The "sun" is now a featureless disk - a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. The world's artificial satellites have fallen out of orbit. Eventually, space probes reveal that the barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time passes faster outside the barrier - more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death of the sun is only about forty years away.
Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a religion out of the fears of the masses.
Earth sends terraforming machines, then humans, to Mars...and immediately an emissary returns with thousands of stories about the settling of Mars. Then an identical barrier appears around Mars.
Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.
©2005 Robert Charles Wilson; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Wilson continues to surprise and delight. I can't think of another science fiction writer who understands the strengths of the genre so well and who works with such confidence within its elastic boundaries." (The New York Times)
"The best science fiction novel so far this year." (Rocky Mountain News)
Having read some of Robert Charles Wilson in the past, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with Spin. I had certainly heard good things, but Wilson has the tendency to start with a great idea and not do much else with it (see Darwinia).
I am happy to report that Spin delivers on all fronts. Not only is the spin a fantastic sci-fi concept, the subsequent focus on how humanity deals with it engrossing. Wilson drifts between scientific and social ideas with such grace, that the world he creates in Spin seems completely plausible.
Another beef I have with Wilson is that he doesn't always end his stories with a lot of closure (or even elementary explanation sometimes). I was working through Spin with a dreadful feeling that all of this tremendous tension and buildup was going to be a letdown. Again, I had nothing to worry about. The ending is left open for the sequel (Axis, coming out this year or next), but the Spin itself is fully explained.
All of the pieces of this book fit very nicely together and I can't recommend it highly enough. This was well deserving of the Hugo, and I look forward to more Robert Charles Wilson in the future!
This was a great book! I finished it in a weekend, I couldn't stop listening. Solid story with complex relationships between characters.It will keep you listening, and don't read the summary if you really want to take the ride!
Those of us who mourn the loss of Arthur C. Clarke and fondly remember the style and substance of his stories will enjoy Spin. It has great characters and an interesting story that evolves in stages. The many questions are all answered, but only in good time so the reader can enjoy the process as much as the revelations. This book is both fun and thought-provoking, and has enough realistic hard science to keep a scientist or engineer entertained. If you enjoy science fiction, this book is a must read. If you like an interesting mystery, this book is also an excellent choice. I was very sorry when it was over.
Show me your paso doble.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It had really good character development, and a really good storyline. It was more focused on the characters then the sci-fi part, but the sci-fi part was awesome. The sci-fi part seemed almost plausible, which in turn brought up some interesting questions about the future of human beings, and our place in world/universe.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I enjoyed this book. The narration was superior, the story was unusual and interesting in both structure and concept, and the characters were excellently developed. This is not an action-adventure sci-fi - if that is what you want, look elsewhere. Here, even the characters that appear on a couple of pages are nicely developed. In a complex scientific setup the author does a great job of not screwing things up or unnaturally forcing events. Every character is flawed; every choice by every character is questionable, there is a lot of ambiguity. This is the kind of Sci-Fi that almost deserves to be called a novel. This book is not as good as Ender's Game or Childhood's End, but Spin was in the same ballpark (which the vast majority of Sci-Fi is not).
A lot of other reviewers seem to have complained about not finding out what's going on until the end.
This confuses me - why would you bother reading the book if the ending was laid out for you neatly in the first two chapters?
The book is part SF, part mystery. It's written from the perspective of a character who isn't a scientist, but a doctor, so the SF stuff is dumbed down a bit, but not offensively so.
I enjoyed this audiobook very much, and I would have enjoyed seeing a direct sequel, rather than a spin-off novel with the same premise and a different lead character.
I found it completely engrossing with its character development a tightly knit narrative, and its insights into society's possible reactions to the end times.
This is one of the most imaginative science fiction stories I've read. The concept is very intriguing, with a mysterious cosmic event occurring suddenly and without explanation. Wilson deftly lets the mystery unfold during the course of the novel, which is told non-linearly -- the narration jumps back and forth between past and present, as the narrator recalls events from his life.
I found the ending VERY satisfying. Throughout the book I wondered how Wilson would tie it all together, but he did so masterfully, providing an explanation that explained it all in a way that was as imaginative as the initial concept.
Nested through all this is a personal story involving a wealthy (but dysfunctional) family who played a key role in both the narrator's life and the post-spin world events. I found some of this interpersonal drama to be a little tiresome at times -- not really bad, just overdone -- but overall it did not detract from the story.
Scott Brock is not my favorite narrator (I've HATED some of his work on other books, where he was often overly dramatic) but he was good here.
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.
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