Rating out of 5:
There is an infinity of ways to deliver good speculative fiction and as always, Robert Charles Wilson as done so. However, among all his novels, The Affinities is one of my least favorite.
I have been intrigued by The Harvest (1992) and flabbergasted by the trilogy Spin (2005), Axis (2007) and Vortex (2011). I have read The Chronoliths (2001) with wonderment and jealousy, dreaming of one day writing such a masterpiece. Wilson excels at drawing heartbreaking, authentic characters, enveloping you in his deep love for humanity alive in each and every word. His stories are always full of ambitious, rich concepts. Long story short, Robert Charles Wilson is the total package.
The Affinities represents a turning point in his work and even if it left me hanging on so many levels, I can acknowledge that it is something. Something new, something I didn’t expect from him and, looking for my regular dose of Wilson, automatically disliked because it didn’t fit what I was used to.
The society he created is not that much unveiled and it got me frustrated on many occasions. The principle itself of The Affinities is barely explained. Without entering a full psychological/scientific analysis, I would have liked something more developed than “We just understood each other without talking much”. Show me what it is, Robert, to be or to not be part of one of these Affinities, you are just telling me and I want to feel it! I had this constant sensation of being left behind.
Which brings me to my second point: I will NEVER forgive Wilson for leaving me all alone in his story. This time, he didn’t take me by the hand to show me his doubts and his hopes. I didn’t end up loving my fellow human beings even more. But maybe he wanted it that way.
That makes total sense. Did… did he do these things I am complaining about on purpose? To actually make a point in a way that would be amazingly clever considering the plot? I… I am so confused.
I think he did it again. Being awesome. I love him so much.