Finally was able to log back on after nearly three weeks of trying. I couldn't get a Lost Password Email sent to me for love nor money. (And if you can't log in, you can't ask for help logging in.) (AND none of the other emails anywhere on the website seemed to working.) I'm happy to say that's all been fixed. So my little review may seem a bit tardy, is my point, but I'll post it anyway and hope no one objects too strongly.
It was an interesting concept and I think the depictions of what people did were pretty spot on. The immediate move to pillage the nearest gold mines, corporations looking to exploit the worlds to make a profit, people going back to modified pioneer ways (here I'm picturing the colonists of Firefly/Serenity).
The resentment from the phobics seemed pretty realistic as well. I'm not sure, however, that families would just bail on their non-stepping children unless there was other, pre-existing dysfunction. I listened to the audiobook and actually found myself getting really agitated listening to the hate speech by the anti-stepper activist (I can't recall his name just now). That was a fine bit of writing (and performance by Michael Fenton Stevens).
I liked a few of the supporting characters, a motorcycle riding nun was great. I liked Monica Jansson but I'm a little disappointed at the lesbian-police officer cliche.
I thought the Happy Landings community was a good back story. I liked the idea that there have been natural steppers for a long, long time. And the...evolution of the community that showed influences from the generations of people who appeared was appealing. I'm not sure about the "suddenly I was just transported here and no I don't want to go back to my old life" description but perhaps that will be resolved in the next book
I think the descriptions of Lobsang and Joshua traveling through the worlds sometimes got a little tedious. I know they were writing to show their progress through all the variations of the worlds but to me there were a couple of parts that got a little long.
I was aggravated at the abrupt ending until I started reading other people's reviews and found that it was To Be Continued.... (I loathed The Lady & The Tiger with it's "you decide what happens" ending.) Maybe it should have been obvious to me but I kept looking at the number of discs left and wondering how they were going to wrap up the story with so little time left.
I liked the little references to Discworld, (especially the potato which, duh, didn't even click until I read Fred Phillips' review on http://spychocyco.blogspot.com/
). I don't know anything about Stephen Baxter. If I had read his work before, that might make me like the book more (or possibly less.)
So overall, one thumbs up. I'm looking forward to the next book to re-evaluate.