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Empire State (Empire State #1)

3.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,984 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

Adam Christopher’s stunning deb
Paperback, 445 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Feb 16, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: pulp, sf, 2012, angry-robot
Two battling superheroes open a rift into a parallel dimension. On the other side of the rift is The Empire State, an imperfect copy of New York. Empire State detective Rad Bradley's search for a missing woman brings him into conflict with forces from New York. But do they mean to save the Empire State or destroy it?

Why I liked this book:
Parallel universes are awesome, aren't they? One out of ever five Star Trek episodes uses them in some way. The Empire State is a copy of New York that reminds
Gabriel C.
Dec 08, 2012 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it
Shelves: noir, cory, 2012
I absolutely need to stop reading anything that Cory Doctorow recommends. He has absolutely no filter. Fool me once (I'm looking at you, Star Island), shame on Boing Boing. Fool me twice, there's more than enough shame to go around. Cory and I can share it with the author, the publisher, and anyone who knows either of them. There's enough shame here that we can give a big helping to anyone who has held a door for Adam Christopher or said to him "Excuse me, I think you dropped your hat." By page ...more
Veronica Belmont
Three stars means "I like" a book, even though it feels more like a "meh" when you see those three lonely stars up there on a review. However, in this case, it rings perfectly true: I liked Empire State.

I'm having some trouble being objective in this review, because I follow Adam Christopher on Twitter, he has been a friend to Sword and Laser, etc etc. But I had a hard time truly getting into this book as much as I wanted to.

Part of the problem is that the storyline is purposely convoluted. We'
Mar 13, 2013 Brandon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ebook, 2013, syfy
The Empire State is an alternate reality to what we know as 1930s New York City. Under oppressive rule, the inhabitants of the city are forced to ration all commodities to fund the war effort against an unknown force simply identified as “The Enemy”. When detective Rad Bradley is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young woman, he encounters visitors from New York. As Rad’s investigation continues, the truth behind the existence of The Empire State begins to unravel causing the detective ...more
Kate O'Hanlon
Take this with a pinch of salt, because though I'm immersed in geek culture enough to be passing familiar with superheroes, parallel universes, etc I don't have much contact with the primary sources, so maybe I just don't get it.

The plot moves along briskly but is complicated to the point of convolution and the writing style is often unclear. The main characters are cardboard cut outs and the supporting characters are tissue paper thin. The ideas were so interesting but they're mostly just waste
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
This book is a hot mess. Often times, books which are a hot mess are fun to review, because I go into rant mode and just let loose on all the many ways I hated it. But, honestly, I didn't hate it. I didn't care enough about it to hate it. And, in a way, that's kinda even more sad than hating it.

It's just kind of there.

I think, overall, it just tried to be too many things. There's a smattering of Rocketeer like superheros. There's some prohibition/gangster kind of stuff that's mostly there for wi
Tom Merritt
Apr 09, 2012 Tom Merritt rated it it was amazing
Oh my. Where do I start? Do you like superheroes? How an noir ace detectives? Or perhaps steam punk? Alternate realities? Robots? If you're not absolutely salivating with geeky lust, then move along. There may be nothing to see here. But to those cleaning the drool off their tablets and laptops, stop now. Go to book store website. Buy Empire State. It's absolutely awesome. I want more Skyguard. I want more Detective Rad. I want more drinks at Jerry's. I want more robots. Well done Mr. Christophe ...more
From outside this looks like some cross-over of noir and superheroes with flashes of Watchmen and Wild Cards but when you drill down you find this confusing, tangled sci-fi heart of other dimensions, reflections of the real world and duplicity of the soul.

The book starts as a detective novel set in a 30's/40's blend of Prohibition and World War 2 era Manhattan, known as the Empire State. A woman is missing and it's up to PI Rad Bradley to find out what's going on. The more he digs the more he di
During the last great superhero fight a blast of energy rips a hole in reality, the result Empire State; a twisted parallel prohibition-era New York City. But now the rift is starting to close and both parallel worlds have to fight for the right to exist. Adam Christopher’s Empire State tells the story of Rad Bradley a private detective investigating the disappearance for Sam Saturn which leads him to uncover something a whole lot bigger. This book is everything you expect in a pulp style superh ...more
Ben Babcock
Empire State is a frenetic concoction of noir mystery, Prohibition-era gangster-style criminal conspiracy, and Golden Age superhero fiction. Reading it is like sitting in a bare room, concrete walls and a single steel table with an uncomfortable chair, as the clock above the door ticks steadily towards 3 AM. It’s minimalist and rough, sometimes surreal and always uncomfortable. Just when I thought I had it figured out, Adam Christopher changes gears and leaves me in the dust. I like that I was a ...more

One of the most highly anticipated titles of early 2012, Adam Christopher's Empire State has been billed as superhero noir. Angry Robot, recognizing the broad appeal of such a pastiche, has marketed the novel along with their WorldBuilderproject. WorldBuilder invites readers to create their own works based in the world of Empire State, which Angry Robot may publish (if they get anything good). That's neither here nor there, but I thought it worth mentionin
P. Aaron Potter
May 24, 2013 P. Aaron Potter rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi
Bait and Switch.

This book very nearly landed on my books-I-sort-of-regret-reading list (see my bookshelves), not necessarily because of any intrinsic flaw but because it indulged in the 'My Girl' sin: it promised to belong to one genre, then ended up somewhere else entirely.

The packaging, title, cover, back blurbs, press, and even the first chapter suggest heavily that this is going to be a noir comic-book inflected action story of super heroes among us, perhaps not on the order of Watchmen, but
Angry Robot is one of those publishers you just have to keep an eye on, because they come out with some unique, surprising fiction. Their books tend to defy genre conventions and often are impossible to classify. To mess with our heads even more, they then stick weird little filing instructions on them, such as “File Under: Fantasy [ Aztec Mystery | Locked Room | Human Sacrifice | The Dead Walk! ]” for Aliette de Bodard’s Servant of the Underworld, or “[The Mob & Magic | Ancient Secrets | Zo ...more
Sam Reader
Jul 14, 2012 Sam Reader rated it it was ok

"You're late."

"No, actually, you're early." He rechecked his watch. "Actually, I am late, I think my watch is busted."

"Like your lip."

- Rad Bradley and Kane Fortuna

I found this book in a very conventional way, for once. It was on the shelves of the local Barnes & Noble not far from my house. Now, I don't normally support big bookstores, but they've never steered me wrong much. In fact, a lot of the ones I visit inexplicably have smaller and mid-range press genre titles
Feb 18, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
The art-deco style cover gives you a clue about this one. Here is a tale set initially in a 1920/30’s style New York, though not the New York City, but a place called Empire State. (Although the real New York City does appear, later.)

We have murder and gunshots in dark city streets, where it is always raining, detectives under streetlamps wrestling silently with their broody thoughts and dubious morals. We have Superheroes entwined with Gangsters. And with illicit booze, gang fights, car chases,
Sep 09, 2015 Anna rated it did not like it
I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. 'Empire State' has been on my to read list for three years, as the combination of detective noir and superheroes seemed highly promising. I was expecting a standard thriller plot with some interesting world-building, rather than anything special in terms of writing or characterisation. Yet I was sad to find that none of the above were really achieved. At first I thought the problem was very similar to that of Aurorarama, which has a fantastic setting but fru ...more
May 17, 2013 Aaron rated it did not like it
Confusing, rambling, and poorly edited. Angry Robot lost me as a customer when they put this book out.

Adam Christopher has a great imagination, and a good sense of where to focus when writing action sequences or descriptive passages. But this book is loaded with passages that needed a careful editor's eye, and Angry Robot apparently does not employ any careful editors. Typos, grammar errors, redundant phrases. This book read like a first draft that got quickly skimmed by an editor and put to pr
Ranting Dragon
Dec 28, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: michelle

Empire State is the genre-bending debut novel of New Zealand-born author Adam Christopher, one of Angry Robot’s exciting new acquisitions. Empire State successfully combines science fiction, Prohibition-era detective noir, comic book superheroes, and nearly endless plot twists to create a fast-paced and unique saga of surprises that is sure to keep countless readers up into the early hours of the morning.

Welcome to the Empire State
Empire State primarily te
Chris Bauer
Jan 12, 2012 Chris Bauer rated it it was ok
There is a lot to like about this debut novel from Adam Christopher. The premise of Empire State is exceptionally fresh and unique. The mechanics behind the novel are also interesting. There were so many details and minor points alluded to in the book which I found utterly fascinating and thought-provoking.And the Worldbuilder system shows plenty of promise. But...

I could not sympathize with the protagonist(s) at all. Very dry, 2D and somewhat stereotypically "noir" in nature. The basic structur
Jul 12, 2013 Tom rated it liked it
Empire State
Written by Adam Christopher
Read by Phil Gigante

Empire State is a novel that sounds really great in concept but comes off a bit confusing in execution. This novel has it all - superheroes, detective noir, gangsters, prohibition, robots, alternate dimensions, you name it. If any or all of that sounds cool to you, this may be a book for you.

The story generally takes the form of a detective noir once you get into it except that the story's perspective does not only stick with the detect
Mar 12, 2012 Alterjess rated it it was ok
When this is inevitably turned into a movie it will be one of the very few cases where I recommend that people NOT read the book first. I'm giving this two stars because the premise is cool and I like stories about science fiction happening in New York.

This is an interesting premise, but the poor quality of the writing makes for a sluggish read. The characters never fully come into focus, the plot is needlessly convoluted, and the climactic final scenes are a sloppy action sequence peppered by "
Mar 25, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
EMPIRE STATE is a blend of prohibition era shysters and superheroes ripped from the comic strip with a nod towards noir and the dime detective novels of the pulp era. There is also a liberal dose of sci-fi too with a multi dimensional New York/Empire State with access to and from via a fissure. This pocket and origin concept is a times confusing yet plausible within the limitations of Adam Christopher’s world he so craftily manufactures. Once I was able to get my head around it, the idea worked ...more
Sep 10, 2013 Demercel rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
It seems I am spoiled with reading mostly Hugo and Nebula award-winning books, so for me Empire State is a representative of the new, less-then-perfect generation of books. The book started slow, really slow. It is not an uncommon tool in authors' arsenal, but it still made the book not very well-balanced, because literally the first half is slow and introducing the characters and the setting, in the physical middle of the book the mystery is unveiled and the reader's suspicions are confirmed an ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Julian rated it did not like it
I was lured into buying this by the promise of a tale of an alternative reality where Prohibition was never repealed, and where superheroes went bad. And everything went really, really well until I started to read it. The first page established, at considerable length, that two men were in a car. On the second page we learned that the author is overly fond of adjectives, tending towards the inexperienced writer's belief that where none are necessary, three are better. We also learned that he is ...more
Dec 26, 2011 Randy rated it it was amazing
A fine mix of steampunk/noir/superhero/pulp in a story that I had a great time reading.

A PI takes a case to find a woman's missing lover in a thirties city in the midst of a war. Two superheroes, The SkyGuard and The Science Pirate, former friends now battling open the book.

The whole thing ties into two worlds threatened with destruction.

From the speakeasies to the blimps overhead to a fanatical preacher, robots, parallel universes, it is all great fun.
Aug 31, 2014 E.B. rated it did not like it
Got this at a gas station on audiobook for a road trip...

Get ready for hours upon hours upon hours of scratching scalps. It's War Time, after all.
Mar 18, 2014 Janet rated it liked it
Meh. For a book that's supposed to be about superheroes, there's very little superheroes here. I felt most of the book was a series of "shocking big reveals" that either I'd figured out much earlier and was waiting for the book to catch up, or was so disinterested in the characters that I didn't really care. I kept waiting for something to grab me and bring me in, but the characters were flat, and the plot just rather methodical and stepwise, so I never really felt invested in the book. This wou ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So when I finished the book I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chuck Wendig interviewed Adam Christopher about the book and this Very Cool text was included in the book. You should definitely NOT read the interview until after you have read the book, but you should definitely NOT skip it either. Lots of cool banter about the book.

What I can say about the story itself...
noir, post-steampunk, superheroes, detective, alternate world/parallel universe/pocket dimension, dark alleys, murder most f
Jan 07, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it
This is the first published novel by Adam Christopher. I’ve met Adam once and he is one of those genuine people, so it is no surprise that he got the chance to pitch for this novel due to impressing The Robot Overlords as a person as well as with his short stories (see the link to his site to read some). Being a twitter follower for a year I pre-ordered this book as soon as it was available. Luckily for me the pixies at my local Waterstone’s managed to get my copy in before the release date. Hap ...more
Dean Fetzer
Jun 29, 2012 Dean Fetzer rated it it was amazing
wo New Yorks and a lot of fun

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this first novel by Adam Christopher - but it had come highly recommended by a number of my writer friends, so I figured it was worth a look.

Centered around a world with two New Yorks, one shrouded in fog and forever battling an unseen Enemy with the austerity of ‘Wartime’ and another set in our world in 1950, with all the light, noise and people that inhabited the city in that time.

The Empire State, with its heart in o
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Adam Christopher is a novelist and comic writer, and award-winning editor.

The author of MADE TO KILL, volume 1 in The LA Trilogy, Adam is co-writer of THE SHIELD for Dark Circle Comics and author of the official tie-in novels novels based on the hit CBS television show ELEMENTARY.

Born in New Zealand, Adam has lived in Great Britain since 2006.
More about Adam Christopher...

Other Books in the Series

Empire State (2 books)
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