February 10th, 2007
This entry is part [part not set] of 1 in the series Spin
  • Spin

Part of the reason this booklog has lain dormant so long is because troubled times in my personal life have consumed so much of my energy and drive, but part of it is because Spin was the next book in the review queue, and I just didn’t feel able to do it justice. And so, to get myself jumpstarted into writing again, I reread this book (for the first time, but what I’m certain will not be the last). By now, I’ve read all of the 2006 Hugo Best Novel Nominees, and they are all unquestionably excellent, but (IMO) likewise unquestionably, Spin (the winner of that award) is the best of their number, and one of the best books I’ve ever read. Our narrator in this first-person story is Tyler Dupree, who is compelled to write this detailed memoir of his life as a side effect of a drug treatment he is taking; a treatment of extraordinary origin and dramatic effect. He is writing in (very approximately) the year 4 billion AD, the time that the Earth of our near future has been transported to by means of a peculiar field surrounding the planet and causing time to slow down within it’s borders to approximately 1 in 10 million of what it should be (If I’ve remembered that correctly). This strange membrane (named The Spin by the people of Earth) just appeared one night, whole and complete, blocking out the stars and the moon and rendering the sky blank above the clouds, save for a filtered simulacrum of the Sun traversing its normal path each “day.” And with each passing second, mankind as a species seemed to be hurtling towards a certain demise when the sun’s inevitable expansion would swallow our tiny world whole. Tyler was eleven the night the Spin began. His best friend Jason Lawton and Jason’s twin sister Diane (subject of Tyler’s first crush) were the children of an aerospace tycoon and political maneuverer extraordinaire, E.D. Lawton. Tyler’s widowed mother was their Housekeeper. After a brief period of confusion, life settled down into something approaching normal, but changes had begun. Jason devoted his genius mind to understanding The Spin and used his father’s influence to gain power and position to do so. Diane found comfort in a newfound study and interest in Christian faith, a religion which was undergoing radical schisms as its doctrines and prophecies were reinterpreted in view of the Spin event and all of its implications. Tyler, bright but no savant and not a person who felt the call of religion, pursued a more mundane future as a medical doctor, but his life continued to orbit that of the Lawton’s, and he was soon brought into Jason’s inner circle as attempts were made to understand the Spin and (in some way) circumvent the fate it seemed to have doomed humanity to. Within this framework, Wilson weaves a character-driven story of the finest caliber. A novel about family, about loyalty, about adulthood, denial, growth, faith, and regret. His characters are not the flawed ├╝bermensch that populate so much genre fiction, they are human beings much like one you might live next door to, and through this novel they must come to terms with extraordinary circumstances both personal and cosmic in scope. The theoretical science is there for you, and if that’s what you come to science fiction for you will find it tasty indeed, but Wilson uses the genre as a tool in the fashion that many claim to seek but few realize: extending the bounds of reality to better describe the reality that all of us face within ourselves. Spin is something truly special, and I highly recommend it.

Leave a Reply