The Long War
Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
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War has come to the Long Earth....
Humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by stepping, which Joshua and Lobsang explored a mere decade ago. Now "civilization" flourishes, and fleets of airships link the multiple Earths through exploration, trade, and culture.
Humankind is shaping the Long Earth, but in turn the Long Earth is shaping humankind. A new America that has christened itself "Valhalla" has emerged more than a million steps from the original Datum Earth. And like the American revolutionaries of old, the Valhallans resent being controlled from afar by the Datum government.
In the intervening years, the song of the trolls—graceful, hive-mind humanoids—has suffused the Long Earth. But in the face of humankind's inexorable advance, they are beginning to fall silent . . . and gradually disappear.
Joshua, now married and a father, is summoned by Lobsang. It seems that he alone can confront the perfect storm of crises that threatens to plunge all of the Long Earth into war.
A war unlike any that has been waged before...
I've read most of SB's published work and at least a half dozen from Terry Pratchett. I find Baxter to be original, innovative, and I have enthusiastically endorsed his fiction to others. Mr. Pratchett I enjoy as well, although I'm not as well-read when it comes to his work.
The two "Long Earth" novels left me less than satisfied. Neither book bothers to develop or complete a human story in conjunction with the discovery of a vast multiverse waiting to explored/exploited. The narrative does not maintain a single character as focus to the point where I become vested in that character.
The conclusions to both installments leave me without the vast imaginings for which I so love sci-fi in general, and Baxter in particular.
I am still a fan and look forward to further work, but I'll leave the Long Earth series alone, should another one appear.
A thoughtful look at ourselves.
This is a sensitive look at what humanity could be if we combined a dose of tolerance with a shot of humor. The background, a potential infinity of earth's spinning off a probability tree, is an interesting thought, but, the story of the people, and how a central authority learns to let go, is a story for our times.
This was not what I was expecting from these two, and the result is a very thoughtful gift. It was good to finish up on Christmas Day.
I was reading along and enjoying the book until the last couple of episodes. It lost its direction at that point. The major conflicts of the book simply melted away with no adequate storyline or reason. It was all too pat, an outline that wasn't fleshed out, and a poor outline at that. I expected better.