Michael's Reviews > Empire State

Empire State by Adam Christopher
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Jun 18, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction, 2012, neo-noir, adventure, alternate-history, crime, organized-crime
Read in June, 2012

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 superhero novel; you have the super villains, airships, robots, organised crime and prohibition (to make it feel more like a pulp novel). This is all a brilliant back drop for the main plot; the case the gets Rad Bradley tangled in a complex web of robotic killers, inter-dimensional doppelgangers and science.

The whole tone of this book feels very much like a superhero novel but never loses sight of the noir style narrative. The whole story cast of wonderfully unique and mystery that will keep the read on the edge of their seats while reading this book. There are some things that didn’t quite work within the story and the constant world shifting can get the reader lost. I think in the end there turns out to be at least three different worlds; Prohibition New York, Empire State and New York 1950’s. The world, the crime and the characters show potential for a lot of great stories to follow.

Adam Christopher and publisher Angry Robot Books have invited others to create works based in the world of Empire State. Writer, artist, musician, sculptor, puppeteer, interpretive dance major, or poet, are invited to create their own stories with what they are calling WorldBuilder as long as you stick to their Guidelines and Instructions. They are authorising fan-created content to be created under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License which means content can be posted on the internet or beyond as long as it’s in a non-commercial way; publication rights of the stories are still in the hands of the publisher. There are plans for an eBook or Print-on-Demand anthology of the best stories which is pretty exciting; I’ve never seen a novel do anything like this, making for some interesting stories to follow. I think this world is capable of millions of other great stories whether superhero, science fiction, alternate history, organised crime or even pulp stories.

I’m curious to see what the results of this creative common might lead to but as for this book, if you want a fun, exciting novel with twists and mystery, then you really should give Empire State ago. There’s a certain uniqueness within this book while remaining familiar with the writing style. I feel nostalgia towards a good pulp novel and this blends that with science fiction elements with such ease. This genre is often called Neo-Noir (a genre that blends pulp with updated themes, content, or style, often blended with Science Fiction) and there have been some great books that have come out in this style, but Empire State is definitely one of the better ones.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Jonathan (new) - added it

Jonathan Is it good? I heard about this off a website that recommended it as one of the best sci-fi reads coming out in the month of its release.


Michael Too early to tell


message 3: by Jonathan (new) - added it

Jonathan Ah well let me know when you're very much into it! I'll be looking out for your eventual review.


Michael I'm liking it do far, an interesting blend of hard-boiled crime with alternative history superhero adventure


message 5: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Very interesting concept by the publishers. I decided against buying this the other day but your review has made me think again.


Michael I think its well worth a try, the blend between superheros and pulp fiction is really interesting


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