Doubleday, out now
With an infinite number of worlds suddenly to choose from, how will Mankind react?
Sometimes when two authors with very distinct voices work together, the resulting text feels a little like a war of styles. That’s definitely not the case with this collaboration which takes the best elements of both Baxter and Pratchett’s writing, and multiplies their effect, rather than simply adding the two together.
One of those stories that you definitely don’t want spoiled by reviews, The Long Earth sets up an interesting situation, and proceeds to demonstrate the various ramifications. You wonder if some plot elements set up at the start of the book have been forgotten – or, more likely, left for the inevitable sequel – but they’re picked up on when relevant, sometimes with tragic consequences.
As you might expect from both authors, there are some intriguing insights into the human condition, often delivered almost as asides. The humour is sometimes bleak, sometimes biting – and sometimes laugh out loud funny. There are suggestions as to the derivations of some of the myths and legends here on “Datum Earth” (the name given to the “original” planet, from where travellers move either West or East).
Verdict: A clever novel that demonstrates the potential of the concept and leaves you eagerly awaiting the sequel. 8/10
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