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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever idea but too many faults.
This book reminds me of the Star Trek Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye", which i saw not long before reading this book. I have to say that the Star Trek episode is far better than this book, so catch it if you can.

I agree with many other reviewers about the characters. They don't seem very realistic both in the language they use and their responses. Also i...
Published 17 months ago by electrical-warehouse


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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 Sept. 2011
By 
Willy Eckerslike (France) - See all my reviews
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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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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
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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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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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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
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book of 2009, 31 Aug. 2009
By 
P. Brown (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Clever idea but too many faults., 21 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
This book reminds me of the Star Trek Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye", which i saw not long before reading this book. I have to say that the Star Trek episode is far better than this book, so catch it if you can.

I agree with many other reviewers about the characters. They don't seem very realistic both in the language they use and their responses. Also i didn't like the lack of emotion in the characters especially the main character who seemed almost emotionless.

I don't like the title the author chose for the temporal phenomenon. I don't think it would have been called the Spin if it really happened, which doesn't help with the suspension of belief. Even in the book itself it is stated how stupid the name Spin was, which begs the question of why the author chose to call it that in the first place.

One of the worst things about the book is what i call the spoiler chapters. These started from the very first chapter in the book and would tell the reader what was happening in the present day time period near the end of the book. I found this very frustrating as the real story started from the second chapter decades before. The story would continually jump between present day to decades before. So you already knew early on in the book what was going to happen much later on in the story.

It took far too long for the rest of the story to catch up to the spoiler chapters in the book and it was sometimes boring reading the book while knowing exactly what was going to happen later on in the story. For example, i knew very early on that they were going to get out of the Spin because of the very first chapter in the book. I don't consider this example i just gave a spoiler because the book spoils it anyway from the very first chapter. Why this was done by the author is a mystery to me. Perhaps the author was trying to be too clever and ended up spoiling the book for many.

Apart from these faults, the whole Spin idea was very clever and ambitious, so the book deserves credit for that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real science. Real characters., 14 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Spin (Mass Market Paperback)
Wilson's work is regularly nominated for awards, and rightly so. He writes dense, complex novels in which the scientific elements and characterisation are both admirably dealt with. His work is generally character driven and here we find a trio of people who grew up together, brother and sister Jason and Diane, and their friend Tyler.
One night, when they were still teenagers, they witnessed the stars disappearing. A shell had appeared around the Earth, along with a false sun that rose and set just as the old one did.
Jason's father, ED Lawton, an important businessman with US government contacts, immediately creates a plan to replace the satellites which were lost when the enclosure occurred.
It becomes clear that the sphere is neither a barrier nor an inert shell. Outside, time is running at a different rate and Jason, (who is a physics genius) calculates that within 50 years our sun will have come to the next stage of its life and expanded beyond the orbit of the Earth. In order to employ this knowledge against The Hypotheticals (as the possible aliens who may have erected the sphere have been named) a plan is hatched to fire rockets at Mars loaded with bacteria, algae and lichens that exist in extreme climates. Thus, we could create a habitable Mars within weeks as millions of years of evolution would have taken place outside the sphere.
Then we send a human colony.
The narrative is split between two timelines, one dating from the advent of The Spin, and leaping forward in years. The other is set in Tyler's future where he is suffering the effects of a drug which extends human life through nanotechnology rebuilding the cells of the body.
It's a powerful and moving novel featuring damaged characters to a greater or lesser extent. Jason and Diane's father, ED Lawson, is a control freak and openly despises those he considers below his social level. Jason is the tool he moulds to inherit his mantle, blind to the fact that Jason must at some time supplant him. Tyler, who has always been in love with Diane, stands by as she gets deeply involved with an Armageddon cult. Jason's mother is an alcoholic, perhaps driven to drink by her husband's dispassionate singlemindedness.
Along the way they have other relationships, but the three main characters remain inexorably bound by the love they have for each other.
Structurally Tyler is the middle ground between science and religion, acting as both narrator and confidante of both Jason and Diane.
As in `The Chronoliths' the issue of father and son relationships is a central theme, although here, unlike `The Chronoliths', the human drama is well-balanced against the backdrop of vast science and forces beyond anyone's control.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully constructed, well written book, 15 Oct. 2014
By 
I. J. Sloan "thegreyfox" (Rossendale, Lancs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have read a huge amount of Sci-fi, and I have to say that I cannot recall a book I have enjoyed reading so much for an awfully long time. That is not to say that there are no better stories out there (Redemption Ark and the Void trilogy spring to mind) , but the simple fact is that Spin is a delightfully written book, that is an absolute joy to read. I simply raced through the chapters ( I like short chapters ! ) and was completely absorbed from page one.

Spin is a terrific sci-fi story, told from a very human perspective. It is immensely clever in that it spans less than a human lifetime, so we can grow up with, and learn to love the main characters, but the events take place over eons. so we get the scale and immensity which we so love about Sc-Fi. What is more is that the human "sub plot" and character development is every bit as realistic, entertaining and moving as the galactic "main plot".

I cannot recall a book like this that marries real human drama with sci-fi in such an endearing and totally memorable way. Much of the book is a historical account of what took place in the past, interspersed and peppered with enough "present day" information to thoroughly tease us into wondering how the two will eventually marry up .. I have to say it does, and does so superbly. Totally recommended.
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Spin
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Mass Market Paperback - 1 July 2007)
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