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Wake marks my first encounter with Robert J. Sawyer, ad I've come away from the novel thoroughly impressed. I'm legally blind myself, though I do have some residual vision, so I immediately identified with protagonist Caitlin Decter, and I felt that she was a pretty believable blind character. The concept of visualizing the web was also intriguing, as was the premise that the web has some sort of underlying consciousness.
My only complaint about the book is that, even for the first novel in a trilogy it feels incomplete. One of the plotlines is simply dropped midway through the book. I understand that these plotlines will be picked up in the sequel, but an adept author should be able to bring about at least smaller resolutions within the overarching story at the end of each book, and I don't feel like Sawyer accomplished this.
To end on a positive note, the Audible Frontiers production is fantastic, with strong voice acting from all the narrators.
76 of 80 people found this review helpful
Robert J. Sawyer is my favorite science fiction author, hands down. He delivers a kind of science fiction I've always enjoyed - one that breaks past the science in to psychology, sociology or morality, but is still grounded in excellent characters with whom the reader can easily connect.
In WAKE, we meet Caitlin, a young woman with a congenital blindness and a gift for mathematics. Her voice rings true, and when she is given a chance at sight via a new technology, she finds herself capable of "seeing" the internet. At the same time, other events conspire to bring a glimmer of consciousness to the net itself, and the two stories - Caitlin's sight, and the nascent entity's growth - parallel in a marvelously paced story that kept me going.
As the first book in a trilogy, there's ground work being built, and I was definitely left satisfied with the individual novel, but looking forward to where the story will head in the next installment, WATCH.
If you do enjoy listening to books, this one just bumped "Memoirs of a Geisha" from my #1 Listening Experience position. The multiple reading voices really added a performance depth to the reading that took something already great and made it all the more enjoyable. Bravo to the whole cast!
45 of 47 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful