Welcome to a world where big cities are dying, dead - or transformed into technological megastructures. Where once-thriving suburbs are now treacherous Wilds. Where those who live for technology battle those who would die rather than embrace it. It is a world of zero-footprint cities, virtual nations, and armed camps of eco-survivalists.
Welcome to the dawn of uncivilization.
METAtropolis is an intelligent and stunning creation of five of today's cutting-edge science-fiction writers: 2008 Hugo Award winners John Scalzi and Elizabeth Bear; Campbell Award winner Jay Lake; plus fan favorites Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder. Together they set the ground rules and developed the parameters of this "shared universe", then wrote five original novellas - all linked, but each a separate tale.
Bringing this audiobook to life is a dream team of performers: Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan ("Saul Tigh"); Alessandro Juliani ("Felix Gaeta"); and Kandyse McClure ("Anastasia 'Dee' Dualla"); plus legendary audiobook narrators Scott Brick (Dune) and Stefan Rudnicki (Ender's Game).
John Scalzi, who served as Project Editor, introduces each story, offering insight into how the METAtropolis team created this unique project exclusively for digital audio.
©2008 Joseph E. Lake, Jr., Tobias S. Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
“Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Scalzi and his contributors/collaborators have created a fascinating shared urban future that each of them evokes with his or her particular strengths.... This stellar collection is a fascinating example of shared world-building.” (Booklist)
"This impressive group of writers imagines what happens when the world moves beyond cities as a locus of human civilization. The range of narrators...brings a unique narrative style to the production. Of the five narrators, all well chosen for the stories, Allessandro Juliani proves to be the best with his rendering of Scalzi's piece." (AudioFile)
(rewritten to exclude apostrophes or quotation marks, which Audible processes incorrectly.)
I like the concept of a shared world and overall this is an entertaining audiobook, but like any anthology some stories are better than others.
In the Forests of the Night by Jake Lake was an extended pseudospiritual/political rant that never answers the most obvious question, i.e. who is Tygre?
I liked Stochasti-city by Tobias Buckell at least in part because it is read by Scott Brick but also because it is entertaining and interesting although the ideas of ex-military street mercs and repurposing abandoned urban real estate were done (better) decades ago by William Gibson.
The Elizabeth Bear story elicited an enthusiastic meh. The characters just were not that compelling and there was not much of a plot to resolve.
John Scalzi is a good writer with a good sense of humor and a lighter tone was needed by this point. His story was funny, but at times it comes across like a 1980s comedy film: slacker hero saves the world through pranking. Not a spoiler, because you see it coming a mile away.
They saved the best for last. To Hie from Far Cilenia by Karl Schroeder is the most thought-provoking of the set. It was a quirky combination of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and Spook Country by William Gibson with a heavy dose of Stephensonian fascination with currency. Being a huge fan of both Stephenson and Gibson, it worked for me. The fact that Stefan Ruknicki is a brilliant reader helps too.
The whole collection owes a lot to Gibson, even the various green movements (anybody remember the Sandbenders?), but Gibson was less heavy-handed than these stories. It does put a nice big flashing date stamp on the era at least. Half the science fiction books in the 80s were about nuclear Armageddon, half today are about environmental Armageddon.
Anyway, it serves as a good screenshot of contemporary writing and is worth a listen.
I'm loving audio books more each day-being able to walk the dog, do the dishes or keep an eye on grandkids in the pool-all while listening to a book is great. My favorite genres are mystery/romance, some paranormal and lots of Science Fiction.
Gather together half a dozen writers of speculative fiction, set a general format and time frame, some agreed on names and policies and pair them up with narrators (some better than others) and you could get a winner or loser. In my opinion it's a 85% winner. I think what ticked me off is the mispronunciation of names in Oregon-names are important so instead of making up the pronunciation, just ask someone from the Pacific Northwest.
It's Wil-aahh-met, not willa-met. It's Estacada not Esta - caw-da. Stuff like that gets to me. But for the most, Tygre, Tygre was good.
My favorite was the story of the bike messenger woman who gets caught up with a vertical farming group who has turned an office building into apartments for families. Imagine living in your cubicle space?
The stories jump from place to place, from the Cascades to Detroit to New St. Louis. But the future they predict, while not crazy dystopian are different and are all to easy to see as our future if the banks and lawyers continue to draw down on the middle class, if medical care gets more expensive if we don't decide to make changes in our life.
Be prepared to get the secnd volume Metatropolis:Cascadia
This may be for people that like a gloom & doom book. The first story was way too far out there and just didn't grab your attention. The second was funny and I like the narrator but I just couldn't finish the book.
Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
They were OK
The stories were ok, but nothing special. The shared world gimmick really did not play a major role--these stories would have had the same impact as stand-alone stories (George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards shared world series is an example of how the shared world concept can be used to wonderful effect). John Scalzi's lighthearted tale of a pig farmer was the best of the bunch, probably because it was the least preachy and easiest to follow the plot. All of the stories seemed to follow the same basic format, i.e., outsiders trying to usurp the technological progress of the city-states. The biggest problem with this audio book is the varying quality of the readers. Michael Hogan snarls his way through Jay Lake's opening novella and Stefan Rudnicki growls through the final story by Karl Schroeder. Kandyse McClure and Scott Brick do good jobs, with Alessandro Juliani doing the best (or perhaps he was blessed with reading Scalzi's fun story). This audio book is nominated for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo Award for some inexplicable reason. It's ratings on Audible.com and LibraryThing.com are so-so at best, and it did not appear on any Best of the Year lists that I saw. My guess is that people voted for it based on name recognition without actually listening to it.
I really wanted to like this, but ultimately it just didn't seem to hit the mark, coming off as a collection of mediocre adverts for the authors rather than a real attempt at a connected collection of short stories. The quality of the voice acting was variable also.
It's not all bad; a couple of stories are worthy in their own right, but as a collection, there's just not enough to hold it together.
Every story was interesting and they wove together rather well. The first story was probably the weakest in my opinion, because it never really explains itself to the listener very well. Still, even that story was fun to listen to.
I'd really like to see more stories written in this alternate future world.
When I read about this project and listened to the editors preface I thought I was in for a very imaginative and creative work. While this isn't a terrible book, it's not that creative.
I prefer Science Fiction that is a metaphor for a insight into the human condition. Here I felt was science fiction as a metaphor for the collective authors' current day political view points. It got a bit tiresome and was repetitive. Because this book makes statements on so many current day events, it will probably not be as interesting in say, two or three years.
The brightest point of the book are the readers. All your favorites are here and they do not disappoint. As for the stories themselves, they are of varying quality, but on the whole B- in average.
If your choice of books is between this one and one that you're very excited about, choose the other. If you are just looking for something that might be a solid base hit, this book will meet your expectations.
I was skeptical about the concept of collaborative writing after that Chopin Manuscript thing, but the BSG actors as narrators was too strong of a marketing ploy for me to resist.
I was pleasantly surprised. Especially by Alessandro Juliani. WOW! What an incredible performance.
Gaeta may have lost a leg, but Alessandro has gained a fan. No...seriously... He brings the author's world to life as richly as did Paul Giamatti in "A Scanner Darkly."
The tales are engaging, and there is enough overlap between them for you to see a coherent whole.
The other narrators do a fine job (though I'm admittedly not a big Brick fan), but Alessandro really stands out in this audio book. Which is doubly impressive when you consider he's down to one leg.
If you likes you some Sci-Fi, this book will provide hours of entertainment. So bring a towel, 'cause at METAtropolis, it's laid out like 'dat.
METAtropolis is an interesting take on the future - financial collapse causes social reform among other changes. It makes one think about the future and our part in it. Be aware that this is an anthology of short stories - if you like one, you may not like the others. That having been said, the only bad thing I have to say about this book is that there isn't more of it. Its that good. I suggest you listen to it - if for no other reason than it will make you think. Oh, if you did like it - check out METAtropolis Cascadia - its as well written and arguably better performed.
Every book is worth considering. It's the kind of consideration on what to do with the book that differs.
METAtropolis is a compilation of five different stories by five distinguished authors taking place in the same shared universe, which keeps things fresh and enjoyable. I didn't think I would have enjoyed it as much as I had. I found myself sad every time each story comes to an end, and quickly excited again for what comes next.
Get METAtropolis: Cascadia as soon as you're done with this. Worth it.
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