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)
Metatropolis is set in a kind of post apocalyptic future, however it doesnt follow a bang but the world as we know it seems to have disappeared in a whimper. As such the future isnt a dramatic and depressing realisation of mans weakness. Many of the characters regard there world with a kind of mild disinterest (much like we do today). I was surprised just how often one of the stories in this collection described to me the fully formed idea that had only started to occur in my own head.
The stories are well written and have a concise and efficient feeling as good short stories should. Each narration is as good as the last, I can still hear the phrase "arrived on the wings of a storm" in my head when I think about it.
I thoroughly recommend this book.
This is a brilliant piece of work with several authors in different ways writing about a shared earth of the future.
As each story is about 2 hours and independently set in the same world as the other stories, I have listened to all but one twice. It means a journey in the car can be a whole story and not leave you wanting more commuting ;-)
I love this take on our future and how given this ground rules it can be seen in such different ways - from technology altering lives for the better to harsh realities of post oil survival.
I, like so many, am new to sci fi audio books, I like to get reading books that are relevant to me. Also the same is true with audio books. I need something to fill the gaps of my imagination that have been untouched by tv or movies, or need rekindling. The audio book METAtropolis is a great read for the reason that its several smaller stories well spoken and tied together in a very good use of an audible credit.
I personally, specfically chose this audio book, because I was going to London to meet Kandyse McClure ('Dee' in Battlestar Galacticas reimagined series). She ended up being a very nice woman and this is evident in her reading of the character in METAtropolis.
I very much enjoyed the audio book.
"Not a wasted credit"
(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.
"Not as original as I hoped"
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 hesitant to get this Audible Frontiers audiobook because I generally don't enjoy anthologies. However, I found the Metatropolis stories fascinating -- several stories include references to ecology-related technology changes and the narrators are top-notch. Highly recommended for sci-fi/cli-fi fans.
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.
"Average at best"
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.
"Not for me"
I admit it I was pulled in by the narrators, I am a huge battlestar fan so a book narrated by an XO and senior officer I though what could possible go wrong. I did not enjoy this book at all and cannot actually bring myself to listen to any more of it. I found the descriptive nature of places etc annoying it seemed almost every other sentence described things such as "The book was like wading through treacle with concrete shoes on" situations were compared to other situations in overly verbose fashion and for me the book did not really have any sort of rhythm to it.
Sorry but I didn't like it!
"Don't even bother"
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.
Yes, the simplistic idea that the world collapsed because of capitalism, oil and evil industrialists and that open source genomes, bicycles, eco-terror and husbanding gazillions of pigs is where sustainable living answers exist.
I've purchased 5 other Scalzi novels and after finishing METAtropolis as the first, I'm strongly questioning the wisdom of my other purchases.
Absolutely, the narrations were well performed.
I would avoid it like a foreboding superstition.
"Good on ~almost~ all counts"
at the end of the book, I was really satisfied with it. I thought the world-building exercise engaged in by the authors of this anthology was really successful. They created an experience that had aspects of recognizable civilization and made it clear where they had used their imaginations to create followable paths toward the future of trends already starting in cities of today. Crowdsourcing, community action, all were represented. The only problem I really had with the book was that sometimes, the characters were forced into the plot rather quickly. They didn't always get the chance to ferment properly and develop. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Even when it doesn't, it's not a story killer. The plotting of the stories, and the fantastic science fiction really make up for any character weaknesses. Excellant read. I'll be getting the next book this month!
"Greenpeace weds Hell's Angels"
well I thought this book sounded great--so I got it on sale. If synergy is where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts this would be best described as antienergy. This book is about eco-terrorism and what hapens when the whole US has been destroyed by over use of resources, not covering our "footprint" etc., etc. Its baseline is that homosexuality is normal, forcing people to be eco friendly is good for them and for some reason there aren't any family units--Mom and Dad with their own children.
I did like Scalzi's part of this book--some authors were better than others, but I wouldn't recommend this book.
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