September 3, 2012

Review: The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett

Product Description:

The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.

My thoughts:

The book synopsis doesn't really explain what the book is all about but in a nutshell it's about the invention of a box that allows anyone to shift into a parallel earth which becomes known as "stepping". The story follows a few characters, the main one being Joshua who actually has the ability to step naturally.

Joshua and a computerized being called Lobsang, set to stepping to find out just how many earths there are and learn more about the different beings who populate these other worlds.

Having only read one other Terry Pratchett book and none from Stephen Baxter I didn't have any expectations other than a great sic-fi read. I was very disappointed with The Long Earth because the story was hard to understand at first and when I finally was able to make sense of the storyline the authors seem to go in too many directions at once. Then when things are finally getting good there isn't any inkling of a climax or resolution to the story, just a weak cliff hanger.

My Recommendation:
Since I am not familiar with either author's works I don't know if being a fan would be a pro or con for reading this book but as a light sci-fi reader can't really recommend The Long Earth as a must-read. I'd save this one for a library read or borrowed from a friend.