Axis

By Robert Charles Wilson
Axis

Started reading: Not yet started.
Finished reading: 6th February 2010

Review

Rating: 7

The story of Spin and the Hypotheticals continue. It’s now fifty years after the Spin membrane came down and man has realized that he isn’t alone. And in those fifty years, mankind knows little more about why the Spin membrane was created or about the alien creatures responsible. These entities are old, alien and powerful. They hold the ability and power to recreate the universe in their image and manipulate both time and matter. But nothing is known about their motivations or intentions. At the end of the first book, they provided Earth a way to travel to other worlds; through the use of a huge metal arch called the Gateway.

The first of those worlds has become a haven for the outcasts of Earth as they look for new lives. Axis tells the story of four such people while attempting to understand the larger questions of the hypotheticals.

However, unlike the first book of the series, Axis tends to sag under its own weight. The premise and ideas are interesting and the philosophy is artfully handled — as compared to, say, Anathem where much of the book seemed to be spent around a dinner table — there is a major problem: the hypotheticals are treated as deity and about mid-way through the book, the debates become quasi-religious. Questions of an all-knowing, all-powerful god and man’s relationship to him have been hashed out many times; and the treatment in Axis feels stale.

Nevertheless, Axis is a competent middle volume and I look forward to seeing what Mr. Wilson will produce in his finale.