|Wake, by Robert J Sawyer, is the
first volume in a trilogy about internet sentience and human sentience and their mutual
discovery. Wake is also the authors twentieth or so novel.
me Wake was a parsons egg of a novel good in parts,
but not satisfying as a whole. The story centres round the birth, within the internet of a
non-organic sentience and its relationship with human sentience in the form of Caitlin
Decter, a teenage girl learning to see by way of a cutting edge neural implant.
The story is developed by way of chapters dealing with Caitlin and her struggles to
see, and vignettes that background the birth of the internet sentience and what shaped its
development. For reasons I was unable to fathom, I cared more about the people populating
the vignettes than I did about the main storyline. Unfortunately, these scenes went only
so far and then stopped. I found Caitlins world tedious and flat, whereas there was
an excitement and movement in the vignettes missing from Caitlins world and
the internet sentiences perspective was even less entertaining.
I found the lack of engagement with the main story rather a pity as this was a story I
wanted to enjoy, especially as the next volume, Watch, is now
available. However, on reflection I have yet to read a novel about the birth of internet
sentience that I have enjoyed so for me this represents the high point of that particular
sub-genre so far: good but not great.
I also should point out that Wake was a 2010 Hugo award
finalist, which means a lot of other readers held a view contrary to mine and rated this
book as worthy of the serious science fiction fans' highest accolade; so mine may be a