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WWW: Wake

(WWW #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,192 ratings  ·  785 reviews
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.

Hardcover, 354 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Ace Hardcover
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Tristan A. The arc with the orangutan and the bonobo/chimp hybrid is really cool. No experimentation; they talk with each other, and afterwards the bonobo/chimp…moreThe arc with the orangutan and the bonobo/chimp hybrid is really cool. No experimentation; they talk with each other, and afterwards the bonobo/chimp (named Hobo) starts painting representational drawings of the female primatologist. There's a little drama there where a zoo he used to live at wants him back and wants to castrate him because they want to keep the chimp and bonobo DNA "pure," but it has a happy ending because in the second book, Webmind helps intervene. No moving away or castration for Hobo, YAY! I hope this puts your mind at ease so you can enjoy this wonderful book! It's so very much worth it.(less)

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,192 ratings  ·  785 reviews

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I loathed this book. Its Hugo nomination makes me cringe. This morning I came out of my room with a happy Labrador bouncing around my feet and the sunshine pouring in, and my roommate said, “good morning!” and I said, “I hate this book.”

A congenitally blind teenager is fitted with a neural implant to restore her sight, but first it lets her see the internet, where something is coming alive.

There are a lot of things wrong with this book: cardboard writing, pacing issues, characterization of a tee
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good science fiction speculates on things that are theoretically possible given some of the conditions and advances of our current level of technology. In many cases, the advances may be years or decades away from becoming reality, but in the case of Robert J. Sawyer’s new novel, “WWW: Wake,” part of his speculated future has become a reality far too quickly.

It’s disconcerting to pick up a novel that speculates on the future and find one plot element concerning an outbreak of a new form of the f
Genre trash littering the road on my journey to find literary science fiction.

This book is just bad craft, bottom line. It's horribly written, the politics seem precious and the wink-wink attitude he takes towards mentioning certain political movements just pissed me off. If you want to write a political book, great - but at least be intellectually honest with me and come out and own it.

Also, it's offensive. He wouldn't know a teenage girl if one came up to him and kicked him in the head. Seriou
Ben Babcock
Seldom does a book live up to blurbs like "Unforgettable. Impossible to put down," as Jack McDevitt says of Wake. Usually, such claims are empty hype, even when the book is good. Not so with Wake. I agree wholeheartedly with McDevitt, for I was 100 pages into the novel before realizing it was 2 AM and I should probably get some sleep. There's no way that Wake could be mistaken for "an action-packed thrill ride" or any of those other tired blurb clichés floating around in the critique pool, but " ...more
Jacob Proffitt
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed parts of this very well. Caitlin was made of win and her story was both engaging and entertaining. Sawyer did an outstanding job getting into the head of a blind fifteen year-old girl and giving us her perspective as she goes through the ups and downs of gaining sight. Seriously, if that'd been all this story was, it would have been an easy four stars with the possibility of five.

Unfortunately, Sawyer "treats" us to a number of perspective shifts at almost random intervals. Some of tho
Lisa Vegan
This was an incredibly fast read, and I really enjoyed the story.

I loved the premise. I loved all the subplots, event though some of them are abruptly dropped, at least in this first book; it is a trilogy. All the parts of this book did make sense to me though and they did all converge well.

After the first several pages, I completely enjoyed Caitlin Decter, an almost sixteen year old girl who has been blind since birth, and then gets an opportunity to have an operation that might allow her to se
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Comfort-seekers
Robert J. Sawyer is a prolific author known for writing popular, workmanlike science fiction, and WWW:Wake is no exception. His work is also not especially adventurous... and this book is no exception there, either. I enjoyed reading this novel (although be warned: it's the first in Yet Another Series), but it was something of a guilty pleasure.

Sawyer's take on the well-worn theme of a nascent artificial intelligence could have been entitled When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was Web 2.0—already a familiar riff
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
I'm never quite sure why Sawyer wins all the awards he does. I'm not entirely clear on why I read his books every once in awhile. I think I am over him and his pontificating, and then a couple of years later, I delve into another of his far-fetched tales and get wrapped up in his storyline.

He can really tell a story. I knocked off this novel in about 6 hours of reading. The book is about a blind girl who has a rare sight disorder. She can actually see (the eyes and optic nerves work) but the in
Alex Telander
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
From an author who has written a number of books and has won just about every award a science fiction author can comes one of the most original and fascinating novels to be published in a long time. It’s one of those books that has just as much right to be on a fiction shelf with other literature classics. WWW: Wake is the first in a trilogy about a blind girl, Caitlin Decter, who undergoes new and theoretical surgery in Japan to bring back her sight. With an implant in one eye, signals are sent ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If machine consciousness were to arise in our generation, where would it take root? WWW: Wake posits the world wide web as the fertile ground, with its vast architecture and ready access to data and processing power. And, with supreme ambition, Sawyer tells this birthing tale through the "eyes" of a blind teenager. Here we have a tale told with deliberation on the evolution of consciousness, both biological and digital.

The main protagonist, Caitlin, takes up most of the narrative setup and progr
James Scholes
May 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
I started reading this book because of the talk about it on Twitter. At first I scanned through the text, thinking it was a joke. Being visually impaired myself, I was overwhelmed by the attention to detail as far as the main character being blind was concerned. The author has obviously done his research into JAWS, Braille Displays, etc, and once I started actually reading the novel I managed to put aside my original opinion in favor of adopting a different view. It occurred to me that the amoun ...more
Scott Sigler
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
There's an awful lot going on in WAKE, the first of an internet-comes-alive trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. The concept has been done before in the ENDER'S GAME series by Orson Scott Card, but Sawyer is trying to show how it might happen with today's internet, not a future, even more-powerful internet. Sawyer does an excellent job making the main character real and compelling. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series. Warning: Action-adventure fans, this one is not for you.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I spent half of this book wondering why so many people loved it. Did anyone who nominated it for a Hugo actually read it? Honestly? Fess up, people. Seriously, it was that off. The most generous explanation I have is that maybe his other books are brilliant; I had never read Robert Sawyer so I had no preconceptions. When I love an author, I tend to make excuses for work that isn't good (unless it continues to be substandard, then I get irrationally angry with him or her). Maybe the good reviews ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it

I grabbed an ARC of this the other day and am pleased to say that I enjoyed it immensely. My first Robert J. Sawyer experience was calculating god, and to this day it is one of my favorite quick reads - it's crossed the country in countless carry ons.

Until now I haven't been as fond of his other works. I always find his ideas fascinating, but I don't click with his characters - and since his novels are very much character pieces as well as imaginary voyages into the unknown that creates a slight
Nicholas Whyte
May 26, 2010 rated it did not like it

I don't think I will ever much enjoy a Sawyer novel, but this one irritated me less than most of his books. The prose was not particularly awful, and the plot mostly makes sense; the story of the blind girl gaining sight for the first time resonates almost neatly with the story of a conscious intelligence developing in the internet.

It is, of course, a flawed book. Caitlin writes a livejournal which sounds nothing like any teenager's livejournal I have r
Diana Sandberg
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Gosh, real old-school sci fi, not fantasy; makes me quite nostalgic. Not that it isn’t quite up to date in subject matter - it’s all about the dawning consciousness of the World Wide Web and other technological immediacies. I gather that Sawyer is enormously popular and, indeed, one of the best selling authors Canada has ever produced. This book is highly readable but Sawyer is no Bradbury; it’s not art.

Like all old-school sci fi, the basic what-if scientific idea is the whole raison d’etre of
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Book was good, but I found the style a little difficult at times. If it was written for adults, then there was too much teenaged content. But as a teen novel (which it is, at least in our library system), I found it a little too complicated and advanced for what I would expect most kids would want to read. It was a strange mix, and seemed to flip flop from teen novel to adult content over and over again.

I was confused about why storylines were created and dropped. I realize this is the first bo
I have two questions:

1. Just how much info-dumping does Robert J. Sawyer need to do per novel?

2. What was the point of the chimpanzee???

Seriously, do we really need to know the history of Google's search engine? Do we need to be told that Lenscrafters can make glasses in an hour? This book would have been half the length it is without info-dumps of stuff aimed at people who probably wouldn't be reading science fiction in the first place. The story itself is interesting enough, if not complete e
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Told from the viewpoint of a blind young woman, and never loses that perspective, even after she gains 'websight'. Plenty of pop-culture references, hopefully won't make the book 'stale' in 10 years. The message is a positive one. Not marketed as YA, but suitable for readers 15+ (complex math & science concepts abound). Another excellent book from Robert Sawyer.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Enjoyed this a lot. I won't go into detail because of spoilers but it takes an interesting approach to 'cyberspace', the internet and artificial intelligence, as experienced through a fascinating main character. Good, absorbing, imaginative Sci Fi.. and I will be reading the sequels.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
For me personally a three star book but I could see another reader giving it a four. It's very intriguing with some really interesting ideas. Maybe too many. I understand this is the first of a trilogy but even so the plot seemed to be all over.

In book "A", we have a young teenage girl in Canada who has been blind from birth who is contacted by a mysterious doctor who informs her she's the perfect candidate for a radical surgery that might restore sight.

In book "B", we travel to China where we w
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2009 rated it liked it
I was nervous when I started this. The "About the author" at the end of the book is 2 pages of accolades and and awards. If I had all of those awards I'd want everyone to know about the, too. But it comes off as arrogant and egotistical, the way it's done. Then the acknowledgments at the beginning are 3 pages long. This added to the perception of ego. Then the story opened and it didn't feel fresh. I've read other books about computers waking up. There is no indication early on about what makes ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science types who enjoy sci-fi
Science fiction confronts human nature with an ideal of humanity within a landscape of plausible scientific breakthrough. All the elements must be present. The science must be based on real phenomena, extrapolated into a believeable future reality. It must connect with a moral compass the reader is still presumed to endorse. In Mary Shelley's work FRANKENSTEIN, the science was built on lurid public demonstrations of the newly discovered properties of electricity. The human elements she focused o ...more
Matthew Bennett
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Any book that is speculative, has interesting characters, complex and well written as well as being impossible to put down should get five stars. "Wake" is layered with complex symbolism and ideas, but its also exciting and the characters are very compelling. Time and again Sawyer leads you to crave some sort of resolution and manages to keep you in that state for hundreds of pages without losing interest but he doesn't always go the conventional way and simply give you what will satisfy you. In ...more
Algot Runeman
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of a trilogy. While each book can stand alone, the full impact of the trilogy benefits from the books being read in order.

These books define what I think of when I say "Science Fiction." They have a young person's perspective of possibilities. In this case, the young people are represented by a sixteen year old girl from Texas who moves to Canada, a Bonobo-Chimpanzee learning sign language and a consciousness which emerges from the packets of data flowing on the Internet.
Robert Colquhoun
I'm not much of a sci-fi reader but this author and trilogy was recommended to me so, I thought I would give it a go. I wasn't aware the author was Canadian, which makes it an even better choice (he who writes this review is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada).
I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of R. Sawyer and I may very well come back and amend this to a 4 once I have finished the trilogy!!!
Not too far fetched (which I appreciate) and the characters are all very likeable (Caitlin, the ape, the Ja
Sean Randall
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book impacts on so many levels it's difficult to know quite where to begin. It's garnered much attention from the blind community, as has the sequel, but I wanted to read it without all the hype and so held off until things had quite died down.

As a rule, I try not to let portrayals of the blind influence my thinking one way or another. There were certain things that made me pause - the assertion that raising a blind child is overly difficult, for instance. I don't remember my folks going ou
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This sounded like an incredibly interesting read. I have always been fascinated by the idea of information structures becoming sentient. This was a great book that delves into deep topics of consciousness and humanity while still providing a very approachable and engaging story. I listened to this on audio book and it was one of the best audio books I've listened to yet; they provided different readers for different parts of the book and did an excellent job with the whole thing.

This story has a
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: transplanted Texans, autistic parents, blind girls with LiveJournals
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 g
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Amazing Story 5 43 Apr 27, 2013 05:06PM  
Hard SF: BotM: "WWW: Wake" by Robert J. Sawyer 5 41 Jul 10, 2011 08:49AM  
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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in

Other books in the series

WWW (3 books)
  • WWW: Watch (WWW, #2)
  • WWW: Wonder (WWW, #3)
“Not darkness, for that implies an understanding of light. Not silence, for that suggests a familiarity with sound. Not loneliness, for that requires knowledge of others. But still, faintly, so tenuous that if it were any less it wouldn’t exist at all: awareness. Nothing more than that. Just awareness—a vague, ethereal sense of being. Being . . . but not becoming. No marking of time, no past or future—only an endless, featureless now, and, just barely there in that boundless moment, inchoate and raw, the dawning of perception . . .” 8 likes
“The sky above the island was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel—which is to say it was a bright, cheery blue.” 6 likes
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