WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy Series #1)

WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy Series #1)

4.1 63
by Robert J. Sawyer

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Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math - and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the…  See more details below


Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math - and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something - some other - lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The wildly thought-provoking first installment of Sawyer's WWW trilogy, serialized in Analog in 2008 and 2009, explores the origins and emergence of consciousness. Blind teen Caitlin Decter gets an experimental signal-processing implant that inexplicably opens up her vision to the wondrous infrastructure of the World Wide Web. Inside the Web is a newborn "webmind," a globe-spanning self-contained consciousness that is just becoming aware of the outside world. Secondary plot threads about a highly intelligent hybrid primate and Chinese bloggers battling a repressive government extend the motif of expanding awareness. The thematic diversity-and profundity-makes this one of Sawyer's strongest works to date. Numerous dangling plot threads are an unnecessary pointer to the forthcoming books; readers will keep coming back for the ideas. (Apr.)

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Library Journal
This first book in Sawyer's "WWW" trilogy tells the story of Caitlin Decter, a blind girl whose participation in a surgical experiment leads her to become aware of an unknown presence on the Internet. Nominated for a Hugo Award, Wake is another exploration of the possibilities inherent in sufficiently highly interconnected artificial networks. (LJ 4/15/09)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
WWW Trilogy Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.39(w) x 6.77(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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WWW 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The contrast between the AI groping its way into existence & sentience while the main character herself goes from being blind since birth & living in a world of sounds, textures, & distances into being sighted is made more striking from the occasional glimpses into the lives of other people operating with sight since birth where their worlds are full of colors, shapes, art, etc. The combined contrasts does a great job of being something I can point to for helping people understand what the sudden shift in my world was a few years ago after a massive & near fatal CVA affected me. As an IT professional, I greatly enjoyed the fact that the author uses real world tech references (facebook/twitter/aim/etc) when applicable to the characters & their lives rather than inventing technobabble. The places where things are simply made up with regards to the AI aren't given pages of useless "look how impressive I can be" technobabble making it all the more enjoable from the lack of grating "it doesn't work that way dammit" inconsistencies.
PensGirl More than 1 year ago
I've been searching for a good Sci-Fi series, and it seems I've finally found one! Enjoyed the book immensely and even learned a few new things!
David_H_Burton More than 1 year ago
"Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. When a Japanese researcher develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. Once the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something, "some other" lurking in the background. And it's getting smarter..." In addition to Caitlin's story are a couple of seemingly unrelated events in other parts of the world. In China an outbreak of the bird flu (H5N1) is handled by the Chinese government by culling the humans that are infected as well as shutting the country off from the rest of the outside word by cutting its internet and phone connections to hide their transgression. Elsewhere, in a research facility, a Bonobo/Chimpanzee hybrid that can use ASL (American Sign Language), produces art that defies what they are "supposed" to be capable of. Youtube videos and political strife follow. Thirdly, a growing intelligence on the world wide web begins to take form. It strains to come to terms with itself and its surroundings, yet it begins to evolve. And, like Annie Sullivan, reaching down into the depths of Helen Keller"s mind, Caitlin makes a connection with this web-based entity and strives to teach it. I consumed this book. Like with his Neanderthal Parallax novels, I completely empathize with these characters. They lift off the page and pull you along with them, particularly Caitlin. Her ability to "see" through people and her edgy humour are brilliantly achieved and you can"t help but admire her strength of character and resolve. The use of biological terms and technology are meshed throughout the story in a way that it isn"t dumped on you. (It should be noted that I have a biology and information technology background, so I felt like this book was written for me. But with that said, the way he reveals the information would easily engage anyone without this knowledge.) There are wonderful parallels and references to Helen Keller and her rise to awareness from the dark place in which she once lived as well as timely topics and subject matter that is deftly interwoven in the story. He engages in real world debates (i.e. the intelligence of apes and their ability to use sign language, the cross-breeding of species, the potential self-awareness of the internet, etc.) and employs throughout some some witty references and poignant gibes. It is obvious that Mr. Sawyer took his time to research well before writing this and it is no wonder he was won such honours as the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. This is a fantastic beginning to a much anticipated series. It ends well, but leaves you hungering for more. I very much look forward to what will come in the next novel and how Mr. Sawyer is going to engage me further in the coming books, WATCH and WONDER. Whether you are a science fiction aficionado or not, add this book to your Must Read list. It will not disappoint.
Spec4-Hensley More than 1 year ago
I read the first two books in this series in a matter of days, could not put my Nook down. Great character development and movement throughout.
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this trilogy of books. It is the story of an artificial intelligence spontaneously emerging on the internet. A new lifeform is suddenly born. Because this entity is discovered by a teenage girl, aspects of these books can have the feeling of "young-adult" or "teen-lit." However, that does not interfere with the level of entertainment these stories provide. There is a great deal of science and philosophy presented here, as well as much information about the internet and its history. These novels are thought-provoking. Be sure to read Wake, Watch, and Wonder in the proper order. You will have a good time. Michael Travis Jasper, author of the novel "To Be Chosen"
The_Wolfie More than 1 year ago
Sawyer addresses emergent phenomena in the internet in a great novel. A kinder, gentler Neuromancer.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Blind teenage mathematical genius Caitlin Decter is a wonder with her effortless ability to surf the Internet. Her brain compensating for her lack of sight has embellished her other senses enabling her to easily travel the web. Caitlin is euphoric with the experimental implant that will enable her to see. However, instead of normal vision, the processor placed inside her allows her to "see" the Web. As she explores her new cyberspace imageries, she realizes another sentient being exists. Caitlin begins to believe that every minute the other seems more aware of its cyber environs and perhaps much more. This "webmind" has become aware of an external existence outside the internet dimension. This is a terrific opening act as Robert J. Sawyer introduces his readers to the complex WWW though his two lead characters, the teen heroine and the webmind. The story line is much more complex and diverse than described above as the explorations by Caitlin and the webmind lead the audience to all sorts of places around the world such as the Chinese freedom bloggers as the new conscience learns globalization of its dimension. Extremely well written and complex making Tron look like pre-school, this is a terrific first tale in what looks like will be a great trilogy that is also being serialized in Analog (started in November and ending in March). Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is probably one of the best books I have read. All of the logic makes perfect sense, the scientific reasoning actually can be used in this context, and it also amusing. I hope that someday this technology is available. If I could, I would give more stars. -Zayne
ManInTheWild More than 1 year ago
I read this trilogy shortly after discovering Robert J. Sawyer. When I first saw the series WWW, I didn't expect much-it seemed like too much of a gimmick with the name of the series and the idea behind the story. Once I started reading Wake, it didn't take long to fall in love with the story and characters. I have recommended these books to a number of people. I am sure many who would normally not care for science fiction would find this a wonderful series to read.
pagemage More than 1 year ago
I read the first toe of this series back-to-back and wanted more. You can be assured, I will be getting book three. Really great books! Science fiction is not my thing, but this isn't really hare core sci fi. It's a great story!
MikeThinks More than 1 year ago
WWW:Wake takes you on a journey of discovery as one teenage girls dream to obtain sight, leads her into a world everyone in a technological society experiences, but none actually see. Care and deliberacy are evident in the evocative first person experience of the wonders and revelations of a newly found sense of the world around you. The pacing is good for the most part and the characters are well developed and believable. The reader will find themselves emotionally engaged with the main character Caitlin, her struggles, setbacks and triumphs. Along with the main plot, there are two divergent secondary story arcs that are not resolved, and as many have noted, the bird flu plot feels especially empty, as while you can see how it may be connected to the main plot in the future, it adds nothing of value to experiences in this book. A worthwhile read for any fan of science fiction, or anyone who can appreciate how so much of who we are, is dependent on how we experience the world outside ourselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WWW:Wake is the first book of a (scheduled) trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. It was also my introduction to this author. It was good enough to make me want to go out and find everything else written by this author, and here's why: WWW:Wake takes a standard science fiction theme (what is intelligence/sentience) and makes you look at the concept and the world around you in a whole new way. It starts out with multiple plot lines, some of which connect in unexpected ways in this book and others which will probably connect later in the trilogy. The first main character you meet is Caitlin Decter, a blind teenager who explores the world through the internet. The title refers to her awakening though a surgery intended to give her sight, as well as the possible 'awakening' of two other characters. The novel deals with how different people perceive the world, the differences between sight and perception, and how knowledge can change what we see and what we think about it. In addition, the book challenges ideas about how we learn. Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing where Sawyer takes this in the next book, WWW:Watch.
Amshar More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this but I have to agree with other reviewers about the Chinese bird flu plot segment. It didn't really go anywhere. I expected it to be picked up and referred to later in the novel but it was simply left hanging; I understand that the plotline existed only to service the greater story but it was intriguing enough that it would have been interesting to see it be relevant to the main plot in some other way. I thought Caitlin's experience with sight and her adaptation to it was a bit faster than I'd have expected. Other patients who've gained sight have had serious difficulties adjusting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was accidentally given to me and I am glad it was. Caitlin is a truly engaging character and her journey to sight is particularly touching. The only issue I have with this book (spoiler ahead) is the Chinese bird flu segments. I felt that at the end of the book they were more like filler instead of an integrated part to the plot. I understand how the events in China lead up to the consciousness of the internet (my terms) but then it sort of ended abruptly and there was no resolution. I was also uncomfortable with the harsh, unfeeling and cold portrayal of some of the Chinese characters. Their emotions (or lack thereof) do make the book more engaging, but like I said earlier, no resolution, no finality. Do read this book, it is really very, very good, just be prepared for wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robert Sawyer has become one of my favorite authors. I really enjoy the different take on the world along with the science that is explained in his books. I am ready to find out where Mr. Sawyer will take Catlain and her connection to WWW.
PoppaMike More than 1 year ago
When I heard Robert J. Sawyer was going to be publishing a new novel in Analog magazine, I subscribed right away. I've been lucky enough to be following him most, if not all, of his career and he is also very good at writing back to fan mail, even as his status has climbed to the top! As someone who has grown up involved in computers since cassette-tape interface, no storage memory, to 16k being a large amount, BASIC programming at age 8, yadda, yadda, yadda, it's been fantastic to learn so much about our technological age & its future possibilities (remember when the tri-corder was a dream? We now have cell phones :D) via SciFi. WAKE (now WWW: WAKE) is such a phenomenal read, quick read that kept me thinking about Caitlin's character, the internet as an entity, bonobo's intelligence, hackers, control of the internet by various powers that be, political science in the media, and so much else (I don't want to give any more away). My 2nd grade students loved hearing my summaries from the "Wake" installments. They really got hooked on my anticipation of the next Analog & of the story's content! If you have read and enjoyed ANY science fiction book or not, you will most likely be on the edge of your set, the tip of your pillow or biting your nails while reading this thought-provoking novel. Now, my pre-school daughter needs her daddy away from the computer. :>
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
I was so thrilled to get an early copy of this book shipped to me by the author himself. Thanks Robert! The book didn't disappoint. Caitlin, a teenager blind from birth is a math genius and an internet whiz. She is a candidate for a special procedure being offered by a scientist in Japan that may give her a chance to see. Caitlin undergoes the procedure, which has different results than were expected. One of them being that another apparent life form is brought to a type of consciousness. As the book progresses some parts of each chapter are told in first person by the new life form. As it starts to slowly learn, what it tells becomes more complex. As an aside, a hybrid ape named Hobo has apparently picked up some independent art interpretation skills that no other ape has ever had. I don't want to give too much of the rest of the plot but two books are discussed a great deal throughout and a lot of the plot seems to paralell. One talks about the two halves of the brain being united in the first human to create self-awareness and the other is about the teaching of Helen Keller by Anne Sullivan. Not all is resolved by the end of the book and it looks like that this book will have at least one sequel. I can hardly wait for it. This series looks as good as the Hominid trilogy that Robert so masterfully presented. Thank you Mr. Sawyer for another intriguing series!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Best trilogy I've read in ages. Fun read, everything fits together well.
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I need you to rp Smallpaw.he is a small black tom with green eyes.we are at spot first result.
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