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  • TITLE: Spin
  • AUTHOR: Robert Charles Wilson
  • PUBLICATION YEAR: 2005
  • AWARDS: Hugo for Best Novel
  • WEBSITE: www.robertcharleswilson.com/
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    What if, one night, the stars just suddenly, well, blinked out? What if the God of Bestsellers, Dan Brown, decided to rip a God of Science Fiction like Arthur C. Clarke and use his what if? from the 1953 short story, The Nine Billion Names of God and add his own hypersonic storyline? You'd probably end up with a novel like Spin, but with characters a lot more cardboard so you wouldn't feel guilty about not caring for them.

    It's not that I didn't like Wilson 's latest genre bender. It's quite involving. It is well executed with a triad of main characters who seem interesting and unique enough, and set in a modern time frame easily identifiable. The central plot device carries enough mystery to scurry you through chapters as frequent as stoplights in suburbia.

    Considering scope and theme and accomplishment, it's probably closer to Carl Sagan's Contact than Clarke, as it is a first-contact adventure set on a big stage involving lots of important people and events. I didn't read Contact, but I did enjoy its 2-hour cinematic condensation.

    But I don't watch West Wing on TV, nor did I finish this novel. I quit when, with trumpets blaring and flags waving, they went off to terraform Mars. It's not a political thing, really. It's just, well, so best-sellerish. Which is puzzling, because when Stephen King does it, I don't mind at all. But then, there's The Tommyknockers . . .

    And, I'm not a snob, I swear. I sing along like everybody else when Don McLean drives his "Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry."

    I just couldn't care enough to read it. I hope nine billion people do. Science Fiction could use some mangonels to battle back the siege engines of current Fantasy onslaught. Look what happened to Horror: cross-bred into obscurity of the Mainstream.

    I'm not giving you the high-hat, Robert Jordan.

    I swear.

    Dead at 73 out of 364 pages.

    © copyright 04/15/2006 by Larry Crawford

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