Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WWW: Wake by Robert Sawyer

(Spoiler Alert: After the first paragraph I go into some detail which could ruin the book)

An interesting, accessible book that explores the topics of consciousness, human-technological interfaces, the complexity of psychological processing and theories of mind and emergent phenomena.

It was an easy read, both because of the writing and not-too-complicated plot. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi so it seemed fine to me, but chances are if I read more I would be disappointed. I did like how he described Canada and Julian Jaynes’ theories, as well as other little sciency tidbits throughout. This would probably make a good introductory sci-fi novel.
I actually hadn’t heard of Robert Sawyer before this book was given to me (he is one of Canada’s top authors and has one the top 3 sci-fi awards in the world), so my expectations weren’t too high. After finishing this book, I was interested in reading more of his work and might check out Flashforward or Mindscan.

Although I appreciated the exploration of how the Internet might “Wake,” the presentation could have been more plausible. Then again, because I’m currently unconvinced at exactly how intelligence and consciousness would emerge just due to complexity, perhaps it couldn’t have been much more plausible.

Here is a better book review than the one you just read.


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