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Empire State (Empire State #1)

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,581 ratings  ·  343 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
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
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'
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
Gabriel C.
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
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
Tom Merritt
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
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
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
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
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
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
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

"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 sitti
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,
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

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
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
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
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 "
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Ole Imsen
If you have read Crime Noir, you'll recognise both the atmosphere that this novel creates and its 20th century setting. But it's not as simple as that, this isn't "just" Crime Noir but rather a mix of genres. Christopher blends Crime Noir with superheroes and parallel universes, and he does it in such a way that his novel retains the rugged realism of Crime Noir.

The story starts off in a way that isn't out of place in any 1930s set crime novel, but that changes very quickly, and we are soon tr
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Superheroes and C...: Empire State - General Discussion 13 13 Jul 31, 2013 03:20PM  
The Sword and Laser: Reiterated my thoughts on Action in books 4 152 Jun 13, 2013 09:58AM  
The Sword and Laser: Need a new term (like "lemmed") 34 501 Apr 09, 2013 06:01AM  
Pulp Fiction: Empire State 12 64 Dec 03, 2012 05:49AM  
The Sword and Laser: Empire State - Edition! 2 30 May 06, 2012 09:46AM  
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Adam Christopher was born in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2006, he moved to the sunny North West of England, where he lives in domestic bliss with wife and cat in a house next to a canal. Adam’s short fiction has appeared in Pantechnicon, Hub, and Dark Fiction Magazine. Adam's debut novel, Empire State, is due from Angry Robot in January 2012.

When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsess
More about Adam Christopher...
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