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The Long Earth Hardcover – 21 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (21 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857520091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520098
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.4 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (640 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An absorbing collaborative effort from two SF giants...a marriage made in fan heaven - Pratchett's warmth and humanity allied to Baxter's extraordinarily fertile science-fictional imagination...I, for one, found it extremely refreshing...There's much to enjoy...it's a charming, absorbing and somehow spacious piece of imagineering." (Adam Roberts Guardian)

"The idea of parallel Earths is one of the most enduring that science fiction has given us, but rarely has it been explored with quite so much gusto as in this new novel by two of the giants of British speculative fiction... a triumph.... This is an accessible, fun and thoughtful SF novel that offers the potential for a multitude of stories as great as the myriad of Earths." (David Barnett Independent)

"***** Literary alchemy...In the hands of Pratchett and Baxter, the possibilites are almost infinite...It's a story that revels in big ideas...You can sense the excitement of the authors as they toy with the labyrinthine possibilities of their premise, and it's infectious...The canvas of the Long Earth is so vast, so full of storytelling potential, that it would be a crime not to explore further...thrillingly expansive, joyously inventive and utterly engrossing." (SFX)

"[Pratchett] succeeds in working seamlessly with Baxter, with his ever-present whimsy...adding a welcome shot of fun to the world of science fiction." (Alison Flood Sunday Times)

"a wonderfully rich fantasy, full of ingenuity, humour and some rather deep thoughts" (Reader's Digest)

Book Description

The UK's bestselling adult novelist and a giant of British science fiction combine forces to write the first novel in an astonishing, mind-bending new series...The Long Earth

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

224 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Samphire on 16 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
4 1/2 stars.

The Long Earth is the first of a planned trilogy by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. If you were looking for two of the most unlikely authors to collaborate, you'd be hard pressed to choose better candidates than these.

Pratchett, as pretty much the entire world knows, predominantly writes humorous fantasy, and while it's true that his work has evolved from its beginnings as pure humor to take a much deeper, more profound look at the world through the medium of fantasy, his major appeal is still the humor.

Baxter, on the other hand, is the hardest of hard science fiction authors. His books are meticulously researched, and his speculation is firmly rooted in bleeding edge science. Like Pratchett, Baxter has evolved, in his case to include more believable, rounded characters with real stories. But when you approach a Baxter book you do so for the science fiction. (Even in his alternate history Northland series, Baxter follows the logic of his premise with a sharp, unyielding, scientific focus.)

If you approach The Long Earth expecting to find something matching either Pratchett's or Baxter's usual output, you are going to be coming at it all wrong. This is a genuine collaboration, and between them they have produced something quite different from their normal works.

In the year 2015, mankind suddenly discovers the existence of possibly infinite alternate worlds, differing only marginally (but progressively, the further out they are) from our own, which can be reached by the means of an electronic device that anyone can easily assemble. But there is one thing that is different about all of these worlds: humanity hasn't evolved on any of them.
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115 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like most of the reviewers, I looked forward to this collaboration of two of the greats of sci fantasy. Now I have finished the book I am in two minds as to what to think of it.

One the one hand, it starts off with a good premise and two promisingly individualistic characters. Locations are well described and it gets off to a good start. On the other, once you get into the third chapter it just meanders along going nowhere very much and just as it seems to be picking up speed and getting really interesting..it ends. It doesn't quite say "To be continued", but it might as well.

I could have done with fewer tediously idyllic or uneventful alternate earths and more characterisation and action. For Pratchett the style is closer to "Nation" than Discworld. This is no bad thing - Nation is a great book, but the main "human" hero - Joseph Valiente - is downright boring. Lobsang has a lot of potential to be truly fascinating but after a few quirks of humour in the beginning, he fades into the background to become an annoyingly omniscient presence. Yes I am going to buy the inevitable follow up, but I have a feeling that I'll be disappointed. I hope I am wrong.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Newly old Geezer on 31 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Long time Pratchett fan, I bought this to read on holiday, but found it quite heavy going. I didn't find enough of Terry's humour, which is my main reason for reading his stuff, and his strategy for sneaking subversive ideas into his reader's heads. The whole tone is much more Stephen Baxter, where, even when describing some great triumph of humanity he gives me the distinct impression that it will not be a good thing for the Universe. The main disappointment for me is that none of the main characters seem to develop as a result of their experiences. During the whole narrative we are waiting for some important revelation; the Traveller is a useful plot device, but is hardly the "Meaning of life, the Universe and Everything". I got the impression that a sequel may have been intended, but I'll not have any problem waiting.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
To be honest I like Stephen Baxter and I like Terry Pratchett so I was really looking forward to this story for quite some time. After all the last tale that was an amalgamation between Terry and another (Neil Gaiman) was Good Omens and a real joy to read.

What this tale does is unfurl at an incredibly slow and convoluted pace, its sadly lacking the magic that either of the authors bring on their own and sadly feels more like a case of big names selling rather than a tale of gripping imagination. It's difficult to work your way through, feels like it has no real twists and sadly lacks character wise for me as a reader to have anything to hold onto. All in its OK but at the end of the day it feels like a real let down to me as a reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tony Hill on 9 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book could've gone either way for me - 3 stars or 4; it's not Great but then it's also more than Average...

"Collaboration" is a dirty word in literature - people look for the negative side effects; whose style has been neutered in the process, which contributor is contributing which piece or the whole, of whose approach does the whole lean closest too? I think we do it without even realising a lot of the time.

I made the decision fairly early in - while still riveted by the vignette-like mini moments of early stepping experiences - to try and judge this book by it's own merits not as a reflection of work by its writers or judging it in line with their other, individual efforts - and as a starting point of a new series.

This is the first in a planned series of six books. As such this is very much the Long Earth 'Fellowship'; a lot of walking, some more walking, a hint of the nasty, a flutter of action and some more walking.

Approached accordingly this book does stand its own and very clearly sets a path for a Long journey within this series, one which I now look forward to reading more of.
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