An all-star collection of audiobook award-winning performers give voice to the new world of human social evolution created by a collective of acclaimed science fiction writers in this second sequel to the Hugo-nominated shared world audio anthology, Metratropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization. Writers from the earlier works share their perspectives with authors new to the series as the tale continues, moving into the mysteries and revelations of a wired world, an "internet of things" post-Green Crash and the subsequent renaissance,where some seek to leave a pristine, undisturbed Earth for the better life they envision on the moon, a green Mars, and perhaps even stars.
Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2013
Audible’s Audie Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated vision of the not-too-distant future returns!
As METAtropolis: Green Space moves into the 22nd Century, human social evolution is heading in new directions after the Green Crash and the subsequent Green Renaissance. Nearly everyone who cares to participate in the wired world has become part of the "Internet of things", a virtual environment mapped across all aspects of the natural experience. At the same time, the serious back-to-the-land types have embraced a full-on paleo lifestyle, including genetically engineering themselves and their offspring. At the same time, a back-to-space movement is seeking the moon, a green Mars, and even the stars, with the eventual goal of leaving a pristine and undisturbed Earth behind. METAtropolis: Green Space is the creation of Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Jay Lake; Hugo Award winning writers Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Elizabeth Bear; New York Times best-selling author Tobias S. Buckell; Aurora Award winner Karl Schroeder; and critically-acclaimed author Ken Scholes.
©2013 Joseph E. Lake, Jr., Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder, Seanan McGuire, Tobias S. Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Scholes (P)2013 Audible Inc.
I have all three of the Metatropolis books - and I happened to listen to all three of them in order. There is good and bad about this book - one aspect I liked from the original Metatropolis was the geographic variety - unlike the second book which was located all in one area. Like any anthology read by different people, you'll find that some voices you like and some you don't. This is the case here. The mix of authors is also unique - some from previous Metatropolis books some new. Overall, the book is very good - hence the 4 stars. I do not think it has the appeal of the first book, but it is very well written and very well read. If you have the other two, this is a natural book to buy and it is worth the price. You'll be taken to places you haven't been before in this world, and some that you'll see from a different view. Some characters are old, some are new. Its a good read, but I don't think its as good as the first book.
While Cascadia seemed to be a "what happened to" followup to Metatropolis, Green space didn't even live up to that level. The stories are humdrum and have none of the richness of the first book, but expands on some of the weirder concepts from Cascadia.
The narrators are mostly an improvement, but with the poor stories they don't have much to work with.
If there is a fourth in this series, I suspect it will include 400 year old characters dealing with the voting rights of the universe.
There are some very cool ideas in this third installment in the METAtropolis short story collection, but the authors got less disciplined here and there are some stories that seem to be phoned in. On top of that, the very famous scifi actors who narrated the first two installments have been replaced by some sub-par narrators who were almost annoying to listen to. I would recommend this collection only to the hard-core scifi readers who are here for the ideas, for there are some extremely cool ideas here despite the mediocre plots, same-old characters and confusing story arcs.
I’ll review each story separately. Here there be (minor) spoilers . . .
Rock of Ages, by Jay Lake. Narrators: Mark Boyette, Dion Graham, Robin Miles. As the METAtropolis franchise moves farther and farther into its imagined future, it would be nice if Jay Lake would also move forward. The explanation for extending Bashar’s life (he is around 150 years old in this story) is complicated and does not really fit in with the rest of the METAtropolis mythos. I could get over that, if there were some really good reason to keep Bashar around, but I don’t think there is. It’s like the author couldn’t be bothered to come up with a new character. Stretching the reader’s credulity further, the author makes the super-centenarian Bashar the hero of a ridiculous James-Bond-type escapade. The only cool thing in this whole story was the forest that had been legally incorporated as an entity and that could speak via the Internet. To my utter disbelief, the door was left open for Bashar to survive riding an asteroid down from high earth orbit and smashing it into Seattle.
Green and Dying, by Elizabeth Bear. Narrator: Jonathan Davis. This story of a group of con men/women running a scam reminded me of an episode of Leverage (not necessarily a bad thing). The scam takes place on a “seastead,” which I imagined like an oil rig only full of condos for rich people. Unfortunately, neither the “seastead” nor the characters were particularly interesting, and the way the story unfolded was too slow. I was actually pretty bored until about halfway through when the story took a turn and seemed like it was going to tie in with some of the plagues that were mentioned in the previous story by Jay Lake, but then that connection wasn’t quite made so I was left more confused than anything else.
The Desire Lines, by Karl Schroeder. Narrator: Sanjiv Jhaveri. Refreshingly, this story was set in a new place—the Amazon rain forests of Peru/Brazil—and featured people of color as the protagonists. And, since it was written by the ever inventive Karl Schroeder, it featured some of the most mind-meltingly awesome futuristic ideas in this entire collection. Again, we are treated to a forest that has a mind of its own, but there are also corporations with really interesting ideas about how to fix a broken environment. One scientist even theorizes that she could revise the ecology so that none of the animals had to kill in order to survive! The narrator was amazing at doing different accents for all the different characters, but for some reason when he was doing straight prose narration, his cadence was so sing-song that it was actually hard to listen to.
Midway Bells & Dying Breeds, by Seanan McGuire. Narrator: Jennifer Van Dyck. The protagonist of this story has grown up as part of a very large, extended family that runs a travelling circus, a remnant of an earlier time that has survived into this high-tech future. Her main job is to steer a huge dinosaur (created like they were in Jurassic Park) to which the circus tethers its floating (?) ferris wheel. Okay, I’ll admit I’m a little fuzzy on what the dino was actually doing. Mostly, we are treated to descriptions of how it oh-so-slow-ly munches its way through the forest. The story could be read as an examination of what happens when things live on past their original expiration date, but rather than taking this opportunity to have the characters debate the merits of resurrecting long-extinct species or the need to continue old traditions, the plot degenerated into the protagonist and the Big Boss of the circus whining about their personal love-hate relationship like adolescents rather than two adults discussing different world views. The “resolution” of their differences was definitely the kind of half-baked, impulsive solution that a teenager would come up with, leaving me disgusted and dissatisfied. The weakest story in the bunch, this seemed like it was originally written for some other reason and then gerrymandered (I’ll add some high-tech circus tents that pack and unpack themselves!) to fit into this collection.
Tensegrity, by Tobias S. Brickell. Narrator: Scott Brick. The possibilities of future tech and social advances were the highlights of this story. A giant, three-mile-in-circumference, concrete city floats into the stratosphere. AIs “govern” small city-states automagically, making most of the pesky day-to-day decisions and leaving us humans to pursue our passions. “Murder” is redefined. I liked that this story tied in better with the rest of the METAtropolis world and the overall story arc. Scott Brick, always amazing!
Forest of Memories, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Narrator: Allyson Johnson. This was my favorite of the bunch, mainly because it was written with a unique point-of-view. The protagonist is telling her story to someone else who has evidently paid her to tell it. In this future where nearly everyone and everything is wired 24-7, for a crucial several days, the protagonist’s connectivity was cut. Of course something mysterious and untoward happened to her during that time, and now she has only her memories and no independent verification of the facts. Wonderfully read by Allyson Johnson.
Let Me Hide Myself in Thee, by Ken Scholes. Narrators: Dion Graham, Robin Miles. This story felt like an obligatory “let’s tie up the loose ends with a nice bow” kind of thing. I give the author an “A” for effort, but could have done with a few less hand-wavium moments. (Oh! I need an action heroine! I’ll conveniently give this person who has been a desk-hugging fiscal researcher her whole life a backstory in which her unconventional parents forced her to learn to be a sniper! And she will miraculously remember this skill 20 years later!)
This is probably the worst book I have ever read!! I kept thinking that it was one of those slow starters and it would get better. It never got better. I was so sure that it would get better and all the loose ends would come together that I read 1 and 2. It was a big waste of my credits! A note to the authors: Don't introduce or narrate your own work. it is never a good idea.
What a great series!
This last book falls apart on the first story though. The audio production value here is so bad that it remains a debilitating distraction to most of the story. Power through this immediate failure and the series gets back to the usual greatness.
I thought it was several short stories put together its hard to follow. Your in space in one chapter and talking about something completely different and new characters in the next paragraph which has nothing to do with what you were just talking about
I didn't make it through this book. Maybe I waited too long after listening to the first two and lost interest in the story.
I really enjoyed book one. Book two was ok but I could only get 10 minutes into the second story before I gave up. I just have trouble getting excited about a geriatric protagonist in a story that doesn't entertain me.
I thought the theatrical performance was a little better but I find myself struggling to pay attention.
The topics I found most interesting in book one seem to have remained undeveloped while the topics I liked the most, which I would argue are the most boring, have been developed further.
If you wrote a fantastic story beyond the first two, my apologies. I won't be reading it. The series just can't hold my attention.
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