Writer and editor Deanne Sheldon-Collins joins Liz and Ben as they return to the infinite worlds of the Long Earth to discuss Terry Pratchett’s second collaboration with Stephen Baxter: 2013’s The Long War.
In the ten years since anti-stepping extremists nuked his home town of Madison on the original “Datum” Earth, natural stepper and explorer Joshua Valienté has settled down. He’s husband to pioneer Helen Green and mayor of Hell-Knows-Where, a thriving town established more than a million steps West of the Datum. But Sally Linsay, fellow far stepper, soon arrives to ask Joshua for help. Trouble is brewing in the Long Earth: settlers are abusing the intelligent humanoids known as “trolls”. Tensions are rising between the American government and the far-flung colonies in its “footprint” on other worlds. And on another distant Earth, other species make plans to push the humans back where they came from…
The multi-threaded cosy travelogue continues in (probably) Pratchett’s second-longest novel. More Earths, more characters, more non-humans! A sense of potential disaster looms in every other chapter, while the characters and narrative ponder humanity’s relationship with Earth, and the ways in which society might respond to twenty-five years of unlimited resources and living room.
Does this still feel like Pratchett to you? What did you think of the women in the novel – especially Joshua’s “young wife” Helen? Did you enjoy the various side treks to weird worlds with strange creatures, or did they just leave you wanting more time with the trolls, kobolds, elves and even weirder Long Earth creatures? And, perhaps most importantly: will you stick with the series and see where it’s going next? Use the hashtag #Pratchat46 on social media to join the conversation!
Guest Deanne Sheldon-Collins (she/her) is an editor and writer who’s been an active part of Australia’s speculative fiction scene for a decade or so. Deanne has worked for Aurealis magazine, Writer’s Victoria, the National Young Writer’s Festival and Speculate, the Victorian Speculative Fiction Writers Festival, where she was co-director with previous guest Joel Martin. (Speculate has since closed down, but you can find old news about the festival on its Twitter account, @SpecFicVic.)
As usual, you can find notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
Next episode it’s time to restart the experiment as we shake up the globe that is the wizards of Unseen University’s Roundworld experiment! Prepare to mix science and magic in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, which we’ll be discussing with science comedian, Alanta Colley! Send us your questions using the hashtag #Pratchat47, or get them in via email: firstname.lastname@example.org