A Man of Many Worlds: An Interview with Robert Chrarles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson

Rober Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is the award-winning author of Spin. Some of his other books include the two sequels to Spin: Axis and Vortex, as well as Mysterium, The Chronoliths, and Julian Comstock. In the interview, Wilson talks about how he got into writing, where the idea for Spin came from, what he’s working on now, what he hopes people get out of reading his books, and what he likes to do in his spare time. Read the interview . . .


2/27 on the Bookshelf . . . “Spin” & “Axis”

Spin Axis

Finally got hold of the first two books in this series currently available, by Robert Charles Wilson: Spin and Axis.  Now I just need to get them read before the next volume comes out, Vortex.  Fortunately, I’ve got until July.  And after enjoying Mysterium, I’m definitely looking forward to them.

“Mysterium” by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor, 2010)


Originally published in 1994, Robert Charles Wilson’s Mysterium went on to win the Philip K. Dick Award that year.  Released this year in a new paperback edition, it is the story of the discovery of a very strange artifact discovered beneath the ground in Turkey; no one has a clue what it is, and it kind of looks alien.  Once the US government gets its hands on it, they secret it away in a lab near Two Rivers, Michigan.  Everything returns to normal until the scientists decide to fire a large amount of radioactivity at the artifact and all of a sudden the laboratory, the entire town of Two Rivers and a perfectly concentric circle of terrain surrounding the town is transported to a parallel universe.

The residents of Two Rivers awake to find themselves in a foreign world, without power, with a whole new history, sociology, and system of government.  One other big difference in this world is religion, as the people practice a form of Gnostic Christianity, and as the main characters put the pieces together, it appears this world went a separate way to ours during the days of the Roman Empire, when no emperor chose to adopt Christianity.  Readers get hints that the rest of the world still practices Pagan, Greek and Nordic beliefs and religions in large numbers.  The problem is this world is very threatened by the sudden arrival of Two Rivers, its people, its technology.  The Proctors and their men move in and scrutinize the citizens of the town, watching their every move.  If laws are broken, then the people are punished; a number are executed according to the way s of this strange world.  Then a decision is made about what to do with Two Rivers; the question is what are the residents going to do about it?

For everyone who enjoyed Stephen King’s Under the Dome, you’ll find some similarities of the unknown in Mysterium, as Wilson takes on the subject of religion in a great what if that explores, probes and questions in the great way that good science fiction does, making the reader unavoidably question everything.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on September 29 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

08/31 On the Bookshelf . . . “Pariah,” “Mysterium” & “The Way of Kings”

Pariah Mysterium Way of Kings

Received an interesting trio of books (two by request):

We have a zombie novel from Rob Fingerman, Pariah.  It’s been quite a while now since I’ve read a zombie book, but this is purely intentional, as there is simply an overabundance of them right now, wherever you turn, whether it’s books, stories, movies, and even a TV series.  So I needed a break; but now I think I’m ready to check out another zombie book, and it’s going to be Pariah.

Then there’s Mysterium by Robert Charles Wilson.  After enjoying Julian Comstock, I’m interested in seeing how Wilson tackles science fiction and parallel universes.

And finally there’s Brandon Sanderson first book in his epic fantasy series that he’s been wanting to publish since he started writing, The Way of Kings; the first book of the Stormlight Archive.  Clocking in at just over a thousand pages, it’s one of the most beautifully designed fantasy books I’ve ever held, with color, illustrated maps on the inlay covers, parchment-design pages and further maps within, numerous illustrations, and title plates for each chapter.  In this essay, Sanderson talks about how the initial stirrings of this series began when he was fifteen and how it is a dream come true to now have it published.  And if you want to meet Brandon Sanderson, get your book signed and find out a little more about The Way of Kings, you can find him on his book tour.

In some final news, BookBanter will be interviewing Brandon Sanderson some time in the next month or two, to tie in with the second anniversary of the podcast, and to find out what’s changed with Sanderson in the last two years.  Brandon Sanderson was the first interview on BookBanter and continues to be the most downloaded episode.