This review originally appeared on WorldOfJoel.com
I've read a lot of books where I love the concept at the inception and then fall out of love with it as the story goes along. But what's interesting about The Long Earth is that its concept remains pure and a mind bending throughout. The idea is that on a random day an invention called a "stepper" is released and it allows almost the entire world to move to other versions of Earth.
No one is quite sure how many Earth's there are and what the differences are between each iteration of the Earth. In short one day everything is just normal modern day society, the next people are able to move through hundreds, of thousands of worlds. What this does to the Earth we all inhabit now is fascinating. Overnight all industry dries up. Thousands begin to migrate through what the book describes as the "Long Earth." It's a truly fascinating and well thought out idea that for me was the crux of what I enjoyed about the novel.
However the actual storyline that then takes you on this adventure through thousands of Earth's is no where near as interesting. In fact its overly convoluted and comes off hamstrung. I personally was vying for more time to hear about what happened to the original Earth and what the settlers were doing on the new Earth's to care about the scientific anomalies of Earth's millions of "steps" away.
What worked however in The Long Earth's favor is that it keeps things light and feel good throughout. This could easily have been 1000+ pages of one groups adventure to settle and colonize a new Earth. Part of me sort of wishes this book was that. The brief times the book discusses religion, politics, and finances are by far the high points of the novel. At the end of the day the concept is fascinating but the execution was middle of the road.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.