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Stepping is the action of traveling from a planet to parallel one in a chain of worlds, such as the Long Earth. It is usually followed by nausea and vomiting.[1] That's why most people need time between steps or drugs to help them overcome the nausea.

Stepping is usually achieved with a Stepper Box or by riding in a twain. Natural steppers can step without a Stepper box and don't feel the nausea associated with it, and phobics are incapable of stepping at all.

In the Long Earth and other parallel world chains, it is usually only possible to step in two directions, termed 'East' and 'West'. Normally, every time a person steps, they move one world in either direction.

Worlds in the Long Earth are named after the amount of steps - either West or East - that need to be taken to reach it from Datum Earth. For example, 'Earth West 5' is located five steps west of the Datum.

Stepping can be achieved by almost every sentient species.

The Long Earth

Stepping became a worldwide known phenomenon amongst humans on Step Day, when Willis Linsay uploaded the circuit diagram for the Stepper Box onto the Internet.[1]

The emergence of stepping radically changed the world: cities became ghost towns, economy collapsed as people jumped world to avoid debts, obligations or revenge.[2]

Security became a growing concern among people too. Only two days after Step Day, terrorists had hit both the Pentagon and the British Houses of Parliament. Thus anti-stepper devices appeared, built in workshops or private homes everywhere.

Some governments (Iran, Burma and the United Kingdom), as an attempt to their tax-payers, even tried to ban stepping. While most of the governments in the free world (like the United States of America) demanded sovereignity of their country's footprint down all the endless worlds.

Many of the first steppers went out unprepared and suffered as a consequence. But gradually, people learned from that what you needed was other people and preparation.

It is how, fifteen years after, there were successful communities thriving far out across the empty landscapes of the Long Earth.

In 2030, fifteen years after Step Day, everything changed. Lobsang and Joshua Valienté embarked on the Mark Twain, the first vehicule capable of stepping developed by the Black Corporation, turning the long treks the early pionneers, like the founders of Reboot, had to endure into relics of the past.[3][4]

The Long War

In the ten years after the Journey, stepping has radically changed thanks to the advances on the twains technology. Now, most people travels riding in commercial twains and are able to settle farther and farther into the Long Earth.

Step-nausea medication has been created to be able to travel by twain without feeling the side-effects of stepping.

The Long Mars

It is revealed in The Long Mars that it is possible to step also on Mars but only from certain Marses like the Gap Mars by using Martian cacti as a power source instead of a potato [5].

According to Sally Linsay, stepping on Mars feels like stepping on Earth [6].

The Long Utopia

At the end of the 19th century, Oswald Hackett called it "Waltzing", and used the terms "widdershins" and "deiseal" instead of "West" and "East".[7]

In The Long Utopia a new direction of stepping was discovered, termed Stepping North. A person who stepped in this way finds themselves on an entirely different planet in a different galaxy.

Some people use the expression 'Linsay step' to differenciate the act of stepping from one world to the other from stepping through a soft place.[8]

The High Meggas

In the universe of The High Meggas, the act of travelling between worlds is termed "moving".[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Long Earth - Chapter 3
  2. The Long Earth - Chapter 35
  3. The Long Earth - Chapter 12
  4. The Long Earth - Chapter 18
  5. The Long Mars - Chapter 16
  6. The Long Mars - Chapter 19
  7. The Long Utopia - Chapter 16
  8. The Long Utopia - Chapter 25
  9. A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction - The High Meggas

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