By Robert Charles Wilson
First Published: 2005
Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Science Fiction
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson is a thinking science fiction novel where a world shaking mystery leads to an examination of many big ideas. The central premise is completely original. One night, all the stars in the sky completely disappear. Scientists discover that the earth has been enclosed within a permeable temporal membrane which has changed the passage of time on Earth to a barely perceptible crawl compared to the rest of the galaxy. For every year that passes on Earth, the rest of the galaxy ages by about one hundred million years.
The inexplicable situation begs a whole host of questions but the most immediate concern is the rapid aging of our own sun. Quick estimates reveal that the sun will engulf the Earth in 40 to 50 years. In effect, the world has been handed a death sentence. Against this startling premise, Wilson adds a coming of age story, a scientific race against the clock, social/political upheavals, speculations on a possible alien intelligence, and, not one, but two unrequited love stories.The central premise and big ideas of Spin are its greatest strengths. The character development is not as well carried out. The main character is likable and well drawn but most of the other characters are a bit hard to care about making the novel a trifle dry. Additionally, the main unrequited love story seems to go on way too long. However, the unique premise and original ideas explored in this novel make it well worth reading.