Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Audiobook) Quick Review - Metatropolis - Edited by John Scalzi

I'll try to keep it short as in just my thoughts about Metatropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization [US] [UK]. In very short form, not a huge fan.

Some blurbage:
Sci-fi creators, Battlestar Galactica cast members, and star narrators have teamed up to craft a world of zero-footprint cities and virtual nations. It is a world where armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology. Where once-thriving suburbs have crumbled into treacherous Wilds. Welcome to the dawn of uncivilization.
Metatropolis is a collaboration of 5 science fiction authors; Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder - with Scalzi as editor. They came together and thought up a distant future that they all sat down and started writing about. This anthology has the added benefit of having a short story collection that was built by the entire group and which stories could feed off each other.

Not to mention a great cast of audiobook readers staring some actors from Battlestar Galactica and the legendary Stefan Rudnicki, with John Scalzi giving an introduction to each story.

Great idea right? Until you start listening.

Now, I should have expected this, and I fully realize that especially after reading the blurb above, but Metatropolis was just too "messagy" - a word Kat from FanLit and I came up with when we were talking about the book (over email). I'm fine if you have a political agenda, but don't throw it down my throat...over and over and over again. (and over again)

I can say, however, that the stories that weren't all message were actually pretty good. Tobias Buckell's "Stochasti-city" and Karl Schroeder's "To Hie From Far Celinia" were both great reads (4 out of 5 stars). Scalzi's was pretty good too. Elisabeth Bear's story has no point whatsoever except the message I guess and I won't even go Jay Lake's.

Overall, the narration was amazing, some stories were pretty good, but I can't recommend it.

2.5 out of 5 Stars


  1. I can't stand it when speculative books get too preachy. This was the problem I had with Goodkind's work (though I still enjoyed th fantasy, the increasing amount of 'messaginess' started to overwhelm me. It overshadows and gets in the way of good narrative. Thanks for the review, I'll steer clear of this one :)

  2. Yeah, what you said. We are in total agreement, which we already knew. But isn't Stefan Rudnicki (who read Schroeder's story) awesome? I could listen to him read the health care bill and not be bored.

  3. Oh, yeah, and Jamie, I felt exactly the same way about Goodkind. It got so bad that it was funny.

  4. @jamie - glad to have helped. The worst part is that I think it would have been a great collection without the bashing you over the head parts. I want story people, not agenda.

    @Kat - Oh yeah, love Stefan. I started Ender's Shadow and suddenly heard Rudnicki and I was so excited. I had no idea he was featured on here, although not nearly enough.


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