There was a curious change in the air. The little dinosaurs stood, stretching, their gaze combing the sky. Joshua looked at Sally. She didn’t react; she was carefully retrieving the last wayward oyster in the pan with a stick.
He asked, ‘Do you thing he was right to do what he did? With the Stepper?’
‘Well, maybe. At least he gave people a new option. Although he said people were going to have to learn to think, out there int he Long Earth. he said once, “I am giving mankind the key to endless worlds. An end to scarcity and, may we hope, war. And perhaps a new meaning to life. I leave the exploration of all these worlds to your generation, my dear, though personally I think you will fuck it up royally”. Why are you looking at me like that?’
‘Your father said that to you?’
Sally shrugged. ‘I told you. He was a hippie born of generations of hippies. He was always saying things like that.’
At the moment the loudspeaker voice of Lobsang boomed out over the beach, startling the small dinosaurs again. ‘Joshua! Back to the ship right now! Emergency!’
There was a strange new smell in the air, like burning plastic. Joshua looked at the northern horizon; there was a grey cloud, and it was getting bigger.
‘I call them suckers,’ said Sally calmly. ‘Rather like dragonflies. They pump a venom into anything organic, which breaks down cells remarkably fast, and you become a bag of soup that they suck up, as if through a straw. For some reason they don’t bother the dinosaurs. Your electronic friend is right about the emergency, Joshua. Now run along, there’s a good boy.’
And she disappeared.
AS SHE STEPPED AWAY, Joshua took a step back, to the east, away from the direction of travel of the airship. That was the instinctive way when you were in danger, to step back into the world you’d just arrived from, because the world downstream might be even worse.
This is from Terry Pratchetts & Stephen Baxters novel “The Long Earth” where mankind discovers an endless string of parallel worlds almost the same to ours, with the exception of one thing: there are no people living on the them. The worlds are empty of men. Mankind can reach these dimensions with the help of a small box called “Stepper”. Anybody and everybody can build himself a Stepper and visit those worlds or move there. There is only one law: Steel and Iron can’t pass the barrier.
Read the book, it’s amazing!
Here I don’t want to write about the books story of stepping and crossing to other dimensions. I want to write about the reader. The position of the reader and what happens to your mind when you read a novel.
You submerge. Submerge in the story. You become the characters. You imagine what they see, what they feel, what they are and what they become in the progress of the story. You start to feel and think differently, than you usually do. Your perception of reality crosses over to a different one. Your world becomes the one in the story.
It takes time to delve into the story. As the reader to become part of it. You slowly drift away from your world. The more you read, the faster you read, the more you imagine, the more you materialize inside the story. Your mind lets go of your original mind. Your personality oversteps its borders. It becomes different. The story’s mood, atmosphere, character is added to it.
The most interesting thing is the part, when you come out of it again. Everything you gathered in the story: feelings, mood, sense, pace and your approach to things, you take back with you, when you renter this reality. The impressions of the story on your person, will fade after some time, but for a short time, you carry the story over. For a short time, both realities become one. You are the medium of the crossing.