Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Long War

by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
422 pgs  (The Long Earth series #2)

I have an expectation when I read a series of books, it's that the series should get better with each successive book. My rationale is that over time the author has had more time to fully fleshed out the characters, the world they've created, and the story they're telling. So with that mindset, I was very excited to read The Long War. It's the sequel to The Long Earth, which while it took awhile for Pratchett and Baxter to get to the plot, was still a very entertaining and extremely imaginative story. Unfortunately this one fell flat, and well short of my expectations.

In The Long Earth it was discovered that the earth was just one of an infinite number of earths positioned linearly through space, and in the 21st century, the technology was developed that enabled mankind to "step" from one world to the next. Immediately the human population began to disburse to the other earths and many of the problems that existed on the original earth potentially were coming to an end.

The Long War begins 10 or so years after the events of The Long Earth and unfortunately as mankind has continued to spread across the Long Earth, so have its problems. The Governments of Earth are trying to claim ownership for their respective footprints on every earth, claiming their resources and collecting taxes from their citizens. Other sentient races that have been evolving across the Long Earth for billions of years are quickly starting to resent this new race of steppers and confrontations are inevitable.

These two are the only books I've ever read by Stephen Baxter, so I don't know much about his works. But I've read almost 40 books with Terry Pratchett's name on them and so I'm fairly confident in saying that I think this series is primarily Baxter's. Unfortunately there's little, if any, of Pratchett's humor and wit. The Long Earth, and Pratchett's Discworld are polar opposites. Once again the plot didn't show up until the last 70 pages or so and the rest of the story wanders aimlessly and uninterestingly for far too long. I'm hoping this series ends up being a trilogy and I can read one more book and get some closure. If it ends up going longer, I don't think I'll be sticking with it.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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