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Plasma City (Metropolitan #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  700 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Aiah has learned that plasm is more than an energy source. It resonates within the human mind, giving power to heal and to kill. So when she finds an undiscovered, unlimited supply, she dares to meet with the powerful Metropolitan known as Constantine, a mysterious rebel with plans. Together they can use the plasm to rally forces to overthrow the government.
Paperback, 461 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Heyne (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,386)
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4.5 Stars

What an amazingly original piece of what could be best described as hard-fantasy. This novel is a hybrid cross of fantasy and science fiction. Much of it plays out like a cyberpunk novel, while at other times it feels like a steampunk alternate universe story. This is not an action based novel, nor is it a dialogue type novel. It is a superb piece of world building. Walter John Williams meticulously crafts an alternate world where Plasm(sort of like electricity)is a priceless commodity
Inspired by the recent reissue digitally I read again (it is either 4th or 5th time overall, not sure though I think it is 5th) the Metropolitan/City on Fire sequence; the one distinction this time was that I read the two books the first time after a heavy dose of fantasy reading from 2008-2011 when to a large extent I exhausted my interest in most of the genre the way i did with mysteries 20+ years ago.

And Metropolitan was still fresh and interesting and did not read like a fantasy (of 2012 or
There are three scientific factors that are important to the world: the metropolis, the shield and plasm. (You can read more about them at my blog review:

Each of these ideas had merit but none of them fully worked for me. The gigantic planet sized city had the most potential and most everything connected to it worked. So the idea that buildings built on top of other buildings on top of other buildings creating their own energy makes a kind of sense to me
Victoria Gaile
Hard to say! I liked a lot about the world and the cultures, especially that the protagonist was a woman of color in a society that has racial dynamics similar to our own. The magical technology was interesting.

But so much of the story revolved around who was being used and who was doing the using. That kind of cynical manipulation doesn't appeal to me in general; and I was particularly uncomfortable watching the protagonist do things that she framed to herself as either manipulating others or
Metropolitan started out strong and I was excited to get involved in the exciting and dark world that was created. The world building was amazing, everything was described in detail and with colorful metaphors. Aiah is filled out well, her boring life and money troubles. I liked the combination of sci-fi and "magic". I didn't really think of it as magic, but more as energy that could be harnessed to do anything. The writing in this book was really strong and I liked how everything was described. ...more
It's a wonderfully, original story that is a cross of fantasy and science fiction. The little nuances and attention to detail that Williams gives is a breath of fresh air. At times you think the relationship between Aiah and her family is pointless, but you soon realize that Williams is doing an excellent job in character development as well as refining the softer/peripheral points of the reality he has created.

I loved the way the people communicated with their little ethnic idiosyncrasies of "
"Chapter 1
A burning woman stalks along the streets. Ten stories tall, naked body a whirling holocaust of fire."
Forget the color of the sky. It's got the *punk!

An odd concept.
Wizards meet bureaucrats and gangsters in a quaint noirish setting (more than Metropolis, think Dark City meets Tokyo). Nietzschean fantasies and wish-fulfillment romance play out in a social realist novel. The detailed fantasy world is extraordinarily implausible yet internally consistent.

The story goes in many directions
Andy Love
An excellent hard-fantasy novel. In a world that may be far-future Earth, the world is surrounded by an impenetrable shield (the glow from which provides the heat and light the world needs) civilization depends on the magical substance "plasm" which powers magic (and accumulates in pools depending on the geometry nearby structures. But this magic doesn't mean that there are wizards and swordsmen around - rather, there is magical technology, metering out the limited supply of plasm to people who ...more
Joel Finkle
Finally got a copy of this (I'd had the sequel on my shelf for years), and I'm very glad to have read it.

It's a far-future science fantasy: geomantic energy called plasm runs the world. There's some minor frustrations: Why do two characters (Gil and Constantine) have names familiar to us, but everyone else has a name not mappable to English language, and while electricity, cars, etc. are still there, computers seem to be mechanical, and there's a lot of other tech lower than today (the closest t
Invadozer Saphenousnerves Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
Williams has made a wonderfully put together world that moves shakes
and flushes. People use plasm left and right to fix wounds & fatigue
in the sprawling city world. Plasm is like what the electric company
supplies to work your household needs, but hospitals use this energy
too. Plasm can be used with a projection of the mind to sneak around
invisible or manifest yourself in a flaming 10 story tall person on
fire as the first few sentences describe a victim. Some people suck
on it all day and over
Colin Sinclair
A sealed off world covered by sprawling cities where magic is metered and sold as a utility. The rich have more magic, and magic means power. The main character finds an unmetered source and decides to sell it to a man plotting a revolution. This book was enjoyable, but odd. In some places things seem to play out a little too easily for the 'hero' of the tale. The world building is epic though. And leaves a lot of questions that I presume will be answered in the sequel.
A cross between science fiction (a futuristic earth) and fantasy (certain types of magic work). Although written in 1995 the future apparently lacks cell phones and the internet both of which existed in an early form when the book was written. Nevertheless this is an entertaining look at a future with a stratified society, corrupt politicians and people who are simultaneously idealistic and self-serving. A fun read. I look forward to the sequel City of Fire.

I've never written a book review before so here goes! The book was good I found the story quite enjoyable and most importantly it is imaginative. All the technical all skill in the execution of writing don't amount to much if the finished product is unimaginative;and there was allot of imagination in this. All of which was necessary for a book who's setting blurs the lines between sci-fi and fantasy. Possibly Sci-fi of a far future transhumanist nature,if one was interpenetrate the back story th
Bello, anche se non perfetto.
Credo di averlo letto anni e anni fa, ma potrebbe anche essere uno di quelli che avevo preso in biblioteca e mollato subito (dato che non ricordavo assolutamente nulla XD).
Ottimo wordbuilding, personaggi interessanti, peccato il finale un po' meh.
It was too much fantasy for me, I didn't get very far before I put it down. The premise of how plasm works was too outrageous for me.
I dug the power inherent in geometries -- kind of a weight of ages thing. The slow accretion of will, intent and urban refuse manifest as "plasm". Read this one a while back but it's one that I still think of quite frequently, especially when I'm treading paths through the urban wilderness. Almost reminds me of Geiman and Mieville in that sense, but maybe I'm reaching.
Not very easy to get into, but interesting once I did. While not as exotic as Aristoi, I enjoyed the brand of magic Williams has. =) Unfortunately, the ending is a bit hrm.
Guillaume Richard
Some fantasy mixed with pseudo-cyberpunk. Some really good ideas.
Too bad it doesn't bring much more than being just a nice story.
Elizabeth Snell
I'd really give this one a 4.5 if that were an option. Enjoyed it so much that I moved right on to the second book "City on Fire."
Dan Rosenthal
One of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. Very solid world building and well defined characters. highly recommended.
This was even better than I remembered it and I remember liking it a lot. I'm considering 5 stars and a longer review.
Jason Case
Metropolitan is a bit more sociologic and less action oriented but a very thoughtful and exciting read
Daniel Fehrenbach
wow, took me forever to remember this one, but it has a really interesting urban environment
Bit clumsy, bit of a slog, not a very rewarding ending.
Dan Walls
Slow, didn't appeal much to me.
Decent scifi; worth the easy read.
Fascinating worldbuilding.
Catherine Johnson
Catherine Johnson marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2015
Scrazz marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2015
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Walter Jon Williams has published twenty novels and short fiction collections. Most are science fiction or fantasy -Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Aristoi, Metropolitan, City on Fire to name just a few - a few are historical adventures, and the most recent, The Rift, is a disaster novel in which "I just basically pound a part of the planet down to bedrock." And that's just the opening chapters ...more
More about Walter Jon Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Metropolitan (2 books)
  • City on Fire (Metropolitan, #2)
Destiny's Way (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #14) Hardwired (Hardwired, #1) Ylesia (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #14.5) This Is Not a Game (Dagmar, #1) The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall, #1)

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