Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Once again, another post just under the end of month deadline.  This month, I’m reviewing The Long War, the sequel to The Long Earth, which I reviewed earlier on this blog. 

A bit of background here. While this is a story of parallel earths, this is not a story of alternate history, per se.  The Long War, which is part of a series of five novels, takes up from where the characters and events from The Long Earth leave off, some ten years earlier.  The titular long earth of the first novel and the subject of the second novel is a linked chain of worlds that humans and other creatures "step" across.

Ten years on, and giant airships or “twains bearing commerce and passengers, step between the worlds  and humanity for better or worse, has spread out across the countless earths.  Governments on “our” Earth, datum Earth, try to maintain control of these new colonies with varying degrees of success.  As its colonies strain against the homeland, the United States government tries to extend its reach.  Meanwhile, the intelligent hive-minded “trolls” who populate the long earth are vanishing.

And so set against this potentially volcanic backdrop, Joshua Valiente, as well as the enigmatic Lobsang, the main protagonists of The Long Earth, must resolve all of these issues and more.

Of course I recommend this book.  Pratchett and Baxter, both gifted storytellers, have produced a worthy page-turning read. With pop culture references ranging from Family Guy to Buckaroo Banzai it is vastly entertaining and thought-provoking.

I’m concluding this particular posting under something of a cloud.  Terry Pratchett, co-author of The Long War, the Discworld series, and so many other works, died this past March.  We are lesser for the loss of both his craft and his gentle humanity.

In the meantime, have a look at my own books, Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.   Thanks.