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The Long Earth: A Novel Audible – Unabridged

3.6 out of 5 stars 637 customer reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Take Terry Pratchett, known for the Discworld stories which are unformly good to superb, full of dry, satirical wit and almost always with a point to make. Take Stephen Baxter, known for his thoughtful, in depth hard SF. Put them together and you get....

Eh.

In truth there is very little Pratchett in this book. There is none of his humor or insight. The hard SciFi was equally disappointing. There are many MANY exciting and fascinating concepts that would have made this pure awesomeness. Believable machine intelligence. Multiple Earths which diverge in physical and biological evolution the further you get from home Earth (Datum Earth in the story). Multiple sapient intelligences springing from differing roots. None of which are explored. There are interactions between humans and non-humans. None of THAT is explored either. There are conflicts between the humans that can visit the parallel Earths and those who cannot. Not explored. There is a world-ending threat. Not explored. There is endless potential here for further stories based on the universe, but this one does nothing except showcase the place. Even the explosion of a pocket nuke in a major urban center is a so-what event.

There is a mish-mash of fantasy/occult and hard scifi - both of which I like, but neither of which dominates the story and neither of which, again, is explored. I know there were a lot of good concepts in this book and you can't explore them all, but for goodness sake explore SOMETHING. Just when you think this might get good, it wanders off onto another tangent or back to a character that is so utterly colorless you couldn't care less about them. Tell me how human society is affected by the "trolls" (one of the species encountered, and the most interesting).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It wasn't a *bad* book. Nor was it an *awesome* book.

Lets start with the good. It was an intriguing story concept which was handled well and thoroughly (the concept mind you). The overarching theme and its impact on society got my attention and held it, and I enjoyed the descriptions of all the various worlds.

But it felt much more like Baxter than Pratchett. There were a few spots where I felt Pratchett's wit and exploration of what it means to be human shone through, but too few. It really should have listed Baxter as the first author in this respect.

Also, it was more of a 'showcase of a reality' than a story. There was too much ground covered (literally and idea-wise) to explore any one concept or thread fully. Too many things had to be glossed over. Overall I would have preferred more depth and split into two books I think. It seemed they set it up for a sequel (the end was abrupt and not satisfying to me).

I feel, had they cut the main story arc at about the halfway mark, they could have spent some time developing further to explore the socio-economic impacts of the changes and how that impacted the characters directly. As it was, as a reader I felt VERY insulated from the society and the characters. I had a hard time becoming invested in the characters much less the societal upheaval. And there were a few characters that I just never understood their motivations. Leaving your child behind and never looking back? Never suffering self-doubt or angst over it? Really? Ridiculously unbelievable.
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Format: Paperback
Here's the thing... I'm wary of science fiction. It's not my favorite genre. But this book is absolutely the real deal science fiction, and in a nutshell, I LOVED IT. Of course, it didn't hurt having Terry Pratchett as one of the co-authors, making everything just a bit less intimidating. Discworld and Good Omens fans may gravitate towards this book expecting broad humor, but I'll tell you right now that while there's plenty of humor, it is nowhere near that overt. No, this is totally legit science fiction. I detect the presence of Stephen Baxter. Who knew these two would collaborate so beautifully?

The story of The Long Earth is a bit of a challenge to summarize. Oddly, I have read a "product description" of this book in several places that bears ABSOLUTELY no relation to the plot or characters of this book. (And I find myself wondering if that is the description of book 2 in what will apparently be a series?) In this book, the citizens of Earth have just learned a new trick. A possibly mad, and definitely mysterious, scientist has invented a device called a "stepper." It's simple enough to be constructed by a schoolchild, and inexpensive enough to be powered by a potato. The scientist puts the plans for the stepper on the Web, and then essentially disappears. Starting in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, and rapidly spreading across the planet, young people are the earliest adopters of this technology. They are the first to discover the multiverse.

"Most of those first-day steppers had come quickly back. Some had not. The poor tended to be more likely to stay away; rich people had more to give up back in Datum.
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