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Mits of the far Long EarthFor Joshua the crisis he faces is much closer to home He becomes embroiled in the plight of the Next the super bright post humans who are beginning to emerge from their “long childhood” in the community called Happy Landings located deep in the Long Earth Ignorance and fear have caused “normal” human society to turn against the Next A dramatic showdown seems inevitabl Not starting out well at all At p40 I m already boredHow could two of the best SF F authors of the modern era make a story of two epic journeys across billions of worlds so boring asks Otherwyrld yourself a favor and read some of the 2 and 1 star reviews before you take this one onLong Earth 1 was very good Long War 2 was pretty good this one looks like it s headed back to the library soon I m closing it out as as DNF after 40 pages a new record I think I did leave a bookmark in in case I change my mind

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The Long Mars

Ly is contacted by her long vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device Willis Linsay He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his reuest Meanwhile U S Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own leading an expedition to the outer li I have nearly all of Terry Pratchett s solo books and I ve enjoyed some of Baxter s work Long Earth wasn t bad Long War was a little disappointing This one was depressing It s boring It feels as if it s written for bright 12 year olds And it s sloppy Other than that Mrs Lincoln how did you like the playThere are in fact some scenes where stuff actually happens But by the time I got to them I was skimming pages whipping over them in a way disturbingly similar to the twains flight across millions and millions of timelines The authors even told us that the crew were bored as if they were apologizing to the readers for getting lost in a plot theme but the only way out was to keep writing Or this they wrote a pretty good book but it turned out to be 100 pages short so the publisher told them to just pad out the twain twip sorry couldn t wesist that I tip my hat to the exhaustive exploration of the many ways life might have turned out I suspect in some places they are playing fast and loose with science but in others they were careful so I ll let it pass But exhaustive turned into exhausting and I lost interest As others have noted the authors stretch artistic licence in many places Far too often characters conveniently spot something during their millisecond over a world The Mars guy guesses that something must be there somewhere and luckily finds it and then explains how hard it is to see Pratchett would say that narrativium made it happen Sally s dad is just too much of a jerk to have lived this long Cutler is ridiculous and after setting him up as Slim Pickens in Dr Strangelove the authors turn him into a pussycat at the crucial moment The authors seem to have decided that Lobsang is a bit of a dick too so he s relegated There is a decent story in here but it doesn t work as published This turkey needs a massive rewrite and should end up about 80 100 pages shorter Then it would have a chance to be good I won t read book 4

Terry Pratchett à 8 CHARACTERS

The third novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s “Long Earth” series which Io9 calls “a brilliant science fiction collaboration”2040 2045 In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds Sally Joshua and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when out of the blue Sal EM Forster once wrote that when it comes to fiction story is the thing that makes you ask what happens next while plot is the thing that makes you ask why did that just happen For example here s a short piece of fiction I just wrote that s full of story and devoid of plot Opening the garage door and what Johnny found thereJohnny knew he shouldn t open the garage door he knew the rumours Nobody who opened this door ever left here alive But dammit he really liked that Spongebob Suarepants balloon he d won at the fair and he wanted it back And so tentatively he opened the garage door then gasped at what he found thereSee Story You are no doubt on the edge of your seattoilet and screaming at your laptopphone But what happened next What becomes of Johnny Are he and his Spongebob Suarepants balloon ever reunited Now for a plotful bit of prose that lacks in story Johnny survives the alien invasion then dies without pantsThe war was over the alien invaders defeated For all their fancy technology it turned out that ironically the aliens were not immune to having thermonuclear bombs blown up in their face Unfortunately neither was Johnny He leant back against the wreckage of the alien ship enjoying his last few breaths and without any regrets Well no regrets except one As he drew his last breath he really wished he hadn t lost his pantsSee Plot You are no doubt far back on your seattoilet hmm ing to yourself and stroking your chin inuisitively There s no story here no what happens next There is no next Johnny and the aliens are both dead But there is plot What happened to Johnny s pants It s a cheap kind of plot but I only had a few lines to work with so give me a break okay Almost every work of fiction contains a story if the reader doesn t care what happens next then they ll stop reading The only exceptions should be novels that are either awful or magnificentA novel being awful is obviously uite subjective But if you have given any novels the dreaded one star rating then chances are you didn t give a flying monkey what happened next for most if not all of the book At the other end of the spectrum are books that excel not through the reader s desire to know what happens next but to understand what has already happened books that are great because of their plotNo book can be great if it lacks both story and plot No amount of pretty writing can save a novel if the reader doesn t care what happens next nor wants to understand why things happened Which brings us to The Long Earth seriesThe first in the series was really just set up a world building exercise The authors introduced us to the eponymous Long Earth an apparently infinite chain of parallel Earths arranged all in a line and that humankind suddenly gained the ability to step between from one to the next to the next The first book is a collection of vignettes the centrepiece being a journey two million steps away away from the original Earth Then out of the blue the novel ends on a catastropheBook two is yet vignettes the centrepiece being a journey twenty million steps away from the original Earth Then out of the blue the novel ends on a catastropheGuess what happens in book threeJust as the second book in the series The Long War didn t really feature a war long or otherwise this third book The Long Mars doesn t feature a whole lot of Mars Baxter and Pratchett have come up with this amazing idea what if humanity suddenly had access to infinite land and resources And what if scientists could explore countless worlds each differing from our Earth in ever radical ways And then it s like they just don t know what to do with this idea So they keep on world building here s what the Long Earth is like a million steps away from our Earth Now ten million steps Now a hundred million and filling the rest of the pages with re hashes of their other works Baxter s fondness for alternative takes on human or humanoid evolution came through in the first two books In this third one his penchant for seeing all the ways life could evolve in the Universe in even the most extreme climes a regular from his Xeelee seuence is on show as is his fondness for exploring the future evolution of humankind view spoilerEven when it makes no sense whatsoever Our brains will evolve to be four dimensional Really hide spoiler


10 thoughts on “The Long Mars

  1. says:

    EM Forster once wrote that when it comes to fiction story is the thing that makes you ask “what happens next

  2. says:

    I feel this series is a classic marmite series in that you will either love it or you will hate it As this is the third book I expect everyone to have decided what they think by this point but I am one of the former I adore the light plot style of these books with them focusing on a journey through amazing worlds with a limited plot point that ties the characters together I thought this one was the best of the series so farThe Long Mars

  3. says:

    The series continues its arc down for my enjoyment The writing remains constantly good but the plotting meandersThere's a really strange lack of knowledge of evolution that drives most of this book Like seriously bad science going

  4. says:

    This book had three parallel stories and I enjoyed two of them Unfortunately the third one was the source of the title so it was kind of important I enjoyed the on going adventures of Joshua Valiente but he was kind of lost by the end of the book His family totally disappeared but they were fairly unimportant i

  5. says:

    When I saw the next 'Long' series was titled The Long Mars I immediately credited Baxter and Pratchett for at the very least taking the series places unexpected Since the mildly disappointing Long War I was somewhat geared for not so much low expectations but an assumption that Long Mars would follow a similar pattern of the majority of the book being a sort of sociological exploration with a very intense worlds changing event at the endE

  6. says:

    I have nearly all of Terry Pratchett's solo books and I've enjoyed some of Baxter's work Long Earth wasn't bad Lo

  7. says:

    How could two of the best SF F authors of the modern era make a story of two epic journeys across billions of worlds so boringVirtually the whole book is taken up by these journeys one across the multiple Earths and another across similar multiple Mars's and both journeys come across as here's this world and i

  8. says:

    Not starting out well at all At p40 I'm already boredHow could two of the best SF F authors of the modern era make a story of two epic journeys across billions of worlds so boring asks Otherwyrld yourself a favor and read some of the 2 and 1 star reviews before you take this one onLong Earth #1 was very good Long War #2 was pretty good this one looks like it's headed back to the library soon I'm closing it o

  9. says:

    I enjoyed the last two volumes in this series because the characters were interesting and the ideas presented were fascinating They are strange

  10. says:

    It is now 2040 and on datum Earth the Yellowstone Caldera has finally blown Most of the population is fleeing to other Lon

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