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197 of 209 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 23 months ago by Patrick Samphire

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107 of 117 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 James L. Munro


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197 of 209 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
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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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107 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judgement suspended, 24 Jun 2012
By 
James L. Munro "Jim Munro" (Farnham Surrey) - See all my reviews
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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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42 of 47 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
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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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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 21 Aug 2012
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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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24 of 27 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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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Lacking magic, 11 July 2012
By 
Lucky Kaa (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
Pratchett has sparkling wit and dialogue, and Baxter is known for coming up with a fantastic concept and making it epic. It feels like they swapped roles for this book.

What we have is a setting where there are millions of parallel Earths. An inherently fascinating concept, that produces all sorts of questions about how people will deal with it. What will we find? Will people try to exploit it? Will people fear it? What are the effects on those who are unable to join? These are presented as short asides that intersperse the main story. And these were all fascinating.

Unfortunately I found the main story somewhat tedious. We're introduced to our two main characters, Lobsang - an advanced AI that's legally human, introduced by some rather clumsy expositionary dialogue - and Joshua - a loner - who simply lacks personality. Their interactions seem polite and tolerant. No feeling of a relationship between them. The main problem is that there's simply not that much to explore. We travel to foreign lands and see... a few animals, lots of forests and occasional settlements

I'd love to have read more about the settlers in reboot. The lives of the trolls. The anti-stepping movement. But we just get glimpses of these. It feels like the writers simply didn't know what to do with the world they'd created. The concept is good, and there are some interesting ideas, but I feel this could have been so much better.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a TV series, 2 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
It could have been so good. It should have been very good. It was neither.

Prior to purchase, I had wondered if perhaps the reviews of this book have suffered from the attitudes of its readers - they are most likely to be a fan of one author (for myself it is Pratchett) and it may be that they felt not enough of their favourite author came through. Upon reading it, I still think there may be an element of that, (I often felt that the Pratchett humour seemed 'stuck-on', like some sort of cut & paste) but this does not excuse the terrible dialogue throughout, or the total lack of any character depth. It does not excuse the appallingly slow plot, which I found shallow and dull.

This book feels like a cheap, hashed-up fan-fiction paperback, a silly tribute to two great authors. It is absolutely shocking to know their individual work, and to see what it has come to. What HAPPENED? I managed to read the whole book, despite putting it down and walking away countless times. A colleague had warned me that it read like a bad TV script, and I have to agree.

It really does come across as something that should be visual, not written. And the ending? Supposed to be a cliff-hanger - I couldn't care less. I really had no interest whatsoever in what happened next, as the characters were so simplistic, and the story was so boring, (despite an unusual premise, which really did seem to have a lot of promise when I read the abstract) that the idea of wading through any more left me feeling depressed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long Read to Nowhere, 12 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Paperback)
Definitely not Pratchet or Baxter at their best, this collaboration just does not seemed to have worked, both authors seemed to be drowned by the other. I have loved Pratchet's humour but there was little to laugh at in this novel, although the theme of the book was laughable. Baxter's past collaboration with the late Arthur C. Clark resulted in a great trilogy of books, but here there was little depth in the plot at all.

The storyline just rambles along with no particular direction other than West. Characters are very shallow, with some having no point at all and lending nothing to the story. The end is a real anticlimax, and the whole book seems to have been written as propaganda in support of the Theory of Evolution, which seems to be something that is forced down our throats from every direction these days. Strangely, despite all of the above I continued to the end, and would buy the next in the series, possibly in the hope that there will be a point to the story.
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2 of 2 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed!, 18 Jun 2013
By 
D. Steer (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Earth (Paperback)
Long term avid Pratchett fan, have read every book he has written (that I have found) must say this book is the one and only book with 'Pratchett' on the cover that I have struggled to get through.
There are some obvious Pratchett parts to the book, but they are few and far between, unfortunately, other than that the book is slow, and rather boring.
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