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 landcape 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 for ever.
Private Percy Blakeney, a British World War I soldier, wakes up on an alternate version of Earth and encounters a band of monkey-like creatures.
The Long Earth is a chain of parallel Earths, which are similar to our version of the planet (known as Datum Earth), except that they are empty of humans. It was discovered fifteen years previously, and transEarth exists to profit from it.
Joshua meets Selena Jones, a woman who works for the institute, and Lobsang, an artificial intelligence who part-owns it. Lobsang is planning an expedition into the far Long Earth and wants Joshua to accompany him, because, since Step Day, he has spent most of his life pioneering on parallel Earths, and so is experienced with them.
Step Day was the day, fifteen years earlier, when the circuit diagram for the Stepper - the device that allows a person to "step" into the alternate worlds of the Long Earth - was uploaded anonymously onto the Internet.
The stepper was inexpensive and easy-to-build, and so kids all over the world started putting them together and disappearing into parallel Earths.
Joshua was just thirteen at the time, and was one of the children who "stepped". He helped some of the other kids get back to Datum Earth, who were injured, or who hadn't assembled their stepper correctly. When he returned he was met by the police, including Officer Monica Jansson.
- ↑ "The Long Earth – Jacket Revealed", Terry Pratchett Books, http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/the-long-earth-jacket-revealed/
- ↑ "Behind The Scenes Of The Long Earth Cover Design", Terry Pratchett Books, https://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/multiple-earths-multiple-covers-behind-the-scenes-of-the-long-earth-cover-design/
- ↑ "Richard Shailer - Summary Bibliography", ISFDB, http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?183594
- ↑ The Long Earth - Chapter 1
- ↑ The Long Earth - Chapter 2
- ↑ The Long Earth - Chapter 3