Wednesday 18 July 2012

The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, 2012
(June 2012)

I’m obviously a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. While I’ve only read Stephen Baxter’s Destiny’s Children series, that at least displayed a pleasingly ambitious sense of scale. So I was really looking forward to this.

It’s a surprisingly gentle ride, truth be told. I believe it’s the first in a projected series, which bodes well. I enjoyed it well enough, but it actually feels a touch lightweight for a standalone novel. It’d definitely be more satisfying as the opening of a series - always depending on how that series progresses, I suppose. There are a lot of interesting ideas about evolution and speciation (courtesy of Baxter, clearly), and a fair number of humanely funny jokes (Pratchett), but there’s really not much in the way of conflict or peril right up until the end, and even then it doesn’t feel all that urgent.

Terry Pratchett’s co-written another novel before, also with another writer I like a lot. I was a lot younger when I read that, but I don’t remember being able to pick who wrote what as clearly as this time around. But I’d also hope I’m a more sophisticated reader now, so there’s that.

Even so, I finished it in a couple of days and I don’t do that with books I don’t like. More please.

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