Friday, June 19, 2015

The Long Mars

by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
357 pgs  (The Long Earth series #3)

The Long Mars slowly advances the story Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter began telling with The Long Earth about five years ago. The premise of the series is intriguing--humans develop the ability to "step" from one earth to the next along an infinite number of parallel worlds. And it has the potential for a lot of interesting ideas to explore, but the series has yet to settle on what it's about and run with it.

One of the central ideas to the series is how mankind would evolve if it has unlimited space and resources. Would there be greed, poverty, or wars? As mankind spread out on infinite earths, would the populations of individual earths evolve independent from other earths? Like I said, there are a lot of ideas in this series. But so far, that seems to be the problem with the series. The authors don't appear to have settled on what the series is really about. They've taken a shotgun approach so far instead of a rifle one, and while they've introduced many different concepts into the story, each one seems to end abruptly as they move on to another.

When The Long Mars begins, humans have been stepping into the other parallel worlds for years now. A massive exodus from the United States in the original, or "datum" earth took place when the volcano under Yellowstone erupted and essentially made most of the continent uninhabitable. New bizarre forms of life have been discovered, along with some sentient life forms, including a race of humans named The Next, which are similar to humans in most ways, except for a much higher level of intelligence.

Unfortunately most of the book reads more like a travel log as opposed to a novel. The concepts are interesting, enough so that I'll probably keep reading it till the end. But I won't be racing to get each book as it comes out.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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