Give Robert Charles Wilson's Axis a Spin
(Robert Charles Wilson and your loyal blogger at Utopiales in Nantes, France)
Meeting Robert Charles Wilson at Utopiales in France recently gave me an opportunity to rectify a large hole in my reading. Wilson's Spin, winner of a Hugo Award, had been on my list for awhile, but getting a signed copy and having several hours on the flight home allowed me to savor and enjoy one of the great "what if" novels of recent years. In Spin, unknown alien entities dubbed the Hypotheticals put a semi-permeable "membrane" around the Earth. The stars and moon can no longer be seen, and research soon determines that there's a time differential between Earth and the rest of the universe--a differential that means that outside of Earth's atmosphere millions of years are passing in the span of an Earth week. For some reason, the Hypotheticals are bringing the Earth forward toward the death of the Sun. Against this backdrop, Wilson tells a very compelling human story involving unrequited love, societal upheaval, Martians, and much else.
Now Axis, the "sequel," is out and without giving away any spoilers for those who haven't read Spin, I can tell you from my reading so far that Wilson has created a great adventure story with a strong sense of wonder. Axis isn't Spin--it's a different kind of novel--but both of them deliver first-rate characterization and extrapolation. Whether you're a regular reader of science fiction or you'd like to start, Wilson's fiction is a great place to start. --Jeff