Book #70: The Long Mars (2014)

18586487authors: Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
language: English
length: 335 pages
finished reading on: 4 Aug 2014

Having been a fan of the last two books in this series I was quite pleased to find that it was coming out this summer and would be, nominally, about Mars. I got it on ebook, even though my kindle broke earlier this year, and read it all on my phone’s tiny screen.

Compared to the other books on its series it’s not quite as good, though. The storyline felt a bit piecemeal, since it’s following three different groups of people whose stories only briefly converge at the very end. The first chapter was exemplary of this, because it very much follows a “where are they now” summarization of all the characters.

The book, as with its predecessors, is brimming with ideas, but I would have preferred it if there had been one storyline, instead of feeling that it had to follow around all the characters separately.

In terms of the whole premise of the story, that one can step from world to world, it becomes even more convoluted here, especially with the introduction of a Long Mars, which doesn’t match up with the Long Earth at all. And evidently, despite the Long Earth being full of variation which made the last books so exciting, the Long Mars is rather disappointing, completely devoid of life in 90% of vases and unvarying in its landscape.

The other storylines, which delve more into the Long Earth and find out how it varies more and more as the characters travel into the unknown, were more interesting. The third main storyline looks at the aftermath of the Yellowstone eruption on the original earth, and at the emergence of a superhuman species, although the scientific explanation of what they are supposed to be and the use of the word species irked me a bit, and I felt they weren’t handled as well as they could have been.

Some of my favourite characters were missing from the book, for the most part, for instance the Tibetan monk character Lobsang. I feel like Terry Pratchett didn’t have as large a part in this as he did in the last one for that reason.

So overall it was good but I feel it would have been much better if it’d had a bit more focus and wasn’t jumping between so many storylines.

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One Response to Book #70: The Long Mars (2014)

  1. Pingback: Book #103: The Long Utopia (2015) | reuoq

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