Vortex (Spin), by Robert Charles Wilson
Once in awhile I will read a book and then re-read it almost immediately to absorb the entire thing. This is one of those books. The beautiful end of the Spin trilogy by Robert Charles Wilson
This book picks up 10,000 years after the middle volume with Turk Findley and Isaac, but brings their stories into the novel in a unique way. A Houston police officer named Bose and a psychiatrist at a state institution, Sandra Cole, become involved with Owen Mather. Owen, not exceptionally intelligent, has been writing long first person narratives set well into the future. These are the stories of Turk, Isaac, and a new character named Allison.
Turk is brought back to life in a desert on the planet of Equatoria where the first book ended and the second book took place. The mysterious protectors of earth, the Hypotheticals, still play a major role in the thinking of humans now spread through the galaxy and on Equatoria a religious group has been waiting and training for the appearance of both Turk and Isaac. It’s the group’s belief that because the portals created by the Hypotheticals, allowing almost instantaneous travel between worlds, are selective in who they let pass (not allowing birds or other creatures) that Turk and Isaac provide the means to contact the Hypotheticals, who continue to hold a god-like mystery in their minds.
The narrative switches between the mystery of Owen, on earth after the protective “Spin” barrier appeared around the planet, and the lives of those living in the far future. Ultimately we find that Owen has been chosen and guided to provide a kind of redemption in a reach across time.
Beautiful prose and compelling characters bring this complicated story to life which ends, ultimately, with the entropic end of the universe. Because of how the characters interact across time and the mystery of what the Hypotheticals are trying to accomplish I think I needed the second reading to draw it all in. It’s certainly the most amazing multi-book series I’ve read since I zipped through Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos.