Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Finished with the WWW books

by Rob - October 3rd, 2011.
Filed under: Milestones, Wake, Watch, Wonder, WWW.

Just sent corrections for the paperback of Wonder to Ace and Penguin Canada — the very last work I’ll ever do on the WWW trilogy books. It’s the end of an era that began getting on to nine years ago, on Friday, January 10, 2003, when I wrote this in my journal:
Wrote 300 words explaining how I was going to expand “Shed Skin” into a novel to be called Skins, and, after wracking my brain for a couple of hours, came up with an idea that I liked for a second novel: consciousness emerges on the World Wide Web. Admittedly, not completely original (Clarke’s short story “Dial F for Frankenstein” comes to mind), but I checked on and Google, and couldn’t find any book that had actually done this. (I had been thinking of outlining a novel about humans adopting alien children, but I have yet to figure out how to develop that plot enough.)
“Shed Skin” was a short story I wrote that went on to be a Hugo finalist; Skins became Mindscan, and the alien children idea eventually became Rollback. By “second novel,” I meant I was looking for a two-book contract; originally, the story of Webmind was only going to be a single novel, and the two-book contract would have been for Mindscan and that book. Wake, Watch, and Wonder ended up being my 18th, 19th, and 20th novels.
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3 Responses to Finished with the WWW books

  1. On to strange new worlds and civilizations ;). I haven’t read Rollback yet, but enjoyed the others you mentioned. It was a great WWW series!
    Stay inspired!

  2. I’ve always wondered about the selection process on which ideas to pursue and turn into books. I’m *not* a novelist and constantly think up ideas I’d love to read about.

    Humans adopting alien children, eh? I wonder if anything will come of that. ;-)

  3. And thank you for those books!

    For one thing, I personally just loved them – especially “going there” in the final epilogue. Most writers would have have wimped out and hit the reset button so that we were left without Webmind, but all a little bit wiser.

    But I also found the exploration of consciousness from inside an emerging consciousness to be fascinating. I’m hoping to incorporate one or more of the books into a “Science Fiction and Philosophy of Mind” course I’m teaching next year.

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