rate of his growth along with his insatiable curiosity keep Caitlin, her parents and Dr. Kuroda busy keeping it occupied through instant message communication.
A charming element introduced in WWW : Wake comes to fruition in WWW : Watch, as the communicative, expressive, half-bonobo, half-chimpanzee artist, Hobo, meets Webmind.
Caitlin turns sixteen in WWW : Watch, which means there’s got to be a love interest, even if it’s puppy love. The really cool thing is that since she hasn’t grown up with sight, she also doesn’t have preconceived notions of what’s beautiful. She falls for the guy with a beautiful mind, and though the world thinks he’s not good looking, Caitlin decides he is.
Sawyer has Caitlin wrestle with many mature and complex concepts. She’s a philosopher at heart, reflected in her Live Journal handle, Calculass. Caitlin has been exposed to physics and mathematics by her parents, who have multiple degrees. Hungry for knowledge, Caitlin read up on difficult subjects both by Braille and on the Internet. Caitlin’s youth combined with so much intellect and curiosity make her a very effective protagonist. Her development plays counterpoint to the emerging intelligence that is growing up with her.
It’s very rare for a second book in a series to surpass the first. Sawyer has done it with WWW : Watch. I enjoyed WWW : Wake as well, but things really come together in this second book. There are more players and all the story lines intersect at last. And the pages of WWW : Watch are filled with suspense of a different kind as Webmind’s friends race to stay ahead of the intelligence agencies who want to bring him down.
Caitlin obviously did something right because Webmind, with no help or prompting, presents her with a remarkably thoughtful birthday present. Caitlin considers Webmind’s altruistic, compassionate intervention, which is facilitated by his surveillance, and weighs it against Orwell’s concept of “Big Brother.” Watch raises a number of interesting questions.
I can’t wait for the conclusion, WWW : Wonder.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 26 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Robert J. Sawyer|
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