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Spin Mass Market Paperback – February 7, 2006
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Spin is not merely a SF thriller. Its 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 Wilsons deep characterization and convincing relationships, and youll be OK. After all, Spin is "a book about faith: especially our faith in ourselves" (Emerald City).
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I'm debating on whether I should continue on with this series. The sequel seems to be a completely different story from the first and heads into a whole other direction. But... I did really enjoy Spin...!
You might have noticed that I didn't mention the characters as one of my motivators. That's because I didn't find them terribly compelling. Science fiction is well known for putting characters after the science and technology, and Spin unfortunately conforms to this stereotype. There's hardly a real human being among them, each being fairly one-dimensional and unemotional. Given the time span of the story, it's hard to believe that none of the characters ever strays from the slot they've been placed in. The celibate genius is the vessel through which we learn about the science and technology of the Spin. The emotionally lost sister embodies the everyman's fear of the Spin, seeking solace in faith. The power-broker father and alcoholic mother provide a justification for the emotionless, single-minded nature of the main characters, but make them no less unsatisfying. And the family friend provides the eyes through which we follow them all, hardly seeming to have a will or desire of his own, except for a weak romantic connection with the sister.
I had hoped that in the end, when the story-lines came together, there would be the passion of long-unrequited love, the excitement of new exploration and discovery, and some deeper sense of meaning given to all the events that had unfolded. Alas, these hopes were dashed when I got to the last page. I felt as if the book had been cut short, ending before it was meant to.
I almost rated this book 4 stars because of the way the story pulled me along. But as I write this review, I'm realizing it doesn't really deserve that. I'm knocking off a star and giving it only three, because while my scientific curiosity was satisfied, I had to invest a lot of time in characters I never really liked only to have them disappoint me in the end.
I can't tell you a whole lot without giving away some of the plot points that make this book so very cool. The story starts simple enough, with what sure feels like a beginner's writing exercise: Write about the time when the stars went out. Because that's where we begin, when 12-year-old Taylor and his best friends, the 13-year-old Lawton twins (heirs to a fortune of money and brilliance, unlike Taylor) witness the disappearance of the night sky into utter blackness. The novel chronicles all that the three go through as the world changes -- with Jason Lawton among the catalysts of that change.
That could be a fluffy story to capture your attention for a while and then let you move on, but Wilson kept throwing in twists that made me stop reading and _think_ -- the mark of the very best SF. (How *would* society react if we learned...?) I finished reading this book a week or two ago, but I find that my attention keeps returning to it, and I'm irritated that my husband hasn't read Spin yet because I want to talk to him about it. So yes, it's worth reading.
From a plot or storytelling point of view, though, it's... good. Not quite as Wow as the SF What-Iffing. I believed in the main characters, but I never quite fell in love with them; to some degree they become plot devices rather than people. And while it was probably necessary to get the plot moving, after a while the flashback story structure started to annoy me.
That's a quibble, though, because this is an excellent book that shows the power of a single SF What If. If you've been disappointed by tired tropes and wanted something new... this is the novel to choose.
Most recent customer reviews
By Robert Charles Wilson
Where to “place” this book:
To call Spin by Wilson a “hard-science-fiction” would be accurate but not adequate.Read more