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Empire State: A Novel | [Adam Christopher]

Empire State: A Novel

The Empire State is the other New York. It’s a parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple. It’s a city where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes who once kept the streets safe have fallen into deadly rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York...until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.
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Publisher's Summary

The Empire State is the other New York.

It’s a parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple. It’s a city where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes who once kept the streets safe have fallen into deadly rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York...until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.

Playing on the classic Gotham conventions of the Batman comics and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, debut author Adam Christopher has spun a smart and fast-paced superhero-noir adventure that will excite genre fans and general readers alike.

©2011 Adam Christopher (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A fascinating debut novel that meshes noir sensibilities and science fiction together, and keeps the reader guessing throughout.” (Mike Stackpole, best-selling author of I, Jedi)

“Destined to be a science fiction classic, Empire State is a breathtakingly original noir tale of intrigue, mystery, and quantum physics.” (Diana Rowland, author of My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (50 )
5 star
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3.0 (49 )
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3.7 (49 )
5 star
 (12)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Dave Whittier, CA, United States 05-17-12
    Dave Whittier, CA, United States 05-17-12 Member Since 2010

    I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror (all the better if they're mashed up together, my dears!), and enjoy other literature as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What Do You Know About Nineteen Fifty?"

    That cover looks RAD, doesn't it? Weird, retro-pulpy SF goodness. And there's plenty of that in Empire State - a novel that's seemingly influenced by Philip K. Dick, Jonathan Lethem, and maybe even China Mieville. It's got superheroes, airships, giant robots, an alternate-alternate Prohibition NYC, and is filled with all kinds of cool ideas and twists.

    There's a lack of confidence in the execution, though - the characters go to pains to make sure the reader/listener understands the Really Cool Thing that just happened, dulling the edges of said Really Cool Things. The set-up for the story drags to get the plot established. And the characters can't rise above their functions/archetype. Protagonist Rad Radley, P.I., is no Philip Marlowe (or even Conrad Metcalf), and his dialogue and actions make him feel more like a stock character than anything else - like he's going through the motions.

    Not that it's a bad book. Once it gets going, there's lots of fun stuff and interesting ideas happening (it's wartime, you know?) - themes of duality and comic book action set-pieces, but I wanted it to soar, and instead it just glides. Still, I'll be curious to see where Adam Christopher goes next.

    Phil Gigante's reading is like a classic, full-cast serial performed by one man, which is incredibly impressive, and his style really lent itself well to this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Whittier, CA 05-17-12
    Dave Whittier, CA 05-17-12 Member Since 2010

    I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    461
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    162
    73
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    Story
    "What Do You Know About Nineteen Fifty?"

    That cover looks RAD, doesn't it? Weird, retro-pulpy SF goodness. And there's plenty of that in Empire State - a novel that's seemingly influenced by Philip K. Dick, Jonathan Lethem, and maybe even China Mieville. It's got superheroes, airships, giant robots, an alternate-alternate Prohibition NYC, and is filled with all kinds of cool ideas and twists.

    There's a lack of confidence in the execution, though - the characters go to pains to make sure the reader/listener understands the Really Cool Thing that just happened, dulling the edges of said Really Cool Things. The set-up for the story drags to get the plot established. And the characters can't rise above their functions/archetype. Protagonist Rad Radley, P.I., is no Philip Marlowe (or even Conrad Metcalf), and his dialogue and actions make him feel more like a stock character than anything else - like he's going through the motions.

    Not that it's a bad book. Once it gets going, there's lots of fun stuff and interesting ideas happening (it's wartime, you know?) - themes of duality and comic book action set-pieces, but I wanted it to soar, and instead it just glides. Still, I'll be curious to see where Adam Christopher goes next.

    Phil Gigante's reading is like a classic, full-cast serial performed by one man, which is incredibly impressive, and his style really lent itself well to this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zackery HARVARD, IL, United States 06-24-13
    Zackery HARVARD, IL, United States 06-24-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing"

    This is the second sci-fi/noir mash-up I've read in the last year or so. The other, 'Necropolis' by Michael Dempsey, left me extremely disappointed. I was hoping for more from 'Empire State'; granted, my hopes were based entirely upon the book's synopsis and a few vague favorable reviews.

    Unfortunately, after finishing Adam Christopher's debut novel, I find myself disappointed again. I am a fan of both super hero comics and novels, as well as noir novels. Naturally, I thought a novel that brought the two of them together could be very good. However, Christopher's novel reads more like a poorly constructed noir pastiche than an actual noir novel. Also, there is a disproportionately small amount of direct super hero involvement for a novel billed as a "stunning superhero-noir fantasy". There seems not to be a single round character, and the reasons behind the actions of many characters in the novel remain unclear even at its close. Indeed, the protagonist of the novel seemed rather muddled and dim to fit the role of private detective. Also, the prose was very lackluster and could have benefited from some serious editorial guidance. The dialogue was especially canned and corny.

    I don't want this review to be a complete trash-fest, so I want to mention that I give Christopher points for concept, and for allowing fans to create further stories within the world of 'Empire State' through Creative Commons. However, neither of those things are enough to make up for the poor execution of the novel itself.

    Christopher has another novel out--'Seven Wonders'--and a sequel to Empire State--'The Age Atomic'--is scheduled for release sometime this year. I am not entirely opposed to checking out one or both of these novels, but I will certainly be entering into the act of reading them with much lower expectations than I held for 'Empire State'.

    As far as the novel's narration, I had no great complaints about it, other than the fact that Gigante's renditions of female voices are all delivered in an uninspired and rather annoying falsetto.

    All of that said, others may be able to overlook things in this audiobook that I disliked, but I wouldn't recommend it very highly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 07-17-12
    John 07-17-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    11
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    "A wonder accidental purchase!"

    I was searching for another book when this popped up on the screen. I didn't realize I'd added it to my cart, and when I saw it during check-out, decided to leave it in. That was a wonderful mistake. The story is a great mix of super heroes, villains, and film noir detective novel. It satisfied my desire for sci-fi, and had a decent plot. Some of the apparent plot hiccups during the story seemed out of place, but patience is rewarded.

    The voice acting was great, with good production quality. Character voices were, if not completely unique, certainly distinct enough to follow. I highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Kitto Townsville 10-07-12
    Michael Kitto Townsville 10-07-12 Member Since 2010

    from Literary Exploration

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Empire State"

    During the last great superhero fight, a blast of energy rips a hole in reality, the result is Empire State; a twisted parallel prohibition-era New York City. But now the rift is starting to close and both parallel worlds have to fight for the right to exist. Adam Christopher’s Empire State tells the story of Rad Bradley a private detective investigating the disappearance for Sam Saturn which leads him to uncover something a whole lot bigger. This book is everything you expect in a pulp style superhero novel; you have the super villains, airships, robots, organised crime and prohibition (to make it feel more like a pulp novel). This is all a brilliant back drop for the main plot; the case the gets Rad Bradley tangled in a complex web of robotic killers, inter-dimensional doppelgangers and science.

    The whole tone of this book feels very much like a superhero novel but never loses sight of the noir style narrative. The whole story cast is wonderfully unique and mystery that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats while reading this book. There are some things that didn’t quite work within the story and the constant world shifting can get the reader lost. I think in the end there turns out to be at least three different worlds; Prohibition New York, Empire State and New York 1950’s. The world, the crime and the characters show potential for a lot of great stories to follow.

    Adam Christopher and publisher Angry Robot Books have invited others to create works based in the world of Empire State. Writer, artist, musician, sculptor, puppeteer, interpretive dance major, or poet, are invited to create their own stories with what they are calling WorldBuilder as long as you stick to their Guidelines and Instructions. They are authorising fan-created content to be created under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License which means content can be posted on the internet or beyond as long as it’s in a non-commercial way; publication rights of the stories are still in the hands of the publisher. There are plans for an eBook or Print-on-Demand anthology of the best stories which is pretty exciting; I’ve never seen a novel do anything like this, making for some interesting stories to follow. I think this world is capable of millions of other great stories whether superhero, science fiction, alternate history, organised crime or even pulp stories.

    I’m curious to see what the results of this creative common might lead to but as for this book, if you want a fun, exciting novel with twists and mystery, then you really should give Empire State ago. There’s a certain uniqueness within this book while remaining familiar with the writing style. I feel nostalgic towards a good pulp novel and this blends that with science fiction elements with such ease. This genre is often called Neo-Noir (a genre that blends pulp with updated themes, content, or style, often blended with Science Fiction) and there have been some great books that have come out in this style, but Empire State is definitely one of the better ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-11-12
    05-11-12 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    22
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    "Worthy of your time"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    If one is force to nitpick a flaw, the building of the story's foundation was a little too long and it had a few non essential characters that fizzled out in the end, but on the whole, I had a good time. The plot, arc, and pacing make this journey into null space a satisfying diversion. While, the ending succeeds in sparking my imagination to contemplate, "What if?" while driving home and suddenly being confronted with the silence of an audiobook that had ended ten minutes earlier. When I find myself thinking back on a story days after I have read/heard it, I know my time was well spent.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Adam Christopher? Why or why not?

    The author has a gift for environment, tone and narrative. His love for his characters is also quite obvious.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    The book lends itself more to a miniseries than a movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Dr
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    9/30/12
    Overall
    "Fun idea, shame it didn't always work"

    This is an alternative history/Earth type story that has some really strong sections and some sections that drag on a bit, with some silly characters and daft plot turns. Worth a listen if sci-fi is your thing, but in my humble opinion it did need editing rather radically. I would probably still listen to a sequel though as the concept is so dam interesting.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

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