Book #109: The Long Cosmos (2016)

The-Long-Cosmosauthors: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
language: English
length: 385 pages
finished on: 25 July 2016
others in this series: (1) (2) (3) (4)

Terry Pratchett’s still turning out to be prolific beyond the grave, it turns out – this is the second book released in the Long Earth since he passed away last year. Apparently the last chapters were finished off by Stephen Baxter alone, in fact.

This picks the characters up as old men – the character Joshua Valienté is now in his sixties or seventies, and goes off for a final trip through the Long Earth, that strange multiverse introduced in the previous books in the series. He’s very similar to the authors’ ages now, and they wrote this very successfully, I thought. He gets trapped somewhere when he gets injured, and is taken care of by a troll, one of the other species of hominids that can step from world to world.

So where The Long Utopia, the fourth book, was about Valienté’s family history, and the history of the Long Earth by extension, this book explores the other species of the Long Earth, including the trolls, and what they call “elves”, introduced in the first book and almost forgotten since then. The trolls are depicted as a gorilla on the front cover, which I don’t think is accurate – it should be more like Homo erectus, or like neanderthals, from the descriptions in the book. They can also communicate with the human characters using a kind of translator microphone thing, briefly mentioned a few books ago, although somehow humans and trolls can’t truly learn each other’s language – this is hand-waved away a few times by saying the grammar doesn’t match properly. I liked this look into trolls – they were always elusive before, and even disappeared completely during one of the stories.

Not to deliberately spoil anything, but the book ends with a very grandiose cosmic tying together of loose threads, with a philosophical justification for the Long Earth that I didn’t buy completely. It’s at this point that I start to tease out Baxter’s style from Pratchett’s, which I found difficult to do in the first book, but having now read two of Baxter’s books – Proxima and its sequel Ultima, which I’ve yet to review – these both have similar themes, exploring the nature of the multiverse with slightly far-fetched explanations. Despite this, I was overall satisfied with the book’s conclusion. Of course, I only recommend it if you’ve read the other books first!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: