Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Review: The Long Mars

This week I read the final novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's Long Earth sequence, The Long Mars.

As with the previous two books in the series, The Long Mars focuses on a near future world where technology has allowed mankind to "step" from our world to parallel Earths, only unlike in most parallel Earth fiction, these new worlds are largely unpopulated.

What I've loved about the series is how it plays with exactly how this sort of dramatic increase in resource would effect our world - if you move dozen (or even millions) of parallel Earths away from home and create your own town, why would you owe taxes to your home country?  If you can travel millions of worlds away, what could be billions of worlds away?

In The Long Earth, one of those worlds is simply called "the gap" in that version of Earth there actually isn't any Earth at all, simply a void where our planet should be - so certain scientists begin the process of building space stations there.  One of the real challenges of  space exploration is escaping Earth's gravity, so the ability to simply step into a space where the Earth isn't dramatically changes the resources required to explore our solar system.

In the end I loved this book, it was a lot of fun, and does feel like the end of a sequence, it plays around in both space and time (one of the story lines covers more than a decade while the others are limited to a few months) my only mild complaint about the book is that on page 287 there is a spoiler for Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars - although to be fair, that book was published 19 years ago, so part of the blame may lie with me.

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