The story is based around a relatively simple premise that is an almost quantum universe of planet Earths spreading through the different possibilities of its evolution. It's not necessarily a new idea, but it is executed in a deceptively charming fashion.
There's a good blend of slightly odd characters - Lobsang as a reincarnated Tibetan bike repairman as an AI really stood out for me. But care and depth was lavished upon the other characters as well ensuring that they contributed to the story's progress.
I tend to enjoy science-fiction which explores ideas and this book does so in an almost contemplative fashion. The effects of the introduction of the Long Earth into human society are a fascinating insight and the more personal experiences for the characters layers nicely on this.
A five star read for me and I've immediately grabbed the next book in the series!
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NORMALLY, WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO DO, HE LISTENED TO THE SILENCE.
The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable.... This was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn't Joshua's world. None of it was his world. In fact, when you got right down to it, he didn't have a world; he had all of them.
ALL OF THE LONG EARTH.