The Long Utopia (Long Earth)
Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
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The fourth novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s internationally bestselling “Long Earth” series, hailed as “a brilliant science fiction collaboration . . . a love letter to all Pratchett fans, readers, and lovers of wonder everywhere” (Io9).
2045-2059. Human society continues to evolve on Datum Earth, its battered and weary origin planet, as the spread of humanity progresses throughout the many Earths beyond.
Lobsang, now an elderly and complex AI, suffers a breakdown, and disguised as a human attempts to live a “normal” life on one of the millions of Long Earth worlds. His old friend, Joshua, now in his fifties, searches for his father and discovers a heretofore unknown family history. And the super-intelligent post-humans known as “the Next” continue to adapt to life among “lesser” humans.
But an alarming new challenge looms. An alien planet has somehow become “entangled” with one of the Long Earth worlds and, as Lobsang and Joshua learn, its voracious denizens intend to capture, conquer, and colonize the new universe—the Long Earth—they have inadvertently discovered.
World-building, the intersection of universes, the coexistence of diverse species, and the cosmic meaning of the Long Earth itself are among the mind-expanding themes explored in this exciting new installment of Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's extraordinary Long Earth series.
is what he said he wanted.’ ‘But that’s why he brought you back—’ ‘Bah. Oh, forget about me, Joshua. What about Ben? He’s the one who counts – he’s the one who will be hurt if he loses his father.’ She faced him. ‘You’re the first to know. We’re splitting up. Me and George. When this latest crisis is over.’ That dismayed him, and he let it show. ‘That’s truly sad, Agnes. I mean, it’s not George’s fault he ended up sitting on top of the biggest current crisis in the Long Earth.’ No, he
out?’ She raised her arms. When Cassie was up on the surface, Josephine said, ‘You look like you saw a ghost.’ Well, she’d seen – something. Cassie looked around at her house, which was almost ready to get its permanent roof put on, and the fields they’d cleared for their crops, and the hole they’d already dug to make a sandpit for their kid to play in some day … All the work they’d put into this place. All the love. She didn’t want to leave this. But she also didn’t want to deal with
apparent effort of will. ‘Further than I remembered to this oyster-house,’ he said now, panting. ‘Not used to these crowds; forgive my lack of breath. What a swarm this is – eh? As if London is one great decaying tree trunk through which the maggots and the weevils chew their way, selling bits of bark to each other for farthings … Ah, but I imagine you feel more at home than I do, Elusivo? After all it was on streets like this that you once scrambled to survive, did you not? Chewing your quid
appropriate term. But they dressed me up and encouraged me to speak well and mind my manners, and I became a study companion for Alexander – only at home, of course, never at school or beyond the bounds of the house. And in the process, naturally, I learned a good deal myself. I was brighter than Alexander but not markedly so; of course I knew not to outshine him overmuch in our shared work, but to let him think he could beat me at it – as often, indeed, he could. I was a happy child, sirs,
a late lunch, Joshua rustled up more clam chowder and served it with bread. ‘You know, Lobsang, I’ve been with you over a week now and I still can’t get over the fact that you faked your death. I always suspected you weren’t entirely gone, but still … Even by the standards of your bizarro life, that’s quite a stunt.’ ‘I didn’t mean to deceive anyone. Especially not my friends. But it was not all artifice, not a simple lie. The aftermath of the confrontation with the Next was like a death to me.