It is the middle of the twenty-first century. After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption, humanity is spreading farther into the Long Earth. Society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve. And new challenges emerge. Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang is living with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He’s determined to lead a normal life in New Springfield—they even adopt a child. But there are rumors, strange sightings in the sky. On this world, something isn’t right… Millions of steps away—learning about a hidden family history and the father he never knew—Joshua receives an urgent summons from New Springfield. Lobsang has come to understand that what has blighted his Earth is also a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. Countering this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine, and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice…
Thar be spoilers here – ye be warned!
I’m usually a pretty fast reader, but checking on my status updates on Good Reads, I can’t believe it took me nine days to read this book.
The Long Utopia is long and boring, and there’s no utopia. I enjoyed The Long Earth. The Long Mars was decent as well. The Long War had no war. Well there was this thing that happened in one chapter, but in The Long Utopia, there was like a single paragraph that talked about a utopia by the smart kids.
And what’s with the beetle things? So on this world, we can step north and south in addition to east and west. Lobsang and Sally die in an attempt to seal away this world to prevent the beetle menace. Why don’t they just step north, and then east, then south again? When the Earth explodes, beetles are flung everywhere, and presumably they make it to Mars and the moon. Are those celestial bodies also sealed? If so, I get that everyone abandoned the “super-fast rotating Earth,” but did they check for life on the moon or Mars?
Lets also criticize the whole “sealing” thing. I get that soft spots would allow this world to be skipped, just like jokers where the Earth isn’t there, but what about the steppers that can’t use them? What about the people stranded on the other side of this world?
Ugh, the series has waned in the last few books, and I’m afraid The Long Utopia is the worst of the bunch. Which is sad, because the parallel Earths thing has been done so well in the past. Sliders will always be the king, even with the crappy seasons 4 & 5. I can’t bring myself to star this any worse than 3 stars.
Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the Year; he also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships. He is currently working on his next novel, a collaboration with Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Mr. Baxter lives in Prestwood, England.