The heartwarming story of Webmind continues …
Singularity stories are in the vogue and artificial intelligences are staples in science fiction but Robert J. Sawyer has created a heartwarming trilogy about a young blind girl who through an experimental operation becomes able to see the World Wide Web. She discovers and befriends an entity there that she names Webmind. He and she learned the world in Wake and in Watch the world learned about them. Webmind survived an attempt to destroy him by the US government WATCH group at the end of Watch.
Now in Wonder the story continues. WATCH has not given up and the Chinese government whose action to close to Internet created Webmind is at it again. A great deal of the tension in the story comes from a rogue agent who tries to get a hacker to make a large-scale attack on Webmind before it is too late to stop its growth. The whole Hacker scene of the story is fun to read especially when the truth comes out.
One thing I like about it is the learning process both Webmind and Caitlyn goes through. She is growing up and learning her ropes at the same time her new friend does. Being a teenager with her first real boyfriend is hard enough and almost impossible with the media frenzy surrounding them.
Caitlin, Hobo and Webmind are the stars of the show and the characters you root for but the other characters also come across real. It is also refreshing to see ‘bad’ guys with reasonable motivations.
The earlier books had more technology and science in them here the main subject is ethics. I like the way Robert J. Sawyer brings up ethical questions. What is right to do when defending yourself? How do we treat other intelligent creatures? In this instance exemplified by Hobo the ape and Webmind.
This is a well executed ending to the trilogy. It has some good ideas, likeable characters and a heartwarming story. You have to take it for the YA it is. I recommend it to young and adults alike.
Webmind-the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web-has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated.
Caitlin Decter-the once-blind sixteen-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind-wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn’t act, everything-Webmind included-may come crashing down.