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 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.
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.
Sort of. The story was all over the place and didn't feel well connected to the previous books. It was not what I was hoping for in Book 3.
Not as good as previous ones.
Great performance by Michael Fenton Stevens!
A weak follow up to Book 2.
This series has never been a page-turner. It is more of a plodding story documenting various storylines which converge to a degree of the Long Earth universe. There are definitely some interested exploration themes here, but nothing that is edge-of-your-seat. There appears to be no major driving plot but rather episodes in a far longer arc exploring this new world paradigm. It's not a bad series, but if you are looking for a thriller that drives hard to a conclusion, you will be disappointed.
Sadly, this book left me disappointed. The book is well written and occasionally engaging, but overall I didn't get the same level of wonder or excitement as I did with the first two. There didn't seem to be much of a story arc; rather it was a collection of events described in extraordinary detail. There has to be suspension of disbelief for any science-fiction story to work, but many of the scenarios in this book were so outlandish that it boggled the mind. (A town hall debate on weapons deployment (?!), for example.) The only real thread between this book and the previous two was the cast of characters, implausibly thrown together again. The book came across as more of a travel journal -- one that began to seriously drag by the end. Anything written by Stephen Baxter is bound to contain massive doses of expository writing - that's the price of admission - but in this case the prose became so weighted down that it was difficult to pay attention. Phrases like "I want to hear the subtext -- you know, the meaning behind the words" began to drive me a little nutty by end. I think we all know what 'subtext' means.
The narrator did a competent enough job. However, I have to question the wisdom of a British narrator representing a cast of characters that was almost exclusively American. It's not that the accents were necessarily poorly rendered, but they lacked the timbre and nuance of a native N. American speaker. You can't just draw out vowels and call it a southern accent. Nor does every American speaker speak through clenched teeth in a low growl, as the narrator seemed to believe. Little things began to grate over time, e.g. an American would pronounce methane "meh'thane" and never "mee'thane". I could have overlooked the numerous pronunciation errors had the story been more engaging, but sadly it was not.
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.
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.
The reader did not know how to pronounce the word "ensign". It's *not* pronounced "IN-SINE". You'd think a putative professional audiobook reader would know how to pronounce words.
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