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Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

July 30, 2012

“The long earth” by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

reviewed by Natalie

This science fiction novel is utterly original and invitingly fresh.  The collaboration has worked well, as the style of neither author has dominated. As a fan of Discworld, I was a little apprehensive that this was going to be a similar work with a science fiction facade, but it’s not.

Basically, without spoiling the story for you, it seems that some humans have a natural ability to “step” from our Earth into another Earth in an alternate reality. There are thousands of alternate Earths – and these are called the “long earth”.  Then a scientist invents a device (powered by a potato) that allows non-natural steppers to step, and releases the design for this via the internet.

Understandably, humanity suddenly having access to all these alternate worlds and natural riches creates some problems, as there is a mass exodus from the original planet ‘Datum Earth’. Keeping in mind that only natural fibres can step … no iron, steel, etc.

These other Earths have developed in different ways, according to what has occurred in their universe, and their evolutionary paths.  The main character of the book, Joshua, is invited to partner Lobsang, an eccentric scientist, on an expedition of discovery to see if they can find the end of the Long Earth. And investigate the natural flora and fauna on these other planets.  And so the adventure begins…

Recommended to fans of science fiction and to anyone with an open mind ; the science is actually not that unbelievable!

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From → New Books, Review

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