But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes.
While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something - some other - lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day.
©2009 SFWRITER.COM Inc.; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"The thematic diversity - and profundity - makes this one of Sawyer's strongest works to date." (Publishers Weekly)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book for several reasons. I did enjoy the technical aspects of the story and the way they are explained in the flow of events. Above all though, my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by the cast of narrators. I have listened to a lot of audio books in the past few years and would say that the narrators here would be hard to beat. I enjoyed the way in which the different strands of the story where being told by different people. The person covering the central characters was superb. She was able to lend an emotion to the storytelling which indicates a rare talent. It is a tremendous performance and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Have already purchased the other books in the series. Money well spent.
I enjoyed this book very much and the narration (esp. the choice of different voices) helped in the characterisation. As the author notes at the beginning, the perspective of someone who has never seen is an interesting one, and the changes that happen as the story evolves only serve to accentuate that. It became the audio equivalent of a page-turner for me, and I am eagerly looking forward to 'WWW: Watch'.
One thing that did appeal is that the approach Sawyer takes to the book is very different to that used by most sci-fi authors. As someone reasonably well read in sci-fi world, I have become somewhat bored by the constant reworking of similar ideas and plots. The characters Sawyer portrays are believable and of sufficient depth (while not being so deep that we get lost in descriptive text), and though the plot is relatively simple it is not too predictable either.
Minor Spoiler Alert:
The only disappointment, from my perspective as someone who understands how the net works very well, is that the way the net intelligence is supposed to have evolved didn't make sense. In some ways I would have preferred not having that explanation - just 'somehow it happened' - although a more believable version would have been even better! The author's description of automata is essentially Conway's 'Game of Life', which is well known and indeed capable of quite amazing things given the simplicity of the rules. However, Life does rely on condition rules - if this then that - and to my knowledge, this doesn't happen with packets on the net as described here.
However, and despite the above disappointment, a good listen.
Well written and expertly presented in this audiobook format with original music and perfectly chosen voices.
A book of subtle beginnings leading the listener into conclusions that the author is just about to layout for you. At times emotional and at times Hard SciFi. A must for the SciFi fans and those wishing for more of a personal book.
Highly recommended to all.
Feels real and believable, and as you read the next two books in this series you’ll get more and more drawn in to the lives of the characters in these books. I won’t say too much about the story, I don’t want to spoil any more of the story than is in the description. But the book is quite heavy on the science behind its claims without bogging down the story with useless facts. Just enough to make the whole premise of this emergent AI seem not only plausible but quite likely. A great take on AI Sci-Fi, the likes I have not read since “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein.
I was very impressed with this book - surprisingly so, in fact. My general encounters with science-fiction books have fallen into two categories - things written by Iain M Banks, and things I hated. So I was taking a risk here.
The review deserves two parts - one for the book itself and one for the production of the audio-book, which is interesting enough in it's own right. To cover that, I love the idea of varying the narrator according to the context of the story. This is a story that links together many stories and themes, and to give each of them their own voice makes it both more interesting and easier to follow. I tend to listen while driving which means occasionally I have to focus on other things - having an audio reminder of roughly what's going on is very helpful.
The story is complex and, in the beginning, far from obvious. Stuart's review noting that there seemed to be no link between the threads is fair, but it becomes clearer later on. This is a book about consciousness, about separation, acquisition and loss of senses, about the very idea of what is to be. Inevitably an ambition like that is going to lead to some confusion at first, and I got the impression perhaps to a few half-formed ideas getting dropped along the way. The thing about China does make sense, but you have to think about why - nobody gets spoon fed their explanations here.
The point about the maguffin not really making sense - without wishing to spoil things, the idea of lost packets leading to greater things - is correct. It doesn't make sense. I think the best approach here would have been to adopt the approach Star Trek's producers took when asked how the intertial damping works - they said 'very nicely thanks' and left it at that. The story is really about what it is to be and about varying perceptions of different entities - I don't really care about TCP/IP packet loss.
Overall - great book, interesting ideas and even a few funny jokes.
I will start in saying that I have not finished this book. I found the characters 2 dimensional and the first half of the book (which is did listen to) there is very little links between the three stories that the author has created and I found switching between them made me feel (so what). There was no clear indicator of what the main character (Caitlin Decter) has in common with a monkey named hobo, or the bird flu outbreak in china.
I found no drive to find out the conclusion and thought that in the end do i really care. It felt that there was no goal or aim other then an emerging intelligence on the web.
Granted I did not finish the book and am sure that they stories would link together but after 5 1/2 hours on the first part that I found very dull I couldn't bring myself to finish the final 6 1/2 hours of part two to find out what happened.
Also I found one of the male narrators very bad. He was the one that describes all the issues with the chinese government. There was zero emotional content in the characters and no attempt at creating an accent (not really important granted). On the other hand the narrator for Caitlin Decter was great, she really gave every character feeling and even did an ok job at an Japanese accent. Shame.
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