Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

For your consideration: WWW: Wonder

by Rob - January 14th, 2012.
Filed under: Auroras, Awards, Hugos, Wonder.

Nominations are now open for the Hugo, Nebula, and Aurora Awards — the time when writers (cough, cough) respectfully remind you of what they had published in the previous year that’s eligible for these awards.

For me, it’s my twentieth novel, the concluding volume of my WWW trilogy of Wake, Watch, and Wonder.

The title of the final book — the one currently eligible for awards — is styled WWW: Wonder in the United States and just Wonder in Canada and the rest of the world. All of these editions appeared in 2011; feel free to cite any one of them on a nomination form. :)

  • Sawyer, Robert J. WWW: Wonder (Ace Science Fiction [US], April 2011)
  • Sawyer, Robert J. Wonder (Penguin Canada, April 2011)
  • Sawyer, Robert J. Wonder (Gollancz [UK], May 2011)

You can read the opening chapters of Wonder here, and lots more about the book here.

Wonder was named “Booksellers’ Pick of the Year” in the Science Fiction category by the Canadian publishing trade journal Quill & Quire, was a Main Selection of the Science Fiction Book Club, spent three months on the Locus bestsellers’ list, and is on the “Year’s Best” lists at Barnes and Noble and

The previous volumes in the series have done well with awards: Wake was nominated for the Hugo Award, both Wake and Watch won the Aurora Award, and Watch won the Hal Clement Award. Wake was also nominated for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and Watch was also nominated for the Audie Award, the Canadian Authors Association’s Fiction Award, and the Sunburst Award. Volume 3, Wonder, was a finalist for the GoodReads Choice Award.

Below is a summary of the reviews Wonder has received. Thanks for your kind consideration!

“The third and final thriller in the WWW saga is an engaging climax to an intriguing story line. Action-packed; the tale ties up seemingly every thread. Readers will enjoy Robert J. Sawyer’s deep look at the Web age of American power in which leaders believe they need threats like Big Brother is watching you even when none exists.” —

“Not just an adventure story, Wonder is also (like its predecessors) a starting point for speculations on ethics and morality, the meaning of consciousness and conscience, and the place of intelligence in the cosmos. This is Robert J. Sawyer at his very best.” —Don Sakers in Analog

“For those of you science fiction fans who have yet to experience Robert J. Sawyer, you’re missing out on one of the most though-provoking writers in the genre. His narrative is a unique fusion of highly intelligent scientific speculation; emotionally-powered, character driven storylines; and offbeat humor mixed with subtle pop culture references. In WWW: Wonder, for example, Sawyer brilliantly references some iconic science fiction images — the Lawgiver from Planet of the Apes, The Six Million Dollar Man, Erin Gray from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, etc.

“This trilogy doesn’t portray humankind in the best of lights but there is an undeniable sense of optimism at work, an irrepressible hope. These novels will change the way you look at the world — and if the epilogue of WWW: Wonder doesn’t deeply affect you, doesn’t utterly blow you away, chances are good that you aren’t human …

“The title of this novel says it all … readers looking for that glorious sense of wonder missing in much of contemporary science fiction will find that and more in this outstanding trilogy. A literary beacon of light in a genre dominated, at least recently, by doom and gloom.” —Paul Goat Allen‘s official review for Extrapolations, Barnes and Noble‘s Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog

“Bucking the dystopian trend of presenting a world threatened by humanity’s own creations, Sawyer presents scientific advances in a kinder, gentler way. It’s key to his now completed trilogy — Wake, Watch and the newly released Wonder.

“It’s telling that Wonder is the first of the trilogy that has a villain in the form of the Pentagon’s obsessive expert on artificial intelligence, Col. Peyton Hume. The lack of antagonists in much of Sawyer’s work is another area where he strays from doom-and-gloom prophecies of the future.” —Eric Volmers in The Calgary Herald (where Wonder hit #1 on the Fiction Bestsellers list)

“Most notably, Sawyer’s understanding of science and technology help to draw the reader into the story. By simplifying complex theories, Sawyer is able to make the idea of emerging Internet consciousness believable.

Wake, Watch, and Wonder are all must-reads for any fan of science fiction. Pop-culture references, a great sense of wit and humour and shout-outs to the kings of science fiction, coupled with Sawyer’s seamless timeline creates a quick-paced, enjoyable, and refreshing read.” —CanCulture

“Fast-paced and immediately engaging. Drawing from and distilling a vast pool of scientific, mathematical, political and social theories, Sawyer educates readers on such topics as game theory, government conspiracy, scientific responsibility and modern morality, while encouraging them to ask questions.

“Once again, Sawyer shows mastery in his ability to move between complex scientific concepts and genuine and realistic characters … and serves up a healthy dose of social commentary and critique.

“Sawyer manages to not only make each book work individually, but with Wonder, has adroitly drawn together seemingly disparate threads. There are nuances, themes and subtleties that flow beautifully when the trilogy is read as a whole, and the ability to take it as a work in its entirety, to savour the plot and allow the intricacies of the theories and concepts to meld in one’s mind, is definitely the preferred approach.” —The Globe and Mail: Canada’s National Newspaper

Wonder is a worthy third and final chapter to this series. In Webmind, Sawyer has created perhaps the most well-realized artificial intelligence in science-fiction.

“Sawyer is producing some of the most intelligent sci-fi out there. He has a knack for combining lofty, challenging ideas with an exceptional sense of story to create works that manage to be simultaneously deeply compelling and eminently readable. Complex characters and complex ideas are interwoven into a narrative that draws the reader into the world that Sawyer has created. —Allen Adams in The Maine Edge (Bangor, Maine)

“The third volume in Sawyer’s trilogy is a thought-provoking and often humorous look at future technology, calculating both its advantages and its disadvantages with regard to the human response. Entertaining and insightful, with pokes at social media and a clear look at many sides of a timely issue, this story should attract technophiles and general sf fans alike.” —Library Journal

“Canada’s science fiction superstar looks on the bright side of tomorrow. The tension in this third novel is quite sharp. With Webmind’s increasing power and understanding, he begins to exert his influence on individuals and nations. It may or may not have humanity’s best interests at heart, and it may not be stoppable, either way.” —Prairie Dog: Regina’s Independent Voice

“The various plot strands are fully interconnected in this final volume: the teenage Caitlin, the ape Hobo, and the Chinese whistleblower Wai-Jeng find their lives continue to be altered by their involvement with Webmind, while Peyton Hume of the WATCH team tries to find a way to curtail the intelligence’s power.

“The multitude of references to pop culture continue in this novel, with the 1970s Buck Rogers TV version inspiring one of the most striking visual images in the story when Webmind addresses the United Nations (and one of the best gags in the book, which Sawyer gives to Jon Stewart). And equally, fundamental questions are discussed: does human morality really improve with every generation? Will future generations regard our attitude to abortion in the same way we look at those who kept slaves? The vast array of characters Sawyer has created allows him to present different sides of arguments with equal validity without the book suddenly feeling as if it’s become a didactic — and provides some new insight into his characters along the way.

“Verdict: The conclusion to one of the best SF trilogies of modern times.” —Sci-Fi Bulletin

“Sawyer is exploring questions of intelligence, humanity, and technology’s impact on our lives. What happens when we encounter a being with far greater intelligence than we have, but none of our physical limitations?

“With the help of a speaking ape, a planet-wide community of true-believers, and a liberal dose of classic science fictional tropes, Sawyer shows that, in addition to being a very talented and creative writer, he’s also as big a fan of sf as any of us.

“Along the way, nations will fall, people will grow, and even bad guys will learn it’s more fun to be good. WWW: Wonder is a very satisfying conclusion to Sawyer’s trilogy of tomorrow, or possibly just 20 minutes into the future. Read it now, before you’re living through it.” —Ian Randall Strock at SF Site

“Vernor Vinge initially predicted that the Singularity would arrive before 2030. Ray Kurzweil places it in 2045. Those predictions are too conservative for Canadian science fiction juggernaut Robert J. Sawyer: in his WWW trilogy, whose third volume, Wonder, appears in April, the Singularity arrives in the autumn of 2012.

“If anyone is ideally suited to bring this rich vein of sci-fi angst into day-after-tomorrow territory, it’s Sawyer. The Ottawa native is one of the most successful Canadian authors of the past few decades, with twenty novels to his credit, including The Terminal Experiment (which won the 1995 Nebula Award for best novel), Hominids (which won the Hugo Award in 2003), and FlashForward (which in 2009 was turned into a television series on ABC). He’s also a meticulous realist.

“The resulting novels function as extended philosophical thought experiments. The real tension isn’t about Webmind’s advent and evolution; it’s about how humans will (or should) react to it. As Wonder‘s plot twists and weaves, you’re drawn relentlessly toward the finish, eager to find out whether Webmind will turn out to be a blessing or a curse.” —Alex Hutchinson in The Walrus

“Canadian sci-fi master Robert J. Sawyer’s artificial-intelligence trilogy reaches its conclusion in another delightful piece of fiction.

“The sequel to Wake and Watch, Wonder boasts lots of accessible scientific ideas and excellent characterization. Better yet, it’s proudly and even defiantly set in Canada.

Wonder is not only a superb conclusion to a tremendous trilogy, but stands alone as one of the best books that Sawyer has ever written.” —Nick Martin in Winnipeg Free Press

Robert J. Sawyer online:

Leave a Reply