Baltakatei's Reviews > The Long Earth

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
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Sep 11, 2012

it was amazing
Read in June, 2012

Premise: What if humanity suddenly discovered that there was an infinitely wide expanse of virgin land available to explore? Sure, the Earth we can see from space has a finite surface area. But what if we could travel to other versions of our planet that were very similar to our own, but where humans (or any intelligent life) never evolved?

That's what this book is about. The book's priority is world-building. The characters and events are all used to introduce and test the rules of travel for people between multiple versions of Earths. Suddenly, humanity has access to an infinite number of empty Earths full of undeveloped land and resources. Billions of people suddenly become pioneers into a never-ending frontier. Since travel between Earths must take place sequentially (you must pass through Earth #00000000014 if traveling from Earth #00000000013 to Earth #00000000015), the way that Pratchett and Baxter reveal their world to us is through an expedition like that of Lewis and Clarke trekking across the American West. There are many parallels in the book's story to that journey.

I enjoyed this book since I love daydreaming such scenarios. I wonder what it was like to live in an era where there was undiscovered land across the vast oceans. With the advent of satellite imagery, the internet, and global trade, there is very little on the surface of our planet that human eyes haven't seen and recorded for others to see. The final frontier is probably interstellar space, sure. But it's hard to relate to astronauts and exploring bodies away from Earth's gravity well and protective atmosphere. This book provides a very relatable infinite frontier that can be explored by the imagination since there is an infinite earth-like frontier that, in theory, you could walk across with your own two feet.
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