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Spin [Kindle Edition]

Robert Charles Wilson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk--a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside--more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.

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 new religion out of the fears of the masses.

Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun--and report back on what they find.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking "what if," Wilson (Blind Lake, etc.) builds an astonishingly successful mélange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres. The narrative time oscillates effortlessly between Tyler Dupree's early adolescence and his near-future young manhood haunted by the impending death of the sun and the earth. Tyler's best friends, twins Diane and Jason Lawton, take two divergent paths: Diane into a troubling religious cult of the end, Jason into impassioned scientific research to discover the nature of the galactic Hypotheticals whose "Spin" suddenly sealed Earth in a "cosmic baggie," making one of its days equal to a hundred million years in the universe beyond. As convincing as Wilson's scientific hypothesizing is--biological, astrophysical, medical--he excels even more dramatically with the infinitely intricate, minutely nuanced relationships among Jason, Diane and Tyler, whose older self tries to save them both with medicines from Mars, terraformed through Jason's genius into an incubator for new humanity. This brilliant excursion into the deepest inner and farthest outer spaces offers doorways into new worlds--if only humankind strives and seeks and finds and will not yield compassion for our fellow beings. Agent, Shawna McCarthy. (Apr. 14)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Spin is not merely a SF thriller. It’s also a coming-of-age tale, a love story, a literary triumph, and an ecological and apocalyptic warning. The award-winning Wilson excels at all aspects of his tale, from the human angle to the political, religious, biological, medical, and astrophysical theorizing. The first part elicited "jaw-dropping amazement" from critics; luckily, the pace slows over the remaining pages to recount the next few decades on Earth (Emerald City). If the plot involving the terraforming and colonization of Mars seems farfetched, put it in the context of Wilson’s deep characterization and convincing relationships, and you’ll be OK. After all, Spin is "a book about faith: especially our faith in ourselves" (Emerald City).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1144 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0016IXMWI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,157 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb novel full of Big Ideas June 30, 2005
Spin is a superb novel full of Big Ideas, but those Big Ideas don't come at the expense of rich character development as is so often the case with books of this sort. Wilson has a real knack for creating characters one can empathize with and can really grow to care about. The family relationship depicted here, between the narrator, Tyler Dupree, and his childhood friends Jason (the genius) and Diane (his first, unrequited love), is the real driving force of this novel, and is what makes it such a compelling page-turner. The prose is clean and fluid, and Wilson expertly paces the book, keeping the reader engaged and anxious to find out what comes next. This can be tricky in a novel that spans several subjective years (and billions of relativistic years), but Wilson pulls it off marvelously.

Spin is exactly the sort of novel that I think we need to see more of, one that infuses the reader with that gosh-wow sense of wonder that many writers seem to have forgotten is the reason we all fell in love with the genre in the first place.
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114 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your average excellent Robert Charles Wilson novel December 9, 2004
I managed to snag an advanced copy of this novel last week, which I finished in about a day and a half reading during lunch breaks, bathroom breaks and the hours before bedtime. As per usual, Wilson does an excellent job of keeping me up at night.

For those who are familiar with Robert Charles Wilson's work, "Spin" should come as no surprise. Most of his novels feature a conflicted protagonist who is caught up in storms of intrigue and extraordinary circumstances. Wilson's stories typically focus 70% on the characters and 30% on the science. His characters walk away from these experiences utterly changed, for better or for worse. Their arcs aren't always pleasant but usually realistic. You could easily put yourself into their shoes.

"Spin" is no exception.

As the previous reviewer pointed out, Wilson's one weakness is his endings. The endings are usually a rush to tie together loose ends, explain away anything that wasn't properly explained before. "Blind Lake" fell into this trap. "The Chronoliths" did not. Thankfully, "Spin" falls into the latter catagory.
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95 of 113 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Spin" spins, sometimes in place February 21, 2007
By Amy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert Charles Wilson's "Spin" tells the tale of the earth being cloaked in a time-warping membrane, put in place by unknown entities. It's also the tale of Tyler Dupree and his privileged best friends, twins born to the couple his mother works for as a maid.

The story weaves the past and the present, starting with Tyler's early life with his mother in a small guesthouse across the lawn from the big house. That's where the twins, Jason and Diane, reside uneasily with their powerful and sometimes cruel father and withdrawn, alcoholic mother.

One night the three youngsters sit talking on the lawn, peering in at a grown-ups' party in the big house. Suddenly, the moon and the stars are no longer visible. They're blocked by the membrane, which is quickly dubbed the Spin.

After that, the story becomes a search for knowledge.

The world wants to know the meaning of the Spin. Tyler wants to know his place in the world. To understand that, he must also understand his relationship with the twins. There's Jason, whose brilliance and hunger to know who put the Spin in place astound Tyler. And there's Diane, whose search for redemption breaks his heart.

This is also where "Spin" starts spinning in place. Does it want to be a science-fiction tale whose main characters come of age? Or a coming of age tale that takes place in a science-fiction setting? It's as if Wilson wants both, and as a result, almost ends up with neither.

There are compelling facets to "Spin," but there are also long passages where the story is beautifully worded, yet the action is plodding.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This won a Hugo? May 28, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The problem with this book is that it never delivers the goods. It's either an idea in search of a story or a story in need of more interesting ideas.

The actions taken by the characters make zero impact on the final outcome of the Spin. None. *snore* Well, maybe the characters can save the novel? Nah. Jason Lawton is flat as a pancake, the obsessed scientist. Diane Lawton isn't much better. Tyler Dupree can't be called one dimensional because that would require that he actually do something other than hang around Jason and Diane.

How about the ideas? The Spin itself is kinda cool. It could have been the setting for a really interesting novel. Everything after that though... civilizations squander resources until they kill themselves, a big chain of intelligent asteroid huggers, and some explorations into the human response to certain doom. These ideas simply aren't explored enough to interest me.

A number of elements in the story are just cliched or clumsy. As an example, Tyler Dupree likes Jazz. This doesn't advance his character but it does get him out of a jam later. I guess I was supposed to pat Wilson on the back for that little detail but where other authors might make it a seemless affair, the first thought that came to my mind was "tacked on." The mean tycoon father, the alcoholic mother... have I stepped into a soap opera?

I'm not trying to say the novel is terrible but it's so... mediocre. Did any of the Worldcon members(the people who vote on Hugo Awards) actually think this deserved to be set up beside novels like "Double Star," "Dune," "Ringworld," "The Gods Themselves," and "Fahrenheit 451"? I'd like to award "Spin" a Big Meh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is one of the gratesr books I have ever read.
Published 1 day ago by shoop
5.0 out of 5 stars a good book
Worth the read.
Solid ideas but a little long. Some parts a little unrealistic (the religious and mass psycology parts) but the physics seem plausible. Read more
Published 6 days ago by wolf
3.0 out of 5 stars First half good, loses steam in second half
The novel starts our strong and I was loving it for the first half or so of the book, despite a few weak spots. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sky Blue
5.0 out of 5 stars One big book
I've been reading this book for awhile now and I just finished it. It really felt like it became part of my life for a bit, a very slow part. But I immensely enjoyed it.
Published 12 days ago by L. M. Christon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great and imaginative story with lots of room for further exploration.
Published 19 days ago by David Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars An Imaginative Concept
A good book because of an imaginative interstellar concept. I would have given it 4 stars but the author dragged the story a bit. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Todd Gutschow
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoied the book as well as the next one. New concept so interesting to read something completely different.
Published 1 month ago by Robert O'Briant
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible mix of personal story with science fiction
This is one of the best books I've read in several years. Keeps you engrossed throughout, and impossible to put down.
Published 1 month ago by M. Jarrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read.
One thing bothered 185....moonlight? Thought the moonlight was blocked....great book though.
Published 1 month ago by Christopher Oakley
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Truly breathtaking. The nuances and descriptive ability of the author are wonderful. The theme is neither utopian or dystopian, although the ending leaves a great deal of hope. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rico
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The book is called Quarantine, by Greg Egan
Jun 9, 2006 by Graham Wolf |  See all 4 posts
Not another series....
I'm perfectly happy with the ending to Spin. I may one day pick up Axis, as I like RCW's writing, but Spin totally stands alone.

I may actually read Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America next. No connection to Spin (that I know of), but by the same author. Read More
Jul 20, 2009 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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