When Tyler Dupree was 12, he was at the Big House with the twins the night the stars disappeared. Jason and Diane Lawton, 13, were arguing while Tyler was looking at the sky. It went black - no stars, no moon, nothing that they had grown up watching. All the Earth's satellites fell out of the sky that night, including the Russian cosmonauts who had been orbiting Earth.
The three are summer friends. During the school year Jason and Diane go to an exclusive school. Jason is a genius who had to live in his father's shadow. E. D. expects great things of himself and of his son. E. D. is in the right place at the right time when the stars disappear. He owns the company with the technology to jump right in the breach when the satellites fell. Tyler is the son of their housekeeper. E. D. lets Tyler know that Tyler is responsible for Jason and must take care of him.
The sky becomes Jason's life long project. He wants to know what happened and why it happened. Diane reacts differently. When it is discovered the Earth only has another 50 years or so before it is destroyed, she rejects science and her family. She turns religious and hooks up with a man involved in a free-wheeling cult (think communes and rock concerts of the 1960's). They marry and Simon takes her away from her family.
Scholarships and money given by E. D. get Tyler through medical school. He is a general practitioner starting his practice in Seattle. Jason is running the company that is responsible for the research on the Spin - the name for the phenomenon that surrounds the Earth. Jason convinces Tyler to leave Seattle and become the corporate doctor. In that position, Tyler is current with each new breakthrough or experiment. Somehow Earth needs to be saved.
When I put this book down, my first words to my cats were "Fascinating. Very well done." (My cats ignored me, as usual.) Tyler tells this story in a first person narrative, starting near the end and retelling the novel through memories and happenings. This gives breaks because Tyler isn't always around Jason, Diane, or E. D. Jason the genius explains the science in this science fiction novel to Tyler in a lay terminology that Tyler then passes on to the reader. The explanations are reasonable and plausible in the context of science fiction.
This is hard science based fiction. But Robert Charles Wilson has put humanity in Tyler, Jason, and Diane so that Spin isn't dry, nor is it maudlin. It's a hopeful book that includes father-son conflict, coming-of-age, and romance. Human foibles are present, as well as human virtues. Spin is a good novel. Enjoy.
|You might also like:
Bios by Robert Charles Wilson
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
Book Rating System