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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
The Long Earth (The Long Earth, #1) - Terry Pratchett,  Stephen Baxter A did not finish read.I think, in its way, this could be regarded as a form of apocalyptica. A device allowing easy jumping to countless alternate worlds (conveniently free of human populations) is invented. Many people embrace this passionately, and rush off to stake their claim in a 'land rush' with no visible end game. A small percentage can't go and others don't want to, but the effect of this mass dispersal is economies collapsing, new religions, fighting among old religions. It's a book about global change.The book doesn't focus on a single person, showing us the experiences of a half-dozen or so, and headhops through a bunch more, but the primary character is Joshua, one of the first to hop, and also a natural hopper, able to travel without the device. He's an orphan, and inclined to be a major loner, and in part his progression involves finding someone he might want to travel with.The book didn't work for me in a number of different ways.The prose scales the pinnacles of beige. The plot is leaden and there's little sense of wonder, of individuals overcoming adversity, or awe or delight. But the biggest problem is Joshua, who is Super Special and Innately Superior to Everyone, so much more in connection with the natural world, so superior in his reactions to the other worlds, so much better a logical thinker, so better able to cope. People keep telling him that, so we can be sure it's not just his opinion. He is full of a combination of disdain and dislike for almost everyone he encounters, and is also a Famous Hero. When the (strangely enormous number of) children in his neighbourhood who simultaneously decided they wanted to follow some guy on the internet's suggestion they figure out how to solder some wires into a circuit and jab them into a potato, he told them that, hey, maybe you should try turning the switch the Other Direction. Genius!Joshua is extremely unlikeable, and few other characters distinguish themselves in any way. I liked the female police officer a bit, but 20% in I had no Cares left in me and flipped to the end to see whether this was going anywhere interesting. And the answer to that was nowhere unexpected.