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Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
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Spin (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Robert Charles Wilson

Series: Spin (1)

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3,1321342,748 (3.97)137
One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives. The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk--a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside--more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future. Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses. Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun--and report back on what they find. Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.… (more)
Member:mfagan
Title:Spin
Authors:Robert Charles Wilson
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (2005)

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English (123)  French (7)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
When waffling over whether to DNF or not to DNF my husband said, "Do it so you can tell everyone it was because there were too many feelings and not enough spaceships." I've yet to find out whether spaceships are even a thing at 20%, but I still decided DNFing was worth the joke. Which is just that I prefer my character-driven feels vehicles, so if I'm telling you there's a problem: damn, son. This basically felt like reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower with a significantly less precious cinnamon roll of a narrator in an admittedly intriguing hard sci-fi premise that progressed about a page's worth of plot for every 20 pages of a romance I could not have cared less about.
  Jeeps | Sep 21, 2019 |
I really liked this book when it began. It is a refreshing change from run of the mill sci-fi novels with careful emphasis on characters and atmosphere. However somewhere around the halfway mark, I started noticing that the plot had not moved forward for several chapters and once I noticed this it became only more and more obvious.
This is a book with serious pacing issues, and at the end of the story - does not offer a lot of closure. The protagonists also do not have any agency in the outcome of the story, which irked me to no end, since the novel was setup as a fight for survival.
All in all, it seems like I hated the book, but I didn't. It just did not payoff like it was shaping up. ( )
  arpanmalviya | Aug 13, 2019 |
Although I have read a lot of science fiction it was concentrated in my younger years and then in the last decade. So I missed a lot of great science fiction written between 1980 and 2010. I'm trying to make up for that 30 year gap by reading some of the Nebula and Hugo winners and nominees. This book won the Hugo
Award in 2006 and it is by a writer who is Canadian (although he was born in the US he has lived in Canada for many years and his Wikipedia entry says he became a Canadian citizen in 2007). High time I read it!

I kept trying while I was reading this book to imagine what it would be like to have no stars in the night sky. Because this book is about a not too distant future when a permeable membrane was placed around the earth by extraterrestrials who are referred to as The Hypotheticals. The sun (although not the real sun) rose every day but every other star disappeared. Afterwards this event was referred to as The Spin. Tyler Dupree and his two closest friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, were outside at night when the stars disappeared and this cosmic event shaped the rest of their lives. Jason and Diane were the children of E.D. and Carol who owned a big house where Tyler's mother worked as a housekeeper. Tyler's father had been a partner in an engineering firm with E.D. and all four of the parents were close friends from university. When the father died in a motor vehicle accident Tyler's mother went to work for the Lawtons. So there was a considerable disparity in the household incomes but the three children became close and continued to confide in each other throughout their lives. Tyler, in fact, fell in love with Diane and maintained that emotion even after Diane joined a religious group and married a fellow church goer. Jason grew up to follow in his father's footsteps running a think tank that considered how to deal with the effects of The Spin. Tyler became a doctor and was recruited by Jason to be his personal physician and the in-house doctor for the think tank which was located in Florida near Cape Canaverel. One of the effects of the Spin was that time on the Earth was slowed in comparison to the rest of the galaxy. So spaceships that went outside the membrane could spend weeks or months gathering data but come back to earth almost immediately after they had left. The sun continued to age and it was known that at some point it would become so big that earth would be uninhabitable. No one knew what would happen to the people on earth. Some religions, like the one Diane belonged to, thought that would be the rapture referred to in the Bible. Jason's organization thought that Mars could be terraformed to become another habitable planet. Tyler continued to practise medicine while being privy to some top-secret information from Jason. For about 30 years life proceeded in this way and then everything changed again.

I thought this was an excellent book. I can see why it won the Hugo in 2006 and why it was picked by CBC as one of the 100 Novels That Make You Proud to be Canadian. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jun 30, 2019 |
A grand idea, 'Spin' is in many ways the ultimate "What if?" novel: what if people on Earth were able to witness the end of the solar system?

That's not quite it, but it comes close. Reading this was much like the space-version of my daydreams of witnessing the recreation of Pangaea, or the collision of Russia and Alaska at any rate. How would things appear, what would be possible?

The problem is that Wilson, for some good reasons, has stuffed his novel full of hundreds of little details of ordinary life, little asides such as what's for dinner and traffic conditions on the freeways. All of that combined with a parallel narrative of the 'present' and the thirty years since the "Spin" began can make for a slow start.

But, slow start or not, the story is too good to pass up, and in my own way I got interested in the fates of Tyler Dupree, Diane and Jason Lawton, their parents and everyone else. I can well see why this one the Hugo. There are a couple sequels already, but I personally don't see the need to pick them up. The story wraps up well enough here and 'Axis' might turn into more too much of a good thing.

Spin Saga

Next: 'Axis' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
On a completely normal night at the beginning of the 3rd millennium, three teenagers are sitting on a lawn when suddenly all the stars go out. It turns out that Earth has been encased in a protective shell of some sort. What's more, we figure out that time is passing much faster outside of the shield that becomes known as The Spin, at a rate of several dozens of millions of years for every perceived Earth year.

Who's caused this and why? Is the end of humanity nigh, since the Sun is soon going to enter its expansion phase before running out of fuel, swallowing the inner planets of its system? Can anything be done to prevent this? A very interesting setup to be sure, but all throughout the reading I had a permeating feeling that a better book could be written with this exact premise.

I guess the main reason for this is the sheer blandness of the characters - the three teenagers that I mentioned, one of whom, Tyler Dupree, is the narrator. As bad luck would have it, he is also the most boring of the trio, completely lacking in personality, living his life in a limbo that he only emerges from once one of the other two calls on him. This usually happens because they need something from him - about once a decade on average, so there are a lot of boring passages in-between. Wasted time and space that could be better used describing the societal changes under the Spin (in all fairness, we do get a bit of that, but in a sort of off-hand way).

Still, the premise is good, the descriptions of how humanity tries to learn what is going on and what it is trying to do about the Spin are interesting, and even the intertwining of the present-day story with retrospective events, a technique that grated on me at first, is by the third quarter of the book neatly tied up into a coherent story. Robert Charles Wilson is a competent writer with a good grasp of science, he just needs to work on his characters. And perhaps a bit on how to write a scene that gets a tight grip on the reader. ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Charles Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gálvölgyi, JuditTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schütz, NeleCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singelmann, KarstenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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