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Book Title: Spin|
The author of the book: Robert Charles Wilson
Loaded: 1668 times
Reader ratings: 6.2
Edition: MacMillan Audio
Date of issue: June 1st 2012
ISBN 13: 9781427228178
The size of the: 619 KB
City - Country: No data
Format files: PDF
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Spin is a Hugo award winner that wonders what would happen if the earth were forced to remain as it is while the universe around us aged at approximately 100 million years per earth year. as far as scifi concepts go, it is a fairly mind-boggling one. to compound matters further, scientists quickly realize that as the universe ages, the earth's chance for utter destruction increases - when and if the shield around the earth is eventually lifted. and that is what creates the human drama within Spin. the reader is given two big things to chew on: the more intellectual mystery of who is behind the shield and what is its purpose... and the more emotional drama of seeing how End Times will impact all of us silly humans. Spin succeeds in accomplishing its first goal; i found it to be less successful in reaching the second.
the first goal is expertly achieved. Spin is in many ways 'pure science fiction'... it is not fantasy or historical fiction or metaphysical metaphor gussied up with scifi trappings. it takes a genuinely speculative approach to exploring the ramifications of this strange shield: what does it mean, what is its purpose, how does it impact us, how does it change us? everything connected to this central concept succeeds admirably. i really don't want to say much more on this, because part of the pleasure for me was finding out what was to come next - seeing the mystery explored, and open up into new mysteries. the one thing i will add was a plot turn that came out of the blue for me... how the earth could manipulate its new-found stasis. specifically, how the earth could terraform and then inhabit mars. one earth year = one hundered million regular years... terraforming & colonization that can take place within a few years! this was a really exciting development; even more thrilling was discovering all about this new martian world.
for me, the second goal had more mixed results. i'll try to sum it up briefly: the earth goes bonkers. governments get even more paranoid, wars erupt, lawlessness is everywhere (which leads to a truly ironic ending for one particular character), suicides & murders increase, and religious feelings skyrocket. and so Spin is not just the tale of a fascinating scifi concept, but one about the human drama of What Is The Right Path To Take? when great and terrible things happen, how do we react, and what do our reactions say about us? what do we do when confronted with a state of absolute and infinite potentiality?
and so Spin is both a novel of grand ideas, staggering possibilities, elaborate ways to wonder why and how and when and what if... and it is also a very intimate, small-scale chamber piece featuring three major characters and a handful of sharply dilineated supporting characters. each character has their own way of approaching these grand ideas and staggering possibilities.
rather predictably, the second goal becomes a depressingly either/or type situation, with two of the major characters (the Scientist and the Zealot) embodying opposite ends of the spectrum and our protagonist landing somewhere (but not quite) in the middle. despite my complaints, Wilson's writing does not actually disappoint. he is not a pedantic author and his characters are sympathetically and realistically conceived and explored. they are alive. his narrative is not custom-built as a vehicle to express a certain dialectic and so i didn't feel as if the story was manipulated to prove certain points. nonetheless, i found this aspect of the novel to be rather tedious.
i suppose these kinds of binary arguments just automatically aggravate me. what is up with humans always having to draw lines in the sand, ignoring the basic complexity of life, being unable to see multiple sides and multiple levels? why is it so hard to live with facts that any true adult knows to be truth: the world is a complicated place, humans are a complicated species, each individual encompasses many different things. we are a continuum - not a single, fixed point. right? perhaps i am an idealist (ha! sure). i feel these truths are self-evident... but as Spin and, oh, the entirety of human history attests, the species homo sapien usually chooses to reject such complexity. and so this sad spinning piece of rock and all of its denizens spins on.
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Read information about the authorI've been writing science fiction professionally since my first novel A Hidden Place was published in 1986. My books include Darwinia, Blind Lake, and the Hugo Award-winning Spin. My newest novel is The Affinities (April 2015).
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