[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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Review Excerpts

Robert J. Sawyer's Wonder

[Wonder US Hardcover Cover] "Wonder reveals how Webmind and the world react to one another. The trilogy tells a single story in three volumes with no time elapsing between books, so despite the author's periodic recaps of background information, you'll want to read the first two before the third.

"Depictions of the singularity are often unsettling, yet Sawyer's trilogy features no villains at all, neither synthetic nor biological. What Sawyer would have us fear is not the technology but the abuse of it, whether by overzealous governments or individuals like the online predator from Minnesota who was just convicted of coaxing a depressed eighteen-year-old student in Ottawa to kill herself.

"Sawyer is not alone in asserting that privacy is a thing of the past, but he bucks the trend by suggesting that rather than ruing that reality we should embrace the benefits our less private world can provide. —AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review

"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." —Alternative-Worlds.com

"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

"I've read a lot of AI stories (written a few, too), and seen any number of movies in which an AI comes along, and immediately goes all Skynet and enslaves everyone, etc. We've seen that story a million times. This story is wildly different.

"The three books [of Sawyer's WWW trilogy] are bristlingly intelligent, bursting with ideas stemming from the author's exhaustive reading and consulting (though never, in a Dan Brown way, weighing the story down with the freight of all that research), and humour.

"The vast range of material the books cover — while never losing touch with the story of the young and geeky (and blind) teenage girl who first discovers `Webmind' — is extraordinary. This is what sf can be, when it tries. It's like reading Arthur C. Clarke (an author this author has often been compared with), only with a 21st century upgrade. And, funny.

"This is tremendous, first-rate sf. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two volumes (Wake and Watch), too, so it's great to read the grand conclusion. Phwoar! My hat is off!" —K.A. Bedford, Aurealis Award-winning author of Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait

"In Wonder, award winner Robert J. Sawyer's thrilling conclusion to his WWW trilogy, he takes the evolved consciousness of the Internet, known as Webmind, to a whole new level. 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." —Bookbanter

"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

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