Book:The Long War

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The Long War
Co-author(s) Stephen Baxter
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 18th June 2013
ISBN 9780062067777
Pages 432
RRP £18.99
Main characters Joshua Valienté, Lobsang, Sally Linsay
Series The Long Earth Series
Annotations View
Notes with Stephen Baxter
All data relates to the first UK edition.

The follow-up to The Long Earth...


A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua Valienté and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth , but in turn The Long Earth is shaping mankind. A new ‘America’, called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, with core American values restated in the plentiful environment of the Long Earth - and Valhalla is growing restless under the control of the Datum government.

Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity’s thoughtless exploitation. Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before.



Things and Concepts



Lots and lots. As a general remark, it would seem that Terry is slyly slipping in lots of references to people and events in the Discworld series to delight the fans, or else to see if anybody notices.

Discworld references:-

Sally Linsay's love for trolls and her fearsome advocacy for them calls to mind Adora Belle Dearheart and her passion for golems and Goblins.

  • Corgi paperback pp133-134: - The rather big mess made of several East Earths by Chinese attempts to improve on Nature by use of nuclear bombs to relocate a few mountains. It is possible Terry Pratchett is here alluding to Leonard of Quirm and his excited plans to use explosive metal bombs in major civil engineering works, for eg to remove inconveniently located mountains. This is how it would all work out in practice...
  • Corgi paperback page 400: - Carl the troll is outraged at an ignorant and malicious human downgrading him to the status of a mere mindless animal. He grabs the hapless youth by the ankle, lifts him upside down, and bounces his head off the ground until a human he respects politely asks him to let go. It appears that trolls are incensed by use of the A-Word.
  • Corgi paperback page 431: the speculation about the Huge God that fell to the Long Earth known as 1,349,877 and whose body changed the face of the very planet. Hmm. The Fifth Elephant reference here?
  • The Joker world 1,617,848 was home to an advanced civilisation, who had access to technology and who were religiously-minded, who used a Pyramid as a power source and storage point for a lot of energy. It is implied the Great Pyramid was responsible for bringing about the end of their civilisation. Hmmm. A shout-out to Pyramids?
  • Corgi paperback page 466 and on: Joshua Valienté is forced to run for his life and escape capture from pursuing Beagles. the deal is, if he wins he gets peace between humans and Beagles, If he dies he becomes a trophy head on the wall. Effectively he is playing The Game as it is known in Überwald. And against creatures who have all the attributes of Werewolves.

Other References:- There are a lot of Roundworld "Music With Rocks In" references. Cataloguing them all will be as much fun as doing the annotations for Soul Music, but this will take time. There are a lot of them.

  • Corgi paperback page 41:- Daniel Valienté jumps the shark - literally - at his school play.On one water-ski. A reference to the seminal event where Fonzie water-skis over a shark - which is held to have heralded the decline from greatness of TV sitcom Happy Days, and which is now a cultural meme for the defining moment where a TV series, or a band's musical output, or a series of formerly well-loved books begins to descend into mediocrity. Hmm. Terry's comment on suggestions his writing has jumped the shark?
  • Corgi paperback page 95:- The crewman told Dan his name was Bosun Higgs is a reference to a character from the Girl Genius comic by Phil and Katja Foglio. He's introduced as airman third class Higgs, an airship crewman. In the old navies third class would be the rank of Bosun.
  • Corgi paperback page 463: Lobsang is trying to persuade the Trolls to come out of their sanctuary with the Beagles and give humanity another chance. His last comment is a gnomic Tomorrow Never Knows. And Stepping is just a little matter of turn off your mind, relax and float downstream... (which Joshua is almost immediately forced to do - literally - as part of The Game.)
  • Corgi paperback page 469: a thin wailing song, something about remembering Walter... Finn McCool's prized posession is an antique Walkman and we know his latest acquisition is a Kinks LP, the Village Green Preservation Society. The lines are:
  • Walter, isn't it a shame the way our little world has changed?/Do you remember, Walter, how we said we'd fight the world so we'd be free./We'd save up all our money and we'd buy a boat and sail away to sea..
  • The Kinks also recorded "Apeman", a song about leaving the world as it is and becoming more free in a simpler cleaner society somewhere else.
  • Corgi paperback page 493: Sister Agnes is referencing All My Trials, a protest song dating from the 1950's recorded by artistes including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Nick Drake.
  • FinnMcCool is introduced as a member of a humanoid race with very large distinctive ears who are driven by the need to acquire, trade and to make profit. A bit of a quirky, or perhaps Quarky, character.
  • The human names taken by prominent Beagles were conferred by Steppers and Combers who passed through the Beagle world. They imply a certain skewed sense of humour not shared with the Beagles. Petra was the much-loved pet dog on children's TV show Blue Peter. Brian was the family dog on animated comedy Family Guy - who proved himself to be more intelligent than his owner. Snowy was Tintin's pet dog in the Belgian cartoons. And the most famous Beagle in Earth pop culture is Charley Brown's canine friend, Snoopy...


The retailer Waterstones exclusive 'Metallic' edition contained the extra chapter 'A Stepper's Guide To The Long Earth: A Conversation.' This is described by Waterstones as a conversation between the two authors, but is presented as a talk between Joshua and Lobsang.

Frank and the Dream: Set in the universe of The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter a short story based on the novel released on the stories page of Stephen Baxter's website.


First Edition Cover by Rich Shailer
Book Proof
Slipcase Collectors Edition
Metallic Edition
Audio CD

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The Long Earth

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The Long Mars