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on 23 February 2015
Take book 1.
Change the setting to Mars.
Add one potentially incredible secondary narrative thread that could be so exciting, riveting and thought provoking.
Instead, squander every meaningful possibility that this excellent idea could create and focus on some really banal sub plots.
Try as much repetition as you can.
Flick through millions of worlds and care about none of them.
Read a collection of half baked ultra-short stories about the inhabitants of The Long Mars.
Wonder if they were ideas that they had thrown out of other books, because they just didn't have the mileage to be developed into novels or short stories in their own right.
Take a huge rag-bag of half-baked stories and stuff them into this unfortunate tome.
End.

An epic tale of limitless potential smashed to pieces through poor execution, thoughtless plotting and a mire of inconsequential one off alien cultures. I'd rather they'd picked one thing and made it good. Dire.
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I really enjoyed the first of those novels, enjoyed the second well enough, and was thoroughly underwhelmed by this one. It seems very much like a book where they got together and said 'Let's write a new book in that series' rather than 'I've got a great idea for a book, let's write it'. It meanders, without much of value ever happening. That's fine in a series of books that are character driven, like the Discworld books. It's less fine in a series of books that hang off of a single good idea and make use of cardboard cutouts instead of personalities. There are another two books to follow - I can't see myself making an effort for the fourth any time soon.
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on 4 July 2014
The third entry in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's 'Long' series is pretty similar to the first two - the narrative is split into quite distinct chapters leaping around between a group of main characters each on an unrelated adventure.

I felt though that the story didn't really live up to my expectations. There was a significant conclusion to the previous book that I had felt would become the focus this time, but although it sticks in the background, it felt like the repercussions had mostly been brushed aside in favour of a more 'sci-fi' plot that felt less engaging to me, and a little more like an ethical manifesto. There are two other areas of the story that felt a lot like repetition of a theme that's used throughout the first two books.

Having said that, once I had got through the first few chapters, I was surprised by how easily readable I found the book and was disappointed each day when the end of my commute meant I had to put the book away. Having glanced back now at my reviews of the previous books in the series I realise that I may have been misremembering as I seem to have felt similarly then.

Ultimately though it's a book about the plot, exploring scientific concepts of parallel worlds and some moral and ethical questions, and it felt it suffered from not making the characters more engaging. I also felt that the wittiness had dropped off in this book, making it a more serious read despite the continuation of classic movie references.

So overall, it's worth reading if you enjoyed the first two books, but I don't think it serves as a particularly enticing entry point to the series. It feels like it might be the final book, and if not I'd probably think twice a about whether I want to continue.
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on 30 April 2015
Although the story is interesting, it is a hard read. At points, it starts to pick up some pace, but then falls away again. You are left with a sense that this is a very long introduction to the actual story, but there are few hints as to how that story will develop. I enjoy both Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter but I'm not sure I would buy another book in this series. It took some will power to stay with the whole book.
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on 19 August 2014
OK but not as good as the other 2. As with the last book the Long War it took a long time to get to the non existant climax. A bit of a damp squib. Its a shame as the premis and ideas in these books are really good but the tention, build up, sence of drama or danger whatever you want to call it just hasnt been there and the characters have been pretty flat since the first book really.
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on 28 December 2014
Having read the whole trilogy I have to say I don't see the point of inventing limitless worlds on two planets and then succeed in making them pretty boring. The object seems to be that no matter how many chances you give humans they will not become better than they already are and so the only way forward is a new race of beings and artificial intelligence to govern the rest. What a bleak prospect. Also I have some fundamental objections to a new race of beings who have a quantum leap in intelligence at the expense of love and compassion which are the two things which they absolutely should have retained.
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on 29 January 2016
Lacking any real development from the 1st one, just the same story told over again without new ideas.
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on 29 October 2014
I enjoyed the first two books, but this is just boring. It also lacks any of the humour of the first two books and pretty much all the excitement. I was left disappointed at the poor construction and frustrated with the complete absence of plot. Major figures like Lobsang just have poor cameo roles. Despite travelling 250 million long Earths and a few million long Mars it just doesn't *go* anywhere. Doubt very much that I will read the next one
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on 5 November 2014
This will be the last "Long" novel I'll be reading, they have had long enough to develop the story and to be honest its all a bit 'anti-climatic'. It has been a disappointment because the idea is good it just hasn't been developed properly with no clear conclusions.
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on 2 October 2014
As a life-long fan of terry pratchett, it's difficult for me to admit that this series just isn't any good. In this third installment, as in the previous two, the book is let down by it's episodic structure which never reaches a satisfying conclusion. Furthermore, unusually for a pratchett book, the characters are all highly forgettable. Despite reading The Long War recently, I found that I struggled to remember even who the main protagonists were. Overall, the interesting concept is still just enough to keep you interested, but I couldn't help feeling dissapointed with this effort.
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