May 21, 2006
Robert Charles Wilson’s SPIN (Tor, 2005). is one of the finalists for this year’s Hugo Award in the Best Novel category (sometimes called the Big One, even though all Hugos are of course equal). It would hard to conceive of any novel with an opening as powerful as this one. One night, in the not too distant future, all the stars disappear from the sky all over the world… and if that doesn’t tweak your old sensawonder, you don’t have any business reading SF. Some will categorize this as a “hard SF” novel, a novel of ideas, and Wilson does indeed deliver on that score. Unlike a lot of hard SF, however, this is also a moving novel of character, a love story of sorts. The cosmic mysteries of the Spin and the dreams and desires of the three central characters share the stage as eons pass, races evolve, and the sun itself grows old. Wilson’s elegant, translucent prose is a joy to read. SPIN would be a credit to the Hugo ballot in any year, and would make a worthy winner.