Monday, May 29, 2006

Book Review: SPIN

Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin, nominated this year for a Hugo, is massive. And I mean massive in two ways: first, it’s a huge, apocalyptic novel, where Really Big Things happen; and second, it tries to do a lot of things, and it does them all extremely well.

Spin begins in our near-future, and then covers almost four decades in the lives of three friends caught up in mammoth galactic change. When unknown forces segregate Earth from the rest of the universe with a protective membrane, a time discontinuity results. In other words, while 40 years pass on Earth, 300 billion years pass outside the shield. And that means the sun will go nova in just a handful of Earth years, instead of in a few billion years, taking us and everything else in our system with it. The questions are: what are these mysterious forces that created the shield, what is the purpose of it all, and how do we cope with our inevitable destruction?

Wilson’s novel is part end-of-the-world adventure, part political thriller, part spiritual reflection, and a whole lot of human warmth. I really enjoyed Spin, and I’ll probably go back and read a few earlier Wilson novels.


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