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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WWW Trilogy Week: Watch by Robert J.Sawyer (Review)

Genre:Science Fiction
Publication.Date  March 30th 2010
Published By:  Penguin Canada
WebsiteWWW Website
Watch - Goodreads
My review copy:paperback provided by the publisher (*thank you*~)
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Blind from birth, Caitlin Decter received the gift of sight with the aid of a signal-processing retinal implant. The technology also gave her an unexpected side effect—the ability to “see” the digital data streams of the World Wide Web. And within the Web she perceived an extraordinary presence, and woke it up.
It calls itself Webmind. It is an emerging consciousness that has befriended Caitlin and grown eager to learn about her world. But Webmind has also come to the attention of Watch—the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States whether foreign, domestic, or online—and they're fully aware of Caitlin's involvement in its awakening.
Watch is convinced that Webmind represents a risk to national security and wants it purged from cyberspace. But Caitlin believes in Webmind's capacity for compassion—and she will do anything and everything necessary to protect her friend…

"Secrecy was the problem; transparency the obvious cure."
"Libet noticed that our bodies start to do things about a fifth of a second before our conscious minds become aware of the action. Get it? The body starts doing things first, unconsciously; consciousness doesn’t initiate the action, it just vetoes actions that it realizes are dangerous or inappropriate."
"I've often thought that if the people with the highest IQs stopped doing what those with the lowest IQs wanted them to do, the world would be in a lot better shape."
"One didn’t become conscious by learning to leap beyond the preprogrammed logic of selfish genes or the mathematical rigidity of game theory. Rather, sophisticated consciousness was the ability to do that: it was the power to override selfish genes; it was the capacity to seek, when appropriate, outcomes other than the ones that benefited you or your kin the most."

     Watch is the second novel in Robert J. Sawyer’s WWW Trilogy about the spontaneous emergence of consciousness on the World Wide Web.  As with every series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, I was a bit concerned that it might not measure up to the previous novel in the series, so I’m very pleased to tell you that my worries were absolutely groundless. Watch turned out to be the perfect continuation of a unique and thought-provoking story. I was deeply impressed with all the work Sawyer has put into this volume. Watch is fast-paced and freakishly compelling. You definitely won’t regret picking it up!

     Blind from birth, 16-year-old Caitlin underwent a surgical procedure designed to grant her sight. Not only she can now see the world around her, but thanks to her ”EyePod” (a signal-processing device placed directly behind her left retina), she can now “see” the data flow of the Internet. While exploring the wonderful world of cyberspace, Caitlin discovered a spontaneously emerging consciousness existing only on the Web. Through Caitlin’s implant, this intelligent being called Webmind, can now see and hear everything she does and so it learns alongside her.

     As Webmind’s existence becomes known to more people, the situation quickly gets very intense. The opinions are divided. Some people consider his presence to be comforting and fascinating and they accept it with optimism and trust. Others are not as welcoming, as they fear that Webmind will harm and eventually destroy human race.  There are even those, who believe it to be nothing more than just another hoax or a marketing campaign for an upcoming Movie/TV show. 

     The already rich kaleidoscope of characters expands even more as we meet the members of WATCH (Web Activity Threat Containment Headquarters). This government agency stumbles upon Webmind and decides that terminating his existence is the only safe option. That’s when the race against time begins between those who are set on “killing” the newly emerged AI and those who are determined to protect it. 

     Sawyer has a fantastic imagination, and this is a truly excellent story with a clever plot. Like I said in my review of Wake, it’s a science fiction novel that doesn’t read as one. Sawyer has a way of creating a complex story with a marvelous scientific background without making it heavy or overwhelming. His writing style is sophisticated enough to tickle your inner geek, and at the same time it’s not tiring. The storytelling is very natural and smooth, which makes it easy for the readers to follow, understand and enjoy the plot. It took me about 6 hours to finish this volume. Not even once did I feel the need to take a break. Moreover, I didn’t want to take a break. I literally devoured this book and jumped right into the final novel in the series.  

     In his brilliant technological foresight Sawyer reminds me of Philip K. Dick. The ideas he explores and the questions he ponders are one of the most relevant ones in our modern society. His profound and eclectic knowledge makes Watch a very delicious treat for everyone who appreciates a good, stimulating read. And let me emphasize this one more time: you don’t have to be a SF fan to read and enjoy this series. I think it’s one of those stories that shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into just one genre or classification, because even though the science part of it is wildly revelatory and elaborate, it’s actually the skillfully executed plot line and the fantastic characters that make the story. 
     My favorite thing about this series is the unique and surprisingly optimistic approach to the emergence of artificial intelligence. In times when we continue to be bombarded with dystopian/apocalyptic books that paint a dark, horrifying vision of the future, Sawyer’s WWW Trilogy is a bright glimmer of hope, and I’m really thankful for that. 

     Watch is an excellent, entertaining novel. In my opinion it’s a must-read for every self-respecting book worm.

This review is posted as a part of WWW Trilogy Week @Bookish

Come back tomorrow to read my review of Wonder
And don't forget to come back on 16th to enter the huge giveaway of the whole WWW Trilogy!!!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


landofbooks said...

This sounds as great as the first one.

Alison Can Read said...

I haven't heard of this. It sounds fascinating. There aren't many books with blind characters. And it makes a great spin on a sci fi thriller.

Julie said...

This series just keeps getting better and better! I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the great review:)

jwitt33 at live dot com

Anna said...

sounds like these books get better with each one goin on my TBR pile. Liked the trailer.

SweetShenanigans said...

As online interaction becomes more and more common, I find this book very intriguing

Lissyta said...

Every time i read a review of this book i'm much more intrigued

aurora M. said...

It seems that I am seeing more and more tecno type YA reads lately. Thanks for the review.

Krystal said...

I really enjoyed the review and book trailor, I think I will give this one a try.

FairyWhispers said...

hmmm, sounds interesting

Munnaza said...

Haha, I totally missed where you said these books were a part of a trilogy. This one looks just as interesting as the first, so I'll definitely be considering reading it as well. And I'm glad that this, like the last, is science fiction-y without being too science fiction-y, if that makes any sense. Thanks for the review!

Enbrethiliel said...


I had The Terminator and its fictional computer network Skynet in mind all throughout your review, as well as the general sense that machines becoming self-aware is a negative, fearsome development. So I was surprised to read that Sawyer is more positive, even optimistic about his character Webmind. This is definitely not the "TechNoir" that I've been accustomed to since the 80s!

Suz said...

I love this series! I thought the story idea was unique and very intriguing! I agree with your comments about this being a surprisingly positive book about artificial intelligence! Usually AI is sinister and anti-human so I like that this AI helps! I also like that Caitlin doesn't let her blindless limit her in any way!

Suz Reads

Jaime Lester said...

Seems like this one just keeps getting better and better. I need to check it out, I think. It seems rather interesting!

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