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Spin [Kindle Edition]

Robert Charles Wilson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
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Sold by: Macmillan

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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.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

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: 660 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,362 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 60 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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90 of 107 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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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars drawn out March 16, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had to force myself to finish Spin, which was a disappointment. While I find this novel a definite improvement over the author's last (Blind Lake), on the whole I get the feeling that Mr. Wilson is having trouble finding a dependable voice. The first-person narrator of Spin could not be a less interesting character if you pulled him out of a line of people waiting to renew their drivers licenses in Medford, MA. He is given to ponderous statements like this (p. 50) "She also prayed....Praying to whom or for what I don't know. I don't know what people do when they pray." Probably just about anyone you stopped on the street today could answer that question if Tyler, the narrator, during the course of his life ever bothered have a conversation with a stranger. This is one of those deep observations that's supposed to be profound, but in fact comes across as so boneheaded, you put the book down and shake your head, you can't believe the narrator is so clueless about the human condition. It's just one of many lapses that completely drains Tyler of sympathy.

P. 327: "By comparison with the terraforming effort of previous years, the replicator launch was anti-climactic. It's results would be, if anything, greater and more subtle; but its very efficiency...failed as drama." I sort of feel like that's the problem with Mr. Wilson more often than not. His scenes fail as drama. He cannot write one action scene (and there are few enough in 450 pages to count on the fingers of one hand) to save his life. A ride in the trunk of a car, an explosion. Most of the book is one bedroom or office conversation after another, all about the Spin, and almost always between Jason the boy genius and Tyler. After two hundred pages, however, the sameness of the book's structure palls.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb SF at it's best!
This author thinks BIG! One of the very best SF books I've read in probably 40 years.
Published 6 days ago by AwardB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Outstanding read.
Published 10 days ago by Douglas R. Donaldson
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and ambitious sci-fi bogged down by boring characters
I suppose it's very hard for an author to be great at all things - imagining a whole multi-book plotline, writing good dialogue, and coming up with terrific characters. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Kevin Bartus
4.0 out of 5 stars The characters act and speak like human beings
Read all three of the Spin series. The premise is huge (think Heinlein or Asimov). The characters act and speak like human beings. Read more
Published 16 days ago by LBM
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Almost as good as enders game
Published 29 days ago by Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really great read
Published 1 month ago by Jeffrey Beck
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
awesome, interesting, unique... kept my attention and really enjoyed the story!
Published 1 month ago by Frosta
4.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you look at what edition your buying
Good book but be careful if they haven't fixed the problem I had. I I found the book with the purple cover that is the paperback english edition, and when I clicked on its kindle... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David M Aytes
5.0 out of 5 stars Really liked it. Reminds me of Heinlein in some ways
Really liked it. Reminds me of Heinlein in some ways.
Published 1 month ago by David
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Really liked the plot line but the dwelling on the interpersonal relationships was just plain boring.
Published 1 month ago by Michael W. Knight
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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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