The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you've gotten this far in the series, you might have some questions and a desire to see some of the stranger threads come together, like the parentage of our MC's, some of the hints of the stranger alien/Earthlings, the oddest Earths, and, of course, Lobsang.
I can characterize all of these novels as Pioneer Fiction, easily, but they're also heavy SF written in a very engaging and easy way, full of wonderful characters and simple, interesting plots.
Now, I must admit that the last one and this one don't really have quite the same vibrant flavor as the first two, at least with the characters, but the science bits and the sense of scale... almost a billion Earths and Mars, is absolutely gorgeous.
Beetle aliens are tearing up an Earth in a mind-boggling construction effort that acts upon Dyson-level energies and terraforming for a goal that is just as mind-boggling, and everyone else is kinda freaking out.
The kinds of political and war-like efforts are petering out because there's just way too much space and no way to rule over this much of an exodus, a diaspora of people. I mean, just think about it... The Datum Earth we all belonged to has just undergone an extinction-level event and everyone has mostly left it, the governments freaked out because now there's no way to control ANYONE or prevent them from stepping across dozens of empty Earths, let alone hundreds of thousands or MILLIONS of them.
People are free. Free to do whatever they want.
This, more than anything, including the history of the people who could "step" before the diaspora, or any of the "too little, too late" political machinations, hooks me good and solid. It's pretty amazing.
Too bad about all the other extinction-level events on the way, right? Oh, plot. :)
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