The point of a fantastic story, especially when it comes to science fiction, is to blow your mind with the story, and if there’s anything I’ve discovered with the award-winning author, Robert Charles Wilson, is that he’s managed to do this with everything of his I’ve read so far. Spin is another one of these incredible stories, going on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel, which begins with the idea of what happens when all the stars go out?
Tyler Dupree still remembers that fateful night, outside under the stars with his best friend in the whole world, Jason Lawton, and the girl he’s in love with – who just so happens to be Jason’s sister – Diane. Tyler’s mother works for Jason and Diane’s parents, looking after their mighty mansion of a house. The Lawton’s have always been very well off, while the Duprees have always struggled to get by. But on this night all the stars suddenly go out, turning the night’s sky completely and eternally black. And life continues on for the world, as everyone wonders what in heavens has happened to all the stars, as well as the moon. As research is done, it is revealed that somehow the planet is encapsulated in some sort of sphere that allows sunlight to penetrate through as if everything is normal, but it is also discovered that beyond the confines of this sphere, space is moving along much faster: for every second and minute on earth, the universe is aging by years and decades.
The world learns to live with this “little problem,” wondering if tomorrow might just be the end of it all; the universe is after all aging at an incredibly fast rate, and the sun only has a couple billion years of hydrogen left to burn through. Meanwhile Tyler, Jason and Diane grow up and become adults, living in the world, drifting apart and then coming together occasionally over the years. Jason is a genius after all, working for his father’s company that soon becomes one of the most important on the planet, after the development of what comes to be known the “spin,” while Tyler lives his life as an ordinary doctor who is inevitably pulled into the lives of the brilliant but doomed Lawtons.
Then there is the plan created by Jason to grow a civilization from scratch on Mars, where time is moving so much faster, so years on Earth are millennia and eons for Mars, and everything changes when the first Martian arrives on Earth. Mars soon somehow develops its own sphere and spin and is put under the same conditions as Earth. It all seems to be part of the unbelievable plan of the beings that come to be called the Hypotheticals. And then the arch arrives from nowhere, creating a gateway to another world.
This is a story like none other you have read. It is the story of the coming of age and lives of three unique people, a love story and a genius under the power and pressure of a dominating father. It is also the story of the impossible and incredible come true, and how far the human spirit will go to face it. Spin will titillate and interest you, then hook and snare you, keeping you until it last few pages, where it will finally free you, only to grab you once again in its sequel, Axis; but after the cliffhanger of Spin, you’ll not just want to read it, you’ll have to.
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Originally written on June 9, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.
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