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Group Reads 2015 > September 2015 Group Read - Metropolis

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message 1: by Joel (new)

Joel (juniquex) | 137 comments Hi guys! Sorry if I've opened this thread a bit early but...

I was just looking to buy a copy of Metropolis for September when I noticed that there is a "New and Revised" edition of the book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Metropolis-Re...

I've been searching around and I can't seem to find any info on the differences between the original and revised editions.

What's been revised? Are there any major changes? Which is the preferred version?

Can anyone enlighten me? Either way, I think it would be a good idea to clarify which edition we intend on reading together.


message 2: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Hi Joel,

I've had a look and can see nothing about the difference for the revised version. I plan to read it on my Kindle so I won't be reading that version anyway. I've downloaded the copy from the internet archive https://archive.org/details/Metropoli... but it doesn't mention which version it is. This version does not display completely correctly on my Kindle (not sure if it's my old Kindle or the file). If it becomes too annoying I will buy one of the two Kindle versions from amazon there's one from 2009 and another from 2015:

http://www.amazon.com/Metropolis-Thea...

http://www.amazon.com/Metropolis-Thea...


message 3: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Further to Joel's question at the beginning of this thread does anybody already have a copy of this and which version is it?

I plan to start reading the Kindle version from the internet archive next week. I'm intrigued to see how this reads as I love the film. Normally I tend to prefer the book but I wonder if it will be the case this time.


message 4: by Buck (last edited Sep 02, 2015 02:22PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Jo wrote: "Further to Joel's question at the beginning of this thread does anybody already have a copy of this and which version is it?

I plan to start reading the Kindle version from the internet archive next week..."


Me too. Internet Archive. Next week.

When I downloaded it, it went through amazon.com, as usual. But now there seems to be no record of it in my account, so np help there on the edition. In the Kindle, the title page simply says "no image." But at least, Jo, you and I should be reading the same edition.

Haven't seen the movie.


message 5: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Funnily enough I was watching TV the other night and the video of Radio Ga Ga by Queen came on and it uses some of the film of Metropolis. I never realised that before.

I started reading Metropolis yesterday but i've not read enough yet for any initial opinions.


message 6: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Having read a few chapters now i'm finding it weird reading the book having watched the film. I'm trying to read it as an independent novel but struggling as the film is very powerful. In some ways they are not so similar, the film is very visual whereas I don't find the novel as descriptive. It's quite character based and much more detailed which you don't always get from the film.


message 7: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I just started it last night - not very far along. I'm finding it weird not having watched the film. I find it helps if I imagine how it would be as a 1927 highly stylized silent film.


message 8: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I'm not making very good progress with this. It's very strange, a little hard to follow, not particularly entertaining. I'm considering abandoning it and getting the film.


message 9: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Buck wrote: "I'm not making very good progress with this. It's very strange, a little hard to follow, not particularly entertaining. I'm considering abandoning it and getting the film."

It is a bit strange the book I must admit. I am enjoying it more than at the beginning though. The reviews are quite mixed on good reads for this book though.

It's nice to have a female character in a book, there are very few in the early ones that we've read, and mainly they are wives or house-keepers. I'm going to be interested to see if her character develops or she just becomes a love interest.

If you abandon the book then the film is good, I guess that it's strange as well but then a lot of silent films are. It's worth watching just for the art deco sets alone.


message 10: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments After five evenings, I am only about halfway through - slow going. It puts me to sleep. I checked with the library - the film is checked out. So I continue reading.


message 11: by Joel (new)

Joel (juniquex) | 137 comments Still haven't got a copy! I'll be grabbing one asap. I saw the film a while back (the fully restored version with original soundtrack). Found it very good. I have heard the book isn't particularly similar.


message 12: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments I finished today and it's such an odd book. I read the book was written with the intention of being adapted for the film so maybe that it explains it. Having seen the film I thought the novel would be more descriptive but it's not at all. The characters are all really exaggerated and the story works up to a big climax. Personally I think Fritz Lang's film is better but it was interesting to read the book.


message 13: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I also finished this evening. And I agree, Jo - it is an odd book. It is a disjointed nightmarish dreamlike narration. It wasn't until more than halfway through that I finally started to feel a sense of story, and even then it was hard to follow. And, it certainly does work up to a big climax.

The Internet Archive Kindle version I read was poorly proofed - so bad that I think it was not proofread at all after being scanned from print to ebook. Here is a sentence that was fairly typical throughout the book: Ahlbrow to brow with herthen mouth to mouth-eyes closedbreathing. These added to the difficulty of the reading. It was slow going. A book of fewer than 200 pages, yet it took me nine evenings to read it.

I haven't seen the silent movie, and I doubt that I'll go out of my way to see it.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3976 comments Mod
Thanks for the heads up. I might just rewatch the movie.


message 15: by Joel (new)

Joel (juniquex) | 137 comments What did you guys end up rating it? I've ordered my copy, but I'm still waiting for it to arrive.


message 16: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Joel wrote: "What did you guys end up rating it? I've ordered my copy, but I'm still waiting for it to arrive."

Two stars, Joel. Sorry 'bout that. I think the lack of proof-reading in the Kindle edition contributed to my low rating.


message 17: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Joel wrote: "What did you guys end up rating it? I've ordered my copy, but I'm still waiting for it to arrive."

I gave it three stars, I think it got better as it went along. It's surprising how different it is from the film which probably biases my rating as i'm a big fan of the film.


message 18: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Jo wrote: I gave it three stars, I think it got better as it went along. It's surprising how d..."

I agree. It gets better later in the book.


message 19: by Joel (new)

Joel (juniquex) | 137 comments My copy arrived today. Once I've finished my current book I'll hopefully whizz through Metropolis before the end of the month!


message 20: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I just downloaded The Skylark of Space by E.E. "Doc" Smith. It was the runner-up to Metropolis in our poll. I've never read E.E. 'Doc' Smith before. I'll let you know how it is, when I've finished it.


message 21: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Buck wrote: "I just downloaded The Skylark of Space by E.E. "Doc" Smith. It was the runner-up to Metropolis in our poll. I've never read E.E. 'Doc' Smith before. I'll let you k..."

I'm sure I read him a very long time ago, I just don't remember - not sure if that's a good sign or not! I'm always hesitant about space opera so I look forward to your review.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3976 comments Mod
I read the Lensman series long ago. Don't recall being too impressed. Very magical SF.


message 23: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I thought Metroplis was not an easy read; it was odd and I didn't much care for it. The Skylark of Space, which missed being our monthly group read by a couple of votes, was a lark.

The Skylark of Space was first publish as a serial in Amazing Stories in 1928. It was published in book form in 1946. I heard an audiobook version that I'm sure must have been based on the later edition. And I think it must have been edited to update it because I found a number of references that seemed unlikely in a 1928 science fiction story that wasn't set in the future. There were mentions of: atomic bombs, fusion, fission, radiation; a TV station; helicopters; supersonic planes; night glasses; guided missiles.

Frederick Pohl compared its influence to that of the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. I would compare it in style more to Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. It's been called the seminal space opera. Isaac Asimov wrote that "It had adventure of an unprecedented kind ... the first great 'classic' of American science fiction", but "As literature, it was a total flop." This story is definitely pulp – its a little silly, a little outlandish – but it's fun.


message 24: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1089 comments Joel wrote: "My copy arrived today. Once I've finished my current book I'll hopefully whizz through Metropolis before the end of the month!"

Hi Joel - did you finsh reading it? What did you think?


message 25: by Joel (last edited Oct 02, 2015 12:26PM) (new)

Joel (juniquex) | 137 comments Hi Joe,

I gave it 3 stars in the end. 
I actually managed to finish it a few days ago, but haven't been able to get online until recently.
I quite enjoyed it for the most part, though, contrary to the majority I actually found the first half to be stronger than the second half. 
It is quite surreal and "nightmarish" as has been pointed out, but I didn't really consider this to be a negative attribute of the book. The sort of dreamlike writing style made it quite readable and easy to get through in a short space of time, and although odd, I rather enjoyed the atmosphere it brought. 
I think the reason I preferred the first half to the second half was that in the latter  things became a lot more story and character orientated and the writing style which worked so well in the first half didn't really work as well in terms of developing the characters or building the story. In some ways I would have liked to have read the book before having watched the film - but then again, I'm not sure if I hadn't watched the film if I would have been able to follow a lot of the book due to its odd pacing and strange imagery.
All in all I'm glad I read it, and I'll probably watch the film again soon for comparison.

Edit: I'm also glad that I bought a physical copy of the book. I can imagine how reading an online copy with typos might have caused me to drop a star. It's the kinda book you want to read the right way.


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