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The Long Earth #5

The Long Cosmos

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2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day and in the Long Earth, the new Next post-human society continues to evolve.
For Joshua Valienté, now in his late sixties, it is time to take one last solo journey into the High Meggers: an adventure that turns into a disaster. Alone and facing death, his only hope of salvation lies with a group of trolls. But as Joshua confronts his mortality, the Long Earth receives a signal from the stars. A signal that is picked up by radio astronomers but also in more abstract ways – by the trolls and by the Great Traversers. Its message is simple but ts implications are enormous:


The super-smart Next realise that the Message contains instructions on how to develop an immense artificial intelligence but to build it they have to seek help from throughout the industrious worlds of mankind. Bit by bit, byte by byte, they assemble a computer the size of a continent – a device that will alter the Long Earth’s place within the cosmos and reveal the ultimate, life-affirming goal of those who sent the Message. Its impact will be felt by and resonate with all – mankind and other species, young and old, communities and individuals – who inhabit the Long Earths…

377 pages, Hardcover

First published June 14, 2016

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

480 books40.1k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 598 reviews
Profile Image for Lee.
226 reviews57 followers
July 30, 2016
A man walks into a bar and the barman says “Why the long face?” So the man says “One of my favourite authors died not so long ago. He was best known for a series of wonderful fantasy novels that mixed satire and slapstick to such an intelligent degree that I'd find myself admiring how clever he was even while slapping my knee and having a good chortle.

“He was no one-trick pony, though. He wrote other books in other genres. Some by himself and some with other authors. Most recently he set out upon a collaboration with a science fiction author who has written some of my favourite and least favourite novels in the genre.

“It finished just recently after five years and five books. Unfortunately it ran out of ideas about four and a half books ago. The basic notion was a good one: imagine if our world was just one in an infinite string of Earths, each differing from its two neighbours by some chance event turning out differently in the past. Here a volcano erupted, on its neighbour it didn’t. Here an asteroid struck full on, next door it merely grazed the surface, and two doors down it missed entirely. Not a single Earth, then, but a Long Earth of infinite resources and possibilities. And imagine if, all of a sudden, people discovered how to take steps between neighbouring worlds.

“Five years ago came The Long Earth , a novel that set up this situation but didn’t really know what to do with it beyond having the main characters wander between some of the worlds on the Long Earth and point at all the pretty differences. Next was The Long War which ostensibly asked what war would look like when the battle grounds could span planets at once infinitely close and infinitely far apart. The answer, it turned out, was a lacklustre shrug. There was no war. Instead the main characters wandered between some more of the worlds on the Long Earth and pointed at all the pretty differences.

“The halfway point in this saga was The Long Mars . Middles are infamously tricky to write since you no longer have the freshness of the beginning nor the excitement of the end. Fortunately the third book afforded us fresh excitement by having the main characters take a spaceship to Mars and then wander between some worlds on the Long Mars and point at all the pretty differences. It was totally unlike the other books because, you know, Mars.

“Book four was next, The Long Utopia . Believe it or not I kind of liked this one, or at least it provoked some feelings beyond utter tedium. Something new was introduced, the notion that our Long Earth and some other, cosmically distant Long Planet could become tangled somehow, and at the places where they were joined one could step not just in the usual two directions to your neighbouring worlds, but in a third direction to reach the other planet. It set up a neat invasion storyline. I mean, it wasn’t great, but it did suggest the authors hadn’t completely forgotten that they were supposed to be telling a story.

“Which brings us here, to the final part of the series. The Long Cosmos is clearly trying to build to an epic and grand conclusion. Underpinning the plot is the attempt to build a continent-sized supercomputer that will presumably tell us the meaning of life, the Universe, and everything. But building computers takes time. So, to fill in the years, one of the main character’s sons goes missing. Then a different character’s grandson goes missing. There are endless jokes about the fact that the characters we’ve been following for five books are now old. All this so that, finally, the computer gets up and running. What is its purpose? I dunno, it’s never particularly explained. It does at least somehow tell people how to repeat the fourth book and step between different planets, not just between copies of their own. And so the main characters wander between some different worlds around the galaxy and point at all the pretty differences.

“It’s not a conclusion by any means. The new worlds seem to be as uninteresting as the endless copies of Earth (and Mars) that we’ve spent four books staring at. Maybe the characters will meet some aliens on one of the new planets, but they’ve already met other sentient life on the Long Earth without much changing. You feel like there could be a sixth book where they learn how to step between different times and it’d be just as much of a grand finish.

“And what’s worse is that the books aren’t even bad. They’re occasionally a little amusing, occasionally a little interesting, and occasionally a little thought provoking. But only occasionally and only a little. They didn’t make me angry at how bad they were, nor bored that I was reading them. I was just disappointed and a little sad that an author who brought me so much joy has his name on these books that brought me so little.”

To which the horse standing behind him says “Actually I think he was talking to me.”
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,153 reviews2,003 followers
June 1, 2020
I have been reading this series for eight years but I still remember clearly how much I enjoyed the first book when the idea of "stepping" was introduced. In that book people were only travelling between many different versions of Earth and there has been some amazing progress over the five books in the series.

Books 2,3,and 4 varied in interest for me and they occasionally overwhelmed me with data, but book 5 is another winner as our intrepid heroes discover how to "step" across the universe. I loved the way the authors brought back the most important characters and gathered them together for this last momentous achievement. Lobsang and Joshua have always been my favourite characters and it was fitting that they stayed right to the very end.

It was nice to know that Terry Pratchett had input to this book right up to the chapter in the forest . I will miss you Mr.Pratchett although I have the legacy of all your wonderful books on my shelves to reread whenever I like. Credit too to Stephen Baxter who did a brilliant job in co writing and then finishing the series.

Profile Image for Sarah.
72 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2016
Thoughts before reading:
Thank goodness for that...finishing The Long Utopia left me feeling bereft and unsatisfied as I thought it was the final book. Looking forward to a conclusion.

Thoughts After (SPOILER FREE!!)
I actually really loved this final part of the series. It's been an odd series and I can see why it has been so divisive and had poor reviews...The books are difficult to get in to at times and follow so many different characters doing different things with very little in a way of actual *story* but that is also the beauty of these books! The storyline is people exploring the Long Earth and what that means for humanity. There were several different events and short story lines throughout the series and I enjoyed just listening to (I did the audios) the descriptions of the works unfolding, imagining the amazing creatures and scapes described. I loved the characters - flawed, imperfect, usually old, rarely attractive. All just normal human beings (well...except the ones that aren't) who are learning how to be part of this next phase for humanity.

What people have to consider is that the way these stories are told - with snippets of different characters Iives, brief shots of different worlds - is representative of the disjointed nature of the Long Earth itself. Humanity is spread across the inumerable iterations of Earth (and Mars...), disjointed, lacking a sense of self as a cohesive whole and all far removed from each other so it as perfect sense to me that the stories should be told in a different way, with characters lives occasionally intersecting as the worlds do stepwise and through soft places. How can you tell a linear story in a non linear universe?

I think, to enjoy these books you need to be happy to just let them wash over you, to revel in the descriptions and to fall in love with the characters and I was satisfied with the way the book ended and I felt all the questions which could be answered were answered.

The ending was beautifully written and I mst admit I did have a bit of a tear in my eye - some of them for Sir T and the sadness of this being one of his last stories. I was happy to see Joshua and Rod reconciled and the scene with the baby was very touching, as was the scene between Joshua and Lobsang when they discuss Agnes. It was also good to see Maggie again, but I must admit I was secretly hoping Sally would miraculously reappear, I missed her acerbic wit and cutting comments, bringing Joshua down to size on a regular basis. Loved seeing more of Troll society and Sancho was a brilliant character. His survival blanket being used to cradle baby Helen at the end was a nice touch. I could go on, but I'll end here. I enjoyed it even if many didn't and I shall miss the characters and the wonderful endless worlds.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
July 28, 2016
2.5 Stars

The Long Cosmos (The Long Earth #5) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is a slow and overall uneventful read. I have enjoyed the previous books quite a bit even though I had problems with the last several books. I love the premise and plot of the series as well as most of the characters, but that is not enough. I guess my feelings on this one were pretty inevitable. It is a testament to what a huge fan I am of both authors that I continued on with the series at all. It is their writing, their imagination, and also their style that makes these books worth your time and money. With the Legendary Terry Pratchett no longer with us, I have to seek out and read everything that he has done.

Much of this book involves pretty much nothing more than a sabbatical for Josh coupled with a way to take the Long world out into the cosmos. There is nothing new in this one and it felt forced to me. I did not care for where the series went and how it ended. Nonetheless, I absolutely love both authors, they are among my very favorite. They have tons of great works to gush about. This book and series are worth your read simply for the opportunity to read the collaborative results of two giants of their genre.
Profile Image for B Schrodinger.
305 reviews648 followers
December 21, 2016
I finished this one on holidays too. And my feelings are pretty much the same as the previous - interesting ideas, kinda cool characters, low-key plot. They are a great holiday read.

The last volume is much more of the same, following Joshua and the gang as they age even more. This time there is a message from space across the Long Earth. An invitation. Much like Carl Sagans 'Contact'. And the authors acknowledge this all the way through the book. A little too much if you ask me, which was a bit of a negative.

But the star-count went up for this volume because of two reasons. One, we're really attached to these characters now, and we get some closure on their stories. Secondly, Joshua's story in here is wonderful. It's emotional and written on a beautiful landscape. The characters that surround him are magnificent, especially Sancho. It really was a highlight sequence of the series.

So, I'm done. On average the series probably deserves three stars. It's not going to blow you out of the water, and it is a slow simmer of a story. But the ideas are great. The authors complimented each other, and I feel that their strengths were still evident, and they toned down each others weaknesses.
Profile Image for Chris Evans.
878 reviews40 followers
August 4, 2020
No Man's Sky The Book Series

Describes this series, and this book especially, in a nut shell. World after world of nearly identical procedurally generated nothing. Slightly randomized animals that are really just bits of other animals put together, and a plot to get to the center of the galaxy. The book is very empty and comes across as a little depressing.

Look Stephen, just because you reference Contact over and over, doesn't mean you and just rip off it's plot whole sale. Well, not whole sale I guess, Contact had a three-act story structure, and this never managed to escape the Setup.

This book has all the drama of a sightseeing tour through Yellowstone. The primary focus of this book is NOT the "Long Cosmos", instead it's mostly filler of more parallel earth meandering about dealing with unimportant side plots. The story only manages to finally get off earth in the last 1/10th of the book and has them visiting all of 3 alien planets, none of which are very exciting.

(Nice Librarian reference by the way, Suuuuper subtle e_e.)

I'd like to mention again how much I hate the Next, and not in the way the author wants me to. I know, he makes them obnoxious on purpose. My real problem is how he tries to give the impression of how smart they are. Their language and how it evolves over the course of a conversation and everyone talking at once type thing. It comes across more like the author doesn't know how language works or how smart people think rather than that the characters are intelligent.

FYI, an airplane or helicopter wouldn't work while stepping, I wish he'd stop using them. At a high stepping speed, there wouldn't be enough time to build up the pressure difference above and bellow the lifting surfaces to generate the lift to hold it in the air. A rapidly stepping aircraft like that would simply fall out of the sky.

Original Review:
It's really sleazy to use Terry Pratchett's name to sell these books. He died before book 4 was even published, yet his name is the most prominent text on this cover. Don't be fooled, Pratchett didn't write this, he only contributed with some ideas for the earlier books. It wouldn't be so bad if these books weren't terrible, stop dragging him down to prop up your mess of a series!\

There is actually 1 part of this book that was clearly written by Pratchett at some point. Chapter 56. This chapter comes right out of nowhere, it's the "Extract from Make Sure You Get This Down Correctly For Once In Your Life, Jocasta: The Authorized Biography of Professor Wotan Ulm". It's got no real consequence to the story and just about the philosophy behind everything. What it really does, though, is to highlight how non-Pratchett everything else is. It was easily the best part of the book. If you're a Pratchett fan, just read Chapter 56.

Update 2:
Apparently No Man's Sky has actually improved to the point where this comparison is now really unfair to that game.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,626 reviews322 followers
January 3, 2018
So bittersweet to finish this fantastic, bewitching series, full of characters (some human, some troll, some something else) that I care so deeply for, set on a succession of worlds where anything can and does happen, and it will all be wondrous. And sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, often extraordinary. This final novel did not disappoint, bringing everything together from across the long earths.

Profile Image for Brent.
345 reviews141 followers
November 28, 2017
A decent ending to the series but once again very episodic and a bit disjointed. The fact that Pratchett died during the writing doesn't do much to endear me to it either.

Profile Image for Paul Walsh.
60 reviews9 followers
July 14, 2016
30-June-16: Got it a day early (29th), finished it this morning! Gotta love irish bookshops that don't give a shite about release dates!

The final installment of the 5 part Long Earth series isn't quite as 'final' as one would think. The Long Cosmos follows some of the older and known characters (Joshua, Lobsang, Maggie, Nelson) and introduces a few new characters for us to follow as the entire Long Earth recieves a messages from the centre of the galaxy: JOIN US. This message arrives in the form of a self translating beacon, which allows all of humankind to read it, but also all the sentient beings, including the trolls and the Traversers.

If you haven't read the previous books, don't even try this one. Baxter and Pratchett use a lot of what they set up in the other installments and don't go easy on newcomers. The concepts of Stepping are further explored in what I can only imagine was Baxter's input to the story, and the super-intelligent Next are main players in the game this time round.

Joshua takes another Sabbatical, now in his late sixties, after he realises nothing is really left for him in his home. His son is estranged, and he feels The Silence is encroaching on his mind once more. In all the other books, Joshua was my favouite character to follow, but this time round, he stays so far out of the main story for so long that I couldn't keep as interested in him as I wished. By the time he gets word about a final great journey with Lobsang, you begin to think that the authors were just spinning their wheels until the climax of thestory to utilise him. Still though, through his travels we get an insight into the trolls that the previous books never attempted, and we find out that they aren't just smart animals, but have a very complex society that is far larger than humanity's.

Another story that seems to be given a detour is Nelson's. No longer a priest, he is contacted by Agnes to be told that Lobsang has left details that he has a son and grandson out in the Long Earth. While his main story is to track them down, he gets sidetracked to also track down Lobsang, who has taken his own sabbatical from humanity. Much like Joshua, these characters aren't utilised greatly until the final act.

All of the new characters are centralised around the Invitation to explore the cosmos. Two workers on the new space station in the Gap are inlisted to aid with The Next in their deciphering of the instructions to build a super-intelligent machine sent with the Invitation. A young boy (growing up in the same Home as Josh did) begins to see patterns in the stories that travellers tell each other, and discovers a secret call for helping The Next in their building of it. Maggie is called back from her travels to oversee the co-operation between The Next and humanity. Through them we find out about the theories that Stepping can be used to not only travel the Long Earth, but to also travel the universe. The concept of travelling 'North', onto other planets light-years away, is looked at.

I guess what was good about this final book was also what was bad. The further exploration of the Long Earth, seeing possible worlds that support a strange life that could technically be earth, is what I expect of these books. It's always been fun to see what new way life can exist on the planet, given a few changes in earth's past. But I feel that at this point in the series, it should have been given a backseat to the overall plot. The vast majority of The Long Cosmos doesn't actually deal with the Cosmos. When the machine is finally built, and the crew take that first Step into space, there just isn't enough time to properly explore it. We get a mere glimpse at a couple of planets, and a few hundred words from Lobsang with some theories as to what happened on these planets. There just isnt enough for a book that seems to promise a lot more.

However, it was fun, seeing more alternate earths, and getting a passing look at the greater universe. It would be nice down the line to get some sort of spinoff to explore the cosmos, but without Pratchett's contribution I don't think it would be the same.

4 stars out of 5, because of the fun had, but I still can't help but feel that this could have been better if the promise of space exploration had been bettter delivered.


22-Apr-16: Looking forward to reading this, the previous four had the right amount of Pratchett and Baxter to make the concepts gel well with the characters' stories. Here's hoping that the final addition to this series is a satisfying end to the tale. Also adds a tinge of sadness knowing that this is more than likely the last Pratchett-related release that can authentically carry his name.

Will add review once it's released.
Profile Image for Michael Jensen.
Author 4 books136 followers
July 17, 2016
I honestly cannot fathom why I kept reading this series. The first book was terrific and I love the concept, but too often the books are disappointing. The Long Cosmos is a perfect example. All set up, meandering plot, and a finale that barely answers any questions and isn't terribly imaginative or inspiring. I've no idea if there will be a sixth book, but I do know I won't be reading it.
Profile Image for Jean.
13 reviews
July 19, 2016
I'm sad - Although this final book in The Long Earth series was supposedly co-written by both authors, Prachett's touch is very definitely missing. It feels laboured and disjointed, and my overall feeling is one of being distinctly underwhelmed. Did anything happen? Nothing intrinsic to the long term plot. Many ideas were set up, but not delivered, plot devices proposed but then fizzled out, several concepts borrowed from and referenced to other great sci-fi works, but of no consequence.
I was so eager and excited in June, anticipating it's release.
A step too far?
Profile Image for Lisa.
204 reviews3 followers
July 9, 2016
Too many ideas, disconnected from the people in the story. Too many characters spouting technobabble in the face of the infinite. The few touches that felt like Terry Pratchett were few and far between. The professor always berating his assistant Jocasta was my favorite character, which is a little sad.
Profile Image for Baro.
49 reviews3 followers
March 24, 2017
Goodbye Josua, Lobsang, Sally, Sancho, Maggie and all the others. it was a fine ride. :-)
Profile Image for Thomas Edmund.
895 reviews50 followers
January 31, 2022
I think I might be getting old - or my reading is too eclectic, everything I'm reading is becoming 'hard to review'

Let's start with a (brief) recap, the 'Long' series is a Sci-Fi colab between Baxter and Pratchett and explores the discovery of The Long Earth, basically the ability to travel to alternative timeline Earths (possibly infinitely) simply by 'Stepping' between planets.

The interesting twist of this series is that this isn't a Multi-verse type concept - more of an infinite mystery type scenario, in that the majority of the Earths have no human or other intelligent species on them, so effectively the human race is gifted with endless planets to dabble with.

The series of books mostly explores two angles of the concept - 1. being the strange mysteries of the 'Long' situation such as the Gap (an Earth that previously got destroyed) and the rare occurrences of intelligent and other bizarre life among the Long planets. The second concept is the impact, social and political and personal of this situation for the human race.

My experience of the series was mixed, I loved some of the bizarre concepts, and I thought the political exploration was hard-hitting and intriguing, where the series I felt was a let down is often the most interesting plots seemed to get dropped and there often felt like a lack of overarching story, just series of interesting points about the Long Earths.

So come the conclusion, overall I felt like the last story wasn't too bad, it featured a lot of main character Joshua, and plenty of unusual musing on the Long situation coupled with the main plot driver a mysterious "JOIN US" message coming from sources unknown.


Where the story fizzled was in that overarching conclusion. While the final few scenes felt like they had the potential to give us one final intriguing sci-fi hit about the Long concept, I feel like the ending was just a little too open ended and thusly dull. I did initially think perhaps I was too foolish to grasp the conclusion but (and not saying I'm not dumb) it seems like a quick Google isn't bringing up too many answers either. Basically it felt like Stepping was revealed to be a sort of metaphor for intelligence and imagination, but I couldn't tell if the moral of the story that stepping is only limited by intelligence or imagination, or that intelligent life is the meaning of the universe, or if just the end of the story was that the human race (and others) can now step across Earths and the Cosmos.

I guess my frustration is there was so much potential to this series - potential for bizarre alien contacts, potential for conflict between the Next and the Dim-bulbs, potential of Long Earth tyranny or further conflicts. I'm not unhappy that I read the series, nor are they bad books by any stretch, but I just find they prompt wishing for better I guess.
Profile Image for Eric Allen.
Author 3 books729 followers
April 12, 2017
I put off reading this one for a year or so. I'm not really sure why. I enjoy the series, despite it's apparent lack of anything resembling an actual plot. This series is more about exploring ideas, infinite possibilities, and what it means to be human, than it is about telling a story. If you've enjoyed the first four books, this one is pretty much more of the same sort of stuff. I have a very great appreciation for the creativity that goes into these books, and all of the what-ifs and maybes they bring up about the world, and the people living in it. This series is very different from any I've ever read. It's not often that someone comes up with a relatively original idea, and is able to explore it so deeply as this. This book seemed to have a bit more to say on the subject of life, and its inevitable end, than any of the previous books, and that may be due to the untimely death of co-author Sir Terry Pratchett. All in all, it was a pretty decent ending to the series.
Profile Image for Gerhard.
1,036 reviews508 followers
November 13, 2016
Fittingly enough, the spirit of Sir Terry Pratchett seems most present in this final instalment. Here I am thinking of such gems as a Shakespeare replicator that devours a planet to make copies of the Bard's work, and an inspired riff on Sancho the troll as a Librarian... At last, the Long Earth is brought to an elegiac close. Well, more of a pit-stop than outright closure, for the story still has legs... Again, a series of setpieces in lieu of a single narrtive. But strong characters, and a good dose of old-fashioned sense of wonder, keep the pages flipping, like the myriad worlds of The Skein. Science fiction at its most intelligent and humane.
32 reviews
July 8, 2016
Disappointing. Missing the humor and charm of the previous books in the series. I kept waiting for something to happen, like being cast away on a megger-earth.
Profile Image for Rujul.
58 reviews7 followers
September 14, 2021

The most underwhelming book in the series. Pratchett's quirk was missed. It started out interesting but after getting more than halfway and seeing that the plot was going nowhere, I quickly lost interest and struggled through the remaining parts of the book. Lacklustre.
Profile Image for Laci.
349 reviews9 followers
January 16, 2022
A fitting ending to a fitting series. I'm feeling nostalgic for this world already. It also was one of those rare sci-fi/fantasy worlds where living in them might actually be nice (for the average non-protagonist).
Profile Image for Gernot1610.
208 reviews2 followers
February 28, 2018
... ein krönender "Abschluss" einer grandiosen Geschichte. LESEEMPFEHLUNG!
Profile Image for Dane Cobain.
Author 21 books309 followers
August 22, 2019
Okay, I feel like this series has jumped the shark by this point, and I think I know why. Pratchett passed away before the book was finished and so Baxter edited it on his own, and he also explains how the series itself came about in an introduction to it. They basically had the idea for the first book, which ended up being so big that it was split into two. Then The Long Mars came about because they felt like they couldn’t leave it unexplored, and then they added two more books on to the end just to round it off.

To be honest, I kind of got that feeling from reading it, with the series going slowly downhill as it continued. The first book was also packed fall of cool ideas, popular science and psychology and all sorts of other stuff that basically meant I flagged every page of the damn thing to talk about it. By this one, my interest in the series was waning, and most of the flags that I added were references to the earlier books.

For me, if the last book in a series is mostly interesting because of the little references to the earlier books, it’s a sign that it’s not standing up so well on its own. Sure, there is a story line here, it’s just that it’s not particularly interesting and it’s starting to feel as though the same ideas are being rehashed, and along a similar plot too.

I quite liked The Long Mars, but I think it would have worked best if the series had ended there and been a trilogy. Without it, I’d say that the first should have been a standalone, and I’d say while it’s worth checking that one out, it’s not worth continuing with the series unless you really loved it. Luckily, I did.

So I’m glad that I read this one, even though it was a little bit of an anti-climax. I’m a huge Terry Pratchett fan (he’s my most-read author), and so this was a vital part of completing the full set of his published works. It was better than some of it and not as good as some others, but overall if you’re a science fiction fan then you’re probably going to like it. Although I’d probably still recommend starting with the Discworld.

Now that this is done, my next book is going to be a 760-page Stephen King book, and I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea. After reading these, I feel like I need to read something short as a palette cleanser, but I don’t have anything short. But oh well.
Profile Image for Phil Leader.
215 reviews17 followers
November 20, 2019
The Long Earth saga - and Terry Pratchett's prolific output - come to an end with this fifth volume of the series.

From the intelligent beginning I found the series to gradually slip downhill to the extent that The Long Utopia garnered a mere two star review from me. So it was with mixed feelings that I started to read this. However this was very much a suitable and capable ending of the series, providing some answers but allowing enough freedom at the end for the characters to keep living on in the mind of the reader.

It is not perfect; I found the start rather drawn out with some of the characters showing up seemingly just to provide a valedictory cameo. Some of the writing joining the plot sections together - obviously done by Baxter following Pratchett's death - feels quite forced as well, but really under the circumstances this is to be expected. This must have been such a hard book for Baxter to complete on his own.

However it gets far more right; we get some good new ideas in the Long Earth (the big trees, for example, providing a desperate chase while also being fun and also a neat extension of biological evolution) and even The Next have something to do that justifies their rather 'stuck-on' plot strand that previously wasn't going anywhere.

Great characters abound as well; Joshua is front and centre as would be expected but the supporting cast works well. The adventure through the Long Cosmos is humbling and awe-inspiring, although I could have done without the 'search for grandson' excuse for doing it - surely Joshua and Lobsang would have done this anyway simply because it is there?

Overall a good ending to the series and even if you lost faith with the series as it went on, I would definitely give it a go.
Profile Image for reherrma.
1,645 reviews26 followers
December 22, 2017
Dieses Buch ist wohl der Abschluss des Zyklus um die "Lange Erde", einer unendlichen Kette von Parallelwelten der Erde, wobei die Datums-Erde (unsere reale Welt) in der Mitte dieser unendlichen Kette liegt. Die Menschen können mit Hilfe einer Wechselbox in einem Schritt in die nächste Parallelwelt wechseln, sie können aber nur wenige Gegenstände (keine Metalle) mitnehmen. Eine Reise in die hohen Megas (Parallelwelten die mehrere Millionen Schritte von der Datum entfernt sind) ist daher zeitaufwändig und mühevoll. Joshua Valiénte ist jetzt schon 60 Jahre älter, als er zum ersten Mal gewechselt ist und er ist noch immer ruhelos in der Langen Erde unterwegs. Eine geheimnisvolle Botschaft, die überall in der Langen Erde empfangen wird elektrisiert alle, ob Menschen, Next oder die Trolle, lautete "Mach mit". Sie wurde offenbar von Außerirdischen gesendet...
Dieses Buch, bei dem die Hintergründe der Botschaft lange im Dunkeln bleibt (und m.E. auch nicht endgültig beantwortet wird) ist die Wiederholung aller Erkenntnisse, die in den letzen Bänden über die Lange Erde gesammelt wurde. Es werden m.E. kaum neue Erkenntnisse gewonnen, aber Baxter/Pratchett bringen nochmals die meisten altbekannten Figuren aufs Tablett, die Völker der langen Erde werden nochmals genauer vorgestellt, wie die Trolle und die Next. Besonders hat mir gefallen, wie die Autoren die Next (eine neue, hochentwickelte Menschenspezies) weiterentwickelt haben, die eine Koexistenz ahnen lassen.
Im Übrigen geht die Botschaft der Außerirdischen, samt dem Bau einer Maschiene, deren Bauanleitung in der Botschaft verborgen war, ganz eindeutig auf den Roman "Contact" von Carl Sagan zurück, bzw. eher den Film mit Jodie Foster, es wird im Roman auch mehrmals eindeutig erwähnt. Auch das fand ich eine schöne Reminizenz, insgesamt hat mir der Roman sehr gefallen und hat mir einen schönen Abschluss der Abenteuer in der Langen Erde gegeben...
Profile Image for Janice.
789 reviews6 followers
June 5, 2017
The multiple alternate earths (The Long Earth) moves out into the universe.

The story is ok, more Joshua Valiente (sp - I've only listened to audio, so may have spelling wrong), more trolls, more Next, more Lobsang. It's another vehicle for speculation about other worlds and their flora and fauna. Our heroes are getting old, but still continuing.

And it's fine. I love it for the hints of Pratchett that still show up, though again, I think it's mostly Baxter. I love Pratchett enough to be happy with what I can get, since there won't be any more. :(

Read for completeness, and love of Pterry.
643 reviews27 followers
December 5, 2019
I am a bit conflicted with the series, on the one hand it did had an idea to enable showing big ideas and concepts, but I would have expected a bit of a sharper execution of things. It is hard to judge given that each book had different revelations and plot lines among its common characters, which made me fit each of them into a previously familiar mold. In this the {last?} fifth book it could be summarized as the equivalent of Contact but on the long earth. In theory it should have aligned perfectly as a syzygy, but I felt there should have been some extra steps to embody the different dimensions.
110 reviews3 followers
July 16, 2020
It's clear at this point that the ideas have run out. The Long Cosmos doesn't bring anything new to the series, but tries to disguise its retelling of the same stories with ever more fanciful and implausible worlds, while still insisting on backing them with increasingly dubious science. In contrast to the previous books, it does succeed in delivering a promising buildup, but this time the payoff is utterly nonexistent.
Profile Image for Michael.
260 reviews40 followers
June 27, 2016
Bittersweet end to 'The Long Earth' series. With the way they wrote the ending of 'The Long Cosmos', Pratchett & Baxter could've had some fun with future stories in their expanded universe, but sadly we'll never know...
Profile Image for D.L. Morrese.
Author 11 books53 followers
June 29, 2016
Imaginative. There are multiple references that science fiction fans will understand and appreciate, but the wit, wordplay, and charming characters Pratchett is known and loved for are sadly absent.
Profile Image for Leona Lecturopata.
272 reviews63 followers
November 23, 2018
Pues hemos llegado al final del camino y, con sus altibajos, el viaje por la tierra larga ha merecido mucho la pena. El cosmos largo es un estupendo cierre a toda la saga aunque reconozco que el final me ha dejado un sabor agridulce: las historias principales quedan cerradas pero queda tanto por explorar que me da mucha pena colgar la cruzadora.
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