Monday, May 8, 2017

Book Review: The Long Cosmos, by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett

Well, I suppose there had to be an end to it all. Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett’s Long Earth series, which began with the book of the same name, concludes with The Long Cosmos

And what a conclusion, friends and neighbours, it is. For those who are late coming to the party, the Long Earth that the series is named after is a string of interconnected Earths that can be reached by “stepping.”  In the intervening fifty or so years, humanity has spread out across the Long Earth, while the series’ chief protagonist, Joshua Valente is now closer to his ending than his beginning. Confronting this inescapable fact, Joshua sets out on one of his walkabouts and plunges deep into the Long Earth. 

Even as this is happening, radio astronomers and pick up a message from out of the depths of space-time: JOIN US. It’s this message that is not only received by humans, but also by The Next, the trolls, and the other sentient beings that populate the Long Earth that drives this book and the series to its masterful conclusion. Like each of the characters we have followed through the series, Joshua must reconcile it with his own existence, as his life becomes intertwined into the quest to answer the message.

This is a masterfully written piece of fiction with the authors’ (Terry Pratchett wrote several large sections before he passed in 2015) world-making abilities and the skillful management of a complex plot and full cast of characters are on full display here.  The last few chapters alone, in the way they have been crafted, are well worth the price of admission.  It is truly jaw-dropping stuff.

Recommended. A highly fitting end to an excellent series.

What’s Next

First, I’m pleased to report that my short story, Right of Return has been featured in the online reboot of Omni. You can read it here.  Second, next month, I will have – hopefully- my review for you of the five-episode miniseries, SS-GB, based on Len Deighton's book of the same name.  Finally, I’ll be working on a few other things as well, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing 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.