Summary

Josh Valiente shows his age. Meanwhile, humanity and their fellow inhabitants of the Long Earth get a call from E.T.

Written by
Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter in 2016

The Long Earth series comes to an end in The Long Cosmos. I should probably say right off the bat that these books have at various times delighted and infuriated me. It’s not because they’re crap, but it’s that for most of its five year run, I would have expected better from Baxter and Pratchett. And so it is with The Long Cosmos.

It’s been some years since the events of The Long Utopia. Everyone is getting old, Joshua is now a grandfather with all the burdens and regrets that old age brings. His wife is dead, his son hates him and his friends have all moved on. Personally, this growing old and infirm business is kind of scary.

Anyway, to celebrate his loneliness, Joshua goes on another sabbatical, except this time, lots of things go wrong and his survival is not guaranteed. Meanwhile, Nelson goes on a quest to look for a family he didn’t realise existed. And the entire Long Earth starts to receive a full spectrum signal from the centre of the galaxy, inviting humans, trolls and beagles alike to “join us”.

While humanity and the Next work together to build an enormous device the size of a continent, Lobsang is awoken from his own hibernation to try and piece together what the invitation means for everybody.

As it stands, The Long Cosmos, or as I like to call it, The Long Goodbye, is one of those books that promises much, but delivers in dribs and drabs, without quite reaching the lofty heights promised. It’s entertaining, in the same way that an episode of CSI might be, all the same procedural stuff that happened in the last episode, plus some conclusion that is hardly dramatic.

It’s with some sadness that this is the last book that Sir Terry Pratchett had a hand in. Apart from the loss of his literary genius, it’s also not the best work with which to send him off. That magic the first in this series generated wasn’t backed up by the rest of the books. Feels like a new iPhone really, sounds all shiny and spectacular. But it’s still just a smartphone, and its OS hasn’t changed in a meaningful way since day dot. Makes me want to try out Android.

Rating

The final adventure of the characters in the Long Earth series. It’s good, but not great.

Read this if you…

Enjoy taking leisurely strolls along beaches.

Skip this if you…

Enjoy storming beaches.

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