SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson

Set in an alternate near-future Earth, this science fiction novel blew my mind! When Tyler is twelve years old and living in suburban Washington, D.C., the moon and stars suddenly vanish from the heavens on a quiet autumn night. It’s soon discovered that the Earth has been sealed in an impermeable membrane by the mysterious extraterrestrials called the “Hypotheticals,” and that outside the membrane, the solar system is aging thousands of times faster than the Earth. Consequently, inside the membrane, Earth has a projected lifespan of only 40 years, before the planet is destroyed by the rapidly aging sun. Human civilization threatens to dissove into chaos.


Led by a courageous group of scientists and visionaries, the human race seeks to ensure its survival by terraforming and starting a colony on Mars, which is made a possible near-term option because Mars, too, is aging at thousands of times the rate of time on Earth. The effort seems promising—-until Mars too is sealed within a membrane. Now the future of humanity can only be assured by the enigmatic Hypotheticals—-and only if the residents of Earth can discover a way to communicate with them.


This was an absolutely FABULOUS and riveting read. Compelling narrative, brisk pacing, strongly sympathetic characters, and an intriguing premise. Lots of suspense and and character-driven choices, and not too much heavy science. I can’t wait to read the sequel AXIS, although the author warns it will be nothing like the first book in the series.


I’d recommend this story to anyone who enjoys not-too-technical science fiction, rooted in a realistic modern world. Very imaginative and readable stuff, with an “up” ending.

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