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Synopsis

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, 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 day 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.



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4.3 out of 5
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    Spin

    Again another very interesting book by this author. He does science fiction in such a unique way. I often wonder what is going to happen when our sun dies and this book really made me think. I also really enjoy his writing (although he uses a few words I have never heard of!) It isn't fussy but has some very poetic sentences. I was constantly being surprised by the events that happened and I enjoyed the ending as well.

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    Terrific Hard Science Fiction

    A fascinating tale told in two streams that meet beautifully at the end. Loved the directions the lives of the three main characters take. Remarkable how Wilson juxtaposed cosmic time scales with the very personal scale of individual lives.

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    Spin

    Il libro ha meritato pienamente il premio Hugo. La storia ruota attorno tre personaggi di cui vengono amabilmente descritti i sentimenti e i conflitti che li turbano sullo sfondo di una fine del mondo annunciata e inspiegabile, ma che riserva sorprese e colpi di scena geniali catturando l'attenzione del lettore fino alla fine.

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    Excelent!

    The book has everthing: a well conceived plot, interesting characters, plausible situations (for sci fi, I mean), romance, a bit of action, mistery and hell of a creative central idea thatis revealed very slowly.

(39)

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