'A charming, absorbing and somehow spacious piece of imagineering' Guardian
1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive (some said mad, others dangerous) scientist when she finds a curious gadget - a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a...potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world for ever.
And that is an understatement if ever there was one...
This is the first novel in The Long Earth series.
In this thought-provoking collaboration, Pratchett (the Discworld series) and Baxter (Stone Spring) create an infinity of worlds to explore. A revolutionary process known as Stepping has allowed humanity access to an unlimited number of parallel Earths, all devoid of human life. The further one travels, the stranger the variant worlds become. Joshua Valiente, one of a rare breed who can Step without external help, is hired by the transEarth Institute to travel by airship across the Long Earth, exploring as far as possible. Accompanied by Lobsang, a Tibetan reincarnated as an artificial intelligence, he journeys across millions of Earths, discovering just what sort of bizarre secrets lurk in the farthest reaches. The slow-burning plot plays second fiddle to the fascinating premise, and the authors seem to have more fun developing backstory and concepts than any real tension. An abrupt conclusion comes as an unwelcome end to this tale of exploration.
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Leaves you hanging but that is part of its charm. My thanks to the authors.