cover image The Long Utopia

The Long Utopia

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Harper, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-229733-4

The fourth installment of Baxter and the late Pratchett's ambitious Long Earth saga (after The Long Mars) makes it clear that their imagination and world-building know no limits. In the years since the Yellowstone eruption devastated the original Earth, humans have spread out across the millions of parallel worlds known as the Long Earth, taking advantage of ample resources and near-infinite room. The AI Lobsang has faked his death and now lives a simple life on Earth West 1,217,756 along with his partner, Agnes, and their adopted son. However, that idyllic world hides a bizarre secret: metallic alien bugs have infiltrated from a previously unknown location and are steadily destroying the planet. Lobsang, along with old friends Joshua Valiente and Sally Linsay, must find a way to stop them before the entire Long Earth is imperiled. Despite the epic scope and attention to scientific detail, the authors never lose sight of the human touch%E2%80%94even if that human is an AI. Even so, the text is infused with an introspective air of loss, undermining the story's ultimate impact. Agents: (for Pratchett) Colin Smythe, Colin Smythe Ltd. (U.K.); (for Baxter) Christpher Schelling, Selectric Artists Literary. (June)