Robert Charles Wilson

Tor Science Fiction



Mass Market Paperbound

368 Pages



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In Axis, the direct sequel to Spin, Robert Charles Wilson takes us to the "world next door"—the planet engineered by the mysterious Hypotheticals to support human life, and connected to Earth by way of the Arch that towers hundreds of miles over the Indian Ocean. Humans are colonizing this new world—and, predictably, fiercely exploiting its resources, chiefly large deposits of oil in the western deserts of the continent of Equatoria.

Lise Adams is a young woman attempting to uncover the mystery of her father's disappearance ten years earlier. Turk Findley is an ex-sailor and sometimes-drifter. They come together when an infall of cometary dust seeds the planet with tiny remnant Hypothetical machines. Soon, this seemingly hospitable world will become very alien indeed—as the nature of time is once again twisted, by entities unknown.


Praise for Axis

"An exemplary sequel . . . superlatively crafted . . . Wilson has become a master at the integration of macro and micro story levels, which refract each other modestly and winningly."—John Clute,

"Axis is a suspenseful, smart, and well-crafted book with characters who, even amid alien, AI creatures, face real-life dilemmas . . . Another masterful addition to the series."—Bookmarks Magazine

"Following old leads to her father's associates from his time at the university, Lise Adams is searching for the secret of his disappearance. She ends up trekking across the desert with Turk, who runs a tourist plane and whom she met in the midst of her divorce, and Diane, who, like many of her father's associates, is a Fourth, whose lifespan has been artificially extended. Fourths are illegal on Earth and have a complex series of cultural checks placed on them on Mars. But some of the people Lise is after are further out on the fringe than most Fourths. The desert is seeded with an ashfall containing the remnants of hypothetical machines, bizarre structures that grow overnight and mostly disintegrate quickly. Lise finds some answers to her questions with a community of Fourths who've gone nearly too far, replicating a disastrous experiment Diane's brother first attempted, and that was repeated on Mars. This absolutely worthy, abundantly marvelous sequel to Spin conjures humanity after an event so strange it's almost unimaginable."—Regina Schroeder, Booklist

"The sequel to Spin, Wilson's surpassingly strange yarn involves advanced alien Hypotheticals that, for reasons beyond speculation, moved Earth four-billion years into the future. Advanced biological techniques, including the means to prolong life by 30 years, were developed; those so treated became known as Fourths. And a huge space-warp Arch connects Earth to another habitable planet, Equatoria. Lise Adams comes to Equatoria to learn the fate of her father, Robert, a Fourth who vanished a decade ago. She hooks up with well-connected pilot and drifter Turk Findley, who asks old friend Tomas Ginn, another Fourth, about Robert. As an astonishing fall of ash from space, containing pieces of degenerating Hypothetical machines, coats the ground, Ginn vanishes. Lise learns that her ex-husband, Brian Gately, who works for the Department of Genomic Security, a sort of genetic CIA accountable to nobody, has had her followed. A second ash fall follows and grows into weird quasi-organic structures. Meanwhile, in an isolated desert community, Dr. Avram Dvali has performed a dangerous experiment, attempting to create a human capable of communicating with the Hypotheticals. The result is Isaac, a strange child with an odd affinity for the Hypothetical structures and an ability to detect something buried deep beneath the desert. As Lise loses her trust in Brian, and she and Turk try to evade capture by the DGS, Brian ponders photographs of Ginn's mutilated corpse and wonders what his superiors really want. This far-future odyssey, with its life-sized characters and unintelligible aliens, embellishes much while explaining little and ends up equally engrossing and exasperating.—Kirkus Reviews

"Elaborates on strange new sciences and old dangers in an adventure solidly grounded in science. Intriguing characters and strong storytelling make this an excellent choice for most sf collections."—Library Journal

"In this outstanding sequel to Wilson's Hugo-winning Spin, we are taken to the mysterious planet Equatoria, a world apparently engineered for humanity by the inscrutable machine intelligences known as the Hypotheticals. Turk Findley, a man with a criminal past, runs an aeronautical charter service on the newly settled planet. Lise Adams, who hires Turk, is a would-be journalist searching for her vanished father, a scientist obsessed with the Hypotheticals and their illegal life extension technology. Meanwhile, young Isaac, genetically manipulated by rogue scientists so that he may become a conduit between humanity and the AIs, is coming of age, and something enormous and unknown is assembling itself far underground. The various science and thriller plot elements are successful, but this is first and foremost a novel of character. Turk and Lise, who might well be played by Bogart and Bacall, are powerfully drawn protagonists, and their strong presence in the novel makes the wonders provided all the more satisfying."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads




  • Robert Charles Wilson dicusses his book, Axis

    Wildly praised by readers and critics alike, Robert Charles Wilson's Spin won science fiction's highest honor, the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Now, in Spin's direct sequel, Wilson takes us to the "world next door"--the planet engineered by the mysterious Hypotheticals to support human life, and connected to Earth by way of the Arch that towers hundreds of miles over the Indian Ocean. Humans are colonizing this new world--and, predictably, fiercely exploiting its resources, chiefl



  • Robert Charles Wilson

  • Robert Charles Wilson's novels include Darwinia; The Chronoliths and Blind Lake, which were finalists for SF's Hugo Award; and Spin, which won the Hugo for best novel. He is a winner of the Philip K. Dick Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

  • Robert Charles Wilson Robert Di Maio
    Robert Charles Wilson