The sequel to Spin (2005), 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.