Infinite Worlds to Conquer

The Long War, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The sequel to The Long Earth basically follows up where that one left off, telling how the discovery of transportation to alternate Earths has affected society, politics, and the like. A major focus this time is relations between humans and trolls, which are actually humanoid creatures that have been migrating between worlds for ages, and communicate by means of music. While they have become integral to life on the Long Earth, there’s still a good deal of human prejudice against them, and many of them had taken to hiding out on a remote Earth. Many of the characters from the first book reappear in this one, but honestly I only had vague memories of most of them. The main one I did remember was Lobsang, a conscious artificial intelligence. Pratchett seems to have a particular fondness for the name, as it appears several times in his Discworld books. It’s the name Newgate Ludd from Thief of Time takes when he becomes a History Monk and the one C.M.O.T. Dibbler uses when selling mail-order martial arts books, as well as that of a few other monks. It’s a common Tibetan name, but Pratchett’s usage of it likely stems from occultist Cyril Hoskin, author of The Third Eye, who claimed to be hosting the spirit of a lama named Tuesday Lobsang Rampa. Anyway, as with its predecessor, The Long War is more of an exploration of ideas than a story with a straightforward plot.

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