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Spin [Kindle Edition]

Robert Charles Wilson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $8.99
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.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • 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: #46,627 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.1 out of 5 stars
    4.1 out of 5 stars
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    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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    116 of 135 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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    32 of 39 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 Good book, you should getbit
    I've read a lot of sci fi and I found this book to be a good read. Overall a very interesting concept although it dragged a tiny bit in the middle.
    Published 17 days ago by Michael J. Weber
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
    Absorbing read. Technical but not enough to lose my interest. Fun premise. I plan to read the next one in the series.
    Published 1 month ago by Alison Pringle
    4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful character exploration set against global events
    Not at all what I was expecting. Feels more like a story of three at times dysfunctional friends set on the backdrop of a global event that changes the world forever. Yes I like.
    Published 1 month ago by Steve James
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
    It was a lot like Arthur C Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson. Science fact with plot including good character development. Can't wait to read the next book.
    Published 1 month ago by BeckyR
    2.0 out of 5 stars Solid story good well thought, but....
    The use of technology was unique and different then I have read elsewhere which was refreshing. The characters were somewhat engaging though not as captivating as other scifi... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Kristi T
    2.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, poor resolution and characters
    Spin starts with a fantastic premise, full of wonder and mystery - the earth is sealed away from the universe by beings unknown, inside time proceeds as normal, outside millenia go... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by chesnutcc
    4.0 out of 5 stars I loved the premise
    I loved the premise, I liked the characters. I forgot the ending until I reread it, then forgot it again. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Just fantastic
    Fantastic. Just fantastic. My knowledge of physics is hardly advanced, but the science as described felt believable and plausibly scientific to me. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Heidi
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    This is one of the gratesr books I have ever read.
    Published 2 months 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 2 months ago by wolf
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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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