In Wonder, award winner Robert J. Sawyer’s thrilling conclusion to his WWW trilogy, after Wake and Watch, he takes the evolved consciousness of the Internet, known as Webmind, to a whole new level. After almost being destroyed by the US agency WATCH, Webmind is now released to the world by its discoverer, Caitlin Dector, a teenager, who goes on TV to broadcast the existence of this animate consciousness. Word spreads lightning fast on the Internet, and Webmind is soon communicating with millions of people around the world, simultaneously, learning much and helping those it can. In a short while it has discovered a possible cure for cancer, but Webmind’s goal is some form of world peace and to bring joy to humanity. Meanwhile Colonel Peyton Hume, the Pentagon’s top expert on artificial intelligence, thinks Webmind isn’t what it says it is; that its intentions aren’t for the improvement of human kind, but for personal gain; with the power it has it could take over the world, or worse.
In Wonder, Sawyer brings his separate storylines – Caitlin the blind girl, Hobo the ape, and Communist China – all together in a page-turning finish, going beyond the basic story and questioning philosophical ideas and scientific theories and what they mean for humanity and the future. While Sawyer may be letting his own ideology show itself here, it is no doubt one that is subscribed to by many readers, who will enjoy seeing some of these ideas come to fruition in this possible world. And isn’t that one of the reasons for the existence of science fiction?
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Originally written on March 6, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.
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