Critics of Pratchett and Baxter’s Long Earth have said that it’s slow going and contains no new ideas. I’d argue vehemently on both points. It was enjoyable and refreshing to read a modern science fiction novel that had a sense of humour about itself due, no doubt, to the influence of Pratchett. What Long Earth did was take the time to explore the subject matter, both scientifically and philosophically. The action was relevant, never overdone and there was enough of it for me.
The characters had depth and personality again one of Terry Pratchett’s strengths. I am unfamiliar with Baxter’s work but it is clear there is more than one artist’s brush guiding the canvas of the Long Earth. The book used the idea of alternative Earth’s and cranked it up to the max. What IF there were an infinite number of Earth’s within easy reach? The book looked intelligently at the sociological aspect of that question and gave the reader plenty to think about.
I’m a huge fan of Pratchett’s work and I’ll now go an explore Baxter’s fiction with gusto. If you want a modern and intelligent science fiction novel you could do a lot worse than by Long Earth.
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Hardback & Kindle (Paperback to follow)