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WWW: Watch (WWW Trilogy) Hardcover – April 6, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the WWW Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Sawyer is] a brilliant thinker pondering some of the most fundamental questions we face today … a complex and fascinating book … Sawyer maintains the same high-level interplay of ideas and action that characterizes all his work, and even readers who haven’t read the first volume will be satisfied. I can’t imagine how he’s going to complete the trilogy, but I do know it will involve a wildly creative combination of cutting-edge science from multiple disciplines.” - Michael Basilières, National Post

“Sawyer shows his genius in combining cutting-edge scientific theories and technological developments with real human characters…. Sawyer is a master at research, and uses his novels to inform and educate as well as to entertain. His works are both revelatory and thought-provoking…. Watch is as fine a novel as we have come to expect from Sawyer, with a blend of human values and technological foresight.” - The Globe and Mail

“Watch is the second of three volumes in brilliant Canadian science-fiction novelist Robert J. Sawyer’s trilogy…. [I]t’s engaging…. He can write about the most sophisticated science while giving readers the room to understand what’s happening and follow the plot.” - Winnipeg Free Press

“This page-turning thriller by the author of Flashforward and the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy is a top-notch choice for sf fans.” - Library Journal

“Watch is a damn fine story. Sawyer spins and weaves a world so comfortable and close, you forget that it’s fiction. The humorous dialogue, the gleeful pop culture references and the Canadian cultural touchpoints expose Sawyer as a writer who loves to have fun with ideas and to eagerly share them with his readers. Watch is set in today’s Canada where, yes damn it, cool things can happen.” - FFWD

“Over the course of the two novels thus far, Sawyer has presented an interesting perspective of artificial intelligence and, perhaps, a 21st Century revisionist view of a cyberpunk story. The novel has the fresh feel of something that could happen in the very near future.” - SFF World

“There’s something about Robert J. Sawyer’s novels that strike a pleasing science fictional chord. They encompass all the things I like about science fiction, like cool ‘What if?’ extrapolations, portrayal of technology that leads to thought-provoking ideas, strong characters and engrossing plots. Watch, the second novel in his WWW trilogy after Wake, is no exception.… Watch is a helluva fun read and an excellent science fiction book.” - SF Signal

“One of the best things about Robert J. Sawyer is the way he references pop sci-fi culture; every book contains at least one reference to Star Trek. But in this novel, second in a trilogy about the singularity—the artificial-intelligence consciousness that is predicted to arise from the Internet—he gets to reference his own sci-fi TV creation, the ABC program FlashForward. It’s fun, but even better is the intelligent and compassionate approach this series is taking to the nature of consciousness.” - Sacramento News & Reviews

“There’s no middle book syndrome here; Robert J. Sawyer packs as much thought and development into this volume as he did into the first, turning out a compelling, thought-provoking entry in one of his best series to date. He’s one of those few writers who can be equally at home dealing with characters’ personal lives and tackling the hard science in an accessible way…. It’s optimistic, intelligent, and I can’t wait for the third in the series.” - SF Site

“Some thriller writers get you worried about the future. Sawyer makes the present perilous.” - Linwood Barclay, bestselling author of Too Close to Home --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been called “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen.

He is one of only seven writers in history—and the only Canadian—to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo (which he won in 2003 for Hominids), the Nebula (which he won in 1995 for The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won in 2005 for Mindscan).

In total, Rob has authored over 18 science-fiction novels and won forty-one national and international awards for his fiction, including a record-setting ten Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (“Auroras”) and the Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award, one of Canada’s most significant literary honors. In 2008, he received his tenth Hugo Award nomination for his novel Rollback.

His novels have been translated into 14 languages. They are top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada and have hit number one on the Locus bestsellers’ list.

Born in Ottawa in 1960, Rob grew up in Toronto and now lives in Mississauga (just west of Toronto), with poet Carolyn Clink, his wife of twenty-four years.

He was the first science-fiction writer to have a website, and that site now contains more than one million words of material.

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Product Details

  • Series: WWW Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018185
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Baker VINE VOICE on April 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
WWW: Watch is the second novel of a trilogy about an artificial intelligence, or consciousness that emerges from the World Wide Web.

In the previous novel , WWW: Wake, Catlin Decter, a brilliant 15 year old blind girl is given sight through experimental technology in the form of an implant that interprets visual signals correctly and allows her to see (in her left eye at least). Through this device she discovers a presence in the Web that starts to gain greater and greater cognitive abilities, which grows as the second novel progresses. She dubs it Webmind.

In Watch, we watch as Webmind not only develops cognitive abilities exponentially, but through the help of Catlin begins to develop its sense of ethics and, without being too maudlin, an understanding of "the meaning of life." This novel is primarily about this development, along with government agencies trying to figure out how to shut Webmind down, fearing it will become so powerful it will destroy mankind.

While I have greatly enjoyed these novels so far, and the second one is even better than the first, which is unusual for a middle novel of a trilogy, sometimes I find the interactions between the characters to be a bit unbelievable. They seem scripted more for a Grade B movie than the way people really interact with each other. And when the characters are mouthpieces for the author to pontificate a point of view on consciousness, ethics and other scientific theories, the interactions just don't ring true, even though the characters are supposed to be geniuses at math and physics.

And I wonder a bit about the lost thread about the Chinese hacker that appears in Wake. I wonder if Sawyer had abandoned that tread, or if it will somehow reappear in the next novel.

This is a good and interesting trilogy so far and very much worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
The best thing about Robert J. Sawyer's books are that they are truly about something. This book isn't just some excuse to have the internet gain self-awareness ... instead, it's a deep analysis of what makes people (be they geek, bully, computer, or chimpanzee-bonobo hybrid) choose an ethical course over the alternative.

WWW: WATCH is a middle book in the trilogy. In WWW: WAKE (the first book), blind teenager Caitlin Decter gained sight and discovered the existence of a developing consciousness in the World Wide Web. This Webmind, as she calls it, begins communicating with her ... and that's where the second book picks up. Caitlin has to come to terms with suddenly seeing a world that she's only known through touch while also dealling with the fallout from Webmind. Fortunately, she has help from her friends and family.

Less fortunate is the fact that the American government perceives Webmind as a potential threat, especially when it gains the ability to almost effortlessly bypass password security. The government decides that it needs to be terminated, a task that is far easier said than done.

This isn't an unreasonable decision, because it is clear that Webmind (at least initially) lacks any sort of morality at all ... but this, it turns out, is a good thing, because that means it gets to choose how to behave, instead of being guided by instincts which may sway it toward bad behavior. And, as the book makes clear, we all, as conscious beings, have the ability to make this choice. The subjects of morality and ethics, in contexts as varied as teenage relationships, suicide prevention, and personal privacy are explored from the perspectives of game theory, evolution, and religion.

And if you're not interested in any of that brainy stuff about human nature, the story itself stands out as a great read in its own right. I, for one, will definitely make the choice to read the third installment when it comes out ... and look forward to it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This trilogy has been one of the best reads of my whole life. It touches on lots of my favorite topics and my real world experience. I am a software engineer, network engineer, and mathematician. All 3 are relevant to this. If I had commissioned someone to write something tailored to exactly my tastes and background they couldn't have done a better job.

If you like hard SF you owe it to yourself to read this. The worst part is the sleep I lost because I just couldn't put these books down.
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Format: Hardcover
Let me preface this review by saying that Sawyer is my favorite scifi writer today and that I found the first book in this trilogy to be excellent. However, much to my dismay this book was difficult to get through. Caitlin has recently gained site through an implant behind one of her eyes. Her new friend, the Webmind is starting to evolve. Meanwhile a group of government scientists have detected the Webmind and want to destroy it before it becomes too powerful to be destroyed.

Caitlin eventually lets her parents know about the Webmind and they are convinced that it is someone on the Internet pulling a prank until Caitlin's father tests it out. Eventually they are convinced and are fascinated with the Webmind like it is an additional child.

Overlayed on this tale is the story about Hobo, the intelligent chimp/bonabo crossbreed. Hobo starts to get violent towards the woman who is responsible for him and the scientists have to decide what to do with him.

Meanwhile, through Dr. Kuroda, the Webmind is able to view more than text files on the internet and branches out to sound and video files. Eventually, the Webmind witnesses a teen suicide through the net. Caitlin becomes furious at it because it didn't intervene.

There comes a point where Sawyer hints that the Webmind will be to Caitlin like the computer implant that he introduced in the Hominid series.

Some of the drawbacks to this book are that you really needed to read the first book to understand what is going on and that the book drags. The deep feelings that the reader developed for Caitlin in the first book seem to be lacking here.
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