Bob Simms's Reviews > The Long Earth

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
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Jul 08, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2012

I have to say I'm disappointed with this book, given its pedigree. I'm more familiar with Terry Pratchett than Stephen Baxter, and was anxious to enjoy this, as his previous collaboration (with Neil Gaiman) was so good.

Unfortunately, it just didn't live up to its promise. The narrative was jerky, flicking backwards and forwards through time, much of it in expository speech. The characters were either bland (e.g. Joshua) or quite frankly irritating (Lobsang). The plot plodded on, but then the climax was, well, and anti-climax.

The plot revolves around the sudden opening up of an infinite number of parallel worlds, all Earth, but only one that spawned the human race. The story touches on all sort of intriguing notions. How would an economy based on scarcity cope with infinite resources. Are we doomed to make the same mistakes over and over? What sort of animals might exist in parallel evolutions? Touched on, glosses over and moves on. Instead we are treated to an interminable journey on a Jules Verne-style zeppelin where the narrator expresses his boredom, and no wonder.

Joshua can step between worlds at will, a talent he apparently keeps forgetting as he is attacked by creatures and tries to outrun a crocodile. I kept wondering why he didn't just step into the next world to escape.

A colony that on the surface seems to be ideal, but which worries Joshua, is left at just that. Some dark secret is hinted at, but then just ignored.

In short, though I hate to say anything against the awesome Sir Terry, this is a book of missed opportunities that reads more like a 50's sci-fi novel
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