Tag: Step

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Utopia | Review

Title: The Long Utopia

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 448

Rating 3.5/5

 

 

At this point, I’m pretty much just continuing to read these books to see what happens next. It’s not as though there’s anything specifically wrong with it, it’s just that I think the series was best right at the start when all of the ideas were still fresh. The idea of people being able to step from one world to another is a solid one, but there’s only so much that you can do with it. By this point, the concept no longer feels freeing, because a lot of the possibilities have been explored by now. Now it feels as though the story line itself is being dictated by its own constraints, and that could be a problem – especially for the last book.

Still, I’m enjoying myself enough, and I will be picking up the last book in the series. I’ve also come around to the way in which huge amounts of time pass between each book, because while it does get annoying just to discover that so-and-so broke up with their wife between books or whatever, it does at least mean we get to see each of the characters throughout their entire lifetime.

And the writing itself is pretty good, and I’m still enjoying the sense of humour as well. In fact, if I were to judge this as a standalone instead of as part of a series, I’d probably be a little more optimistic about it, because it is a good book. It’s just that this one and the last one had nothing on the first series, and we’re now getting to the point at which it feels as though they’re just tying up loose ends and following the science to its inevitable conclusion, instead of just telling a story.

 

 

But it still has all of the good stuff that made me love this series, including a whole heap of references to popular culture, popular science and popular psychology. This is one of those rare fiction novels where it actually feels as though you’re learning something when you’re reading it, and you come out the other end feeling much more intelligent than you did when you started.

So would I recommend this one? Of course I would, although I can also see how it might not be for everyone and there’s really no point skipping straight into it. Instead, you should start from the beginning and just keep going, especially if you find yourself enjoying it. What more could you want? Give the series a go – you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Utopia.


Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Earth | Review

Title: The Long Earth

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 432

Rating 5/5

 

 

Wow, this was something else. I’d actually been putting it off for a while because historically, I haven’t found Pratchett to be at his best when writing with other people. For example, I hold the unpopular opinion that Good Omens is one of his worst, although that might be because I find Neil Gaiman to be pretty hit and miss to begin with.

Here, though, I shouldn’t have worried, because I thought that both the concept behind the story and the overall execution were fantastic. I particularly liked the way that the authors had thought everything through to its logical conclusion, which I’ll be talking about at length in my YouTube review. It was quite frankly insane, and I loved how much of it was based on science and the concepts that are pretty cutting edge today.

I think one of the things that put me off about this book was the blurb, which didn’t really sell it to me. I’ll try to give a summary of my own instead. Imagine that there are millions upon millions of versions of the earth that are each accessible like going from one card to another in an infinite deck of cards. Each of the worlds is uncolonised, but you have to step from one to another in order and so the further away you go from base earth, the longer it takes to get back.

 

 

Once a device is created which allows people to hop between the different earths, we experience a new type of frontierism in which anyone can expand into any world. The only limitation is that you can’t carry iron across, and most people can’t hop worlds quickly without having a cooling off period in between as they vomit and readjust. This leads to seem interesting developments including groups of pioneers who aim to travel hundreds of thousands of earths away.

This is one of two books that I was reading at the same time where they had the potential to be in my top ten books of the year, and this one is in the running for my overall favourite. I’m also looking forward to cracking on with the rest of the series, and I suspect I’ll be moving on to the rest of the series soon enough. It was just a genuine pleasure to read and I liked the way that the story simultaneously ended and set itself up for a sequel. Excellent.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Earth.