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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subjectIt's fantastic, but I actually have better reccomendations.
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=715138&mesg_id=715650
715650, It's fantastic, but I actually have better reccomendations.
Posted by Cold Truth, Wed Sep-14-16 02:40 PM
Namely Robert J Sawyer’s duo of masterpiece trilogies, the W.W.W trilogy and the Hominids trilogy.

WWW consists of Wake/Watch/Wonder and pulls off a remarkable feat in appealing to both adult and YA audiences with a teen girl as the centerpiece. It’s about Caitlyn, a blind 15 year old girl who is also a brilliant mathematician who undergoes an experimental procedure to give her sight through a small pod on her eye. She calls it her ‘eye-pod’, lol, and her fondness for cheesy puns is endearing.

She makes contact with am emergent intelligence that exists in the framework of the internet, a being that comes to be known as “WebMind”.

Caitlyn and Webmind both discover their newfound world together, with Caitlyn as WM’s unwitting teacher. As you can imagine, the government catches on to WM’s existence and things get crazy. I don’t want to reveal too much but it’s a fantastic trilogy that tackles concepts of evolution, big brother, etc and takes an unexpectedly thoughtful look at the subject of A.I.** I say unexpectedly to those unfamiliar with Robert J Sawyer. There are definite YA elements but it’s not a YA book. You don’t get, like, Divergent type pandering.

He’s not catering to the 20 year old barrista, unless that barrista is a math fanatic and keeps a well-worn copy of The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind somewhere close at all times.
That book, along with The Miracle Worker, 2001, A Space Odessey, War Games, etc are among many references made in the series as their themes not only echo throughout, but are built upon.

Hominids, actually called The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, is about the arrival of a Neandertal from a parallel universe where they became the dominant species. This trilogy involves a deep examination of the completely different paths taken by our two societies and we ultimately get to see both worlds extensively. I will say that his imagined Neandertal society is intriguing and challenged my notions our societal checks and balances and the potential cost of creating a human utopia. For example, Neandertals have practically no murder in their world because they deem the act so horrendous and unforgivable that when someone commits murder, they sterilize his/her entire bloodline.

His writing is very practical and the core of his books are the characters and their relationships, yet all of his books consistently delve into scientific concepts. For every character moment you have another where someone breaks down why we didn’t develop an eye in the back of our head.

If I have one shining recommendation from his catalog, it would be Calculating God, far and away his best work. Actually that’s a top five all time fiction book for me. It’s a masterpiece. Basically it’s about an atheist paleontologist who, as is a common theme, makes first contact with an alien being. Rather… the alien makes contact with him as he is on Earth looking specifically for a paleontologist.

The reason being, he’s trying to figure out why so many worlds evolve and endure exactly 6 cycles of extinction level cataclysms before ultimate extinction. Oh, and the alien, named Hollis, not only believes in God, but knows it to be a long established fact and can’t believe that any true scientist wouldn’t. Again, so much depth of conversation and character and scientific dialogue.

He doesn’t get so deep into science as to be tedious and honestly never even approaches that territory. He consistently strikes an impressive balance on that end.

I’d still recommend Hard Magic, otherwise known as the Grimnoir Chronicles, but if I’m making recommendations, these are among the more profound and deeply satisfying modern sci-fi books I’ve read. If you read any of them PLEASE hit me back because I’d be geeked to discuss them with you.