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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
The Spin is the name given to a mysterious veil that one October night in the near future, shuts off the stars and isolates the earth, but not only that, for every minute that passes on Earth, three years pass outside the veil.

The three main characters deal with this in three very human ways. Jason tries to understand who created the Spin, and why, emersing...
Published on 19 May 2006 by RH

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as dizzying as it could be.
Science fiction, particularly the `hard' variety, is often criticised for its lack of character development. Whether fair criticism or not, any writer who aims to address this matter is to be applauded. Wilson devotes a lot of time and energy to this end. Unfortunately it's here that he's at his weakest.

SPIN covers a long stretch of time over which we follow...
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by sft


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 19 May 2006
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This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
The Spin is the name given to a mysterious veil that one October night in the near future, shuts off the stars and isolates the earth, but not only that, for every minute that passes on Earth, three years pass outside the veil.

The three main characters deal with this in three very human ways. Jason tries to understand who created the Spin, and why, emersing himself in science. Jason's twin sister, Diane, follows the path of faith, spirituality and enlightenment. Tyler, childhood friend of both takes the middle road, dedicating himself to helping others, becoming a doctor and attempting to simply live life.

Wilson exposes the vulnerability we all feel when we look at the sky and wonder, "What if we're not alone?". When an event so powerfull as to dwarf every human endevour occurs, one cannot help but feel completely overwhelmed.

Spin is not hardcore SciFi, but good tale, well told. involving everything you'd expect from a good scifi book, but without the technobabble. Technical issues that do arise are well explained, as Tyler is just your everyday, cynical Joe, and requires a lot of explanation.

Spin is shortlisted for the 2006 Hugo awards, and well deserved so.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written, satisfyingly `old-school' science fiction., 8 Sep 2011
By 
Willy Eckerslike (France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
In my continuing mission to encounter modern science fiction authors to rival the classical masters of the genre, I happened across this book while browsing Amazon's recommendation. Although first published in 2005, it reads like a novel from a good 25 years earlier. This is a good thing; there is no showing-off of the author's understanding of particle physics, cosmology or esoteric mathematics (a frequent failing these days) , just a good old fashioned first person account, with flashbacks, of a momentous event in the evolution of humanity's view of their place in the universe. It is also not peppered with a profusion of shallow characters with unpronounceable names; the events in the book are seen through the eyes of the narrator as they impact upon the lives of just three main protagonists. There are, of course, secondary characters but the focus of the novel never strays far from the main narrative so that we end up with believable characters acting in a plausible manner with whom the reader can empathise.

The story is told skilfully at a consistent pace in a very readable style making for an enjoyable, comfortable read. It's not an edge-of-the-seat page-turning rollercoaster of a novel; more of a favourite armchair in front of the fire on a winter's night sort-of a novel. There is enough science-fiction to warrant its place in the genre but not so much that it intrudes on the narrative. All-in-all, an excellently balanced & well written story and I shall definitely read more of Wilson's work - probably `Axis' although I fancy `The Chronoliths' and `Blind Lake' too... So much choice, so little time to spend reading...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, original idea, 11 April 2009
By 
Stephen M Blank (Altrincham, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
Good characterisation and a novel idea, what more does a good SF novel need? I confess the female lead irritated me and maybe the narrator was a bit supine but I really cared what happened to them.

Great pace throughout and excellent cutting from now to the end to keep the tension going. I was left only worrying that the technical explanation we get near the end might be disappointing or unconvincing but once again Robert Charles Wilson did not let me down.

I'm going to read the sequel, Axis, for sure.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 Oct 2007
This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
Some SF writers use deliberately obscure language to presumably enhance the complexity of the ideas or the plot. The more difficulty you have undestanding what's going on, the more technically/scientifically complex the story is supposed to be. What happens, in fact, is that you plod through virtually unintelligible text to hopefully glean some kind of meaning.

What I appreciated in this novel is that it reads like a novel. It is clearly written, it respects the reader and it is very exciting!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as dizzying as it could be., 27 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
Science fiction, particularly the `hard' variety, is often criticised for its lack of character development. Whether fair criticism or not, any writer who aims to address this matter is to be applauded. Wilson devotes a lot of time and energy to this end. Unfortunately it's here that he's at his weakest.

SPIN covers a long stretch of time over which we follow the main characters as they grow from adolescence into adulthood and on into middle-age. Sadly, these characters fail to convince. The interaction between them is contrived; they speak to each other in a language reserved for scientific exposition and melodrama. There's no true depth to these people and hence they fail to arouse empathy or real interest. They're too clichéd and portentous, and come across as little more than cyphers deployed to progress the narrative and drive the story arc. As a result their motivations and emotional ties never really satisfy.

It's the concept behind SPIN that makes it worth reading. Once the mysterious phenomenon appears you need to know more. Here, once again, Wilson succeeds only in part. Maintaining the enigma over such a lengthy arc stretches his prose too thinly. He fills the gaps with a family saga (so many larger-than-life, troubled people!), that is irritating and feels like the padding that it is.

Here we have a superb idea marred by a clumsy but brave attempt to create personal drama on a heroic scale. It would have been more interesting to hear this story told, in half as many words, from an everyman's point of view.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time in a Bubble, 30 Nov 2006
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spin (Hardcover)
`Hard' science fiction novels, all too often, get bogged down in their `gee-whiz' science, to the detriment of their story and characters. Happily, such is not the case here, as the characters of Tyler Dupree and Jason and Diane Lawton are well depicted, and their story, of just how they react when all the stars suddenly disappear one night, remains front and center throughout this book.

The `gee-whiz' science here is the `Spin', a membrane folded around the earth that slows the time rate experienced by its denizens by a factor of 100 million versus the `normal' universe. This has an implication: in just 40 Earth years, 4 billion years will have passed on the outside, our sun will be nearing the end of its life, and will have expanded to the point that an unprotected Earth would be immediately fried. Where did this membrane come from? Who put it there, and perhaps more importantly, why? What can be done about it? Wilson's characters, in one way or another, attempt to answer these questions, an involvement that shapes much of their lives, and the lives of everyone on Earth, who are effectively facing a true end of the world scenario.

Wilson presents his science in fairly small, well explained chunks - you don't need to be an actual rocket scientist to grasp what he is presenting, and this presentation doesn't interrupt the story flow, unlike all too many books that belong to this sub-genre.

While all the above is quite good, I found I was disappointed in the final answers the book provides. I saw most of the answers long before they were directly shown - not good for a concept of this grand scope. Nor was I greatly impressed by the philosophical points raised. In these two areas, I expected more from a book that took the Hugo award over some other books that are just as inventive and possibly have a deeper level of meaning than this one. The Martian, introduced about the middle of the book, was not characterized very well, nor was his described culture very believable - probably because his function was that of deus-ex-machina device, a way for Wilson to get to his `solution' space.

An entertaining read with some good concepts, but for my money the Hugo should have gone to John Scalzi's Old Man's War.

--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do I like it?, 19 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Spin (Kindle Edition)
I read this a while ago now but I still can't decide if I really liked it - although I haven't bought the two sequels. The general idea was good and did keep me guessing for some time. I also liked the ending. I did feel it went on for too long and the typos drove me demented!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction At Its Best & A Good Story For Non Sci-Fi Fans, 3 Nov 2010
By 
T. Wright "2Wright" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
This is just a really such a good read on so many differing levels - science fact, science fiction, a good human story and appealing characters. This is up there with the best of Science Fiction. If you liked books by Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Philip K Dick, Robert J Sawyer (TV Series 'Fast Forward' was adapted fromn his book), etc., then you'll love this. Although classed as 'Hard Science Fiction' (ie. fictional characters in a plausible fiction story based in real Science fact/theory) I think this would appeal to mainstream readers of good fiction as the Science within the pages gives it a real 'what if?' plausibility, and it's written in an approachable, non-condescending way that will appeal to non-science fiction readers.

The story: Three childhood friends witness the stars literally disappear from the sky as they sit outside while their parents are at a party inside. Their relationships and lives are never the same again, yet their destinies are all intertwined (with each other and the outcomes from this moment). What has blocked out the stars? Who are the strange hypothetical beings who have done this? Are they dangerous or benign? Is it some secret technology/warfare by the Russians/Chinese? The story begins at the end of the cold war era and certainly catches the paranoia of the period. As the storylines and characters develop so does the societal change in the background as we move into modern times. The end is nigh (or is it?) and some people start living each day as though it's their last, others join reliigious cults, some commit suicide, crime rises substantially in the fact of uncertainty. Yet, through it all, these three friends intertwine their friendships (there's also a bit of unrequited love of the 'will they, wont they' kind of sexual tension in the background - but no overt sex scenes to taint this classy tale and waste the story!) with the actual events occuring as one becomes a doctor, one a scientist working on the events directly, one turns to a religious cult in all the vulnerable uncertainty. This is one epic story.

I won't divulge any more since I don't want to ruin such a good story for anyone. If you want to read a good novel and like fact intertwined with your fiction, then read on! This is a good one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book of 2009, 31 Aug 2009
By 
P. Brown (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
Brilliant - I couldn't put it down from stat to finish. Having not read any of this author's work before, I picked it up in Borders whilst browsing, and read the first 40 pages in the store without realising how long I'd spent in there!
Character development was plausible, coherent and realistic; a real mix of emotion and yearning. The science and scope of the story itself was brilliantly conceived, and I loved the handling of scientific subjects without the story becoming simply a vehicle for them.
The ending was pretty good, not too rushed and mostly in-line with the rest of the pace of the book.

I'd recommend this book for hard and soft sci-fi fans alike.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Sci -Fi fans, 5 Aug 2008
By 
jane alexander (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
I picked up 'Spin' in an act of desperation; I needed to find something to read late at night and was forced to look through my son's science fiction collection. The cover and the blurb did not inspire confidence, and I expected turgid prose full of technical terms, uninteresting square-jawed heroes and an incomprehensible slow-moving plot.

But... the story was enertaining and intriguing, and fairly rocketed along. You did not need a physics degree to understand what was happening and the necessary explanations were well-integrated into the story. 'Spin' read like a 'proper' novel, not like a fantasy for those who enjoy reading computer manuals.

Sometimes a little dramatic tension was diminished by the constant switching between past and present, and the female character was not fully realised but these are minor criticisms. I read this with great enjoyment, and would happily read another novel by this author.
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Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Mass Market Paperback - 1 July 2007)
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