The Long Earth

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 4, 2013

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Ten people attended this meeting at the North Village library.  The Long Earth is set in a universe where there are a large number of parallel worlds to our own Earth, each slightly different. The story follows a pair of adventurers who travel between the worlds to explore them. Nine had read at least one of the authors before, and eight people started this book.  Three people read the book electronically. Only two people managed to finish this book, which was explained by the comments of most group members.

Although several people thought the writing was clean, and that the concept and several ideas were interesting, most felt that the execution was lacking.  Many people commented that the book was lacking in plot, that the plot was “vague” and “slow going”, even “boring.”

Others noted that there was less humor than they expected from a Pratchett book. Some felt that the reason could have been that Baxter wrote more of the book than Pratchett.  An attendee noted that although Baxter’s work showed promise early in his career, he has become more of a “nuts and bolts” writer, more workmanlike than inspired.

Many people felt that this book seemed to be trying to set up a world where other authors could write. There are additional books set in this same world, but one group member who had also read the second book said she would likely not recommend the series to anyone, nor read any farther herself.

Although most members were inclined to enjoy the works of Terry Pratchett, as well as Baxter, they were disappointed by this story. It was speculated that perhaps the sum of the two authors’ work as a whole was not as strong as the parts. There appeared to be a consensus that this book was not a strong effort and did not work.

After the discussion the group picked books for the next time period, and then afterward several of us had dinner at Alborz.

–Carol Campbell