The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone?
Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some said mad, others dangerous - scientist when she finds a curious gadget: a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world forever. And that's an understatement if ever there was one....
The Long Earth is the first novel in an exciting new collaboration between the creator of Discworld, Terry Pratchett, and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter.
©2012 Terry and Lyn Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
I enjoyed this book a lot.It reminded me quite a bit of Rendezvous with Rama. Much of the book is about a journey through multiple Earths and the speculations of the protagonists about what they see: the geography and wildlife. There's discussion of how some of the creatures might have evolved, some socio-political comments on the possible impact of people being able to travel between worlds and a robot.Hard to see how to go wrong there.
Some of the stuff on evolution is a little bit dodgy, but generally forgiveable. There isn't a great deal of action, but the story is about the journey: of both the protagonists and Earth societies in general. The book asks you to think about what changes might occur if many of us could suddenly travel between millions of Earths.
The book isn't written in Pratchett's style, but his contributions are evident. There is humour, insight, some sentimentality and a yearning for knowledge, which looks to me like the product of a strong collaboration. And since Baxter is involved, there's an inevitable reference to urinating in a space suit.
The narration is very good too. Don't expect this book to be entirely Pratchetty and don't forget that some Baxteritude is hardly a bad quality. I think it's a good result of a worthwhile collaboration and an interesting book with lots to think about.
For an author that we're so familiar with to come up with something so utterly fresh, complete and compelling is rather spine tingling.
Superbly executed Sci-Fi with the classic Pratchett integrity of story driving our characters and our interest.
Excellent job by Michael Fenton Stevens who brings a wealth of characters off the page.
Please be warned, this is the first part of a series and does not resolve the plot-lines at the end of the book.
Self employed Architect. Listen whilst working and every night. Love sci fi, post Apocalypse, comedy, fantasy, historical & horror.
I have enjoyed reading and listening to books by both of these Authors and was excited by the possibilities of the 2 writing one book. Most of the negative reviews seem to be from people who expected a Terry Pratchett book and did not get what they were after. This is a Science fiction story which is what I expect from Stephen Baxter, with the quirky characters and places I expect from Terry Pratchett. So for me, this book is fantastic and gives flavours of both these great authors. The book is more of a Baxter Sci Fi story than anything you would usually expect from Terry Pratchett, which for me is not an issue at all - I wish there were more of titles available on Audible from Stephen Baxter. I dont know if the character Lobsang is written by entirely by Terry Pratchett, but he does come across very much like he is, I hope he remains a constant in the trilogy. This book is part one in a trilogy - so again if you dont want to have wait for a follow up or expect an ending in this book maybe avoid it till all are available, hopefully these will become available on Audible on release. My only grumble is that I have to wait for the sequels! If you like Sci Fi you will very likely be delighted with this book.
After a positive Pratchett start, his voice is drowned out throughout most of the rest of the book by Baxter - making this a rather worthy sci-fi novel rather than the usual Pratchett comic and skilfully paced and nuanced story.
As others have said, characterisation leaves a lot to be desired (and hard to care about any of them) and it goes on and on with very little happening - ending leaving me, certainly, a little confused (and wondering why I'd bothered to keep listening). This should certainly be advertised as Baxter/Pratchett but I can't help thinking that the Pratchett name may be the better draw in the UK at least. If Pratchett is what you're after, only go for this if you're also a fan of more traditional and straight sci-fi.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
This book disappoints on multiple levels:
It lacks the humanity that is normally at the core of Terry Pratchett's books. No matter how odd the circumstances of DiscWorld are, the people, even the non-human ones, a real and learn to care for them or hate the, "The Long Earth" is so focused on a (good and original) idea that it never comes to terms with real people. At the end of the book, I still didn't really care what happened to the main characters. My desire to read was driven by mild curiosity about the plot rather than involvement with the people.
It is not a complete novel. It should be called "Long Earth - the Pilot" -. it's an interesting start but it doesn't end it just sets you up for the next installment and then stops.
It rambles a bit. The Long Earth is endless. I get that. But did it have to feel like the parts of the book were endless too? If something is going to be plot driven then the pace has to be well managed. I found my attention wandering.
It is very old-fashioned SF - early Asimov or Heinlein without the passion. All idea and no grit. It's a sort of "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" without the funny bits.
Michael Fenton Stevens did a good job with the often slightly dull prose. I suspect he is the only reason I got to the end of the book.
I won't be ordering the sequel.
This is the nearest I've got to throwing in the towel and quitting halfway.
The basis for the story is very interesting and the initial setup chapters thrown around names and places that one hopes will all entwine happily later. Most will get together, but shoved in a bag and shaken together rather than lovingly woven.
However, Michael Fenton Stevens does a good job. It's my first ride with him at the helm and I was impressed. He doesn't have the most exciting dialogue to work with and some of the text is very dry but he keeps the energy going.
Having got to the end, which I didn't fully understand, I cannot work out if there will be a sequel or not.
It's quite hard to recommend it but if you do like Pratchett I think you'll be disappointed.
Hi, I'm a full time care who does a bit of volunteer work and crafting when time permits.
A journey through the many versions of earth, one mans & one "drinks dispensers" travels to find out what is out there. I loved it and can't wait for the sequel.
The book is charming an lets you suspend disbelief , its fantasy but the reality is there and the plot makes sense. l couldn't stop listening. The man reading the book has a beautiful voice and brought all the characters in the book to life. I highly recommend this book for children and adults alike. It has nuances that will make adults laugh and children will find the idea of building a device that transports you to another world enchanting , especially as its powered by a potato. I just wish that steppers where really real.
I'm a singing songwriting postie living in Yorkshire. Sometimes I like to be challenged by a book, and sometimes I just want to lose myself.
As a dedicated Terry Pratchett fan, and an occasional Stephen Baxter reader, this was my most eagerly anticipated collaboration of the year, and though it didn't quite live up to the ridiculous heights I'd built it up to in my fevered fantasies, The Long Earth was still an enjoyable and thought-provoking exploration of a new world. The Long Earth itself seemed to be the main character of the book, and this was its main weakness; the authors enjoyed the world they had created, but spent a bit too long exploring it at the expense of plot and tension. The cast of characters were strong and interesting and were brought to life wonderfully by the narration of Michael Fenton Stevens which was utterly perfect! But still I was left hoping that this was the first in a series of books, because it felt like an introduction and not a complete contained novel.
"World and not Character Building"
I own all of Terry Pratchett's books and this book was a huge disappointment. The Long Earth is obviously meant to be part of a series, and this novel was full of pointless information that did not add to the story, and there was very little character development or humor. The first half of the book should have been edited down to an introductory chapter. This book in no way resembles a book written by Terry Prachett but science fiction fans who enjoy books such as Larry Niven’s, The Ringworld will enjoy it.
"Was expecting a lot more"
Like Shirley I own all of Terry's books. I was very disappointed in this one. Way too long and draggy. Did not live up to the advance publicity or even what I thought it was going to be about. I would not recommend nor will I bother with the rest of the series. I will wait patiently for the next Discworld novel to arrive.
"Bits of Pratchett like chocolate chip on cardboard"
I adore the prose of Pratchett, which is the only thing keeping the review from being 'one star'. It's sprinkled through this mess like curls of dark chocolate throughout a tall stack of cardboard.
It's almost painful to hear Sir Terry's voice in this dreadful book; he does have a dark side, and I much prefer his Discworld series to his juvenilia, but this simply can't have had much of his input.
An amazing concept of endless parallel worlds in which some humans can just step somehow devolved into this depressing mess, and concur completely with previous reviewers that the entire first half is redundant.
One of the many wonderful things about Sir T is his basic love of humanity, that no matter how far down we dig ourselves, there is always a hero, a Vimes or Sybil or Librarian with a handy ladder, but there is little such joy in this book; although there are glimpses with the cannonball bird and the frisbee octopus which alas are catalogued and listed instead of joyfully embraced and described, and instead of the possibility of freedom, we have female victims, HAL and 2001, weed addicts, and terra-ism.
In my hope for a happy ending, I could hardly wait for it to be over; how sad, and in so many senses and worlds.
If you're looking for a truly Pratchettesque take on evolution, buy 'The Lost Continent'.
Looking forward to Dodger, and won't read the sequel to The Long Earth.
"You cannot believe how disappointed I was....."
When you see the name Terry Pratchett on a book it defines a quality of the writing, a plot that while left of field is enjoyable and captivating and characters that you end up being really interested in. This book had none of that. The only reason why I finished the story was that I was hopeing that something was going to happen. What a huge disappointment.
"delivered to a deadline?"
I would have made it longer and given it a stronger and more definite ending.
The Narrator took the central character from a late blooming child to a confident young man using only his voice. That added a dimension that would have been harder to evoke from the printed page alone.
I was left with the feeling this book was delivered to a deadline rather than remaining in the creative oven long enough to be well baked. It is possible a sequel may have been planned but I'm afraid "the long lead-up" just didn't have a strong enough conclusion to satisfy this listener. I really do wonder if the authors became carried away with a good story and were told it was due at the printers on Thursday.
"Interesting, but does it deliver?"
This is a book with an interesting concept, but ultimately I think that this collaboration was less successful than either author's individual works.
The reason this left me wanting something more is difficult to pin down, but I'll try. Pratchett shines in not only comedy but his depiction of rich, and very human characters. In this story, the most interesting character that showed Pratchett's handiwork was sister Agnes, and she only made an appearance in the recollections and thoughts, and occasional conversation, of the main character. For a Pratchett book, there was a paucity of characters, I felt.
Baxter brings in his works some far-reaching concepts, and the "long earth" certainly qualifies. Yet I find his forays into biology and evolution, while interesting, often stretching plausibility beyond a breaking point - here too it seems to be the case that some of the biological entities, especially the singular one revealed near the end, don't really have a plausible evolutionary path to get to where they are. As somewhat of a biology-geek, this tends to nag me.
There is little in the way of Pratchett's usual humor - which is not automatically a negative, since this story is not in the same genre as Pratchett's other works. Yet what confuses the reader is that there clearly are hints that the story might go in a humorous direction, especially early on, and then that expectation is let down by nothing very funny happening.
With all these negatives, you might think I didn't like the book, which isn't quite true. I think it is a flawed book, but it did maintain my interest enough for me to have just bought the sequel - I do want to learn how the story ends. Ultimately, that's why the four stars.
"Disappointing and Boring Mishmash"
Less vomit,fewer characters,tighter editing-there was too much repetition involving the air ship's journey through the various earths.It was boring
A decent ending would have helped.Less negativity and a more comprehensible plot.Terry Pratchett always ties together any loose ends leaving the reader feeling satisfied,this novel failed to do that in fact it did the reverse.
Michael's rendition was excellent and was the one satifying element.
Too many to mention-many did not add anything to the story.
A very unsatisfying experience.I would not read another co-authored book by these two again.
"Not enough Pratchett-isms"
It's a good way to preview a new storyline, and if you don't like it you can return it.
I didn't like how it ended so abruptly, with so many loose ends.
I don't recommend it to Pratchett fans, but Sci-Fi fans may find the premise interesting, if they can get past some of the oddities of the presentation.
The narration set the pace of the story. A bit monotonous in places.
Only to consider re-gifting the hardcover book that was given to me for Xmas.
This book definitely suggests to me that it is an opening story for a whole new storyline/multiverse in which Terry Pratchett can participate in without needing him to carry that much of the load. Some of his humor shone through, but the story was not compelling or that memorable to me. I was disappointed with it.
"Dont waste your time or your money"
Great premise, could have been developed with more intrigue. The Virtual Tibetan monk/ update of HAL in 2001 was tiresome so was the original stepper .
after the first hour this was just a seemingly endless and pointless travelogue of a series of world options with little thought of the readers' entertainment. The ending was written to generate sales of a sequel . Good luck with that
The accents were annoying
I persevered with this to the end only because it was supposedly Pratchett and I kept thinking , This has to get better . It has to go somewhere. It could have been done as a Twilight Zone episode All round a complete disappointment
The Long Earth has a fascinating plot, and the combination of Pratchett and Baxter's style of writing, makes it a good read.
I especially liked the character of Lobsang with his many gadgets, and dry wit.
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