Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Axis (Spin) Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2008
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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 Wilsonâs compelling, fully developed characters and provides a context for Earthâs 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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Axis is no exception. I could not put it down, and it is as trippy a book as I have ever read. At times, it makes me think of Lem's Solaris, though I enjoyed Axis much more. At other times, it made me think of the more psychedelic covers of 1970s SF paperbacks - in a very good way. (and with that said, I so wish for different cover art on this book, but I can understand why that might have been avoided.) Or Dali paintings. Occasionally I got a whiff of Lovecraft.
But all of this written in clear, unpretentious language, with believable characters, and a story worthy of Stephen King. I loved this book and can't yet decide if I like it more than Spin or if they are in a dead heat for my favorite SF novel ever. (I have not yet read Vortex.)
It is also the second of a trilogy, and I recommend that you read "Spin" first, but "Axis" it is not the direct 'next chapter' with regards the players, so can be picked up standalone.
I am not going to go into much detail regarding the plot, because like many of Wilson's novels, it is detailed and delicate.
But if you have read Wilson's other work, you will recognize his style here. If not, understand that Wilson focuses on the personalities of his players, their foibles and their reactions to events large and small. Unlike many authors, he manages to flesh out even minor characters without straying into stereotypes or caricatures. The science behind many aspects of this future Human universe remain opaque to the players (and to us) but that is the galactic mystery that underpins this trilogy and triggers the narrative arcs.
There are aliens afoot, the enigmatic and non-communicative Hypotheticals. Their actions are a continual background noise of `why?' and they are as immune to our entreaties for answers as the wind is for reasons to blow. Still, "Axis" chips away at this mystery, step by step, as our protagonist, Lise Adams, searches for answers to the disappearance - abandonment? - of her father a decade ago. This is a quest for Lise and it consumes her being, her relationships and perhaps her very existence, as she dives headlong into the fanatical fantasy of one of the "Fourths", a clandestine cabal who have taken proscribed Martian pharmaceuticals that extend their lives.
What we don't get with Wilson's aliens are spaceships and warp drive and firefights and the petty politics of interspecies interactions.
The Hypotheticals are called that because they are assumed from events, conjectured from outcomes. Nobody has seen one that we know of, and those who may have communicated with them appear to die from the experience. Clearly they exist, but their motives and motivations are hints and shadows and supposition, not answers writ in the stars.
When the aliens do arrive, it as sulfurous grit or unstable analogs of biologicals such as flowers and trees, none of which provide the clear, unambiguous answers that the characters expect or are seeking and the circumstances of these abstruse revelations merely clouds the issues of the who, what and why of the Hypotheticals. And the effort to elicit even this response from what are essentially Gods, exposes human nature at it most self-serving, venal worst.
So, who might be interested in "Axis"? Clearly, if you've read Wilson before, you are a candidate. I feel "Axis" is as good as "Spin" but note that it is a different book in style and approach (as other reviewers have noted in detail). If you enjoy character-led science fiction where inscrutable aliens trigger visceral responses that are then explored in detail, "Axis" is worth reading.