Friday, February 26, 2010

WWW: WATCH-Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer
Ace, Apr 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9780441018185

Mathematical prodigy Caitlin Decter was born blind. When she was fifteen years old she underwent an experimental treatment of an implant inside her brain enabling her to see the world for the first time. However an unexpected consequence of the procedure is her uncanny ability to also see World Wide Web space. Thus a new sentient entity is born inside her head, of whom Caitlin calls Webmind (see WWW.WAKE).

As Webmind relishes learning all about Caitlin's physical world, top secret government watchdog agency Watch learns about Webmind as part of their scrutiny of Internet terrorist threats. They want Webmind removed from the Net because they fear it is a security risk. Whereas Caitlin feels protective of Webmind, her parents fear the intelligent being could lead to an unintended harming of their daughter from a public already concerned that Big Brother is watching.

This is a great middle book due to the power characterizations especially Webmind who provides first entity perspective. Caitlin is a superb teenager trying to keep her friend safe while her parents have always been protective of her. In fact protectiveness of others is the overarching theme as even the Watch contains individuals trying to keep the public safe. Readers will fully appreciate Robert J. Sawyer’s brilliant WWW tale, but should read Wake first to better understand how far Webmind has come and potentially could go; that explains the fears of the Watch group.

Harriet Klausner

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