Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wake book-review roundup

Roundup of reviews to date of the Robert J. Sawyer novel Wake (or WWW:Wake, as the title is styled on the US dustjacket):
"Extremely well written and complex making Tron look like pre-school, this is a terrific first tale in what looks like will be a great trilogy." —

"Wake provides a refreshing intersect of science and real life, of consciousness and perception, of imagination and potential. Sawyer puts the science back in science fiction and does it with panache." —Bitten by Books

"Sawyer's take on theories about the origin of consciousness, generated within the framework of an engaging story, is fascinating, and his approach to machine consciousness and the Internet is surprisingly fresh." —Booklist

"A very entertaining read. Sawyer has written a pretty fast paced novel with Wake. Deceptively so in fact. Although it does not slow the story down he has packed the text with references to developments in information technology, mathematics, physics, linguistics and a number of other fields. Parts of the novel read like Oliver Sacks writing science fiction." —Bookspot Central

"While this is clearly a novel of big ideas, the author never neglects the individual characters. Caitlin, her parents, Dr. Kuroda, and even the kids at school all seem very realistic. Allowing us to follow Caitlin's story from her point of view works perfectly. She's a teenager, so she's moody and very human; but she's a very smart girl, applying knowledge to new situations and grasping abstract concepts with relative ease. She's a great character, with flaws and a sense of humor." —CA Reviews

"Sawyer continues to push the boundaries with his stories of the future made credible. His erudition, eclecticism, and masterly storytelling make this trilogy opener a choice selection." —Library Journal

"Unforgettable. Impossible to put down." —Nebula Award-winner Jack McDevitt

"Wake is about as good as it gets when it comes to science fiction. In Caitlin, Sawyer has created a likable and sympathetic hero. She's smart, sure, but also full of sass, which lends itself to some wildly entertaining reading. Sawyer's combination of writing skill and computing background come together marvelously in this book. The characters are rich and realistic, while the ideas are fresh and fascinating." —The Maine Edge, Bangor, Maine

"When I am asked what my favourite science fiction novel is, invariably the answer is: `The last one by Robert Sawyer.' With the publication of Wake, Rollback must sadly make way for the new title holder. Wake is, in the words of its heroine, made out of awesome." —McNally Robinson, Canada's second-largest bookstore chain

"Wake is a marvelous story [with] a convincing narrative from the AI perspective. What I like best about this novel is Sawyer's casual dropping in of various bits of history that I know, and other bits of current fact that I haven't paid attention to. Eye openers on Chinese politics and insights into research into communicating with chimpanzees make this novel an eclectic reading SF fan's delight. Sawyer's SF story of an Artificial Intelligence dawning in the World Wide Web has the emotional impact of Buffy fighting demons from another dimension." —Jacqueline Lichtenberg in The Monthly Aspectarian

"Sawyer is one of the most successful Canadian writers ever. He has won himself an international readership by reinvigorating the traditions of hard science fiction, following the path of such writers as Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein in his bold speculations from pure science. Clashes between personalities and ideologies fuel [Wake's] plot, but they're not what the book is about. It's about how cool science is. Sawyer has marshalled a daunting quantity of fact and theory from across scientific disciplines and applied them to a contemporary landscape — with due regard to cultural and political differences, pop culture, history, economics, adolescent yearnings, personal ambition and human frailty. —National Post

"Sawyer paints a complete portrait of a blind teenage girl, and imagines in detail — from scratch — the inside of a new being. Almost alone among Canadian writers, he tackles the most fundamental questions of who we are and where we might be going — while illuminating where we are now." —The Ottawa Citizen

"The wildly thought-provoking first installment of Sawyer's WWW trilogy explores the origins and emergence of consciousness. The thematic diversity — and profundity — makes this one of Sawyer's strongest works to date." —Publishers Weekly (starred review, denoting a book of exceptional merit)

"A fast-paced and suspenseful story full of surprises and humour." —The Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"Emotionally satisfying and intellectually stimulating. Along with William Gibson's Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Robert J. Sawyer's Wake presents a unique perspective on information technology. I eagerly await its sequels." —SFFaudio

"A superb work of day-after-tomorrow science fiction; I enjoyed every page." —Hugo Award-winner Allen Steele

"Once again, Robert J. Sawyer explores the intersection between big ideas and real people. Here the subject is consciousness and perception — who we are and how we see one another, both literally and figuratively. Thoughtful and engaging, and a great beginning to a fascinating trilogy." —Hugo Award-winner Robert Charles Wilson

"It's refreshing to read a book so deliberately Canadian in a genre dominated by Americans, and it's easy to see why Sawyer now routinely wins not only Canadian science fiction prizes but also international accolades. His fans won't be disappointed, and readers picking up his work for the first time will get a good introduction to a writer with a remarkable backlist." —Winnipeg Free Press

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



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