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WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer
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WWW: Watch (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Robert J. Sawyer

Series: WWW (2)

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3972626,945 (3.93)14
Member:davidhburton
Title:WWW: Watch
Authors:Robert J. Sawyer
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WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer (2010)

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This latest Sawyer novel is part two of a trilogy continuing the tale of a blind girl, who through a new technology that helped her see, also helped her see an emerging artificial intelligence (AI).

Sawyer does a great job at keeping the novel well-paced, and throwing a clever nugget or two at those who are familiar with science fiction films and novels. The only "con" is that reading the first novel is a must to reading the second. It would be really hard to follow otherwise.

"Watch" is a governmental agency that has put it upon itself to wipe out the Webmind (the AI), regardless of no proof that the Webmind means harm to humankind. In fact, Webmind finds that humans are fascinating creatures and realizes that if humans are wiped out, eventually he would be too!

The story not only involves a fascinating evolution for Webmind, but also for the communication problems of Hobo, a bonobo/chimp hybrid, who is having some problems with dealing with humans himself. The sign language that Webmind uses on Hobo to help him out is a lot of fun to read.

Another fun thing to read is Caitlin developing as a teenager -- there's a bit of a love triangle between the 'jerk' Trevor and her infatuation with math nerd Matthew. Sawyer thankfully does not allow the novel to get too maudlin or soap opera.

Sci-Fi Allusions:

Mention by one character of the TV series 'Flash Forward' which is amusing since Sawyer himself wrote the novel that the TV series is based.

Star Trek the "Motionless Picture" is mentioned. Webmind quoted heavily from Spock and Kirk which was hilarious.

2001: A Space Odyssey, War Games and other films that dealt with artificial intelligence, although Webmind prefers the AI movies that put the AI in a positive light!

Bottom Line:

What a fun novel, easy to read and you are really rooting for Caitlin and wanting the government agents out to get Webmind to lose. The characters in the governmental agency are not well-developed however, and Sawyer drops the whole Communist freedom fighter introduced in the first book. Finally, the revelation of one of the characters being gay does not add to the plot at all and comes across as having to add a gay character as a token character.

Even so, highly recommended.
( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Book #2 in this trilogy does the opposite of what a lot of typical middle trilogy books do - it actually drives the story forward with a lot of action, something that I thought was lacking in WWW: Wake.

Sawyer's writing isn't the strongest, but I enjoyed that he's written an AI story where the AI isn't trying to take over the world or kill humans or any of the typical AI-gone-wrong scenarios.

I am wondering what could possibly be in the 3rd book of the trilogy, though. Books #1 and 2 felt like they really could have been edited down to one volume, and WWW: Watch doesn't end on a cliffhanger. I feel like if I wanted to, I could easily stop reading here. However, I do have the third volume from the library already, and this one went by quickly enough that I'll go ahead and finish things. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 23, 2013 |
Although I did not like the first one so much, I'm so very happy that I gave this book a chance, because I had a very tough time putting it down. Sawyer is back in full form with this book with many ethical dilemmas to ponder in a very eminently readable story as usual. And the real world references to articles, other sci-fi authors, scientists, etc... add so much relevance to this book. Having so many insightful and delightful Canadian references thrown in is just icing on the cake! ( )
  Guide2 | Sep 17, 2012 |
In the second book of this trilogy, Webmind continues his development even as the American government becomes aware of his existence. Middle books are usually tricky and unsatisfying but I actually found it more thought-provoking than the first volume because it gets into more of what the rights of an artificial intelligence should be as well as what is an appropriate role for a being who is nearly omnipotent within the confines of the Internet. ( )
  jholcomb | Jun 27, 2012 |
Watch is the second book in Sawyer's WWW trilogy about an sentient entity emerging from the Web. This is an excellent idea driven SF novel exploring the realm of artificial intelligence while exploring deeper into the evolutionary consciousness as well. The second book in a trilogy is usually the bum read or mere transition fluff, but Sawyer creates a second book that is more idea engaging than the first in the series. My only critiques so far are as follows: characters are sometimes too simplistic, characters are a bit too PC, the teen philosophy conversations come across as preachy diatribes, and did I mention weak characters. The critiques are what drove it from a 4 to a 3; otherwise, the idea driven SF gets a 4. ( )
  revslick | Jun 26, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For JAMES ALAN GARDNER Who Explained Teleology to the World at Large
First words
I now knew what I was - knew who I was.
Quotations
But in general, people do want to be happy. That's why we promise them 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'"
You're in Canada now, Caitlin. I believe the corresponding promise made there is simply "Peace, order and good government." No mention of happiness.

Page 163.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441018181, Hardcover)

Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer continues his "wildly though- provoking" science fiction saga of a sentient World Wide Web.

Webmind is an emerging consciousness that has befriended Caitlin Decter 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-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.



(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A sentient World Wide Web entity known as Webmind has befriended Caitlin Decter 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-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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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