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Vortex (Spin Saga #3)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  3,579 Ratings  ·  292 Reviews
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
ebook, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Tor Books (first published 2011)
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Aug 06, 2011 Lightreads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And this trilogy goes out with a . . . let’s be a teensy bit generous and call it a muffled bang.

So one of the main reasons I loved Spin so much was it paralleled a people story with a cosmic story in this remarkable way. It gave us sweeping epochs of galactic time and the daily quotidiana of an incestuous bunch of people in the same breath, and didn’t lose the scale or the wonder of either. And it was really good at making the cosmic scale stuff so urgent, so interesting because it was so urgen
May 04, 2013 Ric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Asymptotic is the word that comes to mind with this book. It starts out gradually and builds momentum to a gush of revelations in the final chapter or two - the deus ex machina of the author's excellent Spin finally resolved.

Robert Charles Wilson rewards his readers with a picture story painted through small brush strokes that all contribute to the whole. The gestalt, to use a 60s term, of this book is built chapter by chapter in a manner that is patient and continuously-revealing. Plus, the rom

Jul 11, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: martha
Recommended to Kelly by: martha
Woke up yesterday morning, sat up in bed and read this completely straight through (even listened to the Clint Mansell score for the Fountain for the last hour, which I remembered listening to on repeat when I first read Spin). Vortex is better than Axis but still not 10% the book Spin was. I think the problem is that Spin was fairly epic in its presentation and covered a long period of real time and a relatively short period of universe time. Both Axis and Vortex are much shorter novels in comp ...more
Steven Drachman
Mar 13, 2013 Steven Drachman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It occurred to me that Jess Walter and Robert Charles Wilson are pretty similar writers, in spite of writing in different genres, in the way they spin yarns that circle around in time without ever confusing the reader, and remain solidly commercial. Here, Wilson picks up a device that Walter used (annoyingly) in "Land of the Blind", having one of the characters write out a skillful narrative that the other characters then read (slowly) and talk about as a major means of moving the plot forward. ...more
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It is very hard to follow up on a masterpiece like Spin and Axis and Vortex try valiantly. While Axis continued the Spin timeline some decades later and a planet away and had a lot of great moments, it had one main flaw in that as a middle book it expanded the universe of the series but offered little resolution. Vortex splits into distinct narratives that are related by a "message in a bottle" device - though in this case the message goes time-reverse - with the full import of everything reveal ...more
Well that was sort of a disappointment.. I liked it well enough, but it was nothing compared to Spin. It wasn't as good as Axis either, which was itself a step down from Spin. I really wish this series hadn't taken the road it did.. I feel like it could have been amazing, but it was downhill after the first and that's a shame.

To be honest, I don't even know what the heck happened in the end there. I mean I understood all of the events, but the pieces of the story aren't fitting together in my he
Tudor Ciocarlie
I tried not to compare Vortex with the brilliant Spin. I really tried but I could not do it. Because it makes you think of Spin much more than Axis. Wilson combines a Spin like tale with an End of the Universe one. The first one its like a chapter from Spin and the second has no protagonists that you can care about. And after it gives you all the answers you realize that you don't care about them. Spin's questions engage you mind like no other and the answers only diminish its experience.

Oct 22, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
I don't often read book series. Usually, I find that the first book is great and the next 2 books are mediocre at best. I think that, for me, this series kept my attention because I haven't branched much into the harder sub-genres of science fiction. So, this was my first literary taste of terraforming, nanobots, collective biological networking (for lack of a better phrase), and star gates (to borrow the term from the series by the same name). I don't know if I found this series fascinating bec ...more
Daniel Roy
Sep 01, 2011 Daniel Roy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Robert Charles Wilson is my favorite SF author, so I found myself willing to give him a chance even though Vortex didn't engage me very much. In my opinion, Vortex is a "bad Wilson novel". Good thing a "bad Wilson novel" remains a well-written, thought-provoking read. (As I like to say, Wilson is like Stephen Baxter, except he can write.)

Vortex and its predecessor, Axis, seem to exist because of the success of Spin, and not because there were important stories left to tell in the Spin universe.
The last of the series that began with Spin and continued with Axis. It was short, like Axis. I was expecting something deeper, longer.

I liked having Turk Findley reappear. I thought he might reappear, but I wasn't sure. There were some unfinished issues with his life in Axis.

I enjoyed going back and forth between the present in Houston (the present as it is in this book) and the future on Vox. I liked the story of Vox Core better. I became interested in Vox and it's history and I wanted a lot m
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 4/5

This was a mostly satisfactory conclusion to the Spin series.

What I didn't like: I have rarely confronted characters and narration that so thoroughly sapped the wonder and discovery from big encounters and grand revelations. Our characters get glimpses into eons of new and interesting information, and there is no emotional or physical reaction. Wilson doesn't describe how they feel, navigate their affectivity, or probe their inner monolog
My Inner Shelf
Mar 12, 2013 My Inner Shelf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Et comme je le disais précédemment, Axis ne fut qu’une transition avant Vortex. Sans être aussi percutant que Spin (décidément indétrônable), Vortex vole haut, très haut. La narration alterne entre le récit de Turk, qui se trouve désormais…ailleurs et loin, (dirons-nous pour de pas déflorer un suspense encore une fois très présent) et la rencontre de Sandra, médecin, et Bose flic, et Orrin, jeune homme perdu mais à l’imagination manifestement débordante. Ce dernier relate en effet dans ses cahie ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of trilogy review. And not very helpful.

I've enjoyed all of Robert Charles Wilson's books, but I loved Spin. Despite reading a lot, I almost never get so into a book I can't stop reading, which happened for Spin. After I finished it, I learned it had a sequel. It didn't feel like it needed one, really. Sure, I wanted to know what happened to Tyler and Diane after sailing through the arch, but the book felt complete.

So I read Axis. It was okay. I don't think Wilson writes bad books,
Oct 14, 2012 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2012-rev
I've been a fan of Robert Charles Wilson for a couple of decades now, since 1992's A Hidden Place. I've enjoyed his generally understated, off-center and off-balance view of the world. So I picked up Spin soon after it came out. While I don't think Spin and its sequel Axis are his best work, they're good. Spin is better than Axis, so I felt some trepidation about Vortex. But once I get more than one book into a series, I tend to continue (unless, as with Robert Jordan, it's impossible to do ...more
Only giving this three stars out of deference to Spin and the series as a whole, otherwise I'd give this book two stars. The only thing I really appreciated about this book is that because of its "stand alone" nature (though can be paired with Axis) it doesn't ruin the genius of Spin. Not sure where to start, I almost feel like the author was required to write a trilogy and was just going through the paces with this book. The entire book just seemed lazy. The two stories were in my opinion essen ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Andres rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If you've read my reviews of the previous books in the Spin trilogy, then you know I loved the first book but hated the second. This final volume is a mixture of the two, therefore I liked it, but not too much or too little.

It does wrap up the story, but it ends on a kind of big-idea note rather than a character based one. 'Spin' was all about characters and story, with 'Axis' starting out about characters then devolving into plot with a bit of idea chewing. 'Vortex' is light on developing chara
Sep 05, 2016 -uht! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
When I read Spin, I thought that it was an awesome and compelling concept, but that Wilson wasn't a great writer. He's got a marvelous vocabulary and all the pieces of the story were there, but his pacing seemed off or something.

Axis took me forever to finish, because I didn't find the story very compelling and I had the same issues with the writing. It felt a bit flat and the characters didn't seem very well developed.

I feel that Vortex was his best written book. The futuristic notebook and d
Jul 20, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
The book starts out as a strange, but fairly engrossing story that happens partly before Axis. The characters are well fleshed out without being repetitive or going into ridiculous detail. The flash forwards give a good sense of the differences, and nearly alien natures, of the new societies in a neat fashion.

The ending is where the book really fails. It does give the reader a good concept of what the hypotheticals are at a point in the ending that is very thought provoking. It then starts rambl
Tim Hicks
Feb 13, 2012 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In case you somehow read only this review, please note that this is #3 of 3 and doesn't stand alone. Well, it could, but it shouldn't.

I couldn't decide between 3 and 4 stars, but I went with 4 to reward the long reach Wilson made.

The hard-science framework here is mostly excellent, with a good supply of ideas. Not so much the characters. Allison is an interesting idea, and there are some interesting ideas about Turk's feelings of guilt. I didn't care for Isaac; he's a bit creepy and I couldn't
Jon Swanson
Jul 14, 2011 Jon Swanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Vortex is book three of the Spin series. If you haven't read Spin and like sci-fi at all, you should definitely read it. Incredibly great book, with some truly beautiful ideas.

The second book in the series wasn't that great, but Vortex makes up for it. Not quite as good as Spin, it still manages to stand on it's own. The book follows two timelines, one of which is set on earth shortly after the Spin ends, and the other ten thousand years in the future. The storyline from the future follows Turk
Oct 04, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really 3.5 stars. I really wavered on the rating on this one. On the one hand, I was entertained and engrossed in the story throughout the book all the way until the point of view changed at the end. On the other hand, by the end I was left with a bit of a let down feeling. Part of the problem is still that Spin was just so good that nothing can live up to it. The mystery and thrill and characters were just so unique and perfect. I kind of wish he'd just left it there, I'm not sure the tril ...more
Here's the thing . . . the last 40 pages or so are fascinating, jam-packed with mind-stretching concepts in the best tradition of the first book, Spin. But you have to wade through a whole lot of filler first. Then the end feels rushed, as if Wilson was just ready to be done with it. A narrator drops in to explain all the mysteries (the classic telling instead of showing that so many writing instructors warn against). I'd have rather the book had fleshed out the last forty pages into the main ac ...more
Fantasy Literature
Turk Findley has been returned to Equatoria ten thousand years after the Hypotheticals took him and Isaac. Things have changed. The Ring of Worlds that was connected by the Arches remains, but the societies that once traveled between these interplanetary portals have died away and been replaced. The Earth, sadly, is a wasteland. Its oceans are too acidic and its air is too poisonous to support life. Unfortunately, when the Hypotheticals connected Earth to other worlds, humanity began importing o ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Following the events of Axis, Turk Findley awakens in the far, far future and in the hands of Vox, a religious cult that has traveled from world to world with the intent of making direct contact with the Hypotheticals, the entities responsible for the Spin. When he befriends a Vox woman who also possesses the memories of a woman from the 21st century, they gradually begin to realize the danger of their quest.

Parallel to this story, in the "present" (post-Spin), a state care worker finds herself
Tom Loock
May 11, 2012 Tom Loock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
It's not easy to bring a trilogy to a satisfying end, but trust Robert Charles Wilson to do just that. For a while I thought the story in this final part was a bit weak in comparison to the first two, but it isn't (though a link to the first book Spin would have been nice). The way Wilson wraps up this novel and the whole series is very impressive and rewarding as well.
I will follow Wilson's novels with great interest and also catch up with the 2-3 I missed so far.
Nov 09, 2015 Anton rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with previous two books, I like the stories, the thoughts, the interactions of characters… but the sci-fi part seems like a bolt-on. Especially in this, last, part of the trilogy, everything is pushed by necessity to explain something… anything of what was happening, and it is underwhelming. It was a book about a “deus ex machina” from the start, so I guess I have been warned…

Still, I very much like the interactions of Sandra, Bose, Turk, Allison, Orrin. Good people, it is pleasant to get to
Jul 22, 2011 Nicolas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ah, the Spin trilogy. Such a great first novel, I was not sure why its sequel Axis had been made. If Robert Charles Winson had Vortex in mind when he wrote Axis, I'm sure he could have reunited both in a single novel, because clearly Vortex is a direct sequel to Axis, and manages to be a better one. Still very much character driven, it manages to grasp Spin feel of grandiose during its last part, and makes it a worthy sequel to an unworthy one. If you loved Spin, and still thought Axis deserved ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Bridgitte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, apocalypse, dystopia, 2012
I had to sit a minute after finishing this. I'm sad to have finished, thinking of the whole series, and reveling in the complexitiy of it. I have read a lot of good books this year, and this will go down as one of my favorites.
Aug 10, 2011 Gendou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ecology of the Hypotheticals is finally, satisfactorily explained.
The mobile island of Vox with its cultish Limbic Democracy is very unique.
Most fantastic is the ending, which explains the mystery in the book in the most spectacular way.
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Mansfield Public ...: Vortex Review by Mike Hettinger 1 4 Jul 17, 2013 10:50AM  
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I've been writing science fiction professionally since my first novel A Hidden Place was published in 1986. My books include Darwinia, Blind Lake, and the Hugo Award-winning Spin. My newest novel is The Affinities (April 2015).
More about Robert Charles Wilson...

Other Books in the Series

Spin Saga (3 books)
  • Spin (Spin, #1)
  • Axis (Spin, #2)

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“Sandra had studied psychiatry in order to understand the nature of despair, but all she had really learned was the pharmacology of it. The human mind was easier to medicate than to comprehend.” 3 likes
“What is inevitable is not death but change. Change is the only abiding reality. The metaverse evolves, fractally and forever. Saints become sinners, sinners become saints. Dust becomes men, men become gods, gods become dust.” 2 likes
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