The Long Earth. Book Review

TLETHE LONG EARTH by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Corgi Books, p/b, 448pp, £7.99

Reviewed by Rebekah Lunt

Even before you consider the authors’ stamp of quality, based on their previous works, within a few pages of starting reading you will know that this is the creation of a world story that you are going to want to be in for at the start. Unfortunately I was a little late to the ball, so the next stage of the story is already nearly with us, but I am very glad I wasn’t any later.

The story is based around the premise of a seemingly endless sequence of earths which are stacked like dominoes against each other, so that, for the knowing and able, one can ‘step’ along to multiple earths, albeit with a certain amount of discomfort. One of the key characters (you will meet others along the way who are equally or interchangeably protagonists, weaving a wide variety of different perspectives from which to view the impact of the new freedom of endless, unpopulated earths), is Joshua Valiente, the hero of Step Day.

Joshua is aware that he is, as far as he can tell, the only ‘natural’ stepper – he can step onto other worlds without the aforementioned discomfort, as well as which, he also feels more at home on these other worlds, embracing the Silence. As the story develops he becomes a kind of target for various individuals and agencies, who all can see ways in which he can help work out the issues ‘Datum Earth’ now faces, as well as the challenges faced in engaging with the Long Earth.

This book was amazingly comfortable to read; as I read it was though there was nothing alien about the concepts that are embedded within the tale, which is amazing considering the numerous scientific and philosophical theories the different aspects of the story rely on. I was able to read it quickly but with utmost enjoyment, and there were many moments on which my mind is still lingering.

I am glad that this was the first in what I hope will be a Long sequence of books, although I wish that the next one would pick up from where this has left off, because I really don’t think I could read too much of everything the authors have to tell us about the Long Earth.