Parallel Universes. Stepping. Potatoes. Nuns. Trolls. Elves.
What if humanity could suddenly step into parallel universes? What would people choose to do? How would society change? What would happen to our original home? What would happen to those individuals who lacked the ability to go to different universes? These are some of the questions explored in The Long Earth, written by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
Briefly, in the opening chapters, someone creates a devise that allows almost anyone to travel to different universes. Later, we learn that there are natural born steppers who don’t need the devise. One of them is Joshua, who along with Lobsang, an AI, attempts to learn more about the universes and their purposes.
I have a mixed reaction to The Long Earth. I enjoyed the concept of the parallel universes. I appreciated the wonderful world building, especially how the universes differed from one another. I liked how the authors explored the social impact. I was a bit frustrated by the plot. It feels like much of the book is setting the reader up for something. At this point, I don’t know if this is a two part story or part of a longer series or a novel with a very disappointing ending. I also had problems with Lobsang, who I felt distracted from the story. I would rather have had a brilliant scientist or group take his place. All and all, my fascination with the parallel universes made this an easy and enjoyable story to read.