The Long Earth - Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long Earth - Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett

Hurrah! Another Terry Pratchett novel. Or so I thought when I saw it in Waterstones. Sure, it's a collaboration, but going by the standards of his other collaborations, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman) and The Carpet People (with himself, only younger), this one should be a treat.


Well...it's interesting, certainly.


First of all, I should tell you it's nothing like Discworld. For one thing, it's not funny, not farcical, not remotely hilarious. Essentially, it is a straight sci-fi novel with an interesting premise: the many-worlds theory of quantum physics, taken literally, with anyone able to visit them. Well, apart from 20% of people, who are not able to "step" between worlds.


The novel explores the economical and human consequences of the Long Earth, as the series of alternative worlds is dubbed, as well as following a pair of unusual individuals exploring the furthest reaches of the Long Earth.


The consequences of the Long Earth, both good and bad, for humanity are really well explained and extrapolated, and I like the way other stories are woven briefly into the main narrative. The ending is, like Terry Pratchett's other endings, dramatic and inspiring without being predictable or cliched.


But there are moments where characters seem to be talking to the air rather than each other. To be fair, these moments are few.


If someone else had written it, it would probably have 4 stars. Since it is TP...3 stars. I expected better.