Toronto, Canada – Canadian production company No Equal Entertainment has secured exclusive worldwide rights to Robert J. Sawyer’s award-winning WWW Trilogy, consisting of the novels, Wake, Watch and Wonder. Each novel in the trilogy has won Canada’s top honour in science fiction and fantasy writing, The Aurora Award, in addition to earning numerous other international accolades, as well as appearing on multiple bestseller lists around the world. Producer J.B. Sugar and No Equal have commissioned Shelley Scarrow (Wynonna Earp, V-Wars, Lost Girl) to adapt the novels for television and she will also write the pilot. The project has received development support from the Bell Fund’s Slate Development Program and the Canadian Media Fund’s Export Pilot Program. No Equal and J.B Sugar have a history of producing adaptations of other classic and popular novels including John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, for which Sugar was nominated for an Emmy Award, Douglas Coupland’s JPod for CBC, and the popular SPACE and SYFY television series Bitten based on the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong. David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga previously adapted Sawyer’s novel FlashForward into a series for ABC Television starring Joseph Fiennes. Sawyer served as a consultant and writer on the series.
“As the best science fiction tends to do, Robert’s WWW trilogy presents a high concept story with a strong female protagonist that explores a fantastical, yet believable near future populated by diverse characters with unique outlooks; a great recipe for a television show that will engage and captivate viewers. Shelley’s track-record and sensibilities perfectly complement Robert’s stories and we are excited to bring the synergy of their storytelling to the screen,” remarked Producer J.B. Sugar.
The three books — Wake, Watch, and Wonder — contemplate the ramifications of an emergent sentient intelligence. The inception of this consciousness occurs in familiar settings: the homes, workplaces, and streets of the world we know, as the digital infrastructure we rely on literally comes to life — an entity with millions of webcam eyes and billions of gigabytes of data at its disposal, a consciousness that knows everything you’ve ever said in an email, and everything anyone has ever said about you online. The novels center around Caitlin Decter, a young blind woman who is given sight enabled by new technology; an internet enabled retinal implant. Caitlin becomes the first to discover the arrival of this new form of intelligence and begins to teach it the ways of the world and, more importantly, about being human. As their relationship evolves and their secret is exposed, they become a formidable team that must fight against a clandestine government organization, help a subversive Chinese anti-government blogger and work with an animal behaviorist on the cusp of making a profound discovery.
Wake is the first novel in WWW Trilogy. Caitlin Decter is young, feisty, a genius at math, and was born blind. But she can surf the internet with the best of them, following its complex paths in her mind. When a Japanese neurosurgeon develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation. But the visual cortex in Caitlin’s brain has long since adapted to allow her to navigate online. When the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, she sees the landscape of the World Wide Web spreading out around her in a riot of colours and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something—some other—lurking in the background. And it’s getting smarter.
In the second novel Watch, an extraordinary presence within the Web has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But this emerging consciousness has also come to the attention of WATCH—the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States, whether foreign, domestic, or online—and the agents are fully aware of Caitlin’s involvement in its awakening. WATCH is convinced that Webmind represents a risk to national security and wants it purged from cyberspace. But Caitlin believes in Webmind’s capacity for compassion—and she will do anything and everything necessary to protect her friend.
In the final novel Wonder, the advent of Webmind—a vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web—is changing everything. From curing cancer to easing international tensions, Webmind seems a boon to humanity. But Colonel Peyton Hume, the Pentagon’s top expert on artificial intelligence, is convinced Webmind is a threat. He turns to the hacker underground to help him bring Webmind down. But soon hackers start mysteriously vanishing. Meanwhile, Caitlin Decter —the once-blind math genius who discovered Webmind—desperately tries to protect her friend. Can this new world of wonder survive—or will everything, Webmind included, come crashing down?
“My trilogy is about all sorts of present-day issues, including the nature of privacy, gender identity, cybersecurity and more, and I’m pleased that J.B. and Shelley share the same vision about bringing these timely topics, wrapped up in exciting and heartwarming storytelling, to life,” commented Writer Robert J. Sawyer.
“When I read Robert’s series, I felt deeply inspired and excited. His unique, humanist approach to Emergent Intelligence has sparked lively, distinctive characters and stories that I know will be just as thrilling for audiences. Creating the next chapters in this saga with J.B. Sugar and No Equal feels like a perfect place for me as a writer and creator, and I can’t wait to see where we go next,” commented Shelley Scarrow.
Robert J. Sawyer has been called ”the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen and “just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days” by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the science-fiction field’s top honors for best novel of the year: the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award, which he won in 2003 for his novel Hominids; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula Award, which he won in 1996 for his novel The Terminal Experiment and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which he won in 2006 for his novel Mindscan. According to the US trade journal Locus, Rob is the #1 all-time worldwide leader in number of award wins as a science fiction or fantasy novelist. Rob is a member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the Canadian government; he is the only person ever inducted into the order for work in the science-fiction field. For more information, please visit Sawyer’s personal website: www.sfwriter.com
Shelley Scarrow’s television credits include writing and producing for Wynonna Earp, Being Erica and the upcoming V-Wars for Netflix. Her varied experience also includes comedy and children’s programming, with programs including Degrassi: The Next Generation, Mysticons, the Total Drama franchise and Sophie. Her writing has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and has won several Writers Guild of Canada awards. Coming from a theatre development and producing background, including work on several Broadway musicals, Shelley has also received a National Magazine Award for food and travel writing.
J.B. Sugar is a dual American and Canadian citizen working as a producer, director, writer and showrunner through his production company, No Equal Entertainment. Sugar most recently produced a long-form investigative documentary called The Guardians airing on CBC’s documentary Channel in 2019 and directed Hallmark Channels’ A Midnight Kiss. He also worked as a director on the third season of Dark Matter for SYFY and SPACE. Previously, Sugar produced three seasons and directed multiple episodes of the drama series Bitten for SPACE (Bell Media), SYFY (NBCUniversal) and NETFLIX, based on the New York Times best-selling novels by Kelley Armstrong. Prior to moving to Canada, Sugar was nominated for an Emmy Award for producing Showtime’s A Separate Peace, based on the classic novel by John Knowles, in addition to producing and co-creating the game show Wintuition for GSN and SONY and winning the Student Academy Award for his AFI thesis film John.
No Equal Entertainment was founded in 1998 by Larry Sugar and is now owned and operated by J.B. Sugar. Based in Canada, No Equal develops, produces, and distributes feature films, television movies, television series, and mini-series for the domestic and international marketplace. To date, No Equal has produced over 300 episodes of television for US and International broadcast. No Equal produced the feature-length documentary The Guardians for CBC’s documentary Channel and Bitten, a one-hour drama for Bell Media’s SPACE, SYFY, and NETFLIX. Past productions include: Peter Geenaway’s Nightwatching, jPod, based on the novel by Douglas Coupland (CBC), The Collector (SPACE and Chiller), Kill Kill Faster Faster, Dead Man’s Gun, (Showtime and MGM, First Wave (SPACE and SYFY), So Weird (Disney Channel), Romeo (Nickelodeon), Just Deal (NBC), Secret Central (Hasbro), and The Troop (Nickelodeon).