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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

www:wonder by Robert J. Sawyer

www: wonder is the final installation in this trilogy about Caitlin Decter, Webmind, and the spontaneous emergence of a consciousness or artificial intelligence.

The U.S. government continues to seek a way to shut down Webmind, but Webmind has his own friends and allies who do their best to prevent this from happening.  

Although I enjoyed this installment, I wasn't as pleased as I was with the first two in the series, www:wake and www:watch.  Some of Caitlin's  choices seem out of character (as presented in the first two volumes) and more for the purpose of getting across some of Sawyer'spersonal opinions.  The usually logical and immensely intelligent Caitlin becomes more of a dodgy teenager more suitable for an entirely different kind of novel.  Sawyer has some issues he wants to discuss, and Caitlin becomes more a tool for bringing those issues to the forefront and less an genuinely evolving, maturing adolescent.

Another part that bothered me was the "Other."  There are some serious and frightening implications here that seem to be brought up and dismissed without consequence.

Nevertheless, although it is difficult to discuss this novel without spoilers, the third and final volume wraps up series pretty effectively.  The trilogy contains a mixture of genuine science and speculative science, real people and fictional characters, and presents quite a few ethical and philosophical dilemmas.  It is at times thought-provoking and at times didactic.

Good science fiction takes scientific advances and imagines what might be a next step and/ or how the advances will affect both individuals and society.  The www series certainly does this.

I do recommend the trilogy in its entirety, despite having a favorite volume.  Aside from the story line, the history of the web and its creators and the sidelines on autism and on primate intelligence and communication are fascinating.

Fiction.    Futuristic/ Science Fiction/ Ya.  2011.  352 pages.


  1. I really do need to read this trilogy at some point.

  2. The trilogy makes you think about a lot of things, including the power of the internet--a relatively recent phenomenon that influences all of our lives.