Pi in the Sky: 08/21/17
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass has been sitting on my to be read shelf since we purchased it brand new during a trip to Portland. We had just finished listening The Candymakers on our road trip. And then the book sat within reach for four years until I happened to finish up The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and saw a thematic connection between the two books.
Pi in the Sky is about the pie delivery boy to the universe. Joss is the son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe and he happens to be in the kitchen to pick up the newest pie when something goes horribly wrong and Earth has to be ripped from the space time continuum for its own good. His best friend's parents were on Earth at the time and are now gone for good. In their place is a single human girl who was at the epicenter of the event.
What Pi and the Sky and The Long Cosmos (and really the entire Long Earth series is twofold: pi and the multiverse. Backing up one more step — there's of course — the Discworld series. Discworld, though it didn't start out that way, evolved into a stories about how people affect their environment, including the universe. The Long Earth series is a similar discussion with science and a recognizable origin (the Datum Earth). But it evolved over its run into a story of how the universe affects mankind while all the while mankind is trying to exert its collective will on the universe. Pi in the Sky is about how mankind makes reality real.
The last two series, though, use pi, or the ratio of a circles circumference to its diameter, as a thematic building block. Interestingly only "39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of the entire universe." (Pi Day: Learn about Pi). Or if you've read The Long Cosmos that would be world 314159265358979323846264338327950288419.
Pi in the Sky also has nods to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where as you'll recall, the Earth was destroyed just before it revealed the meaning of 42 in terms of life, the universe, and everything. Magrathea is working to redo the Earth. Or in Wendy Mass's version, Joss and his human companion are rebuilding the Earth from the solar system up.
Wendy Mass manages to jump to a similar punchline as the entire Long Earth series but it takes her only one book. Her book includes an afterword that explains the inspiration behind the book.