Spin is Robert Charles Wilson's Hugo Award-winning masterpiece―a stunning combination of a galactic "what if" and a small-scale, very human story.
One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.
The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk―a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, a space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside―more than a hundred million years per year on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.
Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.
Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun―and report back on what they find.
Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.
I think of Greg Bear as the kind of writer who’s willing to take a big idea with big consequences, and then actually explore those consequences. Mr. Wilson does the same, here, in Spin, and I think executes it quite well. The mystery is well delivered, the narrative well paced, the characters interesting and fairly realistic, and the examination of the consequences of his idea, both on the individual characters as well as the earth (and universe) at large, is fascinating and compelling. Definitely worth a read.
Take an apartment house, add in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, a talking severed head, a confused heroine and the deadly Cuckoo. Stir vigorously with a hurricane and Morpheus himself and you get this fifth installment of the SANDMAN series. This story stars Barbie, who first makes an appearance in THE DOLL’S HOUSE and now finds herself a princess in a vivid dreamworld.
This is probably my favourite volume, if only because the storyline is so emotional and personal. Here we have a story which fundamentally ties together as much because of the connection between the characters themselves as because of the overall storytelling. And the end… yeah, worth the price of admission. Bittersweet and beautiful.
Ten thousand years ago, Morpheus condemned a woman who loved him to Hell. Now the other members of his immortal family, The Endless, have convinced the Dream King that this was an injustice. To make it right, Morpheus must return to Hell to rescue his banished love — and Hell’s ruler, the fallen angel Lucifer, has already sworn to destroy him.
In my mind this is the cycle where Gaiman really starts to enrich the mythos he’s created, pulling in gods and myths from around the world into an intriguing storyline that amounts to a supernatural political thriller. About my only complaint, here, is that, much like The Dollhouse, the ending comes way too easily, in this case with a literal deus ex machina.
The third book of the Sandman collection, DREAM COUNTRY continues the fantastical mythology of Morpheus, the King of Dreams. In these centuries-spanning tales, the powerful entity known as the Sandman interacts with a diverse assortment of humans, fairies, heroes, and animals as he walks the mortal plane. Including an amazing encounter with William Shakespeare and an interesting take on the origin and first performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this collection depicts the dreaming world of cats, the tragic life of forgotten super-heroes and the folly of imprisoning and torturing a former lover of the King of Dreams. Collects issues #17-20 including "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which won a World Fantasy Award.
A bit short, this is a series of standalone stories that show Gaiman’s prowess for telling interesting tales set in the world he’s created. Not much to say, here… solid, unique storytelling at its finest.