WWW Trilogy: Wake, Watch, Wonder-Robert Sawyer
pages: 354, 350, 336
year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Novels- WWW Series
Wake: "Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math, and blind. When she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality she perceives the landscape of the World Wide Web-where she makes contact with a mysterious consciousness existing only in cyberspace."b
Watch: "It calls itself Webmind. An emerging consciousness within the World Wide Web, it has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But Webmind has also come to the attention of WATCH, the secret United States government agency that monitors the Internet for any potential threats-and wants it purged from cyberspace."
Wonder: "Caitlin Decter discovered Webmind, the vast artificial intelligence that spontaneously emerged from the World Wide Web and changed the world-from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the Pentagon has declared war on it, recruiting hackers to delete Webmind out of existence..."
I'm doing things differently because unusually for me, I read Wake and immediately took a bus to take Watch and Wonder out of the libraries across the city. I never do that-I'm usually fine waiting, reading a few books in between. They were just that good. There's so much math, brilliant ideas, clever people, and interesting plotlines that it's just unbelievably good. If you like your books intelligent, this is the series for you.
I was first intrigued by the blind protagonist, Caitlin. This is all too rare in non-inspirational books, a totally blind but comfortable with it protagonist? Say it ain't so. And then she gets a truly beautiful concept of being able to see the internet with all its connections. Then a high functioning autistic who has a family and a job and you know, people just deal with it it's a deal but it's not really a big deal.
And then there's this amazing concept of a AI that becomes self-aware out of China's isolationist tactics. Mixed in all this is primate language. All of this is to explore the idea of language and interconnection. Then within all this, Sawyer is also asking questions about power, information, the origins of consciousness, and the right to self-determination. There's humor too in all this, fighting with spam for instance.
The final novel, Wonder, is full of action between governments and Webmind (the emergent AI). There's a great atmosphere of suspicion and tension. All told, each of these novels could have stood alone but as a trio, you develop a real sense of the science involved and so you stop thinking about it and instead focus on losing yourself into the story.