Watch by Robert J Sawyer

I read Wake earlier this year and quite enjoyed it, despite that fact that it was mostly a set-up for the larger story of an AI coming into existence on the web. Watch is the second book in the trilogy and I was expecting bigger and better things from it, some of which it delivered, but it still left me a little wanting.

watchOnce again the main focus of the story is that of Caitlin Decter and Webmind, how the two communicate and how Webmind is growing as a being. From the early chapters when WATCH discover something is going on on the web and set about planning to deal with it, to Webmind deciding to go public and reveal itself to the world, Watch is quite an interesting story that manages to once again take a realistic look at what the reaction to such a revelation could be. I particularly liked the way Webmind was discovering human behaviour and learning how to interact with other humans, when to step in to stop events, and how to respect the privacy of everyone whose information it has access to. Removing all spam mail from the internet is another little note that I liked, both for the power it shows Webmind wields, and for the effect it has on humanity’s views on it.

Of course, with Webmind growing so much I was expecting something a little more… epic? Given the title of the third novel is Wonder I fully expect my doubts and reservations to be put to rest, but I’m also very intrigued as to how Sawyer will tie everything up in the end.

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