Pratchett Announces Collaboration

Terry Pratchett recently declared his intent to write a series of sci-fi novels with fellow author Stephen Baxter. In a talk given today at the 2010 Discworld convention in Birmingham, the two bestsellers and award-winners got up on stage to discuss general ideas and outlines about the project. The current title for the series as a whole is Long Earth.

Baxter, pictured here, is definitely not a football manager.

Pratchett is best known for his fantasy work, especially the Discworld series, but does have roots in science fiction. In 1976 he wrote The Dark Side of the Sun, and his 1981 novel Strata features a flat world similar to the later Discworld. Both are generally considered parodic of Niven’s Ringworld. Stephen Baxter comes from a hard science background, in mathematics and engineering. As well as writing non-fiction, Baxter is notable for his award-winning novel The Time Ships.

In their talk, Baxter and Pratchett revealed that the general principle of the series would be a world in which scarcity and territory were no longer a sparking-point for conflict following the discovery of seemingly-infinite parallel worlds. Nearly identical to Earth in every way, these worlds are so numerous that “everyone can have a galaxy of Earths, all to themselves”. Of course, Pratchett said, things aren’t necessarily so simple. Just because everyone has all this space doesn’t mean they’ll all suddenly become nice. Pratchett hinted at political conflict arising over the new worlds, but was generally coy about giving out specifics.

Pratchett's next novel, "I Shall Wear Midnight" is released September 2nd

While it is definitely early days for this project, Pratchett and Baxter are both prolific writers; Pratchett in particular is notoriously fast at churning out his books, at one point producing a complete novel once every six months. Pratchett is currently also working on his next Discworld novel after I Shall Wear Midnight, a City Watch story entitled Snuff, which might delay the collaboration. A conservative estimate might expect us to see the first Long Earth book hitting shelves in early 2012.  

The Harkin is a writer, blogger and Brit. You can read more of his self-indulgence here or try to endure his banal tweets.

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