“A fine followup to Wilson's thoughtful science fiction novel "Spin" which told the story of an Earth encased in a protective(?) bubble and thrust several billion years into the galaxy's future. While time proceeded normally on Earth, it accelerated exponentially outside the protective sphere. ...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“Disappointing sequel to the Hugo Award-winning Spin. Lots of great ideas with a weak ending.”see full review » see other reviews »
“A fine followup to Wilson's thoughtful science fiction novel "Spin" which told the story of an Earth encased in a protective(?) bubble and thrust several billion years into the galaxy's future. While time proceeded normally on Earth, it accelerated exponentially outside the protective sphere. The resultant temporal disconnect led to Earth being able to "colonize" Mars and seeing the results of millenia of development upon that planet by their human ancestor/successors. All was going well enough until Mars was then placed inside its OWN pretective sphere, effectively cutting off contact between the two worlds.
The entities that did this became known as "The Hypotheticals" and the books focus on discovering their nature and intent (if any). While the first focuses on the nature of the event known as "The Spin" and discovery of the Hypotheticals, the second book takes place several years in the future with a new cast of characters (that still have some connection with the first book's, which is helpful).
The first novel dealt with man's uncertainty regarding his place in the universe, especially when that perceived place is violently ripped out from under him. The second book deals with the aftermath of that event. If you knew God (or what you perceived as such) was out there and could be spoken to, what lengths would you go to to communicate with Him? Would you sacrifice an innocent for that ability?
Axis does a wonderful job addressing (but not necessarily answering) those questions as characters become obsessed with communicating with The Hypotheticals and go to great and immoral lengths to communicate with the beings that removed them from the normal flow of space/time all in the hopes of knowing why.”
“kinda can't believe spin was followed up by this. ending was decent tho”Mike Taliercio wrote this review Thursday, August 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“In the same way The Matrix Reloaded could never live up to the original, Axis has a good story with some new ideas introduced, but never had a chance to out-do Spin. I felt a little let down by the ambiguity of the Hypothetical dust/life, and the ending revealed almost nothing new or shocking. But the general premise is enjoyable and has some themes that got me thinking, so overall, not bad.”hubdiggity wrote this review Saturday, February 25, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Charles Wilson writes prose to disappear in and keeps me reading. Wow. However, story is a bit disappointing after Spin.”Erik Siegel wrote this review Tuesday, November 8, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When I first read Axis, I didn't write a review for it (as I wasn't reviewing books at the time). When I started added some of my favorite books into Goodreads, I decided that it warranted a review; but it seems that I could only find two sentences to say about it: "Good, but not nearly as good as Spin. Which isn't really surprising since Spin was just phenomenal.".
Well. That doesn't say very much, does it? Once I found out that the third book in this series, Vortex was out, I decided that I should re-read the first two before cracking open the third. And now that I've finished it, why not try to flesh out those two sentences a bit?
The problem is that those two sentences really do sort of sum it up. This is not a bad little book, though it's a bit tedious in ways that Spin never was. But it's a little tough to explain why it was tedious. I think it comes back to the way that Spin catalogs a few decades worth (or, a few billion years worth, depending on how you count) of an incomprehensibly large world-changing event as seen through the eyes of one of the smartest, most driven people alive (or, at least, his personal physician). Axis, on the other hand, tells the story of a few relatively normal people living through a reasonably large adventure.
Which is to say, I suppose, that the scale is completely different. I used the word "adventure" in my previous paragraph, and I think that's accurate. In its heart, Axis is an adventure story: there are daring break-ins, earth quakes, collapsing buildings, explosions, government intrigue, and more. Sure, a Big science fiction plot is wrapped around it (the whole thing takes place on a "neighboring" planet and one of the main characters is a Martian, after all), but the sci-fi feels like window dressing for something just a little tawdrier.
Not that there's anything wrong with an adventure story. I like adventure stories. But, as a follow-up to such a masterwork of the genre as Spin, it just feels wrong: almost boring, as if the explosions are just there as a distraction from the plot which has an extremely slow build to a somewhat anti-climatic ending.
As a stand-alone work, though, it's pretty entertaining. So I still rate it at 3 stars. I liked it. It's just not the book you should read immediately after finishing Spin. And that's a shame since the series ordering practically begs you to do that (after finishing Spin, you want to keep reading). ”
“Not as good as spin, but still great SiFi.”dkingman wrote this review Thursday, February 17, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent!”Ian M wrote this review Saturday, September 25, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Not nearly as good as the first book, Spin. While that one covered a long period of time and was quit epic in scope, this novel followed a much smaller story.
It was still interesting, and answered some of the questions raised by the first book. I'm still looking forward to the third.”
“Disappointing sequel to the Hugo Award-winning Spin. Lots of great ideas with a weak ending. ”Jack R wrote this review Sunday, August 9, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is the sequel to Robert Charles Wilson's book Spin which told the tale of a massive encapsulation of Earth into a time-space freeze against the rest of our solar system and surrounding universe running in a different time by some alien force and the human heroes of the story attempting to solve the mystery. The end of the story results in a giant gate appearing in the ocean that leads to another world, much like our's -- livable to humans, plants and animals. I like the ideas of Spin, but wasn't overcome with some of the characters and execution of the story. Axis is better. In Axis greater knowledge of the aliens comes about through a group of people who have engineered a not-wholly-ethical method to communicate with the alien "Hypotheticals." As usual, one of the best parts of a Robert Charles Wilson book is not just his dedication to "hard science," but an ability to create vivid and strange imagery. His antecedents aren't just Heinlein or Herbert, but clearly older writers of the "Strange" fiction genre such as Arthur Maachen, and some of H.G. Wells. He's a kind of modern throwback to the fantastic and strange sci-fi of A.E. Van Vogt. And yet he also throws the great spiritual questions that come up in Stanislaw Lem. In short: he is the perfect science fiction writer to my mind. I still think Darwinia is his best, an absolute tour-de-force.”Jack K wrote this review Sunday, August 2, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No