Monthly Archives: August 2012

#CBR4 Maneuver #29 – The Long Earth

Target: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s The Long Earth

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction

Summary: From goodreads.com, “1916: the Western Front, France. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No man’s Land gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping through the wreck of a house, there’s no sign of any human remains but on the mantelpiece Monica finds a curious gadget – a box, containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a…potato. It is the prototype of an invention that Linsay called a ‘stepper’. An invention he put up on the web for all the world to see, and use, an invention that would to change the way mankind viewed his world Earth forever. And that’s an understatement if ever there was one…

…because the stepper allowed the person using it to step sideways into another America, another Earth, and if you kept on stepping, you kept on entering even more Earths…this is the Long Earth. It’s not our Earth but one of chain of parallel worlds, lying side by side each differing from its neighbour by really very little (or actually quite a lot). It’s an infinite chain, offering ‘steppers’ an infinite landscape of infinite possibilities. And the further away you travel, the stranger – and sometimes more dangerous – the Earths get. The sun and moon always shine, the basic laws of physics are the same. However, the chance events which have shaped our particular Earth, such as the dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, might not have happened and things may well have turned out rather differently.

But, until Willis Linsay invented his stepper, only our Earth hosted mankind…or so we thought. Because it turns out there are some people who are natural ‘steppers’, who don’t need his invention and now the great migration has begun.”

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#CBR4 Maneuver #27-28 – Divine Comedies

Target: Tom Holt’s Here Comes the Sun and Odds and Gods

Profile: Comic Fantasy, Absurdist Fiction, Satire

Summary: From the Divine Comedies omnibus edition, “Here Comes the Sun: The sun rises late, dirty and so badly in need of a service it’s a wonder it gets up at all.  The moon’s going to be scrapped soon and a new one commissioned – but they’ve been saying that for years.  All is not well with the universe… and it’s because the mortals [aren’t] running the show.  It’s time for a Higher Power to take charge.

Odds and Gods: It’s a god’s life at the Sunnyvoyde Residential home for retired deities.  Everlasting life can be a read drag when all you’ve got to look forward to is cauliflower cheese on Wednesdays.  But things are about to change, because those almighty duffers Thor, Odin and Frey have restored a thousand-year-old traction engine, and the thing actually works!”

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#CBR4 Maneuver #26 – Iron Council

Target: China Miéville’s Iron Council (Bas-Lag #3)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Politics, Bas-Lag

Summary: From the hardcover edition, “It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places.
In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope.
In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon’s most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the Iron Council. . . .”

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