by Robert Charles Wilson
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 and 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.
As Tyler, Jason and Diane grow up space probes reveal a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside. Outside more than a hundred million years is passing for one day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future. How do you maintain a sense of hope and purpose in a universe where, the more you learn about it, the more it seems to have little or no room for either?
Spin is about how people confront tragedy and face death when death is no longer a distant abstraction but an imminent threat. Some people try live as if nothing has changed. Others react in desperation, fear or hopelessness. Tyler, Jason and Diane each react differently to the impending end of the world.TB