The Long Earth

The Long Earth.jpg





The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable.... This was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn't Joshua's world. None of it was his world. In fact, when you got right down to it, he didn't have a world; he had all of them.


From the inside jacket:

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 has 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 said mad, others allege dangerous--scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson finds 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.

The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to the ends of the earth and far beyond. All it takes is a single step....



My review:


It’s a Meet Cute!

“The Hobbit” 
“Star Trek” 
“The Long Way to an Angry Planet”

The idea of stepping from Earth to Earth for evolutionary purposes or exploration, self-preservation and new beginnings is the concept in this fantastical Sci-Fi adventure. It turned all my thoughts and know how upside-down as it explored deep niches of my understanding of what is possible and brought forth so many questions!

“The way I see it, my ancestors put a lot of effort into getting out of the goddamn ocean and I don’t think I should throw all of that hard work back in their faces.” 
― Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth

Joshua and his AI companion Lobsang weren’t always exploring the Long Earth. As a matter of fact, Joshua was raised in a convent by sisters and only finds out later of his birth in another world that his mother stepped on to give birth. This is actually where the book begins. He therefore inherently becomes a natural stepper but isn’t made aware of it until he is older. 

As the two of them venture from Earth to Earth, they are seemingly traveling time. Civilizations are at different stages of development. They encounter dinosaurs, different species of animals, as well as hostile tribes. They whiteness births that happen through evolutionary stepping where the infant after the labor process just vanishes from the womb. They explore socioeconomic differences and save Joshua’s own people of his Earth at the end. Or did they save them all?

Along the way Joshua meets another natural stepper. A young woman. And as much as his AI companion Lobsang may have studied procreation of humans in much detail (snicker), he is failing Joshua on real advice on how to keep the lady's interest. BUT…she has information they need, and they have something of interest to her. So how will they get on and benefit each other? (No worries…it won’t turn into a love story!)

“All creatures on Earth have been hammered on the anvil of its gravity, for example, which influences size and morphology. So I am skeptical about finding armored reptiles who can fly and spout flames.” 
― Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth


I enjoyed this mind-blowing concept of Earth 1 or Datum Earth (the original) along with the characters and the feel of good old fashioned, good natured fantasy. I have never read Pratchett or Baxter before, and I understand there has been some gripe about the collaboration. I can’t say yay or nay on that, but this worked for me. The science behind the concepts were explained well and I think anyone could understand them. If you are ready to try something completely different, give this a try. I implore you to!