Home' Waiheke Weekender : August 16th 2012 Contents 16 August 2012
10 Waiheke Weekender
Designing distinctive homes
The Long Earth
Terry Pratchet and
As a fan of both science
fction and fantasy, I
must admit the prospect
of a collaborative effort
between Terry Pratchet
and Stephen Baxter left
smile on my face.
Pratchett and Baxter
are both prodigious
writers (the past works
section at the front of the
book is fve pages long) and famous in their respective spheres.
Pratchett achieved fame for his hilarious and surreal fantasy
series DiscWorld, while Baxter established a reputation as a
writer of thought provoking hard science fction.
Team-ups between authors can be tricky beasts; irreconcil-
able creative differences can scupper projects, and incompatible
styles can result in good stories being almost unreadable. At the
same time co-authoring can produce outstanding literature by
taking advantage of both authors' strengths while compensating
for their weaknesses.
It’s a type of writing that has produced some amazing books
over the years; Pratchett's collaboration with Neil Gaiman in
particular produced the phenomenal Good Omens.
So the prospect of Baxter's high-minded explorations of
fantastic 'what if' ideas coupled with Pratchett's colourful char-
acterisation and vibrant story telling sounds like a match made
The Long Earth is a story that takes place in the near future,
a brilliant, if eccentric, recluse has disappeared, but not before
posting a set of extremely simple plans on the internet for a
device called a 'stepper'.
A few easily acquired electronics, a switch and a potato is all
it takes to build one, then with a fick of the switch the owner is
transported to an alternate Earth with a quiet pop. These Earths
stretch off in a seemingly endless chain, variations of the way
the Earth could have been, but interestingly they are all entirely
devoid of humanity.
Such a discovery naturally raises all kinds of issues for the
world. Economics, politics, crime and human psychology all get
a look in, but the real focus of the story is on those who chase the
endless frontier into the depths of the 'Long Earth' as it comes to
be known and just what, if anything, might be out there.
I enjoyed The Long Earth, it’s a story that is built on a fasci-
nating idea and doesn't hesitate to delve into the consequences
of it. The characters are fun and well written with colourful
personalities, though Pratchett’s trademark humour has been
dialled down a bit.
One aspect of the book that disappointed me though is a
general lack of confict, with little in the way of challenge or
danger presenting itself throughout. The focus of The Long
Earth is fascination instead of dramatic tension, so that’s prob-
ably something to keep in mind before picking it up.
But it all meshes into a reading experience that's very
much like the idea of the Long Earth itself; you fnd yourself
compelled to keep going deeper because you are fascinated
about what you might fnd on the next page. MM
This is a lovely anniver-
sary hardback edition
of iconic New Zealand
writer Witi Ihimaera’s
frst book of short
stories, with a beauti-
ful cover illustration by
Kura Te Waaru Rewiri.
The frst work of
fction published by a
Maori writer, Pounamu
contemporary Maori life in the 1950s and 60s within its stories
of survival and coming of age in rural New Zealand. At the time
of its publishing, the book paved the way for what would later
be known as the Maori Renaissance, an unprecedented fower-
ing and recognition of Maori arts and literature in the 1970s.
With an introduction by Witi’s personal friend Fiona Kidman,
as well as the author himself, the ten short stories examine
“resilience, survival, facing and surmounting challenges and
carrying on,” says Witi.
Each of the stories is followed by an author’s note, deepen-
ing the reader's understanding of each work.
And while the core of each story remains the same, Witi says
he has added “What I have as the light glanced off, refected
through and highlighted other roimata in the depths of the
“I have re-written the stories to show that not only is
pounamu a living stone but stories also live, change and are
enriched by the dynamic of changing times.”
Witi says Pounamu Pounamu provided a 'greenprint' for
his further works of fction, with the characters in its stories
turning up throughout his writing over his long career. Witi's
1987 novel The Whale Rider was made into an internationally
acclaimed flm in 2002, and in Pounamu Pounamu's The Whale
we see the seeds of this story.
Witi Ihimaera is the author of 13 novels and six collections
of short stories.
A beautiful and important addition to the Kiwi library. BW
Every week we
you some serio
deals - so make
for them. Reme
these offers are
coupons and ge
If you're interested in placing a
Real HOT Deal call Kelly on 372 5055.
The advertising deadline is 12 noon Friday.
Free glass of house wine*
Dinner 5.30pm - 9.30pm 7 days.
Bookings advisable. Phone 372 5309
*available Sun-Thurs with every meal purchased. Valid to 31 August
BUSINESS LUNCH $22.50
including a glass of house wine. $17.50 without wine.
FAST LUNCH only $10 every day from 12-3pm
Open 7 day a week. Lunch 12-3pm. Dinner 5pm-late.
Ph 372 9185 149 Ocean View Rd, Oneroa www.redcrab.co.nz
Get a FREE tap beer for every steak meal purchased
Wed-Thu 3pm to late. Fri-Sun noon to late.
Ph 372 8543 Offer valid until 23 August.
Outside the Sports Club on the Causeway
Mon-Fri 10am-3pm. Phone orders 027 517 5124
FREE hot nuts with every phone order over $10
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