Written by Robert Charles Wilson, narrated by Scott Brick, close to eighteen hours of listening in unabridged format. Spin, released in 2008, is book one of a series published by Macmillan Audio.
Three tweens witness the beginning of the Spin by watching the night sky as all the stars blink out. Shortly the world learns that the stars are still there, but not visible because the earth is covered with a ‘membrane’. Beyond the membrane time is passing with sufficient speed to make the sun go nova in 40 or 50 years. In other words, time beyond the membrane is very fast. The story takes place over a few decades and the kids grow up … one becomes a scientist, one a doctor, one a cult follower. The synopsis and other reviews will provide more detail, but this is the basic thrust.
Why I liked. The Spin is very creative SciFi and, unlike other apocalyptic stories, the future isn’t necessarily doomed. There are the predictable events, such as mass suicide, cults, insurrection to a degree. Some people and countries take advantage of the situation for the good of mankind and some for not so altruistic reasons. Realistic human behaviors. Fundamentally, the future is unknown – as it is in the real world. Some of the science is really thought provoking, i.e., the processes involved in building another habitable planet.
Not so hot. Some of the science is just plain silly. For example, man terraforms Mars in a very short time, within a couple of years. This is fine, and works well into the imagined world of of Spin … time zooming by quickly beyond our ‘membrane’. However, and this is an oops by the author in my opinion, the technology and sophistication of Mars doesn’t move forward at the same phenomenal rate … no more than Earth. Everything that happens is because of the ‘brain power’ or actions of earth and it’s science – nothing from Mars. Mars should be billions of years more advanced than Earth and in the Spin, it is not. Mars should be taking the lead, right? Doesn’t make sense. The ‘hypotheticals’ – the unknown alien force responsible for the Spin – are undefined. No ultimate understanding is presented by the author. I guess this is the reason for sequels, but there wasn’t enough substance for me to care.
Regarding narration, Scott Brick is, well Scott Brick … great.
If you like SciFi, you’ll find something to enjoy. But, there are holes in the story, imo.