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Hugo Awards-- I've read one! - Young Goodmanbrown [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Goodmanbrown

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Hugo Awards-- I've read one! [Apr. 2nd, 2006|01:30 am]
Young Goodmanbrown
[music |Massive Attack - Heat Miser]

The Hugo award nominations are out and for the first time ever, I have read one of the books ahead of the nominations: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson.

Not having read any of the other books on the list, I can't say this with any authority-- but still, I'd be surprised if any of the other books are better than Spin. As far as science fiction goes, I recommend it.

The basic premise is that the world is encased in a membrane that drastically slows time. So, for every minute that passes on Earth, years pass for the rest of the universe. People are forced to think on a cosmic time-scale. The sun, after all, will go nova within the life-span of most of the people who were alive at the time the spin membrane was put in place.

That is the main scientific hook. The focus is squarely on the characters, with the science serving to lay the groundwork for the unusual setting. The story follows the stories of twin siblings and their mutual friend as they grow up in this new world. The characterization is pretty good, and the writing is very good, as far as science fiction goes. Wilson doesn't reach for a whole lot in terms of style and as a result he only rarely overreaches. His style is clear and brisk-- his words convey the story without getting in the way.

None of this is to say that Spin is wholly free of some of the standard sci-fi flaws. When it deals with religion-- and it deals with it a lot-- it does it poorly. In standard sci-fi form, the book staggers, stumbles, and then completely collapses under its own weight in the last fifty pages.

Still, it was the most satisfying SF I've read in years, and I reckon it's worth a look-see.