Leslie's Reviews > WWW: Watch

WWW by Robert J. Sawyer
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's review
Jun 17, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi
Read from May 31 to June 13, 2010

This is book two of a three part series. We first met Caitlin Decter in book one of the trilogy, W W W : W A K E.

Caitlin isn’t an ordinary teenager. Blind from birth she excelled in school as a math wiz and was able to surf the web by visualizing it’s complex pathways in her mind. Now Caitlin is the recipient of newly developed signal-processing implant that restores her sight in one eye. In the process she also finds she can communicate with something else that is emerging on the web; something sentient which begins learning and evolving. She calls the emerging intelligence Webmind. WATCH, a secret government agency that monitors the internet for security and terrorist threats, becomes aware that something is evolving on the web and it becomes their goal to hunt it down and find whoever created it.

You don’t to have read book one of the trilogy to enjoy this story but I highly recommend starting at the beginning. Several subplots were introduced which are woven together nicely in book two. In book one I found the introduction of these story lines, with no apparent way to tie them together and then having to wait a year for book two, to be frustrating. Another reason to read book one first is for the background on Caitlin, her friends, family and the development of the eye implant in the first novel.

I liked this book even better than the first one. Webmind grows and develops as a character and the subplots first introduced in book one begin to tie together. There are thought provoking issues about artificial intelligence and morality. We see the development of Webmind’s character when he witnesses a suicide on the internet. The book has enough scientific detail to be thought-provoking but not tedious and some interesting passages on game theory. There is believable science in this novel with characters that could be real people. Caitlin loves music, writes a blog, communicates with her friends and Webmind through instant messaging and updates her social networking page; she could almost be the kid next door. The setting of the story is in Canada and the author, being Canadian, tossed in lots of little factoids about our neighbors to the north.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable read. Science fiction fans as well as anyone who enjoys contemporary or young adult fiction should find this an engaging story.

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