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Metatropolis (METAtropolis #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,249 Ratings  ·  337 Reviews
Five original tales set in a shared urban future—from some of the hottest young writers in modern SF

A strange man comes to an even stranger encampment...a bouncer becomes the linchpin of an unexpected urban movement...a courier on the run has to decide who to trust in a dangerous city...a slacker in a "zero-footprint" town gets a most unusual new job...and a weapons invest
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Tor Books (first published October 20th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 22, 2011 Rae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi buffs, tree-huggers
I've observed that the way of anthologies seems to be that you win some and you lose some, and METAtropolis adheres to that view. In this unique anthology, all the stories are written in the same, post-oil world, where either you're green, you're stupid, or you're dead. Although all of the stories are connected via world, they have such a range of qualities that I feel that it is only really fair to review each independently of the others.

In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake was certainly th
METAtropolis is a collection of short stories by several science fiction authors who decided that, rather than simply doing a collection of stories based on a specific theme, they would create a world together, and write stories within that world. I really liked this concept, as well as the fact that three of the audiobook narrators are actors from Battlestar Galactica, one of my favourite television shows.

John Scalzi is the editor of the book and introduces each story. He also wrote the only sh
Scott Templeman
Aug 14, 2013 Scott Templeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't really stomach the first and third writers (ironically the one labeled the "up and coming" one of the bunch), as they smugly injected their personal political philosophy in a relentless fashion into an apocalyptic world where such seemed needless, distracting, and blatantly self-satisfying. My favorite story was easily the 4th (the pig farming, written by the editor last), although the last was the most original and intriguing (truly demonstrating how technology would change cultures ...more
Kat  Hooper
Mar 22, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

METAtropolis: It’s not a utopia. It’s just maybe something that sucks a little less

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and it turns out that all those eco-freaks were right all along. We humans destroyed the planet and now we’ve got to live with the mess we’ve made. Many world governments, including the U.S., have been essentially dismantled and large, mostly independent and self-governing city-states have taken their place.

Under the direction of John
Elijah Kinch Spector
I am unfamiliar with the audiobook experience, but I grabbed this back when it was new and tried to listen to it -- at the time, I couldn't pay enough attention to follow it and gave up. I considered buying the normal book version, but upon seeing the list narrators for the sequel (all Star Trek alums!) I decided to give the audio version of the first book another shot.

I liked it very much, but it is hard to judge where my impressions stem from the writing, and where they're caused by the (still
Metatropolis is an interesting book, to say the least: in addition to being a "shared world" anthology, featuring stories from five authors working in the same "collectively-constructed" future setting, it's also (as far as I know) unique in that it was released first as an audio book (reviewed below by Kat) and only subsequently as a traditional "paper" book, first as a limited edition by Subterranean Press, and now in a shiny new edition by Tor.

The concept of the book's shared world is equally
Milton Marshall
Aug 10, 2013 Milton Marshall rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Audiobook lovers, light reading enthusiasts, science fiction readers.
Recommended to Milton by: Audible
I got this collection of stories as promotional gift from Audible. Since it was free, I went into it interested in the premise of authors cooperating in building a future world centered around meta-cities, but not really expecting much from it. I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.

I will try to keep this review spoiler free.

The first story, really had a couple of interesting characters, but really played out more like a crude storyboard for a much longer novel. Many of the images I got
Jun 18, 2010 Kiri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book was conceived as a joint project between five authors, in which they co-created the world in which their stories would be set, but then took their stories in very different directions. They're all concerned with the evolution of cities and breakdown of our current capitalistic, consumption-based economy. Not quite post-apocalyptic, nevertheless some of the stories have a distinct survivalist feel to them, and they are all creative and thought-provoking.

I liked how the stories wound ba
Cory Hughart
Interesting to read about a "post-apocalyptic" future that isn't all negative. The focus on green communities seemed a bit forced at first, but I began to understand it as a reaction to whatever brought the world-as-we-know-it down. The only critique I have, which is more of a regret, is that, like so many other short stories, many of these feel like chopped-off segments of a longer story. Most of these end abruptly without any proper resolution; some even seem to cut out large chunks of the nar ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This is a collection of five long short stories nominally themed around new cities, but I'd put more emphasis on the "Dawn of Uncivilization" subtitle than the main theme. For various not-quite-specified reasons--but clearly including massive environmental stresses--the state is no longer powerful, western civilization doesn't work, and people huddle in megacities trying to get by one way or another.

The first story by Jay Lake I basically didn't understand the point of--presumably out of boredom
Michael Flanagan
Not one to normally read Anthologies I found myself strangely attracted to this collection of stories. The authors have delivered five great tales all based in a world they all had a hand in making. This book is very much a concept driven book in which the authors clearly articulate their goal and theme of the book. Each story builds on and around the others taking the reader on a tour of this new world.

The stories in this book revolve around a future society. It is a society where whole cities
METAtropolis is a collection of short stories all taking place in the same shifting world. A future that in some ways seems all too plausible, our planet ravaged by our destructive culture, rampant poverty, mansions and skyscrapers left empty, but guarded and corporations struggle against green revolutions.

The audio version had a lot of talent, actors from Battlestar Galatica read each story. That said it takes a bit more than being an actor to do good voice work. So, the readers were a bit hit
Aug 05, 2015 Joel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy
A handful of authors I generally think highly of, read by narrators I mostly think highly of - must be great, right?

Yeah, it just didn't work for me. The setting was an interesting concept, the combined world they were writing in, the overall idea was enjoyable. However, the stories were so varied and disjointed that they did not feel like a cohesive package, they did not feel like they were even writing about the same setting at times. Some varied so differently in technology and tone - one wou
Charles Owen
This is a set of five stories meant to share a common theme of future cities. Of the stores, only the Scalzi story is very good. The rest are ponderous and preachy. I was often quite bored. The book reads like a political manifesto about how evil corporations are and how great it would be if everyone just shared everything.

Many have commented on the poor quality of the stories, but I've not seen many comments about the bad science in the book and many other ideas that are just not very sound. Mu
An exercise in world building, where five authors attempt to create a shared setting, that doesn't quite feel like it worked out. The stories all have the same background, with an Earth that seems to have suffered just about every collapse we may currently be worried about (such as economic and ecological). But it's still so broadly undefined, that it doesn't feel like the stories share the same world at all. Okay, maybe we're looking at various approaches to trying to adapt to or recover from d ...more
Victor Carson
Sep 19, 2013 Victor Carson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I am not a frequent reader of futuristic fiction but a cooperative venture of five authors, writing five separate stories, linked by a shared vision of the future of several major cities, induced me to read METAtropolis. Also, I was looking for an audio-book to balance my other, Kindle-based, reading, and I recognized several of the professional narrators engaged for this project. Some of the five stories appealed to me very much, others not quite as much. All were thought-provoking while still ...more
Andreea Daia
The stories of this anthology are rather heterogeneous in feel and content, though located in the same geographical area, which give them a common playground.

In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake is in my opinion the second best in the collection and it is by far the most character-driven story, or at least as much as one can accomplish this task in the limited space of a novella. Tyger Tyger, the main character, has almost a mystical glow about him. Any moment, you expect him to do something
Apr 27, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popcorn
Not nearly as pretentious as the name implies. This is a collection of short stories imagining the cities of the future. The authors collaborated on a "shared universe," and then wrote individual stories reflecting aspects of the universe. The first story is self-serious and predictably preachy-- evil capitalism, global warming, failure of representative government, etc. It's uphill from there, however. We get less Self-Destructive-Tendencies-of-this-Depraved-Species hogwash and more objective i ...more
Jared Millet
Dystopia’s been quite the rage lately, what with the overall feeling that civilization’s about to slide into an energy-starved, polluted, underfed apocalypse (see: the works of Paulo Bacigalupi), but science fiction isn’t just about providing dire warnings; part of its job is also to propose hypothetical solutions.

Metatropolis reads as a semi-hopeful rebuttal to The Windup Girl. The authors admit that yes, human civilization cannot and will not survive indefinitely in its present form (it never
Sep 04, 2009 Karlo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine Siemann
This shared-world anthology was a gift, but when I finally pulled it off the shelves, I realized how much it connects with my interests: future cities, post-apocalyptic (or at least, post-environmental crisis) but ultimately with a good dose of hopefulness that alternatives cities and alternative systems could come about.

The first story, Jay Lake's "In the Forests of the Night" was the weakest -- although I loved the Blake references and the setup of Cascadiopolis, the structure of the story it
Interesting concept--stories written by several different authors set in a shared world. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. There wasn't enough common ground in the stories to really feel like they took place in the same world but the fatal flaw was that they just weren't entertaining. The one exception was the story by John Scalzi which I enjoyed.
Feb 14, 2013 Irfon-kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This collection seems to have been written mostly as an intellectual exercise in world building than anything else, and it bears the scars of that. The stories tend to be exceedingly exposition-heavy and rarely connected, for me, on a more human level. I also find that all story collections are somewhat uneven, but this, despite the small number of discrete stories, had more misses than hits. I did greatly enjoy Scalzi's piece, which seemed to be the one story that was more about the character t ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Dean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I think this was a great idea but I wish the authors had spent a little more time designing their shared world. There were just a few too pieces of the various stories that did not sync well. I found that I could argue one story vs the other too easily. Was not a big fan of the way the first story "ended" (if you can call it that,) but the stories improved and brought about some interesting ideas for dealing with future environmental realities.
Jonathan Betz-zall
Especially good cooperative world-building; the variety of viewpoints illuminated the overlapping alternate worlds very effectively to counter the prevailing cynicism of this age.
Kim Pallister
Feb 02, 2013 Kim Pallister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this an anthology of five novellas about cities of the future. The authors collaborated some during it's creation, so they share common elements to the background and setting, but are each very unique.

As well as being fun, compelling stories (the last one in particular is a mind-blower), they each present some really intriguing bits of futurism, revolving around sustainable cities, crowd-sourcing, wisdom of the crowds, distributed networks, and so much more. With five authors th
Kohl Gill
Dec 20, 2008 Kohl Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi, environmentalism, sustainability fans
Recommended to Kohl by: MacBreak Weekly
Shelves: listened, audible
METAtropolis is an example of what sci-fi authors do best: show us what's achievable, what's possible, and motivate us to make that future real. My favorite chapters were the first - In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake (read by Michael Hogan) - and fifth - To Hie from Far Cilenia by Karl Schroeder (read by Stefan Rudnicki) - though the fourth - Utere Nihil... by John Scalzi (read by Alessandro Juliani) - was campy and amusing. has the first chapter as a free download, so you can t
Oct 27, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed these short stories. The concept behind them is very interesting and well presented through the author's creations. My mind was pushed to thinking about the sense of community we enjoy and how fragile it is. The last story was especially mind-blowing as it explores the sense of community online. Is it possible to have a city-state among our own, with the citizens all linked online? In the age of Google Glass, I think the answer is quickly becoming, "yes". I am looking forward to ...more
Jeanette A
Aug 08, 2015 Jeanette A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story was addictively engaging. I would find myself so wrapped up in the story that I would make up more work for myself at night so I could continue listening to the story. Or *gasp!* actually sit still for ten minutes while listening to the end of the segment. I really loved the worlds and characters that were built in this. Each one was so well crafted that I often find my mind drifting back into those places and thinking about what my neighborhood would look and act like if the structur ...more
Jul 19, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An anthology of 5 stories by 5 different authors all set in the same post-energy-rich world and each looking at how different areas or different groups might handle it. As with most anthologies this is a mixed bunch and unfortunately the first story I liked the least. The last two stories are what earned the 4 star rating, and in particular the last story which makes the book worth picking up just for that.

This story imagines an extremely believable extension of virtual reality and virtual worl
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Metatropolis 1 1 Oct 28, 2013 07:59AM  
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...

Other Books in the Series

METAtropolis (3 books)
  • METAtropolis: Cascadia
  • METAtropolis: Green Space

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