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213 of 225 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant collaboration by two fantastic writers
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...
Published on 16 Aug 2012 by Patrick Samphire

versus
111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judgement suspended
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...
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by Amazon Customer


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213 of 225 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant collaboration by two fantastic writers, 16 Aug 2012
By 
Patrick Samphire (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Long Earth (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.

The Long Earth explores the consequences of this discovery, and follows the exploration by Joshua Valienté, a "natural stepper", who can cross rapidly between worlds without aid of a device, and Lobsang, an AI who claims to be the reincarnation of a Tibetan motorcycle repairman.

The thing The Long Earth most reminded me of was Philip José Farmer's Riverworld, with its exploration of the unknown, mysterious new world the characters now find themselves in, and the overarching questions of what it all means and what it's for. And that's pretty good company for the book to find itself in.

There are one or two places where it seemed clear to me that either Pratchett or Baxter was responsible for a passage, but remarkably, in most of the book, you really couldn't tell, and that's a pretty impressive achievement for two such distinctive writers.

Most of the criticism I've seen about this book seems to come down to people expecting to read something just like Discworld and then being unhappy that it wasn't. It isn't supposed to be. It's very much its own book, and it's all the better for it.

Expect imaginative, accessible science fiction with a sense of wonder and a light touch, and that's exactly what you'll get in The Long Earth.
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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judgement suspended, 24 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, fantastical, and yet so close to todays hard science!, 18 May 2014
By 
Big Ben "fly_mo" (Bedford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Paperback)
The collaboration between two of my favorite authors is a scary event for me.
The possibilities are wonderful, but they raise expectations that might be disappointed, so it was with a mixture of trepidation and gleeful anticipation that I opened The Long Earth for the first time.
No need to worry!
The writing is assured, and the central topic is based on science rather than Discworld Magick - one might assume that this is down to Stephen Baxter rather than Sir Terry Pratchett, but Sir Terry is also responsible for the remarkable Science of Discworld series that combines entertainment, humour, fantasy and proper science in a number of (highly recommended) volumes.
Laugh as you learn, indeed.
The Long Earth is all-new in both concept and execution.
Nothing of other works by these two excellent authors was detected in it. It brings the infinite worlds view of the universe screaming into the 21st century with the aid of a potato.
Yes, you can tell that Terry Pratchett is involved! But the potato is there for a solid scientific reason.
.
At one stroke the two authors have created a vast canvas on which to display their skills, and the characters depicted on that canvas do them justice. One of the more interesting characters is no longer wholly human, which adds greatly to the possibilities.
The old Hollywood blockbuster maxim was something like "Start with an earthquake, then build to a climax", this book starts with the deconstruction of human society as we know it, and yes, it does builds to a climax that left me wanting more.
The Long Earth is the first of a trilogy (at least) since there are now three books in the series, I'm about get in the queue to buy them.
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Sir Terry is no longer able to type easily due to Alzheimers, but says he finds dictation works even better for him - believe that he published four books last year, a major effort for any author, and more to come this year too.
Stephen Baxter is a remarkable author in his own right and deserves his fair share of the credit. Famously he collaborated with the legendary Sir Arthur C Clarke on the Time Odyssey series in addition to his own future history series and much more. Interesting to see how the two of them have managed to produce this volume so seamlessly.
.
Recommended for many reasons, not least that it was fun, fresh, and fantastical too.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett a bit thin on the (long) ground, 31 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Kindle Edition)
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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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really didn't work for me, 23 Jun 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Long Earth (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Start, 9 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Long Earth (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stalled Half Way ..., 3 April 2013
By 
Mr. K. Bailey (Kernow, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
Over the years I've read nearly all of Pratchett's books, including several of his collaborations, notably "Good Omens". All have varied between 'good' and 'brilliant' and even the worst have been perfectly readable, the best unputdownable. With The Long Earth however something has gone awry. It's starts well in true Pratchett style, but somehow the threads of narrative, the streams of invention, or at least my interest, all weaken and grind to a halt. In short I put this book down quite literally halfway through and have not had the slightest inclination to pick it up again, and several months have gone by. Never before have I failed to finish a Pratchett book, never!

I can only assume that in this case the two authors' approach to narrative has not gelled. It's as if as soon as Terry starts an interesting hare running, Mr Baxter promptly runs it over. This story opens literally countless possibilities, and then fails to explore any of them in an interesting way. It's like being shown an enormous feast but only being allowed to taste the odd sausage-onna-stick at random.

I sincerely hope this is an isolated accident ...
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 21 Aug 2012
By 
This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
I like Baxter. I like Pratchett. All authors have their idiosyncracies and this book combines their worst qualities.

As a novella it would have worked well. As a novel it doesn't have enough material to stand alone - and the idea of this being part of a series is laughable.

Good concept poorly executed, poor characterisation, prose without 'zip'. Had to force myself to finish it just because I could not believe that two authors who are individually so good could produce something so mediocre.

I finished the book with a sense of relief, despite the appalling ending that just stops in mid-air to act as a teaser for the inevitable sequel. An incredibly disappointing book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pity Terry's name is on the cover., 3 Oct 2013
By 
Malc Jeffries (North Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Kindle Edition)
This is not the Terry Pratchett style I have come to know and love. To restate a previous reviewer; the premise is good, just a pity the remaining 85% of the book doesn't live up to it.
I found myself wanting to stop reading, but compelled only by the fact that I couldn't believe that a book could be so repetitive and that there would be 'something happening' on the next page! but there wasn't.
I finished feeling disappointed and upset that Terry Pratchett's name was included on such a mundane and unhumorous novel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ho-hum!!!, 3 July 2013
By 
Brian Coates (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Kindle Edition)
SO I read the synopsis and was taken with the basic premise of multiple worlds which humans become able to "step" into - OK, so it's not exactly original but there's a lot of scope to explore the implications of the situation. But what you get is this long, disjointed ramble across (literally) millions of Earths where (get this) NOTHING HAPPENS! Practically every chapter starts with "the last thousand worlds were pretty similar to the ones before..." and the two main protagonists fly over them so don't even have physical contact with the ground. These are four-dimensional characters, for sure - two apiece. Surely it wouldn't have been beyond the bounds of possibility to inject some character into at least one of them? As they are, there's little opportunity to introduce any conflict between them (which would have made their interminable explanatory conversations at least more entertaining) because they only exist, it seems, to deliver a travelogue (Joshua) and explanation of physics (Lobsang). Other characters pop up then vanish for so long they feel like new introductions when they do reappear.

Admittedly, there are some moments of drama - the sudden emergence into a reality where the Earth has been destroyed by a cosmic collision is a bit of a heart-stopper but then, "Oops! We'll step once more and...we're safe again"!

I bought this because I've been a long-time fan of Pratchett's Discworld but it seems he's found more to explore in that finite creation than in the entire Long Earth presented here. Baxter is a new author for me (though I've enjoyed his soup) and on the strength of this, I won't be seeking him out any time soon.

According to the blurb, the next book, The Long War, takes place many years after the events here, so even the interesting plot development at the end of the novel looks like it will be wasted.

Sorry, guys, "Must Try Harder".
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The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter (Hardcover - 21 Jun 2012)
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