15 year old Caitlin Decter has been blind her whole life so everything changes when an experimental implant behind her eye allows her to see for the first time. In fact, Caitlin’s Blackberry turned implant processor, or “eyepod” as she calls it, allows her to switch between no vision, real-world vision, and an in-between vision that allows her to see a simplified version of the World Wide Web. As Caitlin learns to interpret this whole new world she finds she might not be alone. In fact, there’s something in the web space and it’s learning faster and faster every day.
I don’t read a ton of straight Science Fiction (meaning no romance elements) but I had to give this one a try because my husband, who reads maybe 5-7 books a year, read these and loved them. It’s not often we have a book we can discuss together, after all. I really enjoyed the series and found the second one, Watch, to be my favorite as it had a lot of sociology related topics included. Though the series follows a teenage girl, this isn’t young adult and there are many issues related to humanity, human rights, privacy, government control, personal will, etc. that are covered in this series. It was so much more than just a young girl and an artificial intelligence meeting. In fact, there was even a bit of a love story, so I wasn’t totally left out on the romance side of things. Caitlin was certainly an entertaining narrator as her intelligence is far beyond her age but she’s also been relatively sheltered in a school for the blind before her family moved to Canada where she’s now attending a public school.
I also really enjoyed the emerging AI, Webmind, as he names himself and it was really fascinating to watch him learn, grow, and expand as he understands more of the world and how it works. There was a surprising dry humor to Webmind that had me laughing out loud at several points in the series. Though I couldn’t always follow or conceptualize some of the heavily computer science topics included in this book, I never felt lost. There was always enough context to understand the basics of how something was working, so Robert J. Sawyer did a great job of making this book accessible to all kinds of readers.
Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math — and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind.
When a Japanese researcher develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation.
But Caitlin’s brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. Once the implant is activated, 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 smarter …(cover blurb for Wake).
Published by Ace from 2009 to 2011