WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy)

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9780441018536: WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy)

A Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author joins Ace with a stunning new science fiction epic.

Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math, and blind. When she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality she perceives the landscape of the World Wide Web-where she makes contact with a mysterious consciousness existing only in cyberspace.

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About the Author:

Robert J. Sawyer has been called “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen.

He is one of only seven writers in history—and the only Canadian—to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo (which he won in 2003 for Hominids), the Nebula (which he won in 1995 for The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won in 2005 for Mindscan).

In total, Rob has authored over 18 science-fiction novels and won forty-one national and international awards for his fiction, including a record-setting ten Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (“Auroras”) and the Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award, one of Canada’s most significant literary honors. In 2008, he received his tenth Hugo Award nomination for his novel Rollback.

His novels have been translated into 14 languages. They are top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada and have hit number one on the Locus bestsellers’ list.

Born in Ottawa in 1960, Rob grew up in Toronto and now lives in Mississauga (just west of Toronto), with poet Carolyn Clink, his wife of twenty-four years.

He was the first science-fiction writer to have a website, and that site now contains more than one million words of material.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

one

two

three

four

five

six

seven

eight

nine

ten

eleven

twelve

thirteen

fourteen

fifteen

sixteen

seventeen

eighteen

nineteen

twenty

twenty-one

twenty-two

twenty-three

twenty-four

twenty-five

twenty-six

twenty-seven

twenty-eight

twenty-nine

thirty

thirty-one

thirty-two

thirty-three

thirty-four

thirty-five

thirty-six

thirty-seven

thirty-eight

thirty-nine

forty

forty-one

forty-two

forty-three

forty-four

forty-five

forty-six

forty-seven

forty-eight

forty-nine

 

about the author

BOOKS BY ROBERT J. SAWYER

NOVELS

 

Golden Fleece
End of an Era
The Terminal Experiment
Starplex
Frameshift
Illegal Alien
Factoring Humanity
Flashforward
Calculating God
Mindscan
Rollback

 

The Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy

Far-Seer
Fossil Hunter
Foreigner

 

The Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy

Hominids
Humans
Hybrids

 

The WWW Trilogy

Wake
Watch (coming in 2010)
Wonder (coming in 2011)

 

 

COLLECTIONS

 

Iterations
(introduction by James Alan Gardner)
Relativity
(introduction by Mike Resnick)
Identity Theft
(introduction by Robert Charles Wilson)

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

 

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. Copyright © 2009 by SFWRITER.COM Inc.

This novel was serialized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine, with installments in the November 2008, December 2008, combined January-February 2009, and March 2009 issues.

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Sawyer, Robert J.

p. cm.

eISBN : 978-1-101-02897-1

1. Blind women—Fiction. 2. Women mathematicians—Fiction. 3. Implants, Artificial—

Fiction. 4. World Wide Web—Fiction. 5. Artificial intelligence—Fiction. I. Title.

 

PR9199.3.S2533W88 2009

813’.54—dc22

2008049493

 

 

For
PAT FORDE
Great Writer
Great Friend

acknowledgments

 

Huge thanks to my lovely wife Carolyn Clink; to Ginjer Buchanan at Penguin Group (USA)’s Ace imprint in New York; to Laura Shin, Nicole Winstanley, and David Davidar at Penguin Group (Canada) in Toronto; and to Stanley Schmidt at Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Many thanks to my agent Ralph Vicinanza and his associates Christopher Lotts and Eben Weiss, and to contract managers Lisa Rundle (Penguin Canada) and John Schline (Penguin USA), who all worked enormously hard structuring a complex publishing deal.

Some great brainstorming for this book happened at Sci Foo Camp, sponsored by O’Reilly Media and held at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, in August 2006. Attending my session there were Greg Bear, Stuart Brand, Barry Bunin, Bill Cheswick, Esther Dyson, Sun Microsystems chief researcher John Gage, Sandeep Garg, Luc Moreau, Google cofounder Larry Page, Gavin Schmidt, and Alexander Tolley; I also got great feedback after the conference from Zack Booth Simpson of Mine-Control.

Thanks to David Goforth, Ph.D., Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Laurentian University, and David Robinson, Ph.D., Department of Economics, Laurentian University, for numerous insightful suggestions. And thanks to anthropologist H. Lyn Miles, Ph.D., of the Chantek Foundation and ApeNet, who enculturated the orangutan Chantek. Thanks, too, to cognitive scientist David W. Nicholas, for many comments and stimulating discussions.

Thanks to Betty Jean Reid and Carolyn Monaco of the Intervenor for Deaf-Blind Persons Program at George Brown College, Toronto, the first and largest program of its type in the world; to Patricia Grant, Executive Director and Outreach Intervenor Services Manager of the Canadian Helen Keller Centre, Toronto; to John A. Gardner, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Physics, Oregon State University, and founder of ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.; and to Justin Leiber, Ph.D., Philosophy Department, University of Houston, author of the paper “Helen Keller as Cognitive Scientist” (Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1996).

Very special thanks to my late deaf-blind friend Howard Miller (1966-2006), whom I first met online in 1992 and in person in 1994, and who touched my life and those of so many others in countless ways.

Thanks to my most excellent ophthalmologist, Gerald I. Gold-list, M.D.; to Edmund R. Meskys; to Guido Dante Corona of IBM Research’s Human Ability and Accessibility Center, Austin, Texas; and to the following members of the Blindmath mailing list who read this novel in manuscript and offered feedback: Sina Bahram, Mr. Fatty Matty, Ken Perry, Lawrence Scadden, and Cindy Sheets. Thanks also to Bev Geddes of the Manitoba School for the Deaf.

Thanks, too, to all the people who answered questions, let me bounce ideas off them, or otherwise provided input, including: R. Scott Bakker, Paul Bartel, Asbed Bedrossian, Barbara Berson, Ellen Bleaney, Ted Bleaney, Nomi S. Burstein, Linda C. Carson, David Livingstone Clink, Daniel Dern, Ron Friedman, Marcel Gagné, Shoshana Glick, Richard Gotlib, Peter Halasz, Elisabeth Hegerat, Birger Johansson, Al Katerinsky, Herb Kauderer, Shannon Kauderer, Fiona Kelleghan, Valerie King, Randy McCharles, Kirstin Morrell, Ryan Oakley, Heather Osborne, Ariel Reich, Alan B. Sawyer, Sally Tomasevic, Elizabeth Trenholm, Hayden Trenholm, Robert Charles Wilson, and Ozan S. Yigit.

Many thanks to the members of my writers’ group, the Senior Pajamas: Pat Forde, James Alan Gardner, and Suzanne Church. Thanks also to Danita Maslankowski, who organizes the twice-annual “Write-Off” retreat weekends for Calgary’s Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, at which much work was done on this book.

The term introduced in the last chapter of this book was coined by Ben Goertzel, Ph.D., the author of Creating Internet Intelligence and currently the CEO and Chief Scientist of artificial-intelligence firm Novamente LLC (novamente.net); I’m using it here with his kind permission.

A list of links to the specific Wikipedia entries I’ve briefly quoted can be found at sfwriter.com/wikicite.htm.

For those interested in learning more about Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, in addition to reading his book please also visit the Julian Jaynes Society (of which I’m a member) at julianjaynes.org.

A lot of this book was written during the three fabulous months my wife and I spent at the Berton House Writers’ Retreat. The childhood home of famed Canadian writer Pierre Berton, Berton House is located in Dawson City—the heart of the Klondike gold rush in Canada’s Yukon—right across the street from Robert Service’s cabin, and just a short distance from Jack London’s cabin. The retreat’s administrator is Elsa Franklin, and Dan Davidson and Suzanne Saito looked after us in Dawson.

Finally, thanks to the 1,300-plus members of my online discussion group, who followed along with me as I created this novel. Feel free to join us at:

www.groups.yahoo.com/group/robertjsawyer/

What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self.

 

 

—Helen Keller

one

 

Not darkness, for that implies an understanding of light.

Not silence, for that suggests a familiarity with sound.

Not loneliness, for that requires knowledge of others.

But still, faintly, so tenuous that if it were any less it wouldn’t exist at all: awareness.

Nothing more than that. Just awareness—a vague, ethereal sense of being.

Being . . . but not becoming. No marking of time, no past or future—only an endless, featureless now, and, just barely there in that boundless moment, inchoate and raw, the dawning of perception . . .

 

 

 

Caitlin had kept a brave face throughout dinner, telling her parents that everything was fine—just peachy—but, God, it had been a terrifying day, filled with other students jostling her in the busy corridors, teachers referring to things on blackboards, and doubtless everyone looking at her. She’d never felt self-conscious at the TSB back in Austin, but she was on display now. Did the other girls wear earrings, too? Had these corduroy pants been the right choice? Yes, she loved the feel of the fabric and the sound they made, but here everything was about appearances.

She was sitting at her bedroom desk, facing the open window. An evening breeze gently moved her shoulder-length hair, and she heard the outside world: a small dog barking, someone kicking a stone down the quiet residential street, and, way off, one of those annoying car alarms.

She ran a finger over her watch: 7:49—seven and seven squared, the last time today there’d be a sequence like that. She swiveled to face her computer and opened LiveJournal.

“Subject” was easy: “First day at the new school.” For “Current Location,” the default was “Home.” This strange house—hell, this strange country!—didn’t feel like that, but she let the proffered text stand.

For “Mood,” there was a drop-down list, but it took forever for JAWS, the screen-reading software she used, to announce all the choices; she always just typed something in. After a moment’s reflection, she settled on “Confident.” She might be scared in real life, but online she was Calculass, and Calculass knew no fear.

As for “Current Music,” she hadn’t started an MP3 yet . . . and so she let iTunes pick a song at random from her collection. She got it in three notes: Lee Amodeo, “Rocking My World.”

Her index fingers stroked the comforting bumps on the F and J keys—Braille for the masses—while she thought about how to begin.

Okay, she typed, ask me if my new school is noisy and crowded. Go ahead, ask. Why, thank you: yes, it is noisy and crowded. Eighteen hundred students! And the building is three stories tall. Actually, it’s three storeys tall, this being Canada and all. Hey, how do you find a Canadian in a crowded room? Start stepping on people’s feet and wait for someone to apologize to you. :)

Caitlin faced the window again and tried to imagine the setting sun. It creeped her out that people could look in at her. She’d have kept the venetian blinds down all the time, but Schrödinger liked to stretch out on the sill.

First day in tenth grade began with the Mom dropping me off and BrownGirl4 (luv ya, babe!) meeting me at the entrance. I’d walked the empty corridors of the school several times last week, getting my bearings, but it’s completely different now that the school is full of kids, so my folks are slipping BG4 a hundred bucks a week to escort me to our classes. The school managed to work it so we’re in all but one together. No way I could be in the same French class as her—je suis une beginneur, after all!

Her computer chirped: new email. She issued the keyboard command to have JAWS read the message’s header.

“To: Caitlin D.,” the computer announced. She only styled her name like that when posting to newsgroups, so whoever had sent this had gotten her address from NHL Player Stats Discuss or one of the other ones she frequented. “From: Gus Hastings.” Nobody she knew. “Subject: Improving your score.”

She touched a key and JAWS began to read the body of the message. “Are you sad about tiny penis? If so—”

Damn, her spam filter should have intercepted that. She ran her index finger along the refreshable display. Ah: the magic word had been spelled “peeeniz.” She deleted the message and was about to go back to LiveJournal when her instant messenger bleeped. “BrownGirl4 is now available,” announced the computer.

She used alt-tab to switch to that window and typed, Hey, Bashira! Just updating my LJ.

Although she had JAWS configured to use a female voice, it didn’t have Bashira’s lovely accent: “Say nice things about me.”

Course, Caitlin typed. She and Bashira had been best frie...

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2010. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. A Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author joins Ace with a stunning new science fiction epic. Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math, and blind. When she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality she perceives the landscape of the World Wide Web-where she makes contact with a mysterious consciousness existing only in cyberspace. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780441018536

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