I may not understand how or why authors co-author a book but that doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of them. Do they co-author because they are too old to write themselves? Or are they trying to combine their powers like captain planet. More to the point how do they do it. Do they both just write separate plot lines then combine them and just alternate chapters or is it more a spinning ideas by each other. After all only one person can be typing at time.
Anyway this series turns out to be 5 books long and sadly Pratchett passed away just prior to book fours release. So the final book will be written solo. So i guess i might understand the writing process of a co-authored book by seeing how dissimilar the final book will be. Needless to say the world these two have made is stunningly imaginative.
A scientist discovers a way to travel to parallel worlds with a simple device made from basic component’s and a potato. Then he posts the blueprints online without a description of what it does and then disappears from society soon all over the place kids are building these and disappearing. No one knows where they are but one boy comes to the rescue, Joshua Valiente. He brings the kids back to home. The world soon learns of these parallel worlds and everything changes.
As one imagines when given the opportunity of slaving at some desk job to pay off a home loan. Or living like a pioneer building your own house and hunting or farming free from capitalism a huge amount of the population chooses the later and disappears from what they call datum earth(the same earth we the reader lives on). I know i sure as hell would go in a second. The parallel worlds are just numbered by how many steps they are from datum. They are also called east or west but those titles have nothing to do with a compass. A step is the term for stepping from one parallel world to another. In that you can step west into West 1, 2,3 or step east to 1 ,2,3 etc there is no end number. As you can imagine the first book deals with Joshua and friends going on an expedition to explore all the way to west 2 million. While still discussing the changes back home. Which were all quite logical. If half the population leaves government revenue dries up. Greedy evil banks and corporations start struggling but people can actually enjoy life. Joshua on his journeys finds there are no humans in the other words but evolution has gone crazy and there is such an assortment of life out there.
The second book The Long War is more about the fall out of half the population getting up and leaving and then having the datum earth try and find ways to control and tax people. No taxation without representation sound familiar? yeah how did that work out last time someone tried to do that.
I really felt the authors came into their own with the third book The Long Mars as its title suggests an expedition goes to mars and tries to step to see if its possible and if the parallel worlds of mars and earth are connected and there second objective is to keep stepping till they find life on mars
The fourth book The Long Utopia while still dealing with a natural disaster on datum earth our protagonist Joshua is led to a distant world where events are underway that could destroy the planet and possible the long earth
After the first book i just couldn’t stop and did all 4 in one go. The downside is i must wait till next year for the fifth and final part, oh the agony but well worth it. These books manage to tap into and capture that pioneering spirit and the readers imagination. i am just blown away by the level of creativity and imagination show by the authors in making this world.
I always did like the original 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Especially when i first read it as a kid, the sense of wonder it evoked helped cement my love of Sci-fi. So when i saw this sitting on a shelf and that it was a re-imaging i thought id give it a go. Turns out this was actually less a re-imaging and more of a sequel(Which should of rang alarm bells in my head). A sequel that for the most part comes off as some kind of Hunter S Thompson drug fueled dream sequence.
For a majority of the story i was left unsure of what was really going on, was this some kind of dream? Was this an Episode of the TV show “Lost” Surely this plot had to come from the mind of someone on some kind of pharmaceutical concoction. There were some brief glimpses of normalcy when a familiar character appears, however it turns out nothing is normal and their take on this character clearly had to be a result of some kind of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Towards the end an attempt at a explanation is made as to what is really occurring however by this point the characters had become so unbelievable i just wanted to throw the book away. I’m yet to abandon a book, though this did come close. Finally i pushed through to the disappointing yet reliving ending. Disappointing in that it resolved nothing and left me with questions but a relief in the fact that this horrible story was over. I have no idea what spawned the decision to write this book but it was complete and udder rubbish. Next time Adam Roberts goes on a drug fueled bender i suggests he sticks to watching TV like normal pot heads rather than try and Re-image another Sci-Fi classic