The Long Earth

Being a big Terry Pratchett fan, I would like to read The Long Earth, which is a collaborative science fiction work by internationally renowned award winning  authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, who have both made their names in different fields of literature. Baxter has written in fields of ‘hard science’, evolutionary speculation and alternative history, and Pratchett  is primarily known for his fantasy series of Discworld novels.

The ‘Long Earth features  a possibly infinite  series of parallel worlds, similar to Earth. The “close” worlds are almost identical to ‘our’ Earth, others differ in progressively greater details, but all share one similarity: none have ever been inhabited by humans. The books explore the theme of how humanity might develop when freed from resource constraints: one example Pratchett has cited is that wars result from lack of land – what would happen if no shortage of land (or gold or oil or food) existed?

The book also  deals  with the journeys of Joshua, a natural ‘Stepper who is able to get between worlds’, Lobsang, and  a Cop named Monica Jansson who  finds  a curious gadget containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a…potato  , whilst she is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive and possibly mad scientist named Willis Linsay ,  little realising that  It is the prototype of an invention that could change the way Mankind views his world for ever.

The travellers chart a course to learn as much as possible about the parallel worlds, travelling deep into the “high meggers” as the more distant Earths are named They encounter evidence of peaceful apelike ‘Trolls’ able to step at will; of human settlers who learned their gifts early and of aggressive ‘elves’. They also encounter warning signs of a great danger deep within the meggers which could cause catastrophe.

The Long Earth was released in the United States on June 19th, 2012 and Two further books in the series are planned.

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