Monday, February 28, 2011

Review and Giveaway: WWW:Wake ~ by Robert J. Sawyer

www.wake

We have 5 copies for giveaway and it’s international!

The first in the trilogy with the second in the series published in 2010, and the third being released in April of this year -2011.

WWW:Wake ~ by Robert J. Sawyer (reviewed by John/JD)  US|UK|Canada.


John’s Review:

An intriguing and clever science fiction novel with a tremendous young female lead character.

About:   Caitlin Decter is a feisty teenage girl who is a genius at math and a wizard on the internet, despite being totally blind since birth. With no sight she has learnt to compensate - both mentally and technically - and she uses a variety of tools to thoroughly utilize the internet. In many ways it is her window on the world, and in the world of the internet her chosen name is Calculass.

Out of the blue she gets an offer from a Japanese Doctor. Caitlin has an extremely rare form of blindness and the Doctor’s research team has developed some technology which he believes could restore some of her sight. This involves inserting an implant behind her eye, with a small control module that is linked to the internet so that data can be sent to and received from the Doctor’s server in Japan.

But the results are unexpected, and it seems that Caitlin’s brain has long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her visualize and navigate the internet – explaining some of her remarkable skills on the web. Once the implant is activated, Caitlin actually starts to see the World Wide Web mapped out in extraordinary detail. But she also starts to sense something out there that has a form of intelligence, and the more of the real word that she sees, the smarter it becomes. And now it wants to communicate with Calculass.  

John’s Thoughts:  Sawyer has a fabulous imagination and this is an excellent story with an extremely clever plot. He’s clearly got a strong grasp of technology and uses that to good effect, but he also has the skill of writing very accessible novels – some science fiction novels start to feel a bit like too much like science text books, but with Sawyer the techy bits don’t get in the way and don’t spoil the flow of the story. 

He has also created some interesting characters with strong personalities and a lot of depth. In particular Caitlin is a wonderful character that will appeal to many readers – irrespective of age or sex. Something else that I really liked about the book is that you get to experience the world from the perspective of a young blind person, and it’s enlightening, scary and thought provoking.

Overall I’d rate this book 4 stars. I would have gone even higher, but when I picked up the book I didn’t realize that it was the first of a trilogy, and it’s one of those annoying instances where you get to the end of a book but lots of loose ends remain. Which drives me nuts. I’m sure that if I get around to reading the other two in the series, then all will become clear and I’ll enjoy them, but in the meanwhile I feel like I’ve been left dangling.

Hardcover: 368 pages; Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (April 7, 2009)  US|UK|Canada.


cousw2lghcWWW:Watch ~ by Robert J. Sawyer  (book 2)

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. (via Amazon).

Hardcover: 368 pages Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)  US|UK|Canada.

www.wonder

WWW:Wonder ~ Robert J. Sawyer  (book 3)

Webmind-the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web-has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated.

Caitlin Decter-the once-blind sixteen-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind-wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn't act, everything-Webmind included-may come crashing down. (via Amazon).

Hardcover: 352 pages; Ace Hardcover (April 5, 2011) US|UK|Canada. (for pre-purchase)


robert-j-sawyer-author-photo-by-christina-molendyk-216

Robert J. Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the the following awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo (2003 for Hominids), the Nebula (1996 for The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2006 for Mindscan).

For more info link to http://sfwriter.com/blog/ and http://www.sfwriter.com/index.htm.  Photo Credit: Christina Molendyk

rb-paperback-cover-preview

 

Rollback ~ Robert J. Sawyer

With another amazing story line and premise John has also read, reviewed, and loved Rollback ~ by Robert J. Sawyer. The post also has an interview with Sawyer via YouTube.

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages; Tor Science Fiction; 1st edition (February 5, 2008) US|UK|Canada.


Contest Info:

The contest for these five books is International!  To enter please fill out the form below:

You do not need to be a reader/follower to enter. You must leave your email in the form below.

For optional extra points  ~ you can do any, all or none of the below for 1 entry point each:

  1. Be a subscriber of Layers of Thought – Google or Facebook. (I need to be able to see you! For Facebook to get our blog updates in your feed - add me as a friend otherwise it does not count).
  2. Friend on Twitter.

Contest ends Sunday March 27th, 2011 at 12 pm US Pacific time. Winner will be posted and notified on Monday April 4th, 2011.  

(Please note - You may have to link to the blog to access the giveaway form if you are viewing this post in email).


 

 

 


We use random.org to determine our winners. If you have a question or a concern (a typo or bad link or a problem with this form) please email me via my profile – Shellie.

Thanks for entering and good luck! 

17 comments:

Sniffly Kitty said...

This series looks really interesting ^.^

Sniffly Kitty
Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books
Loving the Reviews Challenge

Lori L said...

Thanks for the great review! Sawyer's first two WWW books are currently on my wish list and now I'll add the third.

John D said...

Hi "Sniffly",
The series has definitely got off to a very strong start. I'm not usually a big fan of series, but I'll likely make an exception in this case and pick up the next two books.

Hi Lori,
Thanks for the nice words. I hope that you enjoy reading them. I'd be interested to hear what you think of them.

Cindy Dashnaw said...

The third book in the trilogy comes out April 5, 2011!

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Thanks for commenting Cindy -
Hopefully this post will get you all some books sold. :)

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share this great book with our readers!

Aleetha said...

Thank you so much for the chance.
:)

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Aleetha -
I love winning books, so its fun giving them away too!

Good luck :)

ELIZABETH said...

Loved the first and have no idea how I missed the second. I now have it on reserve.

John D said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I hope the second book is as good. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

ELIZABETH said...

John, don't know if you have heard of it or read it but I just finished a good sci/fi "Holy Machine" by Chris Beckett. Read a review here: http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2011/02/holy-machine-by-chris-beckett.html

Well written, thoughtful topic.
Elizabeth.

John D said...

Ooh, now that looks like an interesting storyline. Many thanks for the pointer. One for my in-pile. Cheers,
John

ELIZABETH said...

John: just finished Watch and although I am enjoying the storyline I found myself gritting my teeth at times at what felt like asides. Just too much explaining the Canadian stuff that I'm sure an American really doesn't need to know to enjoy the book. Timmys, toonie loonie etc.. There were segments that felt like lectures rather than story telling.
That being said I will read the next one when it comes out because I need to know how it all ends.

John D said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Many thanks four your comments on the follow-up. It sounds like it's gone off the boil a bit after a strong start. But now I'm curious about "Timmys" and "toonie loonie" so I'm just going to have to read it. Or do a bit of Googling!

I think I'm veering towards the former. Thanks again,

John

ELIZABETH said...

Worth reading for the good bits as long as you are prepared to flip through the boring. This is a good library book, no need for a second read.
Bore the Canadians, present something new to others. Perhaps it works out even in the end.

John D said...

:-)
Sounds good. We now have it on order from our local library. Thanks,
John

ELIZABETH said...

Ok just finished Wonder. Did so only to find out how it would all playout.
Not terribly impressed and really wouldn't recommend this series unless you like silly teen romance thrown in, bits of what felt like lectures, bits of plot that felt undeveloped and an ending that arrived fast and didn't satisfy. The trilogy could have been condensed into one short book or a series of short stories that dealt with the main plot only which I thought clever.

John D said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I've just finished WWW:Watch so I'm still one behind you. I thought it was pretty good, and the "Canadian bits" didn't get in the way for me. Actually I learnt a few things so I quite liked them - though I can see how they might get in the way for Canadian readers.

I very rarely read a series but do now feel compelled to read the last one - despite sensing a contrived and an unsatisfying ending (which you've now confirmed).

Prior to WWW I had read one other book by Sawyer and it was the same deal - a really intriguing plot with some cllever ideas but an ending I relly didn't like. I guess a theme is developing here!

John

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