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The Long Earth - Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (7*)

Title: The Long Earth
Auteur: Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
ISBN: 9780062068682
© 2012 Terry and Lyn Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

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 have 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's an understatement if ever there was one...

The Long Earth is the first novel in an exciting new collaboration between the creator of Discworld Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter. 


More serious sf/fantasy than the Discworld series I so love. It took me a short while to get the hang of it, because in the first few chapters of the book, a lot of characters are being introduced and it is not clear in what era/time the events concerning those characters are taking place. But gradually things are getting more clear and the humor begins to shine through.

Joshua is the main character and he is well portrayed. Somehow during the story I still envision him during his travel as a young man about the age of 21 or so, but in fact he is a bit older than that. Moreover, almost at the end of the book it is mentioned he is slim, dark... What? In my mind Joshua was a young Caucasian man, maybe a little bit Latino (going on his surname and the name of his mother) but dark? Nope. No way. Huh? The mind works in mysterious ways. The name Joshua pushed me in the wrong direction I guess. Not a Latino name in my opinion.
Lobsang is really funny. Annoying, but funny. You really can't rely on him. He may be a Tibetan spirit, but he sure acts more as the machine he has become.
Officer Jansson has a small role in this story, but an important one. I really liked her and I have a feeling that in the sequel she'll play a much larger role than she's been given here. Sally is a character well thought-out. From the moment she emerges she soon becomes a round character and will play an important role in the sequel, next to Joshua, I believe. She's not quite all girly/lovely/likeable, but a kick-ass young woman not to be messed with. I like that.
And the cat... yes the cat... Shi-mi is a fine specimen of robotics. It is quite remarkable that in the short scenes she plays a role in, you get quite a good idea of her character... catlike, a real queen.

About the events. Firstly, Datum Earth settled in my brain as Dátoem Earth, don't ask me why... I just pronounced it that way in my mind. And it stuck.
All the stepping from world to world, a lot of the time describing nothing new, was sometimes a bit tiresome. I was yearning for some action.
The creatures inhabiting the Long Earth were not that surprising, but still perfectly acceptable. I just wished (me and my liking for loveliness) to come across some beautiful and peaceful creatures, without the stink of trolls. ;-)

All in all it was a fine read for me and I will start with the sequel 'The long war'. This book ends with a cliffhanger, so honestly said, I don't think I even have a choice.


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"Blanco. Ze staarde wezenloos voor zich uit. Alles was blanco. Ze had het gevoel niet echt te zijn. Even deed ze haar ogen dicht en probeerde ze zich te concentreren op haar lichaam. Ze werd zich gewaar van haar hartslag en ademhaling; ze moest wel echt zijn. Ze opende haar ogen en keek omhoog naar de strakblauwe lucht, die leek ook echt. Ze richtte haar blik vooruit en zag de zee. Het wateroppervlak was rustig, de golven kabbelden. In de verte voer een vrachtschip waarvan het leek alsof hij stillag. Ze werd zich ervan bewust dat ze in de vloedlijn stond en dat haar sneakers nat waren geworden, toch bleef ze staan. In haar rechterhand hield ze iets vast: een scherp toelopende metalen pin. Het zat onder het bloed, net als…


If dreams could be real
You'd live
We'd walk in the park, smiling
But spring's here again
And you're not

How far would you go

how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way through the swamp of sadness
where despair seeps into your veins
leaving your limbs as heavy as stone
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way over the mountains of dread
where the fear claws at your feet
and the paths are as treacherous as thieves
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way through the valley of pain
where the roads are as sharp as razors
and the rivers run with blood
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
All the way to the ends of the earth
where the emptiness is as vast
as the hole in my heart
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you go