In the Hugo Award-winning Spin ( Selection Sept/Oct 2005), a space probe reveals a time warp around Earth. In this sequel, the second novel of a projected trilogy, the Hypotheticals, self-replicating machines, have engineered the planet Equatoria, linked to Earth via an enormous Arch over the Indian Ocean. On this newly colonized world, human life abounds in strange permutations. Lise Adams, whose father disappeared years earlier, and Turk Findley, a pilot, drifter, and former criminal, come together when they discover the existence of small, seeded Hypothetical machines in the Western Desert. They soon embark on a journey that reveals larger, alien forces that could, once again, threaten humanity.
Tor. 304 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0765309394
"Wilson has written a brilliant novel of a cryptic future for humanity. Axis starts some 30 years after his Hugo winning Spin." Fred Cleaver
"Rather than take the expected route of dazzling us with more and bigger billion-year perspectives and alien machines like we saw in Spin, Wilson has chosen depth over expansion, and the result is arguably what a middle novel in a trilogy should be, adding weight and density to the narrative instead of merely offering a place-holding intermezzo for the fireworks to come." Gary K. Wolfe
"Why the Spin is imposed, and why it is lifted, remain mysteries-mysteries which are not later solved in Axis, which is a true (and superlatively crafted) second volume of a trilogy. ... Wilson has become a master at the integration of macro and micro story levels, which . . . refract each other modestly and winningly, an interplay which in this volume continues to generate a sort of musing upon content genuinely pleasant to absorb; and partly because he trusts his readers enough not to disguise the fact that Axis Relaxa is a bridge." John Clute
Critics enjoyed Axis as much as they did Spin-but suggested that readers embarking on the second novel in the series may wish to start with the first, which introduces Robert Charles Wilson's compelling, fully developed characters and provides a context for Earth's time warp. Be warned: this is the second book of a planned trilogy, and it has that getting-deeper-in-our-world-without-resolving-everything approach at which middle books excel. But even for readers unfamiliar with Equatoria, Axis is a suspenseful, smart, and well-crafted book with characters who, even amid alien, AI creatures, face real-life dilemmas. Although Axis provides very few answers to questions raised in Spin, it starts to fit the details of life and life quests on Equatoria (which somewhat resembles Australia) into a larger framework. In sum: another masterful addition to the series.