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Watch (Www Trilogy 2) Paperback – 10 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575095059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575095052
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.3 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

Product Description


Watch is a dynamic, moving and thought provoking novel that manages to convey the book's myriad messages effortlessly and rewardingly, recommended. (SF Book)

Book Description

The Web is alive! The new SF thriller from the author of FLASHFORWARD.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dick Pearson on 10 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this and Wake which went before it, but Robert Sawyer has an awkward style and is sometime not a 'fluent' read.

His ideas are good and though provoking, and he develops them well, but you are never going to get a rip-roaring adventure story from him. Also he does tend to set a scene just enough to allow the story to develop and then move on - as an analogy it's a bit like having theatrical backdrops rather than filming on location.

Finally this with 'Wake' (and, I presume Vol3 'Wonder' to come), aren't really a trilogy but a single novel in published in three parts - they don't exist or make sense in isolation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Having read the original (Wake) I really did want to get on with this offering as soon as I could as I'd had a great time reading the first title in the series. I hoped that it would work beautifully in conjunction without contradicting . What unfurls is a title that not only expands beautifully to the world already developed but allows descent character growth as well as backed up with some great dialogue alongside plot outline.

Robert is definitely a name to watch (as if you're not already) and will definitely be one to whom a great many are compared to in the future taking on the role of the standard setter from those who came before such as Arthur C Clarke.
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By Fred Blogs on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great continuation to the cos outs here. I really enjoyed this and have purchased part 3. I recommend the whole trilogy. The momentum is kept up throughout the second book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Robert .J. Sawyer first of all, and this trilogy does not disappoint. Good 2nd chapter of a very good sci-fi story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 79 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
WWW: Watch: Solid Second Novel in the Webmind Saga 19 April 2010
By C. Baker - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
WWW: Watch is the second novel of a trilogy about an artificial intelligence, or consciousness that emerges from the World Wide Web.

In the previous novel , WWW: Wake, Catlin Decter, a brilliant 15 year old blind girl is given sight through experimental technology in the form of an implant that interprets visual signals correctly and allows her to see (in her left eye at least). Through this device she discovers a presence in the Web that starts to gain greater and greater cognitive abilities, which grows as the second novel progresses. She dubs it Webmind.

In Watch, we watch as Webmind not only develops cognitive abilities exponentially, but through the help of Catlin begins to develop its sense of ethics and, without being too maudlin, an understanding of "the meaning of life." This novel is primarily about this development, along with government agencies trying to figure out how to shut Webmind down, fearing it will become so powerful it will destroy mankind.

While I have greatly enjoyed these novels so far, and the second one is even better than the first, which is unusual for a middle novel of a trilogy, sometimes I find the interactions between the characters to be a bit unbelievable. They seem scripted more for a Grade B movie than the way people really interact with each other. And when the characters are mouthpieces for the author to pontificate a point of view on consciousness, ethics and other scientific theories, the interactions just don't ring true, even though the characters are supposed to be geniuses at math and physics.

And I wonder a bit about the lost thread about the Chinese hacker that appears in Wake. I wonder if Sawyer had abandoned that tread, or if it will somehow reappear in the next novel.

This is a good and interesting trilogy so far and very much worth reading.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
World Wide Exploration of Morality 10 May 2010
By Andrew Zimmerman Jones - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The best thing about Robert J. Sawyer's books are that they are truly about something. This book isn't just some excuse to have the internet gain self-awareness ... instead, it's a deep analysis of what makes people (be they geek, bully, computer, or chimpanzee-bonobo hybrid) choose an ethical course over the alternative.

WWW: WATCH is a middle book in the trilogy. In WWW: WAKE (the first book), blind teenager Caitlin Decter gained sight and discovered the existence of a developing consciousness in the World Wide Web. This Webmind, as she calls it, begins communicating with her ... and that's where the second book picks up. Caitlin has to come to terms with suddenly seeing a world that she's only known through touch while also dealling with the fallout from Webmind. Fortunately, she has help from her friends and family.

Less fortunate is the fact that the American government perceives Webmind as a potential threat, especially when it gains the ability to almost effortlessly bypass password security. The government decides that it needs to be terminated, a task that is far easier said than done.

This isn't an unreasonable decision, because it is clear that Webmind (at least initially) lacks any sort of morality at all ... but this, it turns out, is a good thing, because that means it gets to choose how to behave, instead of being guided by instincts which may sway it toward bad behavior. And, as the book makes clear, we all, as conscious beings, have the ability to make this choice. The subjects of morality and ethics, in contexts as varied as teenage relationships, suicide prevention, and personal privacy are explored from the perspectives of game theory, evolution, and religion.

And if you're not interested in any of that brainy stuff about human nature, the story itself stands out as a great read in its own right. I, for one, will definitely make the choice to read the third installment when it comes out ... and look forward to it!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Little Disappointing After the First Book! 24 April 2010
By Michael A. Newman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Let me preface this review by saying that Sawyer is my favorite scifi writer today and that I found the first book in this trilogy to be excellent. However, much to my dismay this book was difficult to get through. Caitlin has recently gained site through an implant behind one of her eyes. Her new friend, the Webmind is starting to evolve. Meanwhile a group of government scientists have detected the Webmind and want to destroy it before it becomes too powerful to be destroyed.

Caitlin eventually lets her parents know about the Webmind and they are convinced that it is someone on the Internet pulling a prank until Caitlin's father tests it out. Eventually they are convinced and are fascinated with the Webmind like it is an additional child.

Overlayed on this tale is the story about Hobo, the intelligent chimp/bonabo crossbreed. Hobo starts to get violent towards the woman who is responsible for him and the scientists have to decide what to do with him.

Meanwhile, through Dr. Kuroda, the Webmind is able to view more than text files on the internet and branches out to sound and video files. Eventually, the Webmind witnesses a teen suicide through the net. Caitlin becomes furious at it because it didn't intervene.

There comes a point where Sawyer hints that the Webmind will be to Caitlin like the computer implant that he introduced in the Hominid series.

Some of the drawbacks to this book are that you really needed to read the first book to understand what is going on and that the book drags. The deep feelings that the reader developed for Caitlin in the first book seem to be lacking here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Big Brother is Watching 1 May 2010
By Mike Fazey - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second novel in Sawyer's WWW trilogy is aptly named. It is indeed about watching. The newly emerged Webmind `comes out' and is greeted by humanity with some scepticism but mostly with enthusiasm. He (yes, it's a he) is watching us, learning more and more about us and trying to be helpful. However, the government watchers are a lot less enamoured than most. Big Brother finds that he now has an even Bigger Brother, and that worries him. A lot.

There are three stories happening in Watch - the story of Caitlin Decter, the once blind teenager who is the first to meet Webmind; the story of the intelligence agency trying to come to terms with the implications of such a seemingly omniscient entity, and the story of Hobo the ape who can communicate using sign language. The three strings begin to converge in Watch, but obviously we'll have to wait for the final instalment to see exactly how they come together.

As always, Sawyer's storytelling is masterful, combining big themes with authentic characters that we can all understand and identify with. The main character, Caitlin, though amazingly intelligent and perceptive for a sixteen year old (perhaps a little too much so), is also delightfully adolescent, and Sawyer manages to wrap her extraordinarily brainy thoughts and words in convincing and often charming teen-speak. He like totally does! There are also lots of popular cultural references, including one to the recent TV adaptation of Sawyer's earlier novel Flashforward, and a good deal of wit. I also learned a lot about game theory, how the worldwide web works, the differences between bonobos and chimps, Unitarianism and government paranoia (actually, I already knew about that).

My only criticism is that the final chapter is a tad overwritten and a bit melodramatic. Otherwise, Watch is a great read that sets up what should be a fascinating third volume. The big question for me is whether or not Webmind can remain uncorrupted either by power or by the powerful.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hokey & Downright silly at tiimes 30 Oct. 2010
By Avid Reader - Published on
I've read almost every book by Sawyer and have loved many. This one, though, reads like a 70's bad film with smart AI's who (for some reason) suddenly attain consciousness and begin to act like kids. I mean, how logical is it that a new lifeform will communicate to a viewer who then tells him to go and learn English. A web AI would have at his/her/its beck and call all the knowledge of the web. It would not need sensory outputs since it could simply read about the inner workings of the senses.

The conversations struck me as incredibly hokey (the stilted English, the dumb questions, the whole thing reeking of phoniness). Perhaps this was to be another Singularity novel but of course, it's not, since its creation never evolves beyond the "Help Desk" phase. It never hits that it can/has absorbed the world's knowledge. There is one further problem. If consciousness is obtained on the Web (and revealed to a teen who tells mom & dad before all run off to dinner) how can it speak simultaneously to millions of users? A machine that processes sequentially can appear to address everyone simultaneously but a "mind" whose development is depending on its decisions cannot afford to make decisions that might affect its "brain". Maybe this is one for a beach read after several mojitas. My Grade: C-
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