Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Review: The Long Earth

One of my favourite experiences in finding a new writer is when I’ve finally caught up with their published works and can start waiting for the new ones along with all their other fans.  For the past few years Terry Pratchett has been one of those I look forward to the most.  I read his discworld series and every other published book I of his I could get my hands on from 2004 – 2010 at the rate of one book a month and loved every one of them.
Last week I got a hold of his newest novel (co-authored with Stephen Baxter) The Long Earth, which I would describe as a science fiction novel taking place in a multiverse that borrows heavily from Larry Niven’s Ringworld and from Clifford D. Simaks Ring Around the Sun.
The story takes place on an alternate Earth where one day the plans for a dimensional hopper are transmitted around the globe through the Internet and soon the vast majority of Earth’s population begin travelling up and down (or, East and West as described in the book) many multiple Earths.  There is one strange thing however.
People don’t seem to exist in any of these Earths except our own.
The main character of the book is a young man named Joshua Valienté who is a particularly gifted “Stepper”, being someone who can step from world to world without the need for the gizmo virtually everyone else has to use.  Like Ringworld, the novel is very much a story of exploration, and although I did miss the standard footnotes which can sometimes be some of my favourite bits of any Pratchett novel, I did find the book to be fun, intriguing, and definitely worth the read.

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