Vortex tells the story of Turk Findley, the protagonist introduced in Axis, who is transported ten thousand years into the future by the mysterious entities called "the Hypotheticals." In this future humanity exists on a chain of planets connected by Hypothetical gateways; but Earth itself is a dying world, effectively quarantined.
Turk and his young friend Isaac Dvali are taken up by a community of fanatics who use them to enable a passage to the dying Earth, where they believe a prophecy of human/Hypothetical contact will be fulfilled. The prophecy is only partly true, however, and Turk must unravel the truth about the nature and purpose of the Hypotheticals before they carry him on a journey through warped time to the end of the universe itself.
Vortex is thrilling and complex science fiction novel from Hugo Award-winning author Robert Charles Wilson.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
It's rare that the concluding volume of a trilogy can easily draw in newcomers unfamiliar with the back-story, but Hugo-winner Wilson does so without breaking a sweat in this traditional science-fiction thriller. In the not-too-distant future, the Sun nears its end as an enigmatic alien race, the Hypotheticals, becomes responsible for enabling humanity's survival. Psychiatrist Sandra Cole works at an intake facility in Houston, assessing the mental states of people taken into custody for evaluation. The drudgery of her job is disrupted when a police officer brings in a seemingly-placid man who writes down things he doesn't understand. His journals present the story of Turk Findley, who returned to the world after 10,000 years, finding himself in the midst of warfare between those who seek direct communication with the aliens, and those who regard such a course as suicidal. Cole's initial view that the writings are simply a pointless joke is shaken when oversight of Cole's case is transferred on a pretext, to another doctor. With relentless momentum Wilson's plot will propel readers along, and the subtle characterizations and sophisticated plotting elevate this to the top ranks of the genre.
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This trilogy is a classic space opera with some unique plot elements (the time shield around earth; the galaxy wide ecology developed by a sentience that remains self unaware). It takes some of our newest technological developments (nanotechnology , cloud computing writ large et al) and knowledge/theory about the nature of space-time as the background to the authors universe. However the author does it a way that will be easily accessible to most readers- it never comes across as "hard" science fiction. The trilogy moves back and forth across time and space ultimately speculating about the end of this universe and even about the nature of a possible metaverse. This is done through the agency of two characters introduced in the second book. The character development of the major protagonists in this trilogy has real depth and all are described with human frailties. While it is hard to argue with this attempt at realism I found it hard to feel much sympathy for many of the characters or even concern to their faults. Perhaps I am too used to having a hero to cheer for? Alternatively, the characters were just not compelling enough to care for.
An interesting look into the extreme future.
From modern times (Spin) to the end of the galaxy. An extrapolation of how the galaxy would age and the beings that would emerge (merged :-) with the technology proposed in Spin.