I have issues with Robert J. Sawyer.
He’s a good writer, and he tells a good story, but sometimes his prose becomes a patchwork of pop-culture references bordering on fanfic-wink-wink: if you don’t get what he’s talking about from the quotation or oblique description, you’re not in the club. And all too often, said references seem to be piled on gratuitously, simply to remind the reader that she should feel good about being in the club.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my favorite style. Also, some of the expository chunks are blatantly look-at-my-research didactic; to Sawyer’s credit, though, he always manages to stay below my OMG-teh-LameZors threshold, and I did learn quite a few things from this book.
A few final nitpicks: I’m pretty sure there’s no way to actually visualize the whole Internet all at once, even theoretically; his Chinese dialogue is a heartbreakingly loose translation written by someone who clearly doesn’t speak the language; and geez, could you make the last line any more of a cliffhanger?
All that said, it’s a good read, and I’m curious how he’s going to tie his disparate story threads together in the remainder of the trilogy. Here’s what the man had to say for himself, last year at Google Waterloo: