Rating: 4/5

Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (New York: Tor Books, 2005).

I managed to squeeze in at least one new book this summer. Wilson’s Spin is a sci-fi novel that follows two families (three main protagonists) as the world tries to figure out what happened to the suddenly invisible stars. The narrative alternates between “now” and the recounting of the events that led to it. This approach can be problematic because some tension is removed (you know who survives) and the author runs the risk of telegraphing important points too early or clearly. I personally think Wilson navigates this very well. I felt like the “revelations” in the two narratives are well orchestrated to complement each other.

I can’t go too deep into the science part of the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything. The best part, really, is the characters. I found the individual characterization to be engaging and realistic. The relationships equally so. A primary theme of the book is family and the enduring (if changing) nature of childhood friendship. It’s not an action book at all, but I found I couldn’t put the book down. The sci-fi backdrop is revealed steadily and the character plots never die down.

This book is the first of a trilogy. I decided to not continue not because I didn’t like this book or the story—I really did—but because reviews I read revealed that the next two books are set far into the future and consist of entirely different characters. The preview chapter of the second book was interesting, but I have far too much to read that I decided not to continue down this path and to take another.

You don’t have to be a sci-fi aficionado to enjoy this book. The science itself, while interesting, is only a backdrop for a very engaging story.