I absolutely love Terry Pratchett’s work, and was heartbroken when he passed recently. Our BYOBook club made this month a Terry Pratchett Tribute Month, so I decided to read this book that my hubby got me last year. “The Long Earth” is a collaboration between Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, and apparently the first in yet another sci-fi series, this one with four books to its name. (My most recent Literature Spotlight is about this particular book; you can check it out here.)
I was struck by the sensation I got of Pratchett’s style being ‘tempered’ by the collaboration with Baxter. There are glimpses of the quirkiness, light-hearted attitude and imagination that I associate with Pratchett, but the story itself has much more meat, more texture, more…depth, perhaps? This is a book that raises big questions and makes you think. It was an interesting experience to read what seemed to me to be what would happen if Pratchett wanted to write a ‘serious’ book. It’s not exactly serious, since there are definitely light moments, but there are no punch lines, no jokes or bad puns, just a subtle sense of whimsy. It’s more like catching the twinkling eye of a man who gives you a wry smile and a wink, rather than a wizard in bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt bouncing through on a pogo stick and yodeling. (That analogy was for you, Terry.)
I highly recommend this one, especially if you find Discworld a bit too crazy for your taste.