on August 22, 2005
After reading Robert Charles Wilson's _Spin_, I thought I'd give this earlier book a "spin." Unfortunately, unlike the 2005 _Spin_, this 1989 novel is more of a disappointment. Though I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't say that it was a complete waste of time reading it, I certainly have read more interesting books, and certainly this particular novel didn't have much in the way of scientific discussion. In fact, it is just barely a science fiction novel.
The story follows two women who are in love with the same man, John Shaw -- though with different personalities within him. No, he doesn't have schizophrenia. Rather, he is a modified human (cortically stimulated in utero) who has created a second "normal" personality able to deal with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, his brain is detiorating, and his old mentor/creator needs to find a way to save his life.
Now this sounds like it could be quite a good book, but very little of the book is scientific, there are very little differences between the two faces of John Shaw (the alternate personality's dialog, what little there is, isn't very different), and there really isn't any solution offered for the main problem of saving his life. In fact, other than the love story -- which is weak at best -- there really isn't much to this tale. Very little is resolved among any of the characters, little is postulated about the harms/benefits of creating a super-man, and the book ends with only about 1% science and 99% fiction.
I suppose what I'm saying is that if you are reading all of Robert Charles Wilson's work, this is one you will want to read, as it is an early example of his work. But just don't expect a heck of a lot from it.