The third book in the Jenny Casey SF trilogy.
Publication year: 2005
Page count: 400
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Worldwired starts about nine months after the end of the previous book, Scardown. The world has changed after the disaster (and no, I’m not going to spoil it here) and after two alien starships (from apparently different species) have come to orbit near the Canadian starship Montreal. Unfortunately, for our heroes they can’t communicate with either of the alien ships. A couple of more scientists have been brought to the Montreal but they haven’t had any luck so far.
Meanwhile, international political scene is heating up. The Chinese are accusing Canada of trying to take over the world while the Chinese themselves are behind the disaster. Also, Unitek’s new manager it trying to make Canada’s Prime Minister Riel look bad so that she can be replaced with Unitek’s puppet. The politics in the book are really complex and before the end they involve every character.
However, where the book really shines, and what I enjoyed the most, was the first contact situation in orbit. The humans are thinking of a way to communicate with the aliens and trying some methods. Finally, they decide to send a group into one of the ships. Of course, things don’t go as planned.
Communication is one of the themes of the book and it’s ironic that the humans wants to badly to communicate with the aliens when they can’t communicate with each other. Also, the Artificial Intelligence, Richard Feynman and his various side personalities are in the implants and other nanotechnology which was initially given to the pilots. Now, everybody who is ”infected” with the nanotechnology is wired into Richard. In essence, they have telepathy with Richard and each other which will raise some serious questions about privacy. However, there isn’t enough time to cover that in this book. Also, some questions are raised about how much people can or should rely on Richard who is already running the Montreal, trying to repair Earth’s ecological damage, talking to people in their heads, and trying to communicate with the aliens.
The book has a lot of POV characters and shifts in POV which can be strange to so reader. Of course, the previous books had those as well. This is not an action/adventure SF, but more like a political thriller and ”real life” first contact story in one.
This book again defied my expectations which is a good thing.