The Long Earth **Spoilers**

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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby pip » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:36 am

Sorry confusing it in my head. I haven't read it in two years. I think i am thinking of war. :oops:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:55 am

You certainly are thinking of war - just finished re-reading it last week. She's called Red and uses Aziraphale's sword.

I don't know SB but I 'see' Terry all the time - especially in Lobsang's bits
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby pip » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:24 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:You certainly are thinking of war - just finished re-reading it last week. She's called Red and uses Aziraphale's sword.

I don't know SB but I 'see' Terry all the time - especially in Lobsang's bits


Yep now i think about wasn't death called Azrael in Good omens pretty much like Terrys Death of Deaths.

Its not that i don't think the book was very Terry , its more that it felt like something very different over all to what i'm used to.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:30 pm

pip wrote:
Its not that i don't think the book was very Terry , its more that it felt like something very different over all to what i'm used to.

I would agree with that. I still really enjoyed it though.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby pip » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:40 pm

I really enjoyed the book. It was a really good concept, well written and i really liked the characters , especially Lobsang.
Definitely left very open at the end which can be a tad infuriating .
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:46 pm

pip wrote:Yep now i think about wasn't death called Azrael in Good omens pretty much like Terrys Death of Deaths.

Its not that i don't think the book was very Terry , its more that it felt like something very different over all to what i'm used to.

Yup - War, Famine and Pollution/Pestilence are supposed to be all extreme (and immortal) exaggerations of the human psyche, but Death transcends them so he's more like a less frivolous version of Azrael who's also in Reaperman. ;)

Buggery simul with Tony lost me the comment I was making about the 'Terry-ness' of it. :evil: I was saying that I think it's to do with him and Stephen Baxter knowing each other pretty well now so there's some kind of natural consonance going on (like with Neil Gaiman in Good Omens), where their individual writing's so well blended you can't really tell who's done which bit too often. :dance:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby The Mad Collector » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:49 pm

I disagree Jan. This feels like a Stephen Baxter novel with a bit of Terry thrown in every now and then. Yes Terry had the concept but the development appears to be largely Stephen Baxter.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:45 pm

I haven't read Stephen Baxter before so I wouldn't know except to say the obvious ones that would be his which are the quantum bits (and there's a lot of those so he gets to strut there a fair bit), but some of the situations and how they play out remind me of Terry, especially the bits where Joshua has to remind him what being human is all about.

I think we're seeing glimpses of the Terry who loved Arthur C. Clarke and the 'stricter' SF genre writing which hasn't got too much in common with Discworld or even with Nation, but it's still Terry in keeping things in human proportions rather than constantly going off into intellectual aesthetics - I've just got past the bit where Lobsang plays with the trolls and loves their fur. It's experience over knowledge that's Terry's best arena and with Lobsang being a paradox, almost a deus ex machina having once been human and in wanting Joshua along for the ride because he's supplying the visceral experience even though Lobsang doesn't actually need him along at all to do the science bits?

I think this a more considered and low-key Terry supplying subtle and gentle contrast to the 'harder' SF setting and atmosphere that SB's bringing to the story.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:02 pm

I felt the cynicism of the human race in the book was Terry's. But I also haven't read any Baxter, so I don't know. :)
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby The Mad Collector » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:04 pm

Stephen Baxter is 'soft' rather than 'stricter' SF as witnessed by his collorations with Arthur C. Clarke and the Doctor Who stories he has written. Iain Banks he isn't. The closest Terry has got to this before is probably Dark Side of the Sun but to my mind The Long Earth still reads like a Baxter story. One really good thing about this pairing is that hopefully a lot of Pratchett fans who like this book will read Stephen Baxter and enjoy his work. Anyone coming the other way is in for a considerable culture shock.

Edit: Just reread this posting and it feels like a criticism of the book which it isn't. I really enjoyed the book much as I enjoy both writers works, the point I am trying to make is that if you like this then it isn't much of a jump to the rest of Baxters work but if you like Baxter and have not tried Discworld before then the leap to the fantasy of Pratchett is much bigger as virtually nothing in The Long Earth prepares you for this as Terry's voice is barely heard compared to Stephen.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:44 pm

Agreed - this would be a big shock to someone who's only read fantasy before (Terry's or otherwise) as there's no robust flights of the imagination, even with the stepping and in the rather mundane descriptive experience on the air-ship until they get to the High Meggas really, with just the super-boons and the panicked-killer elves to strike a note of suspense on the pioneer trail.

And yes, the view of humanity has a hefty slice of cynicism/realism, but there's still the 'don't treat people (whatever their race) as things' message coming through loud and clear. I watched the ITV1 documentary on people living longer and healthier tonight and immediately thought of the Long Earth - it really would be a double-edged sword with giving Datum lebensraum to 'solve' land, agriculture and population problems. It's my sort of sci-fi - not too far-fetched to believe it could happen and not bombarding you with too much hard science (you may think it's 'soft' SF MAD but I can't and probably won't ever get my head around quantum so it's just about manageable for me ;) )
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:41 pm

Finished it last night. :D Couldn't be arsed to read right through the thread but did a word search for Percy Blakeney so hopefully this hasn't cropped up yet . . . :P

Scarlet Pimpernel anyone? Yes, Sir Percy Blakeney was the fictional hero the Scarlet Pimpernel and saved many a poor aristo during the 18th C French Reign of Terror. So quite a neat little tie-in from the start of the book when Lobsang tells of the 'Russian' trolls rescuing Private Percy after he steps away from WW1 France's repeat performance of extreme political unrest/cleansing to pack up his troubles into the rather large kitbag of the Long Earth. :dance:

That and things like Joshua's and Lobsang's film nights, or the rather abrupt demise of the most successful hominid ancestor on Datum and all the others who did survive in the West and East Earths are supplying the socio-cultural strata to the storyline's that's begging for numerous re-reads while we're waiting for Long Earth 2 & 3.

Then we have the movie of the Trilogy to look forward to - Pandora eat your heart out! :lol:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:43 am

From what I have read elsewhere, the next Disworld book may be postponed a little to concentrate on the Long Earth II, but knowing the proliferation of Pterry's writing the two could come out near enough together. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby mjjt » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:23 am

I was deeply disappointed with The Long Earth. Was very much looking forward to it because liked the concept. My Discworld books get reread constantly, and same goes for Good Omens and Johnny and the Dead, but this I struggled to finish. I was very conscious of the amount of dialogue, which usually implies that there's not enough happening. The action that's there seems contrived. Joshua gets in a dangerous situation with the elves. First he tries to run away, then he tries to fight, despite the fact that he's lost his knife. Hello? He's a natural stepper, isn't he? Why wouldn't his first reaction be to step away? And the omnipotent Lobsang does nothing to help?

And would large numbers of people really move irrevocably far from civilization with it's medical benefits and the occasional ice cream? Why would you have to go hundreds of thousands of steps away to set up on virgin territory?
I'm quite happy to suspend disbelief but I get irritated by inconsistencies. Discworld has it's own rules that we readily agree to accept, but we'd get grumpy if Superman popped in for a visit.

To me, the writers had a choice. They could have explored the more mundane things that the vast majority of steppers would have done - ie set up camp on a beach in Hawaii or established vast marijuana plantations a few steps away from LA Central (all right so that's autobiographical wishful thinking). But instead they launched off on A Quest. But they weren't exactly trying to dump the ring in Mt Doom, were they?

I'm sure this will offend the vast majority of TP fans/fanatics, and maybe I had my expectations set too high, but IMHO this book would sink without trace if it had come from anyone else.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:16 am

Welcome to the site mjjt! :)

Sorry you didn't enjoy The Long Earth - I thought it was very good. I think that maybe it suffers from being the first in a series, so there's quite a lot of scene setting and letting the reader know what is possible in this world - or series of worlds. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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