Spin is a tremendous ride throughout. I’ve read only a couple of the other Hugo nominees for this year, but I’m guessing the prize was well deserved this year. The story is huge—it spans 4 billion years after all. I’ll give away some of it here, not big spoilers, but if you want to read the book with totally ‘fresh’ eyes, don’t read any further. OK, there are three main characters: the twins Jason and Diane Lawton and their friend Tyler Dupree. One night they’re outside star-gazing when suddenly they disappear. The stars that is. Turns out that someone/something has enclosed in a membrane of ‘slow-time’, which is referred to throughout the novel as ‘the Spin’. For each second that passes on Earth, around 3 years pass outside the membrane. For each year, a 100 million years pass out there in the Universe. That does not make much sense, right? Imagine the sheer terror it would cause among the people of Earth and you get a clue about the subject matter of the novel. The ‘Spin generation’ grows up knowing (if not accepting) that by the time they grow old, the Sun’s gonna literally run out of gas, and the world’s gonna end. Our three characters deal with this in fundamentally different ways—Jason, the brilliant one, turns to science and devotes his entire life puzzling out what’s going on. Diane turns to religion, and Tyler keeps having one existential crisis (if that is what you can call it) after another, all the time seeming calm and distant from the outside. He becomes a doctor, but one still cannot shake-off the deer-in-the-headlights vibe he gives off—even though he’s doing a most admirable job of coping with life. A lot is going on. And I do mean a lot. Here’s my favourite idea from the book: the way they use evolution as a weapon. You see, they launch automated terraforming operations on Mars… The Sun’s already much expanded, and Mars is already a much warmer planet at this point in the book. They seed it with highly resistant bacteria, and let nature take its course. They don’t have to wait a lot too, the Spin takes care of time for them. And then they send (crash actually) human colonists to Mars. The book’s hard to figure out, which I love as it then demands my complete attention. I’m going to force this book on my budding (and not so budding) bibliophile friends, just to share the joy.

Comments (2)