A storyteller, reader, and writer (in that chronological order) since childhood, Audible helps me to bring all 3 together.
Spin is not only a great S-F novel, it's a rarity in that field, with vivid characters who are interesting in their own right, aside from the startling originality of the plot and events they are caught up in.
However, I find Scott Brick's narcissistic ham-act so insufferable that I almost didn't finish the audiobook, and (since there were no other narrators available) thought I'd trash it and buy the print version instead. But Wilson's book was so good that I somehow gritted my teeth and weathered Brick's narration, like getting used to a disagreeable odor. A narrator (or an actor) should always put their talent to the service of the text. Brick does the opposite: the text is a mere tool, serving his desire to display his talent. Another reviewer (Mary) finds him too sarcastic. It's true that he often sounds sarcastic, but the problem is much deeper than that: no matter what he's emoting, he's always in-your-face, a relentless, repeated injection of puerile, inappropriate melodrama into the text every chance he gets. He seems incapable of simply letting the text guide the feeling of his voice --- to the point that it's sometimes hard to even understand what the author is saying, because Brick is in the throes of his need to display some strong emotion or other. There's nothing wrong with a talented multi-dimensional narrative, and I'm not advocating dull neutrality, nor am I failing to see that Scott Brick does have considerable potential. But compare him with Simon Vance: a superb narrator who has an even greater range of voices and moods than Brick, yet NEVER allows it to get in the way of the text. Brick would do well to study this difference. His performance on Spin reminds me of nothing so much as the rantings of a Southern preacher, voice dripping with exaggerated softness at one moment, and searing with melodramatic ham-rage at another. Until I have evidence that he has fundamentally changed his approach to narration, I'll avoid his books.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The premise of this book is straight out of the Twilight Zone: someone or something has encased the Earth in a mysterious, black field that causes time on the planet to slow down. For every day of Earth time, centuries pass in the rest of the universe. Stars and the moon disappear, and the sun is replaced by an artificial simulation. No one on Earth knows how or why, though many religious groups believe it to be the beginning of the end times.
Some writers would have launched a conventional whiz-bang action story from here, but Wilson takes a more contemplative, Bradbury-like approach, imagining the changes both large and small that "the Spin" brings to the lives of his main characters and to society at large over twenty years or so. Of course, one of the characters happens to be a brilliant scientist working to solve the mystery before the ever-expanding sun engulfs the solar system, which leads to some interesting plot choices involving the use of evolution as a tool within a sped-up universe.
However, the story is more focused on its characters as they come of age in this strange new reality, with much of the science fiction-y stuff happening offstage, and being recounted by the narrator. Wilson's in no hurry to show us who's ultimately behind the curtain (in fact, if you hadn't noticed, there's a sequel), but the speculation and human drama offer plenty to keep the reader absorbed (even if it does get more than a tad soap opera-ish here and there). I think that anyone who appreciates reflective science fiction in the tradition of Bradbury or Clarke will enjoy this book.
the idea of the book is actually very good(nanotecs, Martians, cosmos) but I had a really hard time finishing it. extremely confusing at the beginning, the back and forth felt like a a badly edited movie (eg 21 grams). and the narrator didnt help matters, I couldn't distinguish when the main character was thinking or speaking out loud.
From the rich details of the main characters' lives together as children in the first few minutes of the book, to their awe inspiring transition in the final hour, I was fascinated from beginning to end with not only the depth of Wilson's characters, but his masterful ability to interweave entirely plausible science with an highly original and compelling plot. Brought to life with the familiar narrative genius of Scott Brick, the story quickly develops, capturing the listener's imagination with a vibrant, multi-perspective, panoramic view of an epic human adventure, set in a familiar, yet wonderfully original not-to-distant future. Listeners looking for pure Sci-Fi might be disappointed though, as Spin delivers much more, providing ample philosophical food for thought about the 'human condition', while giving relevant insights into today's ultra-conservative, socio-political environment in the US. I highly recommend Spin!
An engaging story that presents a new take on the traditional "who are they and what do they want?" extraterrestrial mystery. Unlike many similar stories, Wilson provides not only an answer, but one that is unpredictable, well thought out and emotionally satisfying without being trite. Highly recommended.
It's sometimes hard for me to find the right blend of hard sf with great characterization. Wilson seems to be very good at doing just that. Characters in this book are not just stand-ins for a science exposition. Nor is this a romance that blurs the details of the science either. It's a solid story and great SF. I'd like to see more of his novels on Audible, especially Darwinia and the Chronoliths.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I loved the initial premise of the book. Unfortunately, that's all this novel had going for it.
The story progressed in a ridiculously slow fashion, and the characters just plain annoying.
We're constantly reminded that one of the characters is a genius, despite the fact that he never does anything remotely genius-like.
The main love interest is an idiot, who gets sucked into one cult after another and has no apparent redeeming qualities.
Our main character is boring.
The author seems more concerned about exploring uninteresting side plots than focusing on the parts of the story that the audience is actually sticking around for.
The author creates an entire world of super-advanced humans on Mars. We only ever get to meet one of them, and despite the fact that he should be 100,000 years more advanced than us, his technology seems to be only 100 years ahead of us- TOPS.
The author also seems to have missed the memo about Moore's Law and computer development. There is no way that a civilization 100,000 years more advanced than us wouldn't already have sentient computers many billions of times smarter than us.
Ultimately this novel had a satisfactory ending. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, I no longer really cared.
I search the net for forums and top book lists to try to find something to download that is not going to disappoint me. I'm not always satisified, but with Spin I hit a winner. I very much enjoyed it, to the point that the TV did not come on all night. Instead I sat for hours just listening to this book. If you like well thought out Science fiction without a lot of sexual scenes thrown in, then this is a great book to listen to.
I was interested in the concept of the stars going out and the earth being trapped in a bubble that slowed time down but like the mysteries of space, the author wrote as if he had no idea what was happening. It is very frustrating to wait for an explanation or wrap up and all characters seem as clueless as I was.
I waited for the sequel(Axis), in hopes that the mystery of the Hypothetical s would be at long last cleared up but you'll need to read that review to find out if it is more defining.
Scott Brick is....well, Scott Brick, the very best at what he does.
I was underwhelmed by this story. I felt that the premise was excellent, but the story failed to deliver on the promise of a great end-of-the-world adventure. Rather, I was basically bored for the first 2/3 of the story, when the pace finally began to pick up a bit. But even then, the pace barely picked up and the story plodded along to an anti-climactic conclusion.