My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book 2 of The Long Earth series takes place several years after the events of the first book. Joshua is now settled and married in a town called Hell-Knows-Where; which is closer to Valhalla (at Earth-West-1-million-plus-change) than the Datum (the original). A generation oh humans have been born since Step-Day. Iterations of Lobsang (the Tibetan motorbike repairman-reincarnated as artificial intelligence) now exist all across the long Earth, and one has even been sent out into space on a perpetual journey. The “software” of Lobsang is the reason the various airships can traverse the many Earth’s taking passengers and cargo.
Also there’s an artificially-intelligent robot-cat called Shimi (Tibetan for cat – apparently).
The “war” is more a socio-political conflict than an all-out military war. The inhabitants of Valhalla consider themselves as “American” but also declare their own independence. The government of the Datum America are none too happy about this, as it will mean that they will no longer pay taxes back to the original. The human race has begun to exploit the native inhabitants of the Long Earth, such as the “Trolls”; and other more aggressive species make themselves known.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government take an airship and explore to the far reaches of the Long Earth in the “eastern” direction. The directions “east” and “west” are arbitrary names, given that all the Earth’s exist in the same relative space…
Joshua, Sally, Helen, Lobsang, Sister Agnes, and their eclectic native contacts (friends and antagonists) search for a way to return balance to the worlds. Humans have a nasty habit of making the environment considerably unbalanced.
No change there then.
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