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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,922 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Five original tales set in a shared urban future--from some of the hottest young writers in modern SF

More than an anthology, Metatropolis is the brainchild of five of science fiction's hottest writers--Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder, and project editor John Scalzi---who combined their talents to build a new urban future, and then wrote their own s
Published October 20th 2008 by Audible Frontiers
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Feb 01, 2011 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 s
Scott Templeman
Aug 14, 2013 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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, biopunk
I haven't read many anthologies based on a relatively fully-fleshed concept decided on at the start, but I really thought the coherency of the stories made this a solid examination of future cities couched in a number of very solid and interesting tales from these various artists. We've got the bio-revolutions, MMORPG economies and espionage, and even a little bit of ethical examinations. It is very much in tune with the modern speculations in speculative fiction and is lovely to behold. I've re ...more
Kat  Hooper
Feb 02, 2010 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
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought-provoking collection of short stories revolving around a shared future-world. The stories don't overlap much; nor do the primary factors in the stories, but that just means it manages to blow one's mind in a multitude of different ways.
There are 5 stories in the book; one (Scalzi's) is very fun, but not particularly futuristic. Two were serious mental trips into technologies that don't feel like they're as far away as the stories intimate, and their primary technologies (real-l
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
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
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I thought this book was going to be a dystopia, but it was a surprise utopia (sort of). In a series of corresponding novellas, it imagines a future where corporations have taken over certain places and created a series of city-states that compete with more traditional governments. But the corporations are all environmentally conscious and the newly formed city-states are the only places able to survive in a world ravaged by climate change and poor land management. It definitely was imaginative a ...more
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
Milton Marshall
Aug 10, 2013 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
May 09, 2010 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
Margaret Killjoy
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how these different authors envision the future, in particular how so many of them reach anarchist conclusions but not through the historical leftist anarchist tradition.
This is an anthology with a twist. John Scalzi is the editor and also the author of one of the stories. Five other sci fi/fantasy authors wrote stories for this book. Scalzi introduces the book and each story. The narrators, a different one for each story, are all great. The twist is that the authors collectively created the future world in which the stories would be set. This future world is one devastated by climate change but surviving because of old and new technologies. The METAtropolis is ...more
I got this audiobook a few years ago when it was free on Audible to introduce this series. I've just gotten around to listening to it.
The first two stories are the most intensely boring stories I have ever forced myself to finish. I fell asleep listening to both.
The third starts off ok and then goes absolutely nowhere.
I didn't finish the fifth, as it was boring and I was fed up.
Story number four, by John Scalzi, was the only thing that was worth reading in this collection. It actually made me w
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
This is an anthology of stories that consider the approaching changes to our way of life (circa 2008) as a result of climate change. There's a lot of consideration given to the many different ways that societies will be reshaped, both positive and negative, of the physical changes that will cause political boundaries to flex and break and of the potential for corporations to take the reins for one last shake of the money-tree before everything collapses into anarchy. It's mostly positive, and th ...more
This book was not really my cup of tea. I suspect reading it several more times would make it more interesting to me, and that may happen. The narration in the first story was incredibly distracting. I am an Oregon native and it was really off putting to hear our local place names butchered by someone who did no research at all. There also wasn’t enough connection between the stories to make this a cohesive book.
Dec 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gloomy Greens and dripping Northwest forest friends
Recommended to Alan by: The editor's name and the title coinage
This is a shared-world anthology, edited by John Scalzi (an opinionated and high-profile Young Turk of an sf writer—and no, I don't necessarily mean he's physically youthful; it's a matter of attitude—who has some fairly entertaining novels of his own under his belt) and containing stories by Scalzi himself and four other up-and-coming sf authors whose names you should be at least starting to recognize: Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder.

The introduction, by Scalzi, pays
Victor Carson
Jul 25, 2013 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
May 20, 2009 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.
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
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
I picked up Metatropolis as a freebie from Audible. Who can say no to free? The collection contains 5 short stories all based in a shared universe that was a collaboration of the authors.

The world itself was interesting. The world takes on a city-state like appearance and is a bit more low-tech in the sense that the technology and power that exists isn't as readily available as it is today. There are also some environmentalist undertones with vertical farming taking a front row spot in the world
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first couple of stories in this anthology started off rather slowly, but by the time that Elizabeth Bear’s story came around, I was really into it.

The anthology does get rather preachy on the ecological propaganda at times (Bear’s story being the most preachy of the set), but that makes sense because all but one of the stories are focused on someone from within a society attempting to recruit an individual from without the society, and thus having to convert the prospective citizen to their
Jason Hart
This collection of five short stories was more hits than misses for me. I was drawn in after listening to the Scalzi story for free through the Audible app. The Scalzi story was entertaining and hinted enough about the world they created to lead me to listen to the rest. I listened to the Audible version. With a different narrator for each story, I was pleased with the performances.

The first, In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake, had a compelling environment and set up the world well but I wa
A passable collection of setting a future shared world. Civilization is adapting to the familiar collapse due to resource exhaustion and pollution and so on. The new model seems to be individual city-states like ancient Greece, but with more technology.

"In The Forests of the Night" by Jay Lake

I found the leadoff story to be the weakest of the lot, set in a future Portland to Vancouver megalopolis, reacting to the arrival of a new powerbroker.

"Stocasta City" by Tobias Buckell

A pretty readable sto
Aug 31, 2015 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
Apr 14, 2009 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
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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.)

Other books in the series

METAtropolis (4 books)
  • METAtropolis: Cascadia
  • METAtropolis: Green Space
  • METAtropolis: The Wings We Dare Aspire

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