Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is a prolific Canadian science fiction author whose novels have been nominated for numerous awards, but with Spin, he just might recieve that elusive Hugo.

One night the stars go out. They're there, and then they're not. The sun comes back up, but it's not the real sun. All communications satellites crash to Earth. Time stands still, and time spins out of control.

This is what science fiction is about: great ideas, rational thought, and a sense of wonder that boggles.

The story begins with three main characters, a brother and sister and their friend, who is the narrator. I was concerned at first by the intelligence of the three; it seemed to be the old tired trope of SF heroes being the smartest people on the planet, but the story Wilson tells would not have worked any other way.

In addition to a riveting story filled with shocks and mysteries aplenty, we get a very interesting discourse on religion and its follies. Those who are religious might take offense at a lot of the ideas espoused in this book; Wilson is heavy handed with his contempt for the foolishness of deity worship.

It's fucking beautiful.

Wilson's arguments against unreasoned faith are a wonder to behold. Science Fiction needs brave voices to express truth in these dark days of religious fundamentalism, and Robert Charles Wilson has picked up the gauntlet.

Spin works well on just about every level. The only nitpick I have is of the narrator continually making culture references that he would not be privy to. Someone born around 1990 would not be able to make reference to a Grateful Dead concert or Yoko Ono, for instance.

These references aside, there is simply nothing bad to say about this novel. The plotting is fast and fascinating, the science is wonderous and impeccable, and the message against mythological foolishness is both timely and well reasoned.

I make no secret of my love for the work of George R.R. Martin, but Spin might just be my choice for the Hugo for best novel. Definitely worth checking out.

9/10

Collector's Notes:

If this novel wins the Hugo, expect the value to increase. As it stands, none of Wilson's previous books have risen much in value -- despite a few of them being nominated for awards -- so I would not consider this book much of an investment.

However, it is definitely worth buying just for a great read.

Comments on "Spin by Robert Charles Wilson"

 

Blogger Race said ... (4:16 PM) : 

I've been wanting to pick this up.

 

Anonymous Neil Clarke said ... (3:38 PM) : 

Definitely one his best works to date. He should win all the awards this is nominated for. Been reading his stuff for a long time and so far the only book I wasn't thrilled about was Bios.

-Neil

 

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