The third novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s Long Earth series, which Io9 calls "a brilliant science fiction collaboration".
2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request....
Meanwhile U. S. Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own, leading an expedition to the outer limits of the far Long Earth.
For Joshua, the crisis he faces is much closer to home. He becomes embroiled in the plight of the Next: the super-bright post-humans who are beginning to emerge from their "long childhood" in the community called Happy Landings, located deep in the Long Earth. Ignorance and fear have caused "normal" human society to turn against the Next. A dramatic showdown seems inevitable....
©2014 Terry and Lyn Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.
If you're considering this one, you've read the other two already. No? Go read The Long Earth--now.
The Long Mars was as enjoyable and interesting as the two books that came before it. I always feel a series of connections to my own life, starting with the setting in Madison (sort of) where I used to live. I love that the authors talk about specific locations and connect their world to mine.
I had a little more trouble than usual following the timeline in this one, but I think I was distracted, maybe. I kept confusing which ship we were following on which trip. However, it didn't seem to matter much and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
I had two problems with this audiobook.
The first is the book itself. There's no real plot and no character development. Stuff just happens. There are many interesting concepts, including the "long Mars" of the title, but not much is done with them. The ideas are offered, there are hints of mystery in the background, but that's it: no resolutions based on those ideas.
The second is with the reader, Michael Fenton Stevens. He has a great voice, and he can British accents with ease. However, most of the characters in The Long Mars are not British. His American accents sound phony and affected, and it doesn't help that he pronounces words the British way even when he's reading in an American voice. (To be fair, my attempts at a British accent probably sound even more fake to someone from Britain). His Chinese and Russian voices sound similarly over-accented and unrealistic.
The end result is a dull book read by a distracting reader. If you fell so in love with the first book in the series, The Long Earth, that you enjoyed the sequel, The Long War (which I felt had similar issues), then you'll like The Long Mars. Otherwise, I suggest you give this one a miss. Pratchett, Baxter, and Stevens have done better elsewhere.
The Long Mars is the third book in the Long Earth series, but while during my listen to the Long Earth (and the Long war) I was completely engaged in the book, the long mars fails to provide the same excitement.
The Long Earth basically blew my mind, the concept of endless earths out there, just waiting to be conquer by humanity is a new and exiting idea which kept me at the edge of my sit, the long war has introduced the idea of other sentient beings out there, again with a somewhat new and interesting spin on evolution and our basic understanding of intelligence.
This last book however seemed to do nothing more than to repeat these ideas with no real purpose, the only truly new idea was that of the Next which didn't really develop enough to hold it's own. Additionally the plot seems somewhat erratic making it a little hard to focus on which expedition is being followed at any given time.
The expedition to mars which really is the main plot of this book seems irrelevant in light of the long earth, and the explanation given for it's importance just doesn't seem right.
So while I loved the first and second books I was slightly bored with this one.
if you got through the first two books, it's worth the listen to complete the series. The performance really hampered the story. The narrator is British, and is struggling to pull off an American accent. Characters sound mostly the same, pronunciation is British, and all words that end in an "a" sound turn into "er", so you get a lot of "Joshu-er"s and "ide-er"s. The story was lackluster as well, too many "deus en la machina" plot holes.
Never. His performance would drive me away from titles read by him.
I love both Pratchett (I've read all of Discworld) and I've enjoyed Baxter. I also really enjoyed The Long Earth. But at book three in this series, the story seems to slow down. At points I wished I was reading rather than listening so that I could scan ahead for plot movement. The novel stays within the world, but it didn't follow through on it's promise to expand it - literally into another world.
It may be a nitpicky thing but the narrator read the dialogue in an American accent. The accent was very Texan and very distracting. There were times in the book where he would do that same southern drawl Texas accent for someone from Wisconsin followed by a description of the person's voice that was completely different. It was also difficult to tell who was talking sometimes because all the male characters were the same cowboy from east Texas.
I did not get invested in the story or characters at all. The concept is cool. The authors have fine pedigree. But I was unable to finish the book and after 3/4 I just quit listening. I was too distracted by the accents and didn't care what was going to happen.
Not much action, not much humor. But beautiful like a detailed oil painting. An exploration of ideas, world, the concept of Beings (humans included). A good book. Though if looking for sex and adrenaline pumping action - this is not the book.
Another Long X book that I felt duty-bound to read (don't start a series you don't intend to finish). I was disappointed to discover that apparently the trilogy became a pentalogy somewhere along the way so there are another two (primarily Baxter?) books coming after this.
I felt that Long Mars suffered from the same problems that the Long War did: a lack of point and bizarre whitewashing of major plot points in favour of endless minutiae. Some things of interest happen, but really the whole book felt like a bunch of somewhat related short stories that had been pinned together with haphazard cameos from stars of the previous books.
I wouldn't read this again and I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone else.
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