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If the World was Ending Soon...

December 19, 2010 11:29:32.043

I just finished reading a very interesting book - "Spin" by Robert Charles Wilson. I also finished the second (of three?) books in the series, "Axis". The books are connected, but can be read separately - it does help to read Spin first so that you know how things got to be the way they are.

To summarize the plot of the first book, one night the stars go out. Panic ensues, and then things get progressively more odd as the reason for the blackout is found: the Earth has been wrapped in some kind of barrier that keeps time passing normally as billions of years pass beyond the barrier. That gives rise to a bunch of "end of the world" cults, as it seems obvious what will happen if the barrier is removed after enough time has passed that the Sun itself starts to expire.

Suffice to say that doesn't play out exactly as the doomsayers expect - but neither do things "go back to normal", either.

The second book is concerned with what happens after the spin barrier is removed. I don't really want to get too far into that, as doing so would spoil the first book. It leaves a lot for a follow on book though, so I'm certainly looking forward to that.

While the setting is near future, and it's clearly a sci-fi setting, it's mostly about the people. I became very attached to a number of the people - one thing I will say is that Wilson is not afraid to kill off characters, even ones that have become quite central to the story thus far. That keeps you reading - no one is safe. I'm looking foward to book three, and if you like pondering how people would collectively and individually handle a presumed apocalypse - that then doesn't play out as the worst fears had it - these are great books.

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posted by James Robertson

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