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  • Axis
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4.0 out of 5 stars14
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on 22 November 2008
Sequel to the Hugo Award winning "Spin" (on my list of recommended books) this novel follows the story of the people who have travelled through the Arch created by the alien Hypotheticals to a new and distant world. Presumably you've read "Spin" if you're reading this - Do you want to read "Axis"? Most definitely yes. Is it as good as Spin? No. But that's not much of a criticism. Spin was a great book, because it was a deep story with believable, complex characters, both primary and secondary that just happened to be set in a sci-fi environment. The triangle in that book between Tyler Dupree, Jason and Diane was a touching coming of age story set against a backdrop of alien contact and apocalyptic events. Diane made me think about some of the women that have passed through my life and I doubt I'm alone in that. "Axis" recreates that feel with a new triangle between Lise Adams, her husband Brian and Turk Findley. A more traditional love triangle here then. I won't detail (spoil) the plot here, but the book develops the new earth-like world in a very believable way and we gain further insight into the Hypotheticals and their nature while finding out the fate of the characters from Spin. This book is very similar to Spin in that the elements above are combined with a new technological mystery relating to the Hypotheticals, focused on events that are not understood, involving characters who's motivations are sometimes unclear. However, the book does not develop the main characters as poignantly as Spin, secondary characters are not developed much at all, and the plot is not quite as gripping. If you like the genre and enjoyed Spin, you'll want to read this and nothing I'm going to write will stop you anyway - nor should it. But whereas Spin was a book that you couldn't wait to recommend to anyone, whether they liked sci-fi or not, this one is isn't.
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on 4 March 2016
A good follow up to book one but the series is starting to feel like so many series...an excuse to write more books! Some of the characters are well rounded but others, who were well developed in book one are poorly used in the second book. This approach seems to be endemic in modern SF.
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on 30 December 2015
I loved Spin so I was hopeful for this, but I was rather bored. Far less epic in terms of scale or time, there was little to keep me going. This has put me off reading the 3rd one in the series, I would suggest you just enjoy the original Spin and then move on.
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on 7 November 2015
Having loved Spin this sequel was a slight disappointment but it was never going to equal Spin. Worth checking out if you enjoyed Spin. Being honest my score for Axis is three and a half but as this is not an option, four it is.

Ray Smillie
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on 31 August 2013
after reading Spin ,I just had to read Axis ,it did not dissaòint enjoyed it .I like the way that the books follow through,yet not just a continuation,whole new concepts are explored ,Mow I have to read Nexus ,then read them all again
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on 18 May 2009
I was looking forward to the sequel to Spin. But although I enjoyed it, it was nowhere near as good. Where Spin was pacy, Axis was slow. Where the characters in Spin were well filled, many of these were hollow.

The Fourths seemed to spend days without saying or doing anything and even lacked curiosity. Accepting that may be intended to be deliberate, this Second (or probably Third) didn't find it gripping.
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on 25 April 2015
Science Fiction at its best, a continuation of a work of incredible imagination, with an alternative religious flavour, thoughts provoking.
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on 22 April 2013
LIked the characters and the pace of this novel and will be reading more of his work. Delioghted to discover that there are two more!
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on 1 May 2009
Spin was a fantastic novel, well written with complex interesting characters and above all, a fantastic story. Spin also left open a question into the nature of The Hypotheticals and what they wanted with humanity. This book tries to answer that question. Axis too is well written and the characters are interesting, but they are not a well filled out as the Spin ones. Some of the charters seem to have little point in the story, Brian especially so. But the main issue is the story isn't as good or as well thought out and the end seems rushed and unsatisfactory.

This is a good book, but it suffers from following a truly great book. If you haven't read Spin, do so because it is a great story. If you have read Spin, then it is worth reading Axis, just don't expect too much of it.
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on 11 October 2011
The sequel to the mind-bending novel Spin; sheathed in the mysteries of the Hypotheticals, the Spin, the Martians and the Fourths. Axis was a welcome sequel which could shed some light upon the mysteries left over from Spin. Alas, the curiosity is yet quenched.

The novel proved to be a quick read as it contains limited simple characters, limited locations on the New World and a simple, linear plot. In those regards, the novel is fairly blasé, hardly a worthy sequel to an award-winning novel. The only engaging aspect of this novel is the residue of mystery and awe carried over from Spin. The `ashfall' which takes place in Axis is commonplace throughout the novel but is never grabs my attention. The Fourths, also, while a major point in this novel, seem no different than the unaltered humans and so do not garner any excess consideration. It's just in the last 10% where answers surrounding the state of being of the Hypotheticals and `ashfall' are hypothesized, regardless of how unfounded and unsatisfactory they may be.

The relationships between the limited characters are dry and sometimes even itchingly tedious. Even the dominant love triangle surrounding Lise (along with dull Brain and drab Turk) plays little into the plot. The only characters which got any rise out of me were two agents from Earth inspecting the Fourths on the New World. Their additions to the plot were thin, but Wilson's introduction was classic: "Sigmund was tall, sepulchral, flinty. Weil was six inches shorter and stout enough that he probably bought his pants at a specialty store. Weil was capable of smiling. Sigmund was not." This may be the only smile you'll receive from the entire novel.

Much of the New World which Wilson explores here has Asian overtones. The shipyard where ships are deconstructed is our point of entry into this strange planet. First Wilson states that Indian and Thai workers dominate the yards, but some pages later he writes that Indian and Malaysian workers make up most of the task force. At the same time, the village on the shore near the ship yard is an Indonesian village (more precise, a Minang village). However, the only cultural additions to the pages where the village of Minang is spoken are limited to their language (the one word `Ibu' is an honorific which means `missus') and the false statement that the written language is curvilinear. If Wilson wanted to include Indonesian, Indian or Thai culture into his novel, the effort would have been welcome as it needed some exoticism or flare to reflect from the pages.

Lastly, Wilson tends to repeat himself throughout the book. He mentions the same things about the Fourths over and over again as well as descriptions of the strange fauna. There even some fallacies in the plot flow (regardless of how inane they may be, they shouldn't have been present). In one passage Lise makes her way out to the all terrain vehicle to grab some foodstuffs while on the next page she has to put on her boots because it's stated that she hadn't left the room since they had all arrived.

I'd like to get a hold of the third installation in the Spin series (named Vortex) just to see how Wilson can climb out of the pit he dug for himself with Axis.
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