Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Long Earth....a novel

One lunch time at work recently I spotted a novel on the magazine pile in the lunchroom. I saw 'Terry Pratchett' on the cover so I had to pick it up. Turns out it was sci-fi novel co-written with Stephen Baxter. I was intrigued so started reading it. I have read some Discworld novels and enjoyed them but 'The Long Earth' is no Discworld novel.
This is a story about alternative Earths and future humans (not that far into the future mind you) being able to 'step' out of our world (a Datum Earth) and into these alternate possible Earths. This read was entirely different to my recent reads. No epic wars or themes of combat but instead theoretical ideas of 'what if'. For the most part it had me hooked and made me ponder my smallness in this current universe reality that I experience. The idea that somehow alternative Earths are a possibility is intriguing. In this story on all the Earths (except Datum Earth) humans didn't happen. I felt the story did get a bit slow or lost at about the halfway mark and the ending was kind of abrupt but I enjoyed it all the same.  It was fun to see how these possibilities started to affect our world. Think about it for a sec. If folks can step onto another Earth and grab some gold and bring it back then sooner or later gold will not have the value it does now. Gold would be more or less worthless. However much of the story takes place away from Datum Earth and revolves around a Human male who can 'step' without the device and also a super computer named Lobsang. An intelligence who is entirely artificial but successfully claimed in court that he is Human. A reincarnation of a Human.
This story won't be every ones cup of tea and it really does not offer anything for war gamers but if you are interested in sci-fi then it may be worth a look. I think it may be one of those polarising reads. You will dig it for what it is or you will get to the end and think ...'man I could have read something else'.
Do not expect a Terry Pratchett novel if you consider reading this novel. It certainly has some of his tell tale humour but this is no comedy. I think I enjoyed it because it was so different to what I usually read and was a surprise find.

Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi)

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