Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
This review is based on the serialized version of the book, not on book publication.
I read the last part of the story about three months later, than the first three parts, as I got that issue of Analog very much delayed and only after reporting missing issue to the customer service of the magazine.
The main protagonist, Caitlin, is a blind teenage girl who has been blind for all her life. She gets a visual implant which is connected to computer which should make her able to see. At the same time a some kind of consciousness is awaking on the connections of Internet. When computer, which handles Caitlin’s vision is connected to internet she starts to suspect that there is something lurking on the net...
I have read a few books by Sawyer, and I must say that this is the one I have enjoyed most. Ideas are fresh and exiting, writing is more than adequate. There were a few problems which might have been corrected in the final book version. (Spoilers follow- a bit of spoiler space follows:)
One important character on the beginning of the story was a Chinese dissident, who later was completely forgotten. Also, the parts concerning the monkey seemed pretty unconnected to the whole of the story. There is another "wake" happening there for sure, but the connection to overall story was pretty flimsy after all. Also, the threat the monkey ultimately faces is very unlikely - for a zoo to make demand it was making (against YouTube’s favorite chimp) would have the worst public relations disaster EVER for ANY zoo in the history of mankind. There is no chance in hell that demand would have had any chance of success. Another minor irritation is the picture Caitlin uses in the end, which the netmind doesn't recognize - after reading the whole Wikipedia it should not have had any troubles at all realizing what the picture depicts. As a whole - pretty good book, much better than e.g. Hominids.