cover image The Long Cosmos

The Long Cosmos

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Harper, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-229737-2

In this conclusion to the Long Earth series (following 2015's The Long Utopia), set in 2070, Baxter (Ultima) and the late Pratchett (The Shepherd's Crown) take their decades-spanning tale of an infinite chain of parallel Earths to the next level as a mysterious signal from the far reaches of the galaxy urges humans to "join us." While the ultra-intelligent subset of humans known as the Next build a continent-sized supercomputer on a distant Earth to further decipher the message, the famous explorer Joshua Valiente takes a sabbatical far from home, which leads him to an eye-opening encounter with nomadic trolls. Eventually Joshua joins the crew of humankind's inaugural interstellar mission and discovers just what lies at the heart of the galaxy. The story starts off slowly, but it quickly picks up speed as the mystery deepens and the myriad threads come together. There's a definite sense of mortality, but also a sense of wonder as the characters embrace the vast unknown in what might be considered the perfect allegory for Pratchett's final years. It's a wholly satisfying conclusion to the series, though vast amounts of potential remain in the concept. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists Literary and Talent Management. (June)