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The Long Cosmos: 07/17/17
The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is the conclusion to the Long Earth series. It better damn well be — given that it was finished after Pratchett's death. It takes place in the years 2070-2071, six decades after the initial step day.
The first chapter outline a giant cosmic message — JOIN US — that has begun showing up across the different Earths. It comes in different forms and at different times but it's in enough places to not be a coincidence.
And then like all the previous Long Earth books, the next chapters meander around worlds and characters — including a long side story with Joshua recreating Robinson Crusoe with a Troll as Friday.
There's also a plot with the Next coming together even with regular humans to build a massive AI to decode the messages of the cosmos. The idea is to learn the rest of what's behind the JOIN US. In this regards we're back to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I have to wonder what the Next feel about fjords and the number 42.
But ultimately — the entire five book series is the set up as a mathematical shaggy dog story. It's not 42. It's π. And it's been there since book one, though only really a player since the soft spots plot was introduced. For anyone paying attention, the soft spot worlds as well as the jokers all follow a pattern. And if you plot out the digits of π logarithmically, you'll see just how the soft spots work.
Had Pratchett lived to see this joke played out to its conclusion, I think I'd be more excited about it. As it is, I'm more excited to read a tween book with a similar plot — Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass.
Comment #1: Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 18:38:09
I was a little interested in this book and series ...since I am interested in sci fi/space genres.
Glad to know your thoughts. I think it may be time for me to re-read (listen to) The Hitchhiker's Guide.
Comment #2: Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 16:27:00
We've also be re-listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide. Along with The Long Earth books, I recommend reading Wendy Mass's Pi in the Sky. I will be reviewing that book in August.