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Spin Mass Market Paperback – February 7, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 392 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Spin Series

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Spin (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reissue edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076534825X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765348258
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (392 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good, readable, entertaining, provocative sci-fi, marred by fundamental defects.

I enjoyed it. Some of the good points:

* Imaginative and stimulating premise: the Earth wrapped in a planetary baggie, stuck in temporal molasses, time slowed down orders of magnitude relative to normal space.
* Artificially accelerated extraterrestrial evolution as a survival strategy
* Well drawn, motivated characters
* Believable interpersonal interactions
* Well-written dialog and description. Delightful surprises of memorable phrasing.

No criticism below should discourage anyone from reading this book. My negative points are personal reactions.

1) The book promotes the pessimistic Thomas Malthus - Paul Ehrlich premise of "limits to growth". If you believe that there are absolute, universal, Gaia-decreed limits imposed on human material expansion, you will take no issue ("It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"). But if you believe (like David Deutsch) that man is limited only by the laws of physics and his own ingenuity, then Wilson's invocation of the dangers of population growth as a central plot element is unconvincing.

2) There is a great deal of personal trauma-drama going on in Tyler's life, only loosely related to the sci-fi current of the novel. Diane's willing victimization by a simple-minded religious cult is believable (there are many brilliant fools), but not very engaging to me. After a decade or so of frustration, why doesn't Tyler just say "chuck it" and find himself a real woman who is not an easily-duped doormat?

3) The evils of a fundamentalist Christian cult are contrasted with the virtues of science and humanism.
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