Christopher's Reviews > The Long Earth

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
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Jun 23, 12

bookshelves: 4-0-plus, fiction
Read in June, 2012

Soon after easy travel to perhaps infinite Earths suddenly becomes possible, the protagonists go on a trip basically to see how far they can get from our world and find out what they can about how this all works. The premise is familiar (Paratime, Imperium, Fringeworthy, Sliders, The Homeward Bounders, etc.) but handled with enough originality to be interesting. The writing is decent too. But there are numerous flaws.

There's a moment at the end that had some potential, but by and large, this book epitomizes a certain type of SFnal picaresque where the action goes in a straight line through a series of incidents that offer no character development, no emotional punch, and nothing of interest stylistically--just one quirky encounter after another until some bigger quirky encounter provides something resembling a conclusion. I did like a few of the quirky encounters. But there were plenty that I didn't care about.

It's also amazing to me how many SF novels feature misplaced idol worship in the form of repeated references/allusions to famous people who're irrelevant to the story, in this case Mark Twain and his travel books.

And I really found nothing to like about the characters. Joshua's legendary status seemed unfounded (essentially a footnote to the real news), and Lobsang was annoying (intentionally, I guess, but what an unfortunate choice for the story).

Oh, and thankfully it didn't come up too often, but the minor theme of what the world's fantastic nature must mean theologically struck me as cliché and weakly thought out.
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