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The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
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The Long Earth (edition 2012)

by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,484895,009 (3.63)1 / 107
Member:jmgold
Title:The Long Earth
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Other authors:Stephen Baxter
Info:Harper (2012), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett

  1. 21
    The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (sturlington)
  2. 10
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (sandpiper)
    sandpiper: Wonderful science fiction classic about a man who keeps reliving his life.
  3. 00
    Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak (Gateaupain)
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English (88)  French (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I find myself confused by the mixed bag of reviews generated from this book. Yes, one of the authors generally writes satirical fantasy novels, and the tone and content of this book is about as far from Discworld as is possible. However, there is no rule stating authors can’t stretch outside their mental and stylistic boundaries, and the resultant science fiction epic in this case is both thoughtful (almost to the point of philosophy) and adventurous. It is science fiction without venturing into space exploration or future technology, examining instead the premise of parallel universes and how humanity would deal with access to parallel earths. I think this quote sums up the premise: “Our pathetic handful of microgravity orbital factories gives the illusion that we are still a space-going species, but the dream has gone…” While there are hints (book titles, even) that the authors might extend their multiverse outside of Earth later, I enjoyed this novel almost as a return to basics. I would have preferred, perhaps, less of a cliff-hanger at the end, and the tone of this book is very reserved and I could see how some might be annoyed by that and/or its erudite aspirations (I liked it, c'est la vie). But, in the age of the production of space operas, or movies such as Interstellar, this book is able to provide aliens and alien experiences while keeping its eye turned in and down, rather than up and out, playing with ideas of evolution, social experience, and the infinities of possibilities all the while. ( )
  Larkken | Dec 7, 2014 |
I read this book in chunks, which is pretty telling of its enthralling capabilities (not that great).
Read it because of a friend's recommendation and Terry Pratchett's name on the cover.

The only reason it's worth reading is for the introduction of the long earth and the steppers. This concept really has not been seen before in science fiction, to my knowledge, and is just a delight to get to know this world (worlds?). But other than that, there aren't that many other positives. I didn't really care for the characters because they had such a low impact on the book. They are more like tour guides, or the eyes through which we see the world rather than characters that make or resolve conflicts and start actions and climaxes.
Joshua was too bland of a character. It's cool that he's an introvert, but his lack of interaction with people does have an impact on how much character development is possible. Lobsang was only interesting in theory - how he won his rights to not be called just an AI, how he steps, and such. But his personality was really quite obnoxious. and together? They make a weird dynamic that is mostly silent or small and witty.

It was a boring book, to be completely honest. Only the reaction of Datum's population to the discovery of stepping was interesting. The concept of whether people would just pick up and leave or utilize it to start over.

I don't know Baxter's style of writing, but I could definitely see some of Terry Pratchett from the dropped references to pop culture, a bit of the crazy worlds, some evolutionary aspects that reminded me of the Fifth Elephant. But I don't think their collaboration worked. All of Pratchett's humor seemed to be cut out and replaced by monotony.

The ending felt incomplete, but that just might be because it's a series with 5 books. But still, I wish there were a little more closure. Also, I looked over the reviews for the sequel and it seems that it is more dull than this book. Which, eh, makes me not want to read it. I might in the future.

Two stars because only the premise was interesting. And a premise could be read from the summary.
Read at your own risk, Terry Pratchett's fans. Keep your expectations low. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I read this book in chunks, which is pretty telling of its enthralling capabilities (not that great).
Read it because of a friend's recommendation and Terry Pratchett's name on the cover.

The only reason it's worth reading is for the introduction of the long earth and the steppers. This concept really has not been seen before in science fiction, to my knowledge, and is just a delight to get to know this world (worlds?). But other than that, there aren't that many other positives. I didn't really care for the characters because they had such a low impact on the book. They are more like tour guides, or the eyes through which we see the world rather than characters that make or resolve conflicts and start actions and climaxes.
Joshua was too bland of a character. It's cool that he's an introvert, but his lack of interaction with people does have an impact on how much character development is possible. Lobsang was only interesting in theory - how he won his rights to not be called just an AI, how he steps, and such. But his personality was really quite obnoxious. and together? They make a weird dynamic that is mostly silent or small and witty.

It was a boring book, to be completely honest. Only the reaction of Datum's population to the discovery of stepping was interesting. The concept of whether people would just pick up and leave or utilize it to start over.

I don't know Baxter's style of writing, but I could definitely see some of Terry Pratchett from the dropped references to pop culture, a bit of the crazy worlds, some evolutionary aspects that reminded me of the Fifth Elephant. But I don't think their collaboration worked. All of Pratchett's humor seemed to be cut out and replaced by monotony.

The ending felt incomplete, but that just might be because it's a series with 5 books. But still, I wish there were a little more closure. Also, I looked over the reviews for the sequel and it seems that it is more dull than this book. Which, eh, makes me not want to read it. I might in the future.

Two stars because only the premise was interesting. And a premise could be read from the summary.
Read at your own risk, Terry Pratchett's fans. Keep your expectations low. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
This book was wonderful. the characters are built beautifully and you really start to know them. when i reached the end i simply stared at the page for a few minutes with my mouth open. i can't wait for the next in the series. ( )
  wolfy0118 | Sep 6, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2343323.html

Like, I guess, a lot of people I was intrigued by the announcement four years ago that Pratchett and Baxter, two authors whose styles are not exactly next adjacent to each other, were to collaborate on a series of books set after the pathways between universes have been discovered; and now anyone with a problem can just run away to a parallel world. It reminded me a bit of Chris Beckett's Shifter stories, and a bit less of Poul Anderson's There Will Be Time, and a bit more of Charles Stross's Merchant Princes. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
The Long Earth harkens back to the old SF of the Fifties and Sixties, which revelled in the delight of discovering new worlds. But Pratchett and Baxter have essentially democratised space exploration, taking the joy of finding new Edens out of the hands of rocket-owning millionaires and governments and giving it to the masses. This is an accessible, fun and thoughtful SF novel that offers the potential for a multitude of stories as great as the myriad of Earths.
 
The Long Earth is a short read: the pages riffle past and there's much to enjoy. The dialogue is a bit Hollywood 101, and much of it is characters explaining things to other characters, sometimes at great length ("Why are you telling me all this?" Joshua asks at one point, with apparent ingenuousness). But it's a charming, absorbing and somehow spacious piece of imagineering for all that.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Adam Roberts (Jun 20, 2012)
 

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Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, Stephenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Lyn and Rhianna, as always
T.P.

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In a forest glade:
Private Percy woke up to birdsong.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
1916: the Western Front, France. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No man's Land gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping through the wreck of a house, there's no sign of any human remains but on the mantelpiece Monica finds a curious gadget - a box, containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a...potato. It is the prototype of an invention that Linsay called a 'stepper'. An invention he put up on the web for all the world to see, and use, an invention that would to change the way mankind viewed his world Earth for ever. And that's an understatement if ever there was one...

...because the stepper allowed the person using it to step sideways into another America, another Earth, and if you kept on stepping, you kept on entering even more Earths...this is the Long Earth. It's not our Earth but one of chain of parallel worlds, lying side by side each differing from its neighbour by really very little (or actually quite a lot). It's an infinite chain, offering 'steppers' an infinite landscape of infinite possibilities. And the further away you travel, the stranger - and sometimes more dangerous - the Earths get. The sun and moon always shine, the basic laws of physics are the same. However, the chance events which have shaped our particular Earth, such as the dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, might not have happened and things may well have turned out rather differently.

But, until Willis Linsay invented his stepper, only our Earth hosted mankind...or so we thought. Because it turns out there are some people who are natural 'steppers', who don't need his invention and now the great migration has begun
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062067753, Hardcover)

The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. 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?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. 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. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

1916: The Western Front. 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? 2015: Madison, Wisconsin. 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 "stepper" enables a person using it to step sideways into another America, another wherever that person happened to be, another Earth. And if the person using it keeps on stepping, they keep on entering even more Earths. This is the Long Earth. And the further away a stepper travels, the stranger -- and sometimes more dangerous -- the Earths become.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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