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The Long Earth (Long Earth Series #1)

The Long Earth (Long Earth Series #1)

3.8 139
by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter

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The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin


The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson finds a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.

The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld® creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to an infinity of new worlds. All it takes is a single step. . . .

Editorial Reviews

“Stay tuned for the next episode of a very old-fashioned sf quest yarn (think Jules Verne and 2001) that, since Pratchett is involved, is crammed with scientifically informed amusement.”
Shelf Awareness
“ The Long Earth is the solid start of a series with infinite potential.”
“The writing is elegant and witty...The worlds of the Long Earth are all richly rendered, and even the walk-on characters are deftly imagined…and the potential seems endless not just for the characters, but for Pratchett and Baxter as well.”
The Long Earth is a brilliant Science Fiction collaboration with Stephen Baxter: a love letter to all Pratchett fans, readers, and lovers of wonder everywhere… This novel is a gift to be shared with anyone who loves to be amazed.”
Publishers Weekly
In this thought-provoking collaboration, Pratchett (the Discworld series) and Baxter (Stone Spring) create an infinity of worlds to explore. A revolutionary process known as Stepping has allowed humanity access to an unlimited number of parallel Earths, all devoid of human life. The further one travels, the stranger the variant worlds become. Joshua Valiente, one of a rare breed who can Step without external help, is hired by the transEarth Institute to travel by airship across the Long Earth, exploring as far as possible. Accompanied by Lobsang, a Tibetan reincarnated as an artificial intelligence, he journeys across millions of Earths, discovering just what sort of bizarre secrets lurk in the farthest reaches. The slow-burning plot plays second fiddle to the fascinating premise, and the authors seem to have more fun developing backstory and concepts than any real tension. An abrupt conclusion comes as an unwelcome end to this tale of exploration. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Pratchett, author of the esteemed Discworld yarns (Snuff, 2011, etc.), and collaborator Baxter (Stone Spring, 2011, etc.) venture into alternate worlds. Eccentric, reclusive genius Willis Linsay of Madison, Wis., publishes on the web instructions for building a strange device consisting of a handful of common components, some wires, a three-way control and a potato. A flick of the switch ("west" or "east") sends the builder into an alternate Earth--one of a possibly infinite sequence--where there are no humans at all, though there are other creatures descended from hominid stock. Some people are natural "steppers," able to step into the Long Earth without any device. Another minority are phobics, unable to step at all. Steppers can take with them only what they can carry, while iron in any form doesn't cross. Thanks to the strange circumstances of his birth, Joshua Valienté is a natural. The transEarth Institute, a wing of the huge Black Corporation, offers him a job exploring and reporting on the new worlds. His partner in the enterprise will be a zeppelin inhabited by Lobsang, a distributed artificial intelligence whose human component was once a humble Tibetan. Meanwhile, back on Datum, the original Earth, officer Monica Jansson grows increasingly concerned about the anti-stepping rants of powerful demagogue Brian Cowley. Thousands of steps from home, Joshua runs into another independent-minded stepper, Sally, who turns out to be Willis' daughter. They visit a community, Happy Landings, founded thousands of years ago by natural steppers and trolls, gentle hominids who communicate via music. But both trolls and their viciously homicidal cousins, elves, are step-fleeing toward Datum from something very scary indeed. This often intriguing development of a science fiction trope takes a scattershot approach and could have used more of Pratchett's trademark satire and Puckish humor. Still, the authors have plenty of fresh insights to offer, and fans of either will want to tag along and see where it all leads.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Long Earth Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.

Stephen Baxter is an acclaimed, multiple-award-winning author whose many books include the Xeelee sequence, the Time Odyssey novels (written with Arthur C. Clarke), The Time Ships, a sequel to H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, and The Wheel of Ice, a Doctor Who novel. He lives in Northumberland.

Brief Biography

Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
April 28, 1948
Place of Birth:
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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The Long Earth: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 139 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The teamwork of Baxter and Sir Terry is remarkable with a new take on the multiple realities theme in a truly stunning way. Without revealing anything, elements of Sir Terry are there in the form of fabulous, epic story telling and short vignettes showing life among the worlds along with the tight, hard sci-fi integration provided by Baxter with all the usual literary conflicts nicely laid out. I will definitely be signing on for the rest of this series. This is something new and different. Read it now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the discovery of seemingly infinite worlds parallell to our own and the potato-powered devices called 'steppers', humanity is moving out and into the Long Earth. Entirely new and uninhabited Earths are only a step away, and pioneers are quickly claiming the nearest worlds East and West of our own planet. Joshua Valient¿, a natural stepper (a person who can step between Earths without using a Stepper Box) and a bit of a legend, is hired to go on a mission to the High Meggers--the earths more than a million steps away from our own. No pioneers have ever made it out that far and it is a challenge he looks forward to, until he discovers something that can consume all of the Long Earth and leave nothing but desolate silence in its wake. Meanwhile, our own Datum Earth is having its own troubles. Opposite the natural steppers are people who cannot step at all, and they are speaking violently out about the steppers and the Long Earth. Political difficulty mires the Datum while an unknown threat moves slowly down the line of Earths towards humanity. It's lucky Joshua has friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this! This mellow sci-fi is thought provoking and original. The style isn't obviously "Terry" but it flowed and was a quick read. I couldn't put it down and hope that there will be some follow-up books to explore the Long Earth further. I think folks need to see this as a collaborative work - it's not another Discworld novel, which is great. A fresh idea is always a welcome addition. I was at the Convention in Madison and it was surprising to see this already published - what a lucky day when I stumbled upon it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating book. It got kind of tense for awhile. I suppose the sequels will be, too. An infinite number of earths a sideways step fron this one - and endless possibilities. And Joshua Valiente is tied to it from birth. Terry Pratchett toyed with this idea when he first began writing, but the Discworld took off and the idea was dropped. I'm looking forward to the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Terry Pratchett, I get his books on my Nook than get them in paperback for my bookshelf. If TP wrote any part of the Long Earth he had the flu, wasn't feeling good or just wasn't himself that day. I am up to page 78 and am struggling to get thru it. I probably won't and it'll just be put away. The book is boring, the writing is dull. The idea would make a great Terry Pratchett novel, but this isn't it. Save your money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book drew me in, fascinated me, I didn't want to put it down. The story and characters are wonderful. I just hope there's a sequel, because the ending was incredibly abrupt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I own every single Pratchett book ever written, so I was excited to get this one! Several chapters in my excitement was diminished. He has co-written some wonderful, smart, engaging books with authors that will stand forever on my shelf to be reread and shared. This is not one of them. I don't recognise him in any part of this book. The book is smart and points out some interesting challenges to the reader about an "infinite earths" scenario, but it is written in a rather dry and disjointed style. The sad thing is I might have liked it if I wasn't waiting for it to turn into a Terry Pratchett book!
bookworm201212 More than 1 year ago
Normally I love anything by Terry Pratchett, but this book was a major let down. It was so incredibly boring and dull. If you must read it check it out at the library and save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pratchett and Baxter offer us solid and meaningful science fiction. The Long Earth tells a story of what happens when humanity is no longer bound to one Earth but can "step" through infinite Earths. This is a science fiction tale populated by realistic, intelligently crafted characters and a believablity that is only broken by the premise of "stepping". The Jacket explains it is "the First Novel in an exciting collaboration..." and it definately feels like it is intended to be a first in a series. While a wonderfully interesting if not overly thrilling adventure it not only sets the stage for future exploration into the innumeral possible Earths but also into the human heart. I for one am looking forward to future entries into what I hope continues to be a rich and fullfilling look at what might happen if we are ever able to penetrate the barriers between worlds.
oceans1 More than 1 year ago
This is not a Disc-world novel but it is still classic Terry Pratchett! Anything that I could say about the plot would be a spoiler so I won't say anything. The book description given here on B&N is sufficient. If you love Pratchett like I do and you don't mind that this is not a Disc-world story then run, do not walk, to your store and get it. NOW.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy one of Terry's Disc World novels instead. Characters are flat, plot crawls and what should be deep questions instead stay in the kiddy pool. Such a pity because I could see many of the elements shining if they were in his other books.
Vivian_Metzger More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this collaboration, though some of my friends who read did not. The ending was a little disappointing, but other than that this was a magical, fun read. Whenever a book is written by two authors, I'm never sure as to who did what. The world building doesn't seem as well-woven as Sir Terry's other books, but it was still a fascinating place nonetheless. The book is not as light-hearted as the Discworld series, so perhaps it's more serious tone is to Stephen Baxter's style of writing. This revolves around physics and parallel universes and string theories all set in a fantastic world, so make sure you are awake and alert when reading! Lots of backstory and multiple points of narrative, so it makes for a well-rounded tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book topic was very interesting. However, it was such a long book and I feel like nothing truly ever happened. I didn't understand the ending and was a little disapointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terry brings a measure of his unique humor into this interesting story. The book itself reminds me of Good Omens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. It was amazing that I couldn't tell what was Pratchett and what was Baxter (you can kind of parse out Good Omens and tell which ideas came from which writer). There had better be a part 2, though. The ending was abrupt, and it would be very interesting to have the continuation of what is really a social commentary on how the human race keeps managing to do the same destructive things over and over again. Does anyone on Datum or any of the other Earths learn the lesson?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one as the characters were well enough developed and the authors did a great job of providing some thought provoking points. The Sci-fi aspect was intriguing while politics, economies, and social aspects are discussed.
Vorsomethingblah More than 1 year ago
The book had a good flow to it, and was moderately engaging. However it did feel a little bit slow, also towards the end I started wondering how it was going to get wrapped up in so few pages I had left... The ending was very rushed and left a lot of the questions unanswered. Possibly to be picked up in the sequel. As much as I like TP though, I will not be picking it up. The style just didn't feel like his, and even though the book had some neat sci-fi elements, it was just too boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first introduction to fantasy fiction; hooked I am and stepper become.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I found this book very enjoyable as a read, but also as a trigger to challenge my mind with new concepts and new questions. And as with Lobsang and Joshua and all sentient beings, it will take time to process. ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not quite what I expected but entertaining and even a little thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting concept, not the best story. I love the idea of the multi-verse Earths and how humanity handles it, but this story spreads across too many side characters that seem unimportant other than for atmosphere while the main plot plods along. I would like to know what happens next, but I'm not sure I want to read three more books to find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't stop! Don't ever stop! But space bending? Werw.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it! B)