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  • Wake
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2010
I bought this book entirely because of the TV show Flashforward, which I am enjoying. I'm always intrigued when films or tv shows are based on books because the book is generally more enjoyable. I found the ideas on which this was based very interesting and consequently thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character is detailed and engaging and you're with her the whole way unlike many science fiction series which seem to have huge numbers of characters which it is imposssible to keep up with.

If this is the start of a new series, I will definitely be following it.
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on 21 January 2011
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.
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Wake is another future classic from Robert and the start of a news series for him, in which the principle protagonist learns to see the web and learns of the consiousness stirring within.

As with Flash Forward its beautifully sculpted. The characters a triumph especially with the care and consideration of the protagonista which I really love with an overall story arc that just flows from the page into the readers imagination. Add to this an attention to detail and research that really will make you grasp without the utilisation of an info dump and I think that Robert will be a name to flag as perhaps one of the future names to judge the genre by.

Imaginative, Creative and hopefully one that will inspire readers to reach for thier dreams in much the same way Clarke or Asimov have for previous generations.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2010
Wake contains two stories which dance alongside each other until their collision in the latter part of the novel. The first plot follows a web savvy blind girl who becomes the recipient of an experimental implant. The second strand follows the emergence of something within the web-space itself. Whereas Caitlin's story is full of emotion, interesting characters and creative near-future ideas, the other story is cold and calculated, rooted in maths and science and feels sterile alongside a tale rooted in humanity. This creates an imbalance, although deliberate, which is distracting. Caitlin's tale could have been a standalone tale and although it may not have contained as much science fiction, it would have engaged the reader with a more captivating story.
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on 2 April 2013
I liked the concept of this book. The idea of a entity coming into existence on the internet is an interesting idea.

The only down side I found were that there are plot lines that seemed unfinished, so either the author got bored with the characters he was writing about or they will feature in the rest of the trilogy. Either way, I think the next book is worth the read as I have been left intrigued.
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on 23 February 2012
Once I read 'Wake', the first book in the trilogy, I 'had' to read the other two because the implications of the story are so intriguing that I wanted to know what was next. Intriguing pretty much like a blockbuster can be with lots of action and shallow characters though.

If you're a geek and don't care too much about poetry, you'll like it.
There are some very good points about the internet, and its evolution toward a sentient being is something anyone interested in sci-fi, h+, tech trends etc, is inevitably attracted to.

If you love good literature and in books you look for poetry, then it'll disappoint you.
The characters are shallow, and few details are given about them. Even when they're given, they tend to stick to eye colours and superficial stuff like that. The book is a never-ending sequence of actions, as you would see in an action movie. In fact, it feels more like a script than a book. It's very visual, and leaves nothing to the other senses. No character ever seems to have time for pondering and introspection, since everyone is trapped in this lunatic cage of constant action. There is no poetic image in over 1,000 pages. It feels like it's being written by a scientist with no artistic gift.

This is a successful book, and its author is a successful author. Why?
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on 25 April 2011
There's an interesting premise in this novel by Robert Sawyer that seeks to explore the nature of self-awareness and its origins. The story centres on a young girl Caitlan. Blind since birth, she's given a chance to see thanks to Japanese research scientist Dr Kuroda, but she gets more than she bargains for when the 'EyePod' (as she names the device) allows her to see cyberspace (the world wide web), and there she comes to perceive a nascent awareness.

Something is becoming aware of the outside world, of Caitlan, and through that it is becoming aware of itself. No, don't think of the Internet becoming aware; it's not that but this entity exists on the web all the same. Throw in an experiment with primates of different species beong taught to communicate over the species barrier with sign language, Internet censorship in China, and we have a number of strands that begin to weave together an exploration of consciousness.

It sounds fascinating, but the truth is the novel left me strangely unmoved, despite it covering a theme I expected would fire up my interest. The book is part of a series, so doubtless th real meat and bones of the story are yet to come, but I can't say this novel has inspired me to read further and find out.
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on 19 July 2010
This is the first of the 2010 Hugo Award nominated novels I have read and I'm left a little, just a little, disssapointed. It is well written and reads at a good fast clip, short chapters and spaced out typeset help in this regard. Caitlin's character is the most engaging but the subplots get lost and then dissapear for the last 100 pages presumably to be picked up in the second volume. A little lighter and thinner than the novel I am used to I would preferred to see where the secondary stories were going.
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on 9 June 2011
Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a matematics genius-and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. 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. The first of a spellbinding future history trilogy that charts what will happen when the world's first first, and superior, artificial-intelligence is born in the web.
While I enjoyed this book to some extent there were a few problems in it for me. Firstly I do not have a mathematical bone in my body, so there was an awful lot of explanation that just zipped over the top of my head.
Fortunately it is still possible to appreciate the story without being a math genius.
But the second problem was the story itself.
The premise that the world wide web can become self aware and start to interact with an individual is an interesting one, but there was no excitement in the book, the protagonist is one sided and flat. And just as the story was getting off the ground , so to speak, it ended, paving the way for the next book in the series. Now, don't get me wrong I enjopy a good cliffhanger as much as the next person, but there was no no cliffhanger, the book just seemed to ......stop .
I will read the next book in the series, but I feel no overwhelming urge to dash out and find it to read immediately, and for me that is generally the sign of a good book.
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on 1 September 2014
A sympathetic view of the awakening of sight in a previously blind girl, mixed with detailed descriptions of aspects of 'webology', done in such a way that the narrative unfolds logically and evoking emotion. I am looking to see where the next in the series goes.
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