Book review – The Long Earth

The Long Earth (42)

by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

For a few years now I’ve been a fan of the Discworld novels.

Terry Pratchett is an incredible writer who could write with humour, wisdom and still tell great stories full of mythology and magic.

Before reading this book I’d never read any Stephen Baxter but according to the blurb in the book (and what I’ve read on the interweb) his pedigree is also pretty impressive.

The concept of “The Long Earth” is also an interesting one…

What is there were multiple earths and you could ‘step sideways’ into them? What if there were millions of multiples and what impact would that have on the world?

It’s a question this book tries to answer and it’s the start of a series of books which explores this alternative universe of millions of other, erm, alternative universes.

Now having liked the concept, knowing much of the work of one of the authors and seeing the other had a decent pedigree I was expecting big things from this book…but found it didn’t deliver on these large expectations.

It’s not that ‘the long earth’ is a bad book.

Far from it. It’s well written, has some interesting characters and some genuine laugh out loud moments.

I just found it, and this is purely a personal perspective, a little dull.

There are stand out moments of genius storytelling of course. Particularly the start of the book when mass participation ‘stepping’ (the process of moving from Earth to Earth) is originally discovered by the world and the end which ends with a literal bang.

However there were large parts of the middle which seemed to add very little to the story.

Now maybe this was intentional and the fact that this is the first in a series of many books. However unlike other successful book series the start felt a little lacklustre.

If you’re a massive fan of Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter or smart science fiction novels it might be worth trying ‘The long earth’….however if you’re not prepared to forgive a rambling storyline which at times feel a lost it might be worth giving this particular book a miss.

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