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The Long Earth Paperback – June 21, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"By turns thrillingly expansive, joyously inventive and utterly engrossing *****." SFX magazine "An absorbing collaborative effort from two SF giants...a marriage made in fan heaven - Pratchett's warmth and humanity allied to Baxter's extraordinarily fertile science-fictional imagination...there's much to enjoy...a charming, absorbing and somehow spacious piece of imagineering" -- Adam Roberts GUARDIAN "The idea of parallel Earths is one of the most enduring that science fiction has given us, but rarely has it been explored with quite so much gusto as in this new novel by two of the giants of British speculative fiction...a triumph...accessible, fun and thoughtful" -- David Barnett INDEPENDENT "***** Literary alchemy...In the hands of Pratchett and Baxter, the possibilites are almost infinite...a story that revels in big ideas...you can sense the excitement of the authors as they toy with the labyrinthine possibilities of their premise, and it's infectious...thrillingly expansive, joyously inventive and utterly engrossing" SFX "[Pratchett] succeeds in working seamlessly with Baxter...adding a welcome shot of fun to the world of science fiction" -- Alison Flood SUNDAY TIMES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.

The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to the ends of the earth—and far beyond. All it takes is a single step. . . .

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (June 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780857520104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520104
  • ASIN: 0857520105
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (588 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,106,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Good character development, great concept.
Tony Pearson
I do not like getting to the end of the book and wondering whether the publisher just left of the last chapters by mistake.
John Barelli
Anyone who has enjoyed Terry Pratchett's previous works will enjoy this book.
Wendy Jafery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

377 of 399 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Lipphardt on June 29, 2012
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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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By D. Collison on July 5, 2012
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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