I devoured the last two installments in Robert J. Sawyer’s "WWW" trilogy and was anxious for the third installment to hit the shelves. I was fascinated to see how Sawyer would bring together some of the threads we saw in book one and to find out the final fate of the Webmind.
So, I guess you could say I had some pretty high expectations for "WWW: Wonder."
And I guess you could say that the book didn’t exactly live up to them.
It’s still a good story and the ideas raised in the book are fascinating ones. The concept of how humanity would react if an artificial intelligence developed that was interested in bringing out the best in humanity instead of trying to exterminate us all is compelling and fascinating. Watching as Webmind tries to use his new seemingly limitless intelligence to connect things together to find cures for cancer and to try to bring out better instincts in humanity is interesting. And seeing the reaction of certain groups to the evolution of Webmind and making steps to try and stop the AI in its tracks before it becomes too powerful helps drive much of the second half of the story.
But for all of that, I can’t help but come away from the novel feeling a bit let down and disappointed by how it all ends. Sawyer does manage to weave the plotline of the Great Firewall of China, Bobo the Monkey and Webmind together in the story’s final chapters. But there are times when Sawyer is too obvious in his political views and it comes across on the page. Thinly veiled criticism of recent administrations occur often in the novel as do complete and utter support of other political factions, parties and administrations. I get that the characters (and to some extend Sawyer) are passionate in their beliefs and feelings on these issues, but if I wanted political diatribe, I’d flip on a cable news outlet.
Those moments took me too far out of the book to really become as immersed in the story and characters as I was by the first two. Looking back, there were those moments there as well but they didn’t pull me out of the book in the way those moments do here. It’s a shame really because it keeps what could have been a great trilogy of novels and makes them just merely pretty darn good.
The novels are worth reading and I’m not sorry for the investment of time I put into them. As I said before Sawyer has some fascinating ideas in this trilogy and this book. It’s just a shame that the series had to come to an end with a disappointing third installment.