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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been better
I read a lot of very disappointed reviews before I read the book so I expected to be disappointed and ended up enjoying it!
Having said I enjoyed it I do accept much of what the negative reviews said. There is something missing, there are one or two brief excursions into complete bloody sillyness (ray guns, beagles etc) there's some lack of direction and yes, a...
Published 1 month ago by Mr. I. Wilson

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of this?
I am also a Terry Pratchett fan and have read I think everything - or pretty much, not all the science of Discworld books.

Like many reviewers I found the first book engaging - a clever idea, there was focus on the main plot line and characters and I looked forward to the follow up.

Unfortunately this book seems half-finished and is remarkably...
Published 15 months ago by J. Mann


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of this?, 19 Sep 2013
By 
J. Mann - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I am also a Terry Pratchett fan and have read I think everything - or pretty much, not all the science of Discworld books.

Like many reviewers I found the first book engaging - a clever idea, there was focus on the main plot line and characters and I looked forward to the follow up.

Unfortunately this book seems half-finished and is remarkably lifeless. There are lots of different subplots but they don't seem to really add up to anything. There are various remarks about the role of government and the state and the freedom of the individual but I'm not sure the authors actually had anything useful to say about this debate.

The stories themselves didn't seem to go anywhere - there really was no excitement, no twists and it was difficult by the end to know why many of the characters and plots had been included. The main plot was about the "war" between the settlers on the various long earths and the main "datum" earth, but it ended with something less than a whimper, the other plot - the search for the Trolls and the discovery of the Beagles - again ended in such a way I thought I'd skipped some of the book.

Very disappointing. I'm sure the authors know why they failed to deliver this time, perhaps they need to take it in turns to write subsequent books in turn rather than continue with joint efforts?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many wasted opportunities, 7 May 2014
By 
J. K. Siddorn (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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It's a great concept but all too frequently a really interesting thread of an idea is not pursued leaving - as others have said - far too many loose ends.

I also felt that the last chapter before Yellowstone was just silly. The storyline was so preposterous that even with two authors working at it, they had to drop it in the bin and bail out. It did occur to me that they were not seeing eye to eye on the thread's development and were deliberately leaving the other in a deeper and deeper pit of silliness. In my opinion, the whole dog planet scenario was a really bad idea, poorly carried out and not well written. And the dud ray guns, an ancient tomb that opens with a dinosaur's magic ring that flies off on its own and returns to the sender? For Hog's sake, Granny Weatherwax would have been far better in the role, at least one could believe in a witch on a broomstick!

Running through the whole book is an off and on distrust of The Black Corporation for no reason that I could see. The described actions of that organisation were philanthropic and kindly in the extreme, yet the main characters had no trust in the organisation which left the reader unsettled as though you'd missed something.

It is fashionable to distrust the Establishment especially in the form of the military. This is maintained in The Long War which had the unfortunate result of making the characters seem paranoid when taken together with their dislike of all things Black. The title is completely misleading, no war is fought nor even Police actions, in fact now I think of it, I cannot recall a single shot being fired!

I like Terry Pratchett. Read all his stuff for years. I was happy to give Stephen Dexter a go on his say so but really, I think 'the Long Earth' was a standalone book and it should have been left at that. 'The Long War' is a sad mish-mash of a good outline poorly carried out.

'Way Station' writ large is is most definitely not!
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor sequel to a great opener, 11 July 2013
The problem with creating a science fiction "opportunity" such as the one the Long Earth presents is that you need a space opera to do it justice. When "The Long Earth" came out with its Pratchett notion of a potato inspired device (quickly forgotten in this latest because it was a tad too ridiculous) that gave rise to an infinite series of earths for humanity to expand into, it created a vast series of options for the authors to explore.So vast, in fact, they've fallen short with this latest, directionless effort. All it has done, in truth, is show the brilliance of the idea (though rehashed somewhat - see Greg Bear's 'Eon') and the incapacity of the authors to deal with it. The reality is the concept needs Peter F Hamilton to do it justice. The vastness of the new world of Datum East/West requires more words than these authors are prepared to throw at it and this sequel flounders in a mire of nothingness.
Part of the problem is Joshua Valienté's weary inclusion - it's almost as though the character isn't interested; part of the problem is the character of Sally - she's intensely dislikeable; part of the problem is that Lobsang's not in it enough; the whole of the problem is nothing gets the detail it deserves. We've too many threads fighting for four hundred pages of large print space and no one's a winner. As a reader I want to investigate more about the culture of Trolls, of Kobolds, of Beagles; I want a thorough story following Capt. Maggie on her personal starship Enterprise with the Cat; I need Joshua to be kicked in the backside to show some enthusiasm; I want the gifted Roberta and her Chinese expedition to get ten times the airtime. The whole East twenty million voyage is begging for a juicy hook to yank the reader. The disappearance of the Trolls (yet they are too easy to find) is casually handled; the chewing off of Joshua's appendage unexplained; the "war" that is the title is merely an apologetic after-note of vapid inconsequentialness scrawled in the final chapters. I've seen more fight in the Norse Sagas on Valhalla than I saw in this book.
I was disappointed. The concept of stepping into an alternative reality is handled better by the likes of S M Stirling. He devotes a trilogy to just one "step" and you can see why. The creation of four million worlds needs four million pages, in truth. Pratchett and Baxter have created something too big to handle - and this is coming from two of the very best authors out there. I've read nearly everything these two authors have ever produced. They have all the kudos they deserve for they are very, very good at what they do. But...it's possible for even the very best to produce a poor book...and this might just well be a nadir for them. I hope the next is better. In summary...The Long Earth was great; The Long War...disappointing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this; it will all be summarised in the first two chapters of the next one, 2 Jan 2014
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This was so sad - The Long Earth had a lot of interesting ideas (many not explored)and I was hoping that The Long War would delve deeper into them. I was wrong. It's just a pot-boiler, a fluffy padding-out of the first story to get to the next.

The authors carefully make sure you don't empathise or identify with the characters by constantly calling them by their full and formal names and rarely giving them any interior monologues or motivation. So the whole thing is very cold and impersonal - a rare thing for a Pratchett novel.

As for the plots, there are three that are flagposted early on in the book - the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery and ecological disaster. The first reaches its climax with everyone deciding 'meh, whatever...', the second is just hand-waved away but the third is the best. As the book goes on the signposts get bigger, more neon, more 'Danger, Will Robinson!' until it climaxes with '...to be continued.'
Meanwhile there is a whizzkid on a Chinese expedition to nowhere for no reason, and a Mary Sue who makes all the right moral decisions (but we aren't given access to her reasoning for her decisions) and best of all a proper Deus Ex Machina, when Valiente's hunters (for no reason that we can see) suddenly see the Light and discard their cultural, moral, social, traditional and evolutionary imperatives and decide to be lovely instead. Which is nice.
Add that to a long list of plotlines that are just dropped as they reach a climax and you end up with the feeling that the editor just looked at the page count, rubbed his/her hands in glee and never bothered to read it.

Sad.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sadly disappointing follow-up, 23 July 2013
By 
Paul Readman "Redmaaan" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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Having enjoyed The Long Earth, I'd been looking forward to reading this - however, I struggled to finish it, it was such a disappointment.

The book laboured over re-establishing the characters and re-visiting the plot, and had none of the freshness and wonder of the first book. Indeed, the old characters seemed washed-out and uninteresting, while the new ones really didn't establish themselves.

On the basis of this sequel, this doesn't feel like an idea with legs.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A rather boring read, 17 July 2013
By 
S. Moore - See all my reviews
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Usually I can't put a Terry Pratchett book down as they are page turners that have me hooked, however, Long Earth was ok, but this sequel was just so boring, numerous sub plots that did not culminate in an ending.
I think this book was trying to be too clever and failed. And we still don't know if Lobsang is Time indulging himself in the affairs of Humans.
This book with certain words and phrasings appears to be aimed at the American market which to an Englishman is annoying but not as annoying as the story which was just plain boring.
I love the Discworld books and to my mind TP is THE greatest living author, however this collaboration is not up to the usual standard of a Discworld story and I certainly won't be buying a Steven Baxter book anytime soon.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor, Bitty and Rushed, 9 Aug 2013
By 
G. Thompson "guyt79" (London,UK) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed the first book (The Long Earth) my only criticism with it was the rushed feel to the ending.

Unfortunately this flaw also carried across to this sequel. The book was really really slow to start with, establishing the new characters and catching up with the old ones. Fair enough I thought, always good to establish the key players. But then it just had them do unremarkable things for the majority of the book. I still don't see what the point of the Chinese expedition plot line was...it could have been built into so much more..finding out something scary about the Long Earth or the Wonderchild they had with them causing/discovering something. But no.

The book got really boring at points and only the characters of Lobsang and sister Agnus kept me interested...but were woefully underused.

Yes, I could see the tensions building to the upcoming war...then found that it got resolved in one page of text and with a handshake!
Somehow I doubt the colonial migrants and the Datum government would see eye-to-eye so easily after all the things that had gone on beforehand. It was just a tad unbelievable.

The ending with Joshua and the Beagles felt rushed and a bit of an afterthought. I feel the authors cold have made for an exciting climax and chase, with Joshua stripped of his one remarkable power. Sadly it just stopped abruptly and we got the close-down chapter with everyone at a BBQ sharing stories.
Then to mix it up, in almost an epilogue chapter, the authors throw in a new plot line that can only serve to introduce another book in the series. I felt a bit cheated.

One thing I noticed was the lack of humour in the book. I suspect that Terry Pratchett has had less influence on the text than last time, and the book suffers as a result.

I'd advise people to steer clear.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm II, 8 Aug 2013
By 
K. L. Hardman - See all my reviews
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Worth ploughing through The Long Earth to get to the second book. Much more fast paced, more characters which were fleetingly introduced in The Long Earth playing a much bigger part all with connecting stories going on..... I was just a little disappointed by the end, one minute each of the stories were in the thick of the action then it was all wrapped up. It reminded me of doing an exam when the teacher gave a 10 minute warning to the end of the exam & you tied up all the lose ends as succinctly as possible...... Worth a read but not something I would be actively recommending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long boring read, 15 July 2014
This review is from: The Long War (Long Earth 2) (Paperback)
I really loved the first book. The concept was brilliant and it had the right mix of humor. The pairing between Pratchett and Baxter worked really well. But this book is very different. The mix is all wrong. It's as if Baxter (who is a genius at high concept sci fi) wrote a lot more of the character parts. This isn't his strength and the Sally character has turned from a Pratchett-esque "feisty female" archetype to a typical Baxter "horrible personality" type that he tends to write. She is just vile. The Lobsang scenes are still the best but there precious few of them. There are some really good parts in this book (the gap, beagles world, rectangles world, etc) but they are few and far between. Mostly the characters spend their time travelling as passengers and there are lots of "looking out the window" scenes describing but not much action going on. It's as if the writers felt the need to pad out the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Epic fail from two great writers, 5 Aug 2013
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The long Earth was a good, a brilliant idea at least with a somewhat poorer execution. The Long War on the other hand... it's simply poor. In every aspect. The infinite possibilities of worlds needed a "Hamiltonish" (referring to P.F. Hamilton for those who don't get the term) handling, a (much) vaster book (even.... books) and more working with characters. It's a pity such a great idea "goes down the drain". Seems like the authors "pulped it down" for 'American' readers.
Summarizing: If you are a fan o Terry Pratchett, of course you 'll buy it, it's a common fate (when Sir Terry publishes even his shopping list, we all pre-order it in Hardcover). If you are a fan o Baxter, perhaps you may find the critical mass of strength of character needed to avoid it. If you are neither, find something better to do with your money.
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The Long War (Long Earth 2)
The Long War (Long Earth 2) by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - 5 Jun 2014)
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