This is book number 1 in the Spin series.
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.
Robert Charles Wilson was born in California and lives in Toronto. His novel Spin won science fiction’s Hugo Award in 2006. Earlier, he won the Philip K. Dick Award for his debut novel A Hidden Place; Canada’s Aurora Award for Darwinia; and the John W. Campbell Award for The Chronoliths.
“Robert Charles Wilson is a hell of a storyteller.” —Stephen King
“One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking ‘what if,' Wilson builds an astonishingly successful mélange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Spin
“Robert Charles Wilson is one of the best science-fiction writers alive, a fact borne out in his latest work… Spin is the best science-fiction novel so far this year.” —Rocky Mountain News
“Wilson's most ambitious and most successful novel to date…Wide-ranging and well-crafted.” —San Diego Union-Tribune on Spin
“The long-anticipated marriage between the hard sf novel and the literary novel, resulting in an offspring possessing the robust ideational vigor of the former with the graceful narrative subtleties of the latter, might finally have occurred in the form of Robert Charles Wilson's Spin. Here's a book that features speculative conceits as brash and thrilling as those found in any space opera, along with insights into the human condition as rich as those contained within any mainstream mimetic fiction, with both its conceits and insights beautifully embedded in crystalline prose….Wilson does so many fine things, it's hard to know where to begin to praise him.” —The Washington Post
“Of all SF writers currently active, Robert Charles Wilson may well be the best at balancing cosmic drama with human drama…Spin is many things: psychological novel, technological thriller, apocalyptic picaresque, cosmological meditation. But it is, foremost, the first major SF novel of 2005, another triumph for Robert Charles Wilson in a long string of triumphs.” —Locus
“One of SF's distinctive qualities, often derided by mainstream critics as a weakness, is its literalization of metaphor, but Wilson's masterful exploitation of the Membrane's fictional possibilities provides an exhilarating demonstration of why precisely the opposite can be true...Spin is also a family drama that would not be out of place on mainstream shelves...Spin is a provocative, frequently dazzling read.” —SCIFI.COM
“A subtle and thought-provoking writer. Just when the reader thinks he knows where Wilson is going, he finds himself somewhere else entirely.” —Robin Hobb on Robert Charles Wilson
“Robert Charles Wilson continues to surprise and delight. I can't think of another science fiction writer who understands the strengths of the genre so well and who works with such confidence within its elastic boundaries…Wilson never loses sight of the human angle. His theme is the importance of communication, which, as his characters come to learn, should never remain one-way.” —The New York Times on Blind Lake
“A superior SF thriller.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Blind Lake
“Fizzing with ideas…Intense, absorbing, memorable.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Blind Lake
“The steely quiet of Blind Lake draws you in like a magnet…Wilson does not ever raise his voice, which does not mean he speaks softly. How he speaks is still. In his calm, stony exile’s gaze upon the prisons of the world, and in his measured adherence to storylines that say that everything may become a little better with much work, he is the most purely Canadian of all the writers brought together here, and Blind Lake is the finest Canadian novel of all these.” —John Clute, Toronto Globe and Mail