Just finish the SF novel "Spin". interesting, readable, but not very excellent. Something profound and touching, but if criticizes it with a serious yardstick, many things, including the story and the motif, there are still a few obvious defects even faults in it.
The story is quite simple and the writer separates them into two parts which causes a motive for readers to eager to know what happened and the connection between the two parts. And the problem is if either of them cannot sustain the strength but was turned into a tasteless plot, this kind arrangement would weaken the novel. At the final he gives us nothing but the time flow recombination. If we re-read it again but put them into a single time axis—put the present part after the past part—and I don’t tell the huge different and dramatic effect except giving readers a puzzle of how it’s going to be like this —yes, I circle back the origin I just said, and here we got the key: the truth is, the plot of present time is just a passage of not-so-hard struggling to the new world result from a abrupt reason the writer gives us hastily in the last few pages: they are hunted by government who wants to withdraws back the high-classified information including the documents and their bodies by violence and murder, and all of this doesn’t astonish me much. Therefore, this flashback becomes a burdensome arrangement.
Despite the flashback, the story shows the excellent ability of the writer Robert Charles Wilson to tell a story. The clever work he made is to depict meticulously the world outside and inside the roles, and both are collapsing. He inserted each explosive incidents amid the whole progress in which he elaborated the mentalities of characters. So readers are dragged inside the story with the curiosity to know about the development of the mysterious Spin and its affections on people, the characters’ emotions.
However, it also displays the shortages, the framework is good but the details are not as well. Robert molded some vivid face of person in certain aspect but lack the other sides and cause people possess some part looks reality truly but some others are vague. Ex: E.D., the father of Jason, many words to portray and sometimes I glimpse something more complicated than he seems ought to be in some pages but to the end he is not out of a certain frame. Even the leading character Tyler, the words in him still lack of comprehensiveness. Besides, about the influence that Spin brings to people, in some sections the writer gave a great description about the chaos and the helpless people, and the most important, what Spin affects characters, Tyler, Jason, and Diane. But in some other small sections, he didn’t give a good reason in some subtleties for story logic. Especially there are some suspicious intentional simplifications for easy going. Ex: Sometimes I think it’s sort of unnatural that Jason told Tyler so much.
But I have to say Robert definitely owns the ability shape the characters into more reality because he has given a touching and impressive narrative in some parts like the love between Tyler and Diane. And it’s admirable that he puts so much effort to build a collapsing world and the people stepping to doomsday.
Though I criticize the incompleteness of characters and some odd fractional plots, I was moved by the interaction between the three people. Jason is a rationalist, and Diane is looking for her faith to confront the catastrophe. Tyler, sort of mind nothing but love, which is still hidden deep inside. Sometimes I think he’s unpleasant, cold and cynical, but on the other hand, he is objective and get used to the Spin very well. He expresses apparently his emotions in the last to save Diane’s life, and during the long way back to the origin, Big House, the plot is awesome, everything is collapsing, the Spin, the world, the civilization, as well as Simon’s faith, Jason’s life. At this part the stored energy about the fatal world and the lives since the Spin came is releasing.
I didn’t talk about the science in the novel because it’s no exceptional exciting ideas and I believe that’s not the motif. Neither do I mention philosophy because it’s not so profound to discuss too much, although the novel really has something to extract and discuss.
All in all, Robert made a good novel with some obvious defects which are following the excellence. And to improve it is the way to master. It’s a story with SF background and inducing some thought, but the main subject is about humanity. After all, the core of a novel is always about people, the other is supposed to background.