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August 30th, 2007


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08:31 am - book finished
Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson
(2006 Hugo award winner for Best Novel)

Apparently this is the current It novel for the crowd I usually run with - I've been out of the loop lately, so I haven't been buttonholed by the original enthusiasts (*waves*). Late Tuesday I stole off with the copy grouchychris had been loaned, however, and I finished it yesterday while in transit on transit.

I enjoyed it, although the writing style occasionally annoyed me; I don't usually like novel openings consisting of a snippet of the current action after which the main entrance to the work is twenty years prior or some-such and you painstakingly wend your way back to the opening's events. (Yes, I hated the swapping back-and-forth in the Lord of the Rings the first few times I read it, too.) It can smack of bait-and-switch, but Wilson managed to pull me in, despite.

I also found the pacing a little uneven. But he's got lots of fascinating ideas, and it's a take on the Copernican Principle I haven't seen before. I find pieces of it floating back up into my consciousness, which is usually a sign that I like something more than I think I did at the time of consumption. Seattle and Harborview hospital have a cameo, too.

I believe it deserved the award, mostly because of the way it hangs in my head now vs. anything really wowing me while I was reading it. I'd be interested in other people's take on it, or a pointer to the discussion if there is already one in progress.
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From:quixoticfish
Date:August 30th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
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I feel like I had the same reaction, like I was annoyed while reading it mostly because the characters annoyed me, but the ideas were good and bits do still come back to me once in a while.

What annoyed me about the main character was that damn, he's a doctor, and he still feels like a second class citizen next to his friend. Granted his friend is a genius, but he's crazy as a loon.

Oh well, I'm just happy to be reading new authors, because so often I just pick up awful sequels from people I already read.

[User Picture]
From:nihilistech
Date:August 31st, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
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I liked Spin when I read it last year some time (after the Hugos, Iirc). But it took me a minute to remember anything much about it besides its overall theme or central premise (sp?), when I saw mention of it right now.

I don't think its win was a bad call, but my heart still belongs to Accelerando.
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From:paulcarp
Date:August 31st, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
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I have to fess up, not only as an original enthusiast (prior to the Hugo), but as the owner of the copy you read. I liked Spin for a thousand reasons. While we are fortunate to have Charlie Stross and Corey Doctorow leading the sf field, I hadn't read a "sense-a-wundah" story that struck me as *new* in a decade. This read like classic sf, and it was a page-turner to boot. Probably Wilson's best work, it blew me away with the idea that we (Earth) could abandon humanity in exchange for comfort.
My favorite scene is the red heifer (gone horribly, horribly wrong) as religio-fanatic metaphor.
I haven't been part of any discussion, save that I've lent the book a dozen times, and got to chat with Wilson's friend Robert Sawyer (also a Hugo winner) about it, but I strongly encourage people to read it. Spin is not a challenge to literacy (it's a fairly easy read)--it is a difficult book because it forces the reader to contemplate a world that cannot easily be concieved of. It's a world where everything you know is wrong, and you pretend you know it anyway. It's alarmingly believable to me.
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From:quixoticfish
Date:August 31st, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
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yea! Hi Paul! Welcome to livejournal!
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From:grouchychris
Date:August 31st, 2007 08:15 am (UTC)
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I was annoyed with the earth-moon gravitational dynamics. If the earth's spin slows down a hundred-millionfold (as seen by the moon) then it won't be transfering angular momentum to the moon, meaning that there is no reason for the moon to drift farther away from the earth.

If you can get past that, yes, it's a fine book.
[User Picture]
From:mcjulie
Date:August 31st, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)

My two pennies

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It was my favorite new science fiction novel that I've read in a long time -- maybe since Snow Crash (could it be that long?). I liked the way he handled a bunch of really audacious ideas, and the way the human story mirrored the SF story.

I know I didn't have any problems with the pacing, because I didn't really put it down once I started reading it.

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