The Long Earth **Spoilers**

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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:20 pm

Well they did have the 'carpetbagging' types covered in there with Russo (the one who tried to prospect the California alluvial gold and found other people already there doing the same thing). Then there was government intervention all over PDQ, except perhaps in over-populated Asian nations where the spare room came in really handy in hiving off a goodly proportion of people, but then that caused economic slumps which is also an impetus to bugger off as far as you could handle and be in charge of your own fate where corporate institutions can't rip you off and dictate your standard of living. :P

It's all in there - there's the guy who wants to get to Australia via Hawaii they meet in Happy Landing it's just that Joshua's a natural stepper and Lobsang's interested in exploring the parameters. The bit with the Elves and Joshua getting hurt happened at the point where he was getting fed up with just travelling for travelling's sake (which is more or less what he was doing at a slower pace before he was head-hunted by Lobsang) and wanted to stick around and we already knew he'd stand and fight if there were other factors than just his own hide to save with the situation with the super-boons. Lobsang knew he was in no sustained danger (and being disembodied had lost his sense of endangerment somewhat) and the Mark Twain was also a factor in his fight rather than flight reaction as that's his home base - material 'possessions' you value literally tie you down after all... ;)
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:48 pm

I liked the bit about the prospector at Sutter's Mill because it showed what a profound effect this was having on the world. Suddenly, practically overnight, gold became worthless. Gold is mainly valuable because it's rare. If it is abundant it becomes practically useless.

And the colonists travelling vast distances. That makes good sense to me, especially if you look at the early pioneers in America for example. They wanted their own world where they could their lives as they wanted, that wasn't going to be spoiled by suddenly finding you had other people a few miles away with completely different ideas.

The settlement of America could have been a gradual migration from east to west, and it was to a degree, but there were always those who wanted to travel even further to settle where no one else was (apart from natives of course. ;) ).

The danger and hardship seemed to be part of the adventure and I can imagine the need for challenge after living in a society where everything can be gotten relatively easily.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby mjjt » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:56 pm

I'm not sure that that is correct. Common idealistic view of wanting to "get away from civilization" or "back to Nature" that most abandon after one go at camping out. ('If god had wanted us to go camping, he would't have invented motels') (To support this I cite the irrefutable evidence of Calvin and Hobbes camping cartoons)

American migration of 1840's and 1850's explained almost solely in economic terms. 'Push' factors of the virgin land in East being taken, 'Pull' factors of opportunities in California and Oregon - gold and fertile farmland. They weren't trying to get away from everyone else.

So I didn't think it made sense to have people travelling 100,000 steps to find new land. The book suggests that Datum One would lose the bottom 20% of population. Maybe in India and China, but in the West very few wd swap their couches, their big TVs and fast food for a hardscrabble existence on a farm. Twenty steps from D1 wd get you to a land unlikely to be encroached upon for generations (and you'd still be able to get back in an emergency)
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:04 pm

But that's the point with stepping really - most people were like Joshua in that they generally came back to Datum eventually. Maybe Joshua being a natural stepper meant he could stay away longer than usual, but I got the impression that a fair proportion of people treated Long Earth almost as a vacation/long weekend/leisure destination or, like Jansson, as a commute? Which is why it had such an immediate impact on the economy in Datum because people could just go without any restrictions, which is a huge attraction just in itself. :)

Even out in the 100,000's they still had contact as well - Jansson knew that Tilda had died of cancer but her son didn't because he ignored all their letters. People will look for new, better lives for all kinds of reasons - look at the Vietnamese Boat People or even the economic migrants (assisted passages) to Australia & NZ between the World Wars and in the 1940s/50s. A lot of those people were leaving relatively cushy lifestyles for the chance to own property or be their own bosses etc.

Seen in that light, where anyone who's not phobic can make a stepper and just go, it's not really that huge a risk once it's become a common activity, even though the 'one person per World' pipedream is obviously soon going to be a complete and utter washout on the Low Earths . ;) If it really was possible and 'everyone' was doing it wouldn't you want to have at least a look...? :D
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tiffany » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:53 pm

I have finished the book.
Can't say I understood some of it, but I enjoyed reading it. I never analyse a book, if I like it I read it cover to cover & I have no interest in why someone did that or said that or whatever. I liked the imagination of the story, the adventure, the discriptions of animals, the humanoid life forms & the thought there could be parallel worlds to Earth, it was just a good read to me.
A very novel use for potatoes too. :D
I think the blue print for making a Stepper should have been included in the text. :D

And, I still prefer The Discworld. :D
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Catch-up » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:41 pm

There's a blueprint for the stepper in the front of my copy. :D But, I don't have a potato.

Finished the book last night. I really enjoyed the concept. Loved the idea of the trolls and elves and that they're natural steppers, occasionally visiting our Earth. First thing I thought of was Bigfoot. :D My only complaint would be that some of the dialogue exchanges seemed awkward, particularly between Sally and Joshua. Some of it just didn't make sense to me. I also would hit sort of a mental stumbling block when an American character would use a very British word or phrase. Yes, I know, I'm sure there are thousands of examples of the reverse happening in movies and books that can be listed here! :P But, this was a first for me, so it stuck out. I'm looking forward to reading more! I want to know what happens next. :D
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Penfold » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:27 am

Tiffany wrote:A very novel use for potatoes too. :D
I think the blue print for making a Stepper should have been included in the text. :D

And, I still prefer The Discworld. :D

I've heard of potatoes being used as a battery before somewhere but I managed to dig out this science project on the net that some of you with children (or even without) might be interested in trying. :D

POTATO BATTERY
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:39 am

I got the distinct feeling that the stepper device was actually only a placebo that brought out the deeply buried, natural stepping abilities of people. There was at least one case of someone who had discovered that the device worked even without a potato. I suspect we'll learn more about that in the next book. ;)
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby pip » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:40 am

Tonyblack wrote:I got the distinct feeling that the stepper device was actually only a placebo that brought out the deeply buried, natural stepping abilities of people. There was at least one case of someone who had discovered that the device worked even without a potato. I suspect we'll learn more about that in the next book. ;)

WAsn't that question asked and some people can only step with a stepper . Something about a fifth of people having the natural ability
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:52 am

Well I kind of suspect that more and more of those people will discover the ability to naturally step. The whole thing about the user having to actually make the stepper themselves isn't all that logical and starts to sound more like magic than science. And this is sci fi rather than fantasy.

I'm reminded of A C Clarke's book, Childhood's End, which has humanity making an evolutionary step forward. Not everyone is able to make that step at first, but more and more become capable. Inevitably there are some who are never able to change.

Like I say, it will be interesting to see where Terry and Stephen take this.

Does anyone think it's odd that there seems to be only one world where humanity came into being? One would have expected that West 1 and East 1 and the other low numbers, would have evolved so similarly that there would be some form of human on them. I think this is another question that may be answered ultimately in the series. :)
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby pip » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:00 am

Tonyblack wrote:Well I kind of suspect that more and more of those people will discover the ability to naturally step. The whole thing about the user having to actually make the stepper themselves isn't all that logical and starts to sound more like magic than science. And this is sci fi rather than fantasy.

I'm reminded of A C Clarke's book, Childhood's End, which has humanity making an evolutionary step forward. Not everyone is able to make that step at first, but more and more become capable. Inevitably there are some who are never able to change.

Like I say, it will be interesting to see where Terry and Stephen take this.

Does anyone think it's odd that there seems to be only one world where humanity came into being? One would have expected that West 1 and East 1 and the other low numbers, would have evolved so similarly that there would be some form of human on them. I think this is another question that may be answered ultimately in the series. :)


To keep with Arthur C Clarke - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic ;)

And didn't humanity start on these other worlds based on the research that vicar was doing but something stopped it getting beyond the rift valley
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:23 am

In the alternative 'Code' thread on here we're skirting around the issue of why Homo Sapiens Sapiens only happens on Datum and it's basically to do with survival of the fittest in the guise of evolutionary persecution.

As well as 'only on Datum' why are trolls, elves and other stepping hominids are found all over the Long Earth but not (or very rarely) on Datum and also a more recent Roundworld hypothesis as to the relatively sudden disappearance of Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis after the Cro Magnon human sub-species arrived in their receding-glacial strongholds of Eurasia.

Also why only one world without a Moon or no Earth at all? What are the odds... :dance:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tiffany » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:29 am

Penfold wrote:I've heard of potatoes being used as a battery before somewhere but I managed to dig out this science project on the net that some of you with children (or even without) might be interested in trying. :D

POTATO BATTERY



Thanks for the link, I remember doing that in Science I think many years ago, but didn't match it to the book.
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Tiffany » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:33 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:In the alternative 'Code' thread on here we're skirting around the issue of why Homo Sapiens Sapiens only happens on Datum and it's basically to do with survival of the fittest in the guise of evolutionary persecution.

As well as 'only on Datum' why are trolls, elves and other stepping hominids are found all over the Long Earth but not (or very rarely) on Datum and also a more recent Roundworld hypothesis as to the relatively sudden disappearance of Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis after the Cro Magnon human sub-species arrived in their receding-glacial strongholds of Eurasia.

Also why only one world without a Moon or no Earth at all? What are the odds... :dance:



I think that's because they don't like crowded places, in the book it was said the Trolls were happy with a certain number of humans but when there were a lot more they, the Trolls left.
Hark at me, one who doesn't do analysis. :lol:
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Re: The Long Earth **Spoilers**

Postby Catch-up » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:16 am

I agree that the stepper is a placebo and that's why people have to make their own for it to work. I did think it was odd that there were no other humans on any of those other Earths, but admit that I have no idea what the odds would be for it. I don't know that the trolls and elves developed on all the other worlds as much as they had access to them. It does make sense that at least some worlds had hominids.
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