Book #103: The Long Utopia (2015)

longutopiaauthors: Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
language: English
length: 373 pages (if I’d read it in a book, but I actually read it on my iPhone screen)
finished reading on: 4 May 2016

Evidently this series was completed before Terry Pratchett’s death, and I have also just purchased the final book in the series after this one – I’m invested enough now to want to finish it.

Compared to the last one in the series, this has much better cohesion, with a mere two or three plot strands that come together convincingly, although it took me longer to get around to, so it’s been a long time since the last one. That might be the last one’s fault. I just remember it now as lacking direction.

The book continues the previous discussion of post-humans, and whether they should be considered human at all, and there is a kind of literal messiah character with an ordinary name, reminiscent of the kid in Good Omens who’s actually the devil. Pratchett seems to have liked doing that.

It also shows humanity having to band together to defeat an external threat, and keeps on talking about the economical impact of the “Long Earth” – hence the title “Utopia”. It still shies away from talking about the metaphysical structure of said Long Earth in all but the vaguest terms, though – you do still have to make that leap of faith and just believe in it, since it’s not always clear how the universes are linked, and the authors seem to pull new rules from the ether sometimes.

I don’t think it could ever live up to the first book in the series, to be honest – but this is a welcome return to form for Baxter and Pratchett, and yes, I’ll be reading the next one. Eventually.

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