Book:The Long Earth
|The Long Earth|
|Publication date||Jun 2012|
|Main characters||Percy Blakeney, Monica Jansson, Willis Linsay|
|Series||The Long Earth Series|
|Notes||with Stephen Baxter|
|All data relates to the first UK edition.|
The possibilities are endless (just be careful what you wish for...)
1916: the Western Front, France. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landcape of No man's Land gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping through the wreck of a house, there's no sign of any human remains but on the mantelpiece Monica finds a curious gadget - a box, containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a...potato. It is the prototype of an invention that Linsay called a 'stepper'. An invention he put up on the web for all the world to see, and use, an invention that would to change the way mankind viewed his world Earth for ever. And that's an understatement if ever there was one...
...because the stepper allowed the person using it to step sideways into another America, another Earth, and if you kept on stepping, you kept on entering even more Earths...this is the Long Earth. It's our our Earth but one of chain of parallel worlds, lying side by side each differing from its neighbour by really very little (or actually quite a lot). It's an infinite chain, offering 'steppers' an infinite landscape of infinite possibilities. And the further away you travel, the stranger - and sometimes more dangerous - the Earths get. The sun and moon nearly always shine, the basic laws of physics are the same. However, the chance events which have shaped our particular Earth, such as the dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, might not have happened and things may well have turned out rather differently.
But, until Willis Linsay invented his stepper, only our Earth hosted mankind...or so we thought. Because it turns out there are some people who are natural 'steppers', who don't need his invention and now the great migration has begun...
Steppers found they could step east or west of datum earth, then...
- Sister Agnes
- Private Percy Blakeney - A World War I soldier.
- Madison Police Department
- Douglas Black
- The Black Corporation and transEarth
- Billy Chambers
- Lieutenant Clichy
- Junior Patrol Officer Mike Christopher
- Brian Cowley a demagogue and founder of Humanity First
- Hermione Dawes
- Station Master Dodd
- First Person Singularity
- Rod Green
- Officer Monica Jansson - A Madison police officer with more imagination than most, who is first on the scene when children start disappearing all over the city.
- Sally Linsay - Daughter of Willis Linsay and a natural stepper.
- Willis Linsay - The inventor of the Stepper.
- Lobsang - A Tibetan mechanic reincarnated as a highly intelligent machine, with a high opinion of himself to match.
- Selena Jones
- Jim Russo
- Shi-Mi - robot cat
- Sister Serendipity
- Joshua Valienté - Joshua was an orphan born in another world, and he would rather lose himself in a forest than in the crowds of our Earth, and can’t wait to get away from it again.
- Maria Valienté - The mother of Joshua, and at only fifteen.
Things and Concepts
- Humanity First
- The Black Corporation
- Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag - song
- The Silence
- Step day
- The Stepper
- The Long Earths
- transEarth- an arm of the Black Corporation
- Mark Twain
- The Cosmic Confidence Trick Victims
The retailer Waterstones exclusive 'Metallic' edition contained the extra short story The High Meggas.
The Long Earth: First Person Singular an excerpt from the book released on the stories page of Stephen Baxter's website.
Later editions of the book corrected the blurb to begin with the year 1917, which is the correct year for the battle during which Private Percy is said to have vanished.
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