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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

  • 2009 Hugo Award nominee, Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • 2009 Audie Award nominee, Original Work

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Bend, OR, USA
  • 03-19-10

Fingernails on a chalkboard

If you are going to narrate a story set in a very specific locale, is it too much to ask that you learn how to pronounce the names of its rivers, mountains and valleys? Even the pronunciation of the state is slightly off. If the story was captivating, innovative or engaging these persistent annoyances might be overlook, but, alas, the story is none of these. I do not know if I have the stamina to attempt the second.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I'm not a big short story reader, but this collection -- with its common themes -- was an exception. I liked the fact that there were different voices and styles (including one I would classify as a comedy). My favorite was definitely the last one. I wished that story was a full-blown novel. I hated to leave its concepts explored only at a surface level. The anthology's editor conceded that the final story's author was the most prolific in the idea dept and you can definitely see that in his story.
This is for you if you like sci fi -- not the stories set in space, but the ones that really get you thinking about the sociology and the human condition. Plus it's got some good geek stuff in it too.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • curt
  • PORTLAND, OR, United States
  • 12-23-08

Eco in the future

Very good group of short stories. I do not think that civilization will go that way but I love the argument. I liked the use of the stereo types of the people in each region, NW, S. Cal and the Mid West.
A lost of good ideas that give you things to think about. I recommend it.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dawn
  • Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  • 04-24-09

Great collaboration

A longtime fan of science fiction, I was wary about a collaborative piece that brought together very different authors. I bought it because I liked the readers -- and they didn't disappoint.

I came to admire the authors for their incredible continuity throughout the stories, for the depth of these short stories, and for writing stories that have stayed with me long after I first listened (and I will listen again). I will definitely listen to more from each of these authors.

It is understandable why it was nominated for the Hugo.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Don't even bother

What disappointed you about METAtropolis?

The story line was passible but the execution of the story was poor. The introduction of the supposed extension of today's left wing vs right wing politics killed it for me. The ignorance of the writer regarding the long-term effects of bad economic "philosophy" and related policies precluded writing a story that would appeal to very intelligent beings.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So horrible it defies description

To clasify this collection as sci-fi is a travesty since it has far more in common with Pravda than actual literature.

Do your blood pressure a favor and skip the tedious 9 hour agony of preachy political moralizing dumbed down to the amoeba level (yet wrapped in a candy coating of smooth naration).

I would give 4.5 stars for the voice acting (as they did what they could), but the content rates a solid -1 at best.

12 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I listened to about 2 hours of this and was so confused and had no idea how the characters came to be where they were or why or what was happening. I can usually get a mental picture of what I am reading which makes a good book to me but w/this book I couldn't picture the characters or what was happening and frankly didn't want to after my 2 hours of confusion. I was so disappointed because I had such high expectations. I think I will wait next time until other reviews come out before I jump into wasting my credits on something new unless I know the author(s).

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • CJ
  • 08-30-12

Sad, Depressing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Definitely not! The authors apparently imagine a future filled with violence; where there is not enough anything to go around. That is such a "I bought into the nonsense" point of view! There is enough in this world to go around for thousands of years to come!

What could the authors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make it more up-beat; more optimistic.

Did METAtropolis inspire you to do anything?

It just made me angry.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Won't make this mistake again.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

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.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Kill Shot by Vince Flynn

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

They were OK

What character would you cut from METAtropolis?

Tyger Tyger

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 10-21-11

A lesson to John Scalzi...

This was introduced as a new idea of tied in short stories set in a world where the United States is on the verge of economic collapse caused by Republican/Conservative political policies and environmental collapse as the earth is ravaged by global warming (once again due to Republican policies).

The idea of a themed set of short stories has been done in Sci Fi before. Such sci-fi classics like Assimov's "I Robot" and Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles", which are now monumental classics in the sci fi world and are often required reading in many schools.

Though these books are now dated an the timelines when these stories were to come to reality have long passed, they are still classics and are still treasured by sci fi enthusiasts. What Scalzi needs to learn from these two classic writers is a lesson of arrogance.

Bradbury and Assimov were not so arrogant as to suggest that their vision was how it was actually going to be, as Scalzi does in his interstory narratives.

Scalzi's world is a utopian vision based on Joseph Baratz model of Kibbutz aggrarian communes, hippy communes, collectivism and outright Marxism disguised as anarchism, with tiny cameras and satellites watching your every move - and we're supposed to think this is an intelligent answer to a new and more ideal world.

You have government counselors assigning you to a pig tending job from a goverment accepted job bank of job openings based on your aptitude... and if you don't accept your social duty and agree to your pig tending job, there was always life outside the walls of your community. Sound familiar? The Soviet Union had such walls - and they assigned their citizens to jobs and one room apartments.

In this book, the Soviet Union is like a capitalist wet dream as in some of the communes in this book, you can't even own personal property! In this world, you can't drive an electric car without people tearing up your car and calling you a "footprinter"... It is such a screwed up place that people are wearing reality augmenting glasses. You have walk or ride a bicycle everywhere. And we're supposed to think "Wow... This is cool!"

Saying that. Based on the setup, the stories were well done. Ignoring the politics, I loved the stories. They were performed by the best narrators and the plots were great. The same stories could have been told with a little less political finger pointing and a little less environazi arrogance. All the same, I look forward to the next book.

So the stories get 3 stars for sheer arrogance and political fingerpointing. Everything else about the stories was 5 star.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful