Plot Synopsis: The protagonist is best friends with a pair of wealthy twins (a boy and a girl).  He's in (unrequited) love with the girl and has a very close lifelong friendship with the boy.  When they are 12 or 13 years old, one night the stars go out.  It turns out the earth is now enclosed in a permeable membrane which slows the passage of time inside the bubble by a factor of 100,000,000.  (You read that right.)  So over the course of a normal human lifespan, the sun is going to envelop the earth.  Their entire generation lives under a sentence of doom.  They have no idea who or what has done this to them, or why.  They have no idea how long it will last or whether they can survive the consequences.  The protagonist becomes a doctor.  The male twin becomes a scientist, working with the government to try to solve the Spin (that's what they call the time bubble) mystery.  The female twin joins one of the new religious cults surrounding the Spin and treating it as an end-of-days phenomenon.  Their fates remain, of course, intertwined, as they live their life at galactic time scales. 

My Take: Wow.  Just wow.  I can see why this book won the Hugo.  I had never read anything by Wilson before (or even heard of him); this book was recommended to me by Amazon's algorithm, oddly enough.  The book works on several levels--as hard sci fi, chronicling human attempts to solve the mystery, as soft sci fi, when the reason behind the Spin is finally revealed, as a political thriller as the nations of the world react, as a family drama, even as a romance.  It is beautifully and simply written and absolutely wealthy with the details of the world Wilson has created.  My only gripe is with the length and pace of the book.  At 450 pages, the whole thing unfolds just a bit too slowly for those who want to find out "what happens."  If it were about 25% shorter, it would be the perfect book. 


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