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Axis (Spin) Hardcover – September 18, 2007

92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this outstanding sequel to Wilson's Hugo-winning Spin (2005), we are taken to the mysterious planet Equatoria, a world apparently engineered for humanity by the inscrutable machine intelligences known as the Hypotheticals. Turk Findley, a man with a criminal past, runs an aeronautical charter service on the newly settled planet. Lise Adams, who hires Turk, is a would-be journalist searching for her vanished father, a scientist obsessed with the Hypotheticals and their illegal life extension technology. Meanwhile, young Isaac, genetically manipulated by rogue scientists so that he may become a conduit between humanity and the AIs, is coming of age, and something enormous and unknown is assembling itself far underground. The various science and thriller plot elements are successful, but this is first and foremost a novel of character. Turk and Lise, who might well be played by Bogart and Bacall, are powerfully drawn protagonists, and their strong presence in the novel makes the wonders provided all the more satisfying. Those unfamiliar with Spin may flounder a bit, but Wilson's fans will be ecstatic. (Sept.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics enjoyed Axis as much as they did Spinâ€"but suggested that readers embarking on the second novel in the series may wish to start with the first, which introduces Robert Charles Wilson’s compelling, fully developed characters and provides a context for Earth’s time warp. Be warned: this is the second book of a planned trilogy, and it has that getting-deeper-in-our-world-without-resolving-everything approach at which middle books excel. But even for readers unfamiliar with Equatoria, Axis is a suspenseful, smart, and well-crafted book with characters who, even amid alien, AI creatures, face real-life dilemmas. Although Axis provides very few answers to questions raised in Spin, it starts to fit the details of life and life quests on Equatoria (which somewhat resembles Australia) into a larger framework. In sum: another masterful addition to the series.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Spin
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309396
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Chris Lee Mullins on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know if Axis is meant to be the middle book of a trilogy, but it certainly feels like it. It falls in the same trap as many other "middle stories", attempting to build upon the ideas and themes of the first novel, with stunning revelations of its own, but unable to fully flesh out its own purpose without bringing the entire arc to conclusion.

This may be up for debate, but I do believe reading Axis requires one to have read Spin. While the most of the primary players in Axis make their debut here, the story truly builds on the events of Spin. And let's just say the Hypotheticals (the galaxy-spanning artificial intelligence that set the Spin in motion) "remember" the events of the first novel.

This is not a great Robert Charles Wilson book...which is kinda like saying "this is a slow Ferarri". Wilson has been in a class of his own since "A Bridge of Years", writing character-driven sci-fi for geeks with a passing knowledge of cosmology and physics. To me, Axis reads a bit like Bios. Its short and to the point, hurtling along like a freight train toward a brick wall. Things feel like they won't end well. Characters get short-shrifted in service of the inscrutable plot.

But like most "middle stories" (I hate to say this, but I think "The Matrix Reloaded" is a good example), I think Wilson is building toward something huge. Spin was great because he expertly juggled big ideas, big science and great characters and the end of the book felt like closure. Things are much more open-ended in Axis.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Russell Clothier on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to read Axis. Wilson is one of my favorite writers, and a sequel to Spin would surely be awesome. It's hard to live up to expectations like that, though, and now that I'm done, I'm trying not to feel disappointed. On its own, Axis is a fine book, one of the few decent sci-fi novels this year. The problem is, I've come away from every other Wilson book going, "Wow, that was amazing!" With Axis, although I enjoyed it, I just wasn't blown away like I expected to be.

Wilson is an accomplished storyteller. He specializes in taking big, crazy "What-If" scenarios, making them plausible, and viewing them through the lives of credible human characters. What if Europe were suddenly replaced by a wilderness? What if gigantic war memorials began appearing from the future? In Spin, the Earth is enclosed in a barrier by an unknown alien power, nicknamed the Hypotheticals. After a few years inside the barrier, Earth emerges four billion years into the future, with a transdimensional gateway in the Indian Ocean that leads to a new, inhabitable planet, Equatoria.

Axis takes place thirty years later on the new frontier world. The story follows Lise, an intelligent, 30's-ish woman who is looking for clues to her father's disappearance 15 years earlier. Her search leads her into the shadowy world of the Fourths, humans who have illegally taken a Martian longevity treatment. The ultimate goal of the group is to establish contact with the Hypotheticals, through Isaac, a boy with special abilities. On the run from the authorities, Lise and her companions end up learning more about the Hypotheticals than they bargained for.

As with any Wilson novel, the writing is superb and the characters well-drawn.
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Format: Hardcover
A solid sequel that suffers from middle-child syndrome (not getting enough respect or praise), AXIS is a much more intimate, smaller scaled novel when compared to the superb Hugo Award winning SPIN.


Author Robert Charles Wilson deals with the post-SPIN world and where the arch that the Hypotheticals erected on Earth leads to combining two different narrative threads that ultimately converge. The first involves Lise Adams who is searching the new world for clues to the disappearence of her father a supporter of the Fourths who had a fascination with both their culture as well as the Hypotheticals themselves. Lise enlists a former lover Turk to help her find the last person who may have seen her father.

Intertwined with that story we also learn about Issac a boy specifically bred to communicate with the Hypotheticals by an off-shoot of the Fourths led by a former collegue of Lise's father. All of this is topped off with the threat of ash falling from the sky that appears to be the remains of Hypotheticals (biological, mechanical or both...we're not really given a clear answer on this)and the bizarre creatures that sprout out of the soil when they settle on the planet's surface.

AXIS is much more character driven and smaller in scale than SPIN was. Lacking that story's grander story makes it appear that AXIS is somehow a lesser novel but that's not the case at all. We may not make huge strides in finding out who the Hypotheticals are, what they want and what their interest is in humanity but we are given some answers even if many of them aren't quite as conclusive as we'd like. It appears that Wilson is setting the stage for a third more comprehensive novel with AXIS.
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