Review of METAtropolis

November 8, 2019 Reviews 0 ★★★

Review of METAtropolisMETAtropolis by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder
Published by Audible Studios on 10-20-08
Length: 9:7
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
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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.

This is an anthology about a future world where civilization has partly collapsed due to resource shortages, consumerism, etc. In the chaos, various parts of society are trying to soldier on through various “green” solutions to food, work, energy, etc.

The first story, “In the Forests of the Night” is about this mysterious man named Tiger who comes upon and enters an isolated community in the mountains. The prose and language are great here, and the build-up of who this mysterious guy is as well. And then, it goes absolutely nowhere. The story ends up having no real plot, no resolution, no real meaning. What a waste.

The second story “Stochasti-city” is about a guy in Detroit and its suburbs (the Wilds) who takes on odd jobs (“turking”), which are short assignments received online. He ultimately stumbles upon a subversive group that is trying to do things differently in the city. This was a decent story and had a decent resolution, albeit a bit short.

The third story, “The Red in the Sky is Our Blood” is about a woman on the run from a dangerous mogul husband who ultimately decides to help a rebel group trying to make change. There were a few interesting ideas here but ultimately it was a bit forgettable.

The fourth story has a stupid title and I won’t bother to type it out. But it was about a young man living in Detroit. It was more a proper dystopia and had a bit of character development and plot. I would have liked to have more of this, but it wasn’t very long and ended too soon as well.

The last story “To Hire from Far Cilenia” was a great take on augmented reality, countries and powers existing on the network outside of borders, etc. I really enjoyed it.

Taken as a whole, the anthology is a mixed bag, but worth listening to for the gems hidden inside.

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