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.
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.
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.
An interesting concept and well narated but lacking in tension and excitment. Disappointing if you are a Prachett fan expecting his normal humour.
Sadly I maybe expected too many great things from this book and thus was utterly disappointed upon its unravelling.
If your thinking on getting this one in the belief it is on par with the collaboration between Gaimen and Pratchett, al a Agnes Nitt - Good Omens, then a warning do not purchase this book.
This book is definitely more Baxter than Pratchett..
If you enjoy such high brow Sci-Fi Authors of the 70’s and 80’s such as Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein et al - then please fill your boots and strive ahead as it is a very poignant tome on society as a whole and were we have an opportunity to start again.
But inevitably as with the afore mentioned Authors Baxter becomes very trite when we find the big bad evil and the book ends with little or no conclusion to what is the out come.
Too many questions raised during the novel are left unanswered.
All in all a very annoying and drawn out story which seems almost to fast forward to key steps and then forgets about tying them up later on!!!
One to avoid, or pick up from the bargain bin, I am otherwise pleased I got this on a credit rather than wasting more money on this tosh.
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 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.
The beginning of this book is excellent. The idea of the Long Earth is introduced and it's clear that it opens all sorts of exciting possibilities. Good SF is a thought experiment and this feels like there's going to be plenty to explore. The middle, whilst exploring some of the possibilities, is too much of "and then the next day they did the same..." The end, though, is going along and then it like that. There's an action sequence, a pause, and Audible Hopes You Have Enjoyed This Program. This is not a complete book. It's not the first part of a trilogy. It's more the first third of a book. It's a really good idea not terribly well executed.
I like Terry Pratchett work - at least those that concentrate on the disc world. I was very disappointed with this novel of travelling folk stepping through/back in time... As the stages passed through it got more boring as the story went on. Not least the narrator didn't help much in his attempt at creating different characters and accents.
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