cover image The Long Mars

The Long Mars

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Harper, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-229729-7

The third Long Earth installment (after The Long War) sees humanity spreading out across infinite parallel worlds, with several key figures trailblazing in different ways. Commander Maggie Kauffman leads an expedition to catalog hundreds of millions of Earths, many of which prove far stranger and less hospitable than imagined. Sally Linsay is recruited by her father to explore the alternates of the newly-discovered Long Mars in search of intelligent life. Joshua Valiente encounters the emerging Next, a new breed of superintelligent humans raised in Long Earth, whose development is bringing them at odds with baseline humanity. These first two threads offer up fascinating and inventive takes on planetary development, though they fly by at dizzying speeds. The third feels too much like a conventional “us vs. them” plot. Nonetheless, Baxter and Pratchett remain in fine form, their collaboration producing another thoughtful page-turner. (June)