Posts Tagged ‘Robert J. Sawyer’

WWW: Wake

When I lucked into an ARC of Robert J. Sawyer’s book “WWW: Wake” I knew exactly what to do with it. I lent it to the guy who first introduced me to Robert J. Sawyer’s work and asked him to review it for me. Wake is scheduled for release April 7, 2009.

Wake Review by Aaron Clifford

Wake, the first novel in the WWW (Wake, Watch, and Wonder) series by Robert J. Sawyer is exactly like the 1995 movie, Hackers. For many people this may seem like a ludicrous idea, comparing a high gloss techno teen angst movie with a novel crafted by a celebrated author and futurist, but for me the only thing that separates the two is time and perspective.

Let me explain.

When Hackers was released over ten years ago I was living a carefree life; revelling in the joys of an untamed internet, spending my free days off drinking Jolt Cola, rollerblading, and playing video games. It just so happens that Hackers was about a bunch of teens who spent their days rollerblading, drinking Jolt Cola, and… You get the idea. Needless to say I felt as if someone had somehow reached into my brain and slopped all of my favorite things onto the big screen. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Fast forward to present day and set Wake down in front of an older, slightly wiser, me and you will notice the same effect. Now I am interested in the internet and social networks, the ever growing influence of the Chinese market on Western business and technology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. Wake takes all of these things and wraps them in the plausible and touching story of Caitlin, a blind girl who is given the opportunity to see for the first time.

The WWW (Wake, Watch, and Wonder) series is described on Sawyer’s blog as being “about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness, and the relationship humanity builds with this nascent global brain”. But “gaining consciousness” doesn’t really cover the feeling that Wake conveys, it felt more like I was witnessing a birth. Caitlin’s struggles to perceive an unfamiliar world are mirrored by the nascent intelligence of the internet. By the end of the first book in this trilogy I found myself not wondering if this could actually happen, but why it hadn’t already.

Reading Wake was like meeting the movie I used to get drunk with on the street thirteen years later to find that it is all grown up, doing well for itself, and has a lot more interesting things to say about the world we live in and the nature of intelligence. I can’t believe my luck.


Aaron Clifford is a writer who sees the world through pixellated panes. Almost every free moment is spent online as an avid blogger, independent game developer, and developer of web applications for writers. Aaron has written for Niteblade before (“Lady” in the June 2008 edition) and is also a two-time National Novel Writing Month winner.