Title: The Long Earth
Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Page Count/Review Word Count: 432
Wow, this was something else. I’d actually been putting it off for a while because historically, I haven’t found Pratchett to be at his best when writing with other people. For example, I hold the unpopular opinion that Good Omens is one of his worst, although that might be because I find Neil Gaiman to be pretty hit and miss to begin with.
Here, though, I shouldn’t have worried, because I thought that both the concept behind the story and the overall execution were fantastic. I particularly liked the way that the authors had thought everything through to its logical conclusion, which I’ll be talking about at length in my YouTube review. It was quite frankly insane, and I loved how much of it was based on science and the concepts that are pretty cutting edge today.
I think one of the things that put me off about this book was the blurb, which didn’t really sell it to me. I’ll try to give a summary of my own instead. Imagine that there are millions upon millions of versions of the earth that are each accessible like going from one card to another in an infinite deck of cards. Each of the worlds is uncolonised, but you have to step from one to another in order and so the further away you go from base earth, the longer it takes to get back.
Once a device is created which allows people to hop between the different earths, we experience a new type of frontierism in which anyone can expand into any world. The only limitation is that you can’t carry iron across, and most people can’t hop worlds quickly without having a cooling off period in between as they vomit and readjust. This leads to seem interesting developments including groups of pioneers who aim to travel hundreds of thousands of earths away.
This is one of two books that I was reading at the same time where they had the potential to be in my top ten books of the year, and this one is in the running for my overall favourite. I’m also looking forward to cracking on with the rest of the series, and I suspect I’ll be moving on to the rest of the series soon enough. It was just a genuine pleasure to read and I liked the way that the story simultaneously ended and set itself up for a sequel. Excellent.