Awake and Aware...,
This review is from: Wake (Paperback)
In typical Sawyer fashion, a scientific development is examined by putting a handful of sympathetic characters through a life-changing experience--in this case we follow the fortunes of Caitlin in the present time. A brilliant young mathematician who has managed to find her way around the web using a series of unique strategies, she is believable and well-drawn, as are her family and the Japanese doctor treating her. Sawyer's scene setting is pitch perfect and I enjoyed the touches of humour regarding the relationship between America and Canada. The sub-plot depicting the plight of Hobo, a bonobo/chimpanzee cross is equally engrossing and addresses the subject of growing self-awareness from an intriguing angle - which is one of Sawyer's strengths.
However, if you're sensing a `but', you'd be right. The book opens in the viewpoint of the worldwide web and for me, this particular `character' failed to convince me until right at the very end when the writing and delivery was finally plausible. I have no problem with the idea of the Net becoming self-aware, indeed, I think that Sawyer does a masterful job in stacking up a tenable set of circumstances that jolt it into consciousness. What bothers me is the depiction of the Net `character'. In my opinion, the writing, with the choice of vocabulary, phrasing and thought process just did not sufficiently reflect the reality of what `It' is. I'm aware that it was a fiendishly difficult task to pull off and, ironically, if Sawyer had been less able at setting up such a realistic scenario, then this weakness would not be so glaringly obvious. Apart from this one reservation, the book is an intriguing exploration into what causes self-awareness--and I'm quite sure that during the other two books in the trilogy, 'Watch' and 'Wonder', Sawyer will continue to offer thought provoking insights into the consequences of a sentient being running the world wide web.