The possibilities are endless. Just be careful what you wish for....
The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?
Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some say mad, others allege dangerous - scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.
The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to the ends of the earth - and far beyond. All it takes is a single step. . . .
©2012 Terry Pratchett, Lyn Pratchett, and Stephen Baxter (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
I am an uber Discworld fan so I'll listen to anything from Terry Pratchett. The Long Earth was good. Discworld it was not. I enjoyed it non the less. More in the style of classic science fiction, the only thing it was missing was Pratchett's trademark sense of humor.
I read, I write; I listen
Co-authored with Stephen Baxter this Terry Pratchett book is humorous at times but lacks the normal wit usually associated with his work. At eleven hours and thirty minutes the story jumps around at first with many different characters being intoduced then moving on quickly from one to the next; and at times the whole story drags. Kudos to those who could read the entire book in a day.
It???s a story about parallel worlds where people learn to ???step??? from one world to another by a simple devise that can be made from parts found at Radio Shack and a potato. The main character Joshua discovers that he can ???step??? without using the devise and meets up with a former Tibetan motorcycle repairman now reincarnated as a super-computer that sometimes resides in a coke machine, and has been legally declared a human due to Tibetan religious beliefs. These two soon set off on a journey of exploration of the millions of parallel worlds ???to see what???s out there.???
The story has some other interesting characters including, some really tough nuns, a robotic cat, the strange inhabitants on the other worlds, one very annoying character named Sally, some strange troll creatures, and elves that kill for sport, but I never felt really engaged in the story. The narrator, Michael Fenton Stevens is okay but at times drawls on and is just plain boring. A very strange ending which makes it seem this probably is book one in a series.
I love Terry Pratchett almost better than life itself. I've read a little Stephen Baxter, but nothing recently. I was a little apprehensive when I read that they were collaborating. I was afraid I'd be disappointed.
The book is science fiction. It's obviously the beginning of a series, and there are lots of threads left dangling. But I really liked the idea of the multiple Earths that people suddenly learned how to "step" into. I'd've loved to have a little more actual STORY rather than just foundation-laying, but I still enjoyed the book.
The narrator does an EXCELLENT job. Again, I'm used to Nigel Planer or Stephen Briggs with Pratchett, and I was worried that I wouldn't like this narrator. But his use of voices and accents was exceptionally good, and really helped to make the characters stand out one from another. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. Well done all around.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
I've never read any of Pratchett's other books, so I'm coming at this with a clean slate. I say this because other reviewers (maybe fairly) point out how lacking this book is to Pratchett's other works. I'll be concise, as I don't want to waste your time, when you should be reading this AMAZING book.
This book melds multi-verse theory with adult sci-fi PERFECTLY. There are few, if any, holes in its logic. It's clear that it's setting up for the series, but the story comes together in a way that is both fulfilling and intellectually challenging. I've been waiting a long time for someone to actually get the parallel worlds theory into sci-fi in a unique, entertaining way, and THIS BOOK DOES JUST THAT. Due in large part to the spectacular narrator, the characters all have their own voices, and come alive within the story. Yes, there are a lot of characters, but it's easy to keep track.
The science of the book is sound, which is refreshing, with all the garbage science that most sci-fi books throw at the reader-- almost assuming that we all have a combined IQ of around 20.
I'm a huge sci-fi geek, and this book is top 5 for me, ALL TIME. As far as journey stories that take place over fascinating parallel worlds is concerned, I can't imagine finding a better book.
I love Terry Pratchett, I have read everything by him I could find….I would read his grocery list or the label in the back of his underwear. So when I discovered that this wasn’t a Disc World novel was momentarily disappointed….but that didn’t last. This is a terrific read, it’s closer to straight science fiction than the Disc World books…it feels a little like Strata (one of my favorite Pratchett books which is only tangentially Disc World based). Once it gets going (which it does pretty quickly it’s a brilliant ‘what if’ book which imagines a world where almost anyone can step between alternate universes each of which contains a variant on the earth we currently inhabit.
I found the plot a little untidy in places. It develops then somewhat abandons multiple sub themes all of which I enjoyed and most of which would have deserved their own book. Nevertheless I found myself enjoying the book and its impeccable reading like you might enjoy a fine wine or a sunset.
The story weaves quantum physics and universal branching theory with Cyberpunk, The Lost Gate by Scott Card and even a smattering of Little House on the Prairie. Although frequently amusing, its tongue is nowhere near buried as deep in cheek as with the Disc World books, but the story entertains mightily none the less. If you are already a Pratchett fan you can buy this book in the confident knowledge that whilst lacking Vimes or Vetenari you will enjoy a diverting diversion from the typical Pratchett cannon. If you have kids or young adults you might also want to point them in the direction of this book. The style is engaging, fun and easy to follow, whist still posing some intriguing scientific questions.
The story was fair and the premise was somewhat interesting. Regrettably, I could not tell that Terry Pratchett had anything to do with this book. The wit and humor I have loved in the 30+ books of his I have read was absent. If I had been reading it as a physical book, I doubt that I would have finished.
Something... well, it said to say "something" about myself.
I never thought I'd find a Terry Pratchett book I didn't like. But I didn't like this one. It was loaded with atheistic philosophy which is fine except when you put an entire bit of narrative in that had absolutely nothing to do with the story line at all. I found the book a depressing and disappointing listen. Narrator was good, story wasn't worth reading to me. Sorry.
I am not sure exactly what I expected from this book. I suppose I expected the dry British humor of Terry Pratchett and the hard science of Stephen Baxter, but what I got was more like the humor of Stephen Baxter and the hard science of Terry Pratchett. While not a total loss this book was a great disappointment.
The story, of course, concerns the sudden appearance of multiple copies of Earth easily accessible through the process of "stepping" across the boundary, either with our without a mechanical aid. This concept provided an extraordinary basis for stories - the "first contact" of people from our Earth with those of alternate Earths - and seemed to allow for a series of future books, each based on the same concept but each very different in nature from the others. The book does have the feel of the first book in a series, but none of these other Earths have any human populations so there is nowhere to go with that general concept. Instead the alternate Earths are full of wildlife but no humans. There goes a whole series of "first contacts" and "clash of technologies" stories as concerns other humans. There still is, of course, the possibility of future stories involving contact between human and non-human intelligences, but there is precious little of that in this book and, I suspect, in future books. Instead we have the main characters "stepping" through the alternatives with little purpose other than to see what is there.
Of course the writing is quite good but I could not but hope for more interesting characters and events. Instead of Stanley searching for Dr Livingston through a dangerous African jungle I have more of the feeling of Stanley searching for the exit from a tame arboretum. Even the "danger" that they find does not seem terribly dangerous and I have no particular interest in reading the second book in the series in spite of the excellent narration by Michael Fenton-Stevens. I should have saved my credit for something more interesting. You might want to also.
A story without an ending is an elaborate typing exercise. That's what my creative writing teachers always told me anyway. Pratchett and Baxter could have done with a refresher in that area. This book is probably setting up for a sequel, but it just... stops. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that it's very unsatisfactory in terms of all the set up that goes on early in the book which gets left unresolved. Read at your own risk. If that kind of thing pisses you off, it might not be for you.
It's not a classic Pratchett book so if that's what you're expecting you'll be disappointed.
It ends without resolving anything, which I hate even in a series. If you felt betrayed by Connie Willis' Blackout you're going to hate the way this book ends.
The review by Pete Lamonica is basically right on the money.
All that being said I did enjoy the story right up until the ending.
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