Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics News Discussion Forum
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)


Site Index

Book Info    Bookmark and Share

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

  (11 ratings)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Rating (11 ratings)
Rate this book
(5 best - 1 worst)
Book Information  
AuthorRobert Charles Wilson
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Archren 
(May 25, 2006)

For a book that spans billions of years and involves heavy-duty cosmic engineering, Hugo-nominated “Spin” is a remarkably quiet story. Told from the first-person POV of Tyler Dupree, it centers not on the SFnal Big Events, but on his relationships with his childhood friends Jason and Diane Lawton. It spans his life from roughly age 12 into his fifties, illustrating a time where the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In both “Spin” and “The Chronoliths,” Wilson takes an interesting angle on his story telling: the protagonist is not at the center of the major events that are happening (in that story, massive monuments keep appearing about the landscape, apparently sent back from the future). Instead, he is in relationships with people who are at the center of those events.

In “Spin,” one night the stars went out. The Earth has been enclosed in a sphere that blocks out all the light from the stars, Sun and Moon. Whoever has put up the barrier does provide an artificial sun, but otherwise regulates what can go in and out. From satellites launched beyond the barrier and recovered after crashing, we find out that the barrier is a time differential: for every second that passes to the humans on Earth, 3 years pass out in the solar system.

Jason Lawton is the son of an aerospace magnate who profits in the aftermath of the Spin event by selling high-altitude balloon replacements for all the telecommunication satellites lost beyond the barrier. Tyler is possibly Jason’s closest friend since childhood and also his personal physician. Jason is groomed to be both his father’s puppet and his heir. He heads up the Perihelion Foundation which becomes the spearhead for all the efforts made to understand and react to the Spin. He is the character at the center of the story. He drives most of the actual plot, and is our main vehicle for understanding the cosmic forces at work. At one point they decide to send out a mission to terraform Mars: after all, a million years of evolution can work in our favor while only a year might pass on Earth. It’s frankly a brilliant bit of SFnal Big Idea Engineering, and everything dealing with the attempt to give humanity a second chance on Mars is fascinating.

Jason’s twin sister Diane turned to religion in the aftermath. Although Tyler had loved her (unrequitedly) since childhood, she married another religious seeker. In contravention of your usual genre romance plot, she stays with her husband for decades, through most of the course of the story. It’s a admirable portrayal of real people in real marriages; most don’t run off simply because things aren’t as perfect as they might be. She comes to represent the feelings of people who have perhaps non-rational but very real fears about a universe that appears both hostile and bewildering.

Tyler is a somewhat passive hero. Even other characters point this out. The book is split into two narratives that alternate chapters: in one he is mostly drastically ill, being cared for by Diane, literally being helpless and passive. The other is his recollection of his life during the Spin events, spreading over at least three decades. In his narrative voice, he is very similar to the main character in “Chronoliths.” Nonetheless, he feels very real, and that counts for a lot. He is sympathetic, even when he’s allowing himself to be used. He has a core to which he stays true.
Subtle is probably the best way to describe “Spin.” Even as enormous events are taking place, people react the way people do: some succumb to hysteria, others try to make the best of things. Relationships continue to wax and wane. In a way it illustrates how much the Universe as a whole never truly manages to impede on our own species-centric world view. It’s an interesting book, and unlike some of the other Hugo nominees, I never found myself checking the page number to see how much longer it was to the end. For as quiet a book as it is, Wilson moves it along with a good sense of pacing and instills a genuine desire to see what happens next to the characters.

Sponsor ads



The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts

About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.