Review by Booklist Review
On Step Day, Joshua Valiente, a 13-year-old resident of a small Catholic orphanage in Madison, Wisconsin, has just built a Stepper. When he moves its switch, he disappears. Only to the nearest parallel universe, however, where he finds several young neighbors who built Steppers, too. Whereas they're confused and nauseated, he's his usual calm, methodical self. He figures out how to get home and helps the others back. Fifteen years later and having found he can travel between parallel worlds without a Stepper, he's recruited for a mission bound as many worlds away as it can get in a ship virtually inhabited by the human-become-machine intelligence, Lobsang. Quickly beyond all human-colonized alternate Earths, Joshua and Lobsang discover other creatures capable of stepping that are fleeing an approaching danger the explorers are on course to meet. Well beyond the millionth world, they encounter the great peril maybe. Stay tuned for the next episode of a very old-fashioned sf quest yarn (think Jules Verne and 2001) that, since Pratchett is involved, is crammed with scientifically informed amusement.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this thought-provoking collaboration, Pratchett (the Discworld series) and Baxter (Stone Spring) create an infinity of worlds to explore. A revolutionary process known as Stepping has allowed humanity access to an unlimited number of parallel Earths, all devoid of human life. The further one travels, the stranger the variant worlds become. Joshua Valiente, one of a rare breed who can Step without external help, is hired by the transEarth Institute to travel by airship across the Long Earth, exploring as far as possible. Accompanied by Lobsang, a Tibetan reincarnated as an artificial intelligence, he journeys across millions of Earths, discovering just what sort of bizarre secrets lurk in the farthest reaches. The slow-burning plot plays second fiddle to the fascinating premise, and the authors seem to have more fun developing backstory and concepts than any real tension. An abrupt conclusion comes as an unwelcome end to this tale of exploration. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Step Day, 2015: the day that physicist Willis Linsay posts the plans for a simple electronic device on the Internet-a device that unlocks the door to a million parallel, seemingly uninhabited Earths and leads to a wholesale exodus of the adventurous, the oppressed, and the disaffected. Fast forward 15 years. One of the handful of natural "steppers"-people who can move from one world to the next without the device-is loner Joshua Valiente, who's ventured farther into the chain of alternate worlds than anyone else. He's enlisted by Lobsang (a late Tibetan motorcycle repairman who's been reincarnated as the world's smartest computer and is part owner of transEarth Technologies) to accompany him on an exploratory mission to find out if there's any end to the Long Earth. But what Joshua doesn't know is that some of the worlds are inhabited after all, just not by humans. Verdict Unlike Pratchett's previous collaborations (Good Omens with Neil Gaiman; The Science of Discworld with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen), this is a surprisingly serious and thought-provoking work, albeit one with unmistakably Pratchettesque flourishes of humor throughout. The overall tone is much closer to Baxter's excellent "Destiny's Children" series, with numerous diversions into alternate histories, evolutionary biology, and the search for the spiritual, both human and otherwise. Pratchett and Baxter fans will enjoy.-John Harvey, Irving P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Pratchett, author of the esteemed Discworld yarns (Snuff, 2011, etc.), and collaborator Baxter (Stone Spring, 2011, etc.) venture into alternate worlds. Eccentric, reclusive genius Willis Linsay of Madison, Wis., publishes on the web instructions for building a strange device consisting of a handful of common components, some wires, a three-way control and a potato. A flick of the switch ("west" or "east") sends the builder into an alternate Earth--one of a possibly infinite sequence--where there are no humans at all, though there are other creatures descended from hominid stock. Some people are natural "steppers," able to step into the Long Earth without any device. Another minority are phobics, unable to step at all. Steppers can take with them only what they can carry, while iron in any form doesn't cross. Thanks to the strange circumstances of his birth, Joshua Valient is a natural. The transEarth Institute, a wing of the huge Black Corporation, offers him a job exploring and reporting on the new worlds. His partner in the enterprise will be a zeppelin inhabited by Lobsang, a distributed artificial intelligence whose human component was once a humble Tibetan. Meanwhile, back on Datum, the original Earth, officer Monica Jansson grows increasingly concerned about the anti-stepping rants of powerful demagogue Brian Cowley. Thousands of steps from home, Joshua runs into another independent-minded stepper, Sally, who turns out to be Willis' daughter. They visit a community, Happy Landings, founded thousands of years ago by natural steppers and trolls, gentle hominids who communicate via music. But both trolls and their viciously homicidal cousins, elves, are step-fleeing toward Datum from something very scary indeed. This often intriguing development of a science fiction trope takes a scattershot approach and could have used more of Pratchett's trademark satire and Puckish humor. Still, the authors have plenty of fresh insights to offer, and fans of either will want to tag along and see where it all leads.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.