I finished Wake, the first in Robert J. Sawyer‘s trilogy called WWW last night … well actually early this morning. I didn’t get to bed until late: it was Em’s prom night and she and her friends had the party light on downstairs. I was on the verge of an asthma attack from the sultry (Justin had Throw Mamma from the Train on last night) air and all the dust from cleaning so, though exhausted, I had a hard time sleeping. But around 12:30 I could have done it: in fact I was fighting to stay awake and it was Rob Sawyer’s fricking fault. He, to borrow Caitlin’s (the main character in Wake) expression, is ‘made out of awesome’ and so I didn’t get to sleep until after 2.
The downside, of course, is that now my pacing of reading it is over (I couldn’t help it) and I have to wait for Watch next year. And then the last one: Wonder. Back to the anxiousness I had to experience with his amazing Neanderthal Parallax.
Sawyer has done nothing less than explore what it is to be aware in humans. And, then, credibly (even realistically) he applies that to artificial intelligence on the World Wide Web. He says it took him longer to write this novel than with any previous and I really think it was worth it. He really nails it and in a package that is, like others of Rob’s works, very approachable and enjoyable to read.
Caitlin Decter is a blind teenage mathematician (and computer geek) who has just moved to Waterloo as her physicist father has just accepted a job at the Perimeter Institute. She is a wonderfully sympathetic and engaging protagonist who becomes a guide for the birth of the awareness of the World Wide Web. Sawyer does a wonderful job linking this to and educating us again about the miracles Annie Sullivan did with Helen Keller along the way.
I only have one question. Is Caitlin using Linux?
Extremely and Awesomely Recommended!
Want more? Here are some links:
- The first three chapters are available online if you’d like a taste of this book
- An excellent podcast interview with Robert J. Sawyer that covers this book, the pilot for Flashforward and the TV series “Supernatural Investigator” he hosts on Vision
- Sawyer has even set up The Calculass Zone on LiveJournal where you can read 3 entries (which will presumably grow at the trilogy continues
- Or you can become Caitlin Decter’s friend on Facebook