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METAtropolis  By  cover art

METAtropolis

By: Jay Lake,Tobias Buckell,Elizabeth Bear,John Scalzi,Karl Schroeder
Narrated by: Michael Hogan,Scott Brick,Kandyse McClure,Alessandro Juliani,Stefan Rudnicki,John Scalzi
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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to a world where big cities are dying, dead - or transformed into technological megastructures. Where once-thriving suburbs are now treacherous Wilds. Where those who live for technology battle those who would die rather than embrace it. It is a world of zero-footprint cities, virtual nations, and armed camps of eco-survivalists.

Welcome to the dawn of uncivilization.

METAtropolis is an intelligent and stunning creation of five of today's cutting-edge science-fiction writers: 2008 Hugo Award winners John Scalzi and Elizabeth Bear; Campbell Award winner Jay Lake; plus fan favorites Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder. Together they set the ground rules and developed the parameters of this "shared universe", then wrote five original novellas - all linked, but each a separate tale.

Bringing this audiobook to life is a dream team of performers: Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan ("Saul Tigh"); Alessandro Juliani ("Felix Gaeta"); and Kandyse McClure ("Anastasia 'Dee' Dualla"); plus legendary audiobook narrators Scott Brick (Dune) and Stefan Rudnicki (Ender's Game).

John Scalzi, who served as Project Editor, introduces each story, offering insight into how the METAtropolis team created this unique project exclusively for digital audio.

©2008 Joseph E. Lake, Jr., Tobias S. Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 2009 Hugo Award nominee, Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • 2009 Audie Award nominee, Original Work

“Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Scalzi and his contributors/collaborators have created a fascinating shared urban future that each of them evokes with his or her particular strengths.... This stellar collection is a fascinating example of shared world-building.” (Booklist)
"This impressive group of writers imagines what happens when the world moves beyond cities as a locus of human civilization. The range of narrators...brings a unique narrative style to the production. Of the five narrators, all well chosen for the stories, Allessandro Juliani proves to be the best with his rendering of Scalzi's piece." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about METAtropolis

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not a wasted credit

(rewritten to exclude apostrophes or quotation marks, which Audible processes incorrectly.)

I like the concept of a shared world and overall this is an entertaining audiobook, but like any anthology some stories are better than others.

In the Forests of the Night by Jake Lake was an extended pseudospiritual/political rant that never answers the most obvious question, i.e. who is Tygre?

I liked Stochasti-city by Tobias Buckell at least in part because it is read by Scott Brick but also because it is entertaining and interesting although the ideas of ex-military street mercs and repurposing abandoned urban real estate were done (better) decades ago by William Gibson.

The Elizabeth Bear story elicited an enthusiastic meh. The characters just were not that compelling and there was not much of a plot to resolve.

John Scalzi is a good writer with a good sense of humor and a lighter tone was needed by this point. His story was funny, but at times it comes across like a 1980s comedy film: slacker hero saves the world through pranking. Not a spoiler, because you see it coming a mile away.

They saved the best for last. To Hie from Far Cilenia by Karl Schroeder is the most thought-provoking of the set. It was a quirky combination of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and Spook Country by William Gibson with a heavy dose of Stephensonian fascination with currency. Being a huge fan of both Stephenson and Gibson, it worked for me. The fact that Stefan Ruknicki is a brilliant reader helps too.

The whole collection owes a lot to Gibson, even the various green movements (anybody remember the Sandbenders?), but Gibson was less heavy-handed than these stories. It does put a nice big flashing date stamp on the era at least. Half the science fiction books in the 80s were about nuclear Armageddon, half today are about environmental Armageddon.

Anyway, it serves as a good screenshot of contemporary writing and is worth a listen.

89 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good

I really enjoyed the worlds created by the authors. I would have enjoyed it more if the author doing the narrating hadn't yakked about himself and the process so much in between the stories. That could have come at the end of the "book", after the stories, as a "how this book was made" commentary. Otherwise cool stories with some memorable characters and concepts.

68 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious and preachy

I was extremely disappointed in this collection. The first story made no sense at all. The next two were dull and implausible. And then I gave up. Maybe the final two are modern masterpieces but I just don't have the patience to find out. The first three stories lacked compelling characters or believable situations and I grew tired of dialogue that sounded more like people lecturing each other about sustainability and carbon footprints. There's plenty of great science fiction on Audible, don't waste your credit on this bore.

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as original as I hoped

When I read about this project and listened to the editors preface I thought I was in for a very imaginative and creative work. While this isn't a terrible book, it's not that creative.

I prefer Science Fiction that is a metaphor for a insight into the human condition. Here I felt was science fiction as a metaphor for the collective authors' current day political view points. It got a bit tiresome and was repetitive. Because this book makes statements on so many current day events, it will probably not be as interesting in say, two or three years.

The brightest point of the book are the readers. All your favorites are here and they do not disappoint. As for the stories themselves, they are of varying quality, but on the whole B- in average.

If your choice of books is between this one and one that you're very excited about, choose the other. If you are just looking for something that might be a solid base hit, this book will meet your expectations.

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Somewhat Disappointed

I really wanted to like this, but ultimately it just didn't seem to hit the mark, coming off as a collection of mediocre adverts for the authors rather than a real attempt at a connected collection of short stories. The quality of the voice acting was variable also.

It's not all bad; a couple of stories are worthy in their own right, but as a collection, there's just not enough to hold it together.

53 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

5 Stories for the price of 1, not good enough

I got this primarily because of the narrators, having just watched the Battlefield Galactica series on DVD. Then I read the premise and fell in love with the idea of a shared world! The only problem is the stories are not really sharing very much. IMO there's 1 stinky story, 3 average stories, and the best one is kind of a comedic story and doesn't fit in with the rest at all. The narration was not all that great either. The coolness factor of hearing familiar voices disappates after about 10 minutes.

45 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 11-08-13

Fascinating stories

I was hesitant to get this Audible Frontiers audiobook because I generally don't enjoy anthologies. However, I found the Metatropolis stories fascinating -- several stories include references to ecology-related technology changes and the narrators are top-notch. Highly recommended for sci-fi/cli-fi fans.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

A wretched experience

I had big hopes for this book, some big names on the cast, promoted heavily, etc.

However I was terribly disappointed, the stories seemed to be more agenda driven then story or character driven, and though I forced myself to keep listening and got to the third or fourth story, where it actually got interesting, the self righteous trite lessons that were being spoon fed to the protagonist just reeked of so much condescending naivety that I finally gave up and took the book of my iphone. This is the only audible book I haven't finished, there are so many gems out there don't waste time on this one.

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Wasted Credit

What I learned from buying books read by popular actors is to wait for reviews. The gimmick was to have Battlestar Galatica cast members read short stories. The gimmick worked, I bought it and found that there is a reason the book was marketed that way. It was, by far, the worse Sci-Fi book I have ever listened to/ read, to date. The short stories were hard to follow and seemed to be missing a lot of content. Worse then it being a waste of a credit, it was a waste of my time. I would not recommend this book to anyone, even if purchased at a discount

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

METAtropolis

Unless you are an pony tail wearing environmental terrorist ,
or a anarchist you will have trouble finding any plot or reason to listen to this book.
The Idea that green collectivism is a way of life does not come off as believable.
Even in a bad work of fiction. There is no convincing or plausible characters in this
Book. Save your money

33 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mathew
  • 03-25-10

Thoughts written down before i thought them

Metatropolis is set in a kind of post apocalyptic future, however it doesnt follow a bang but the world as we know it seems to have disappeared in a whimper. As such the future isnt a dramatic and depressing realisation of mans weakness. Many of the characters regard there world with a kind of mild disinterest (much like we do today). I was surprised just how often one of the stories in this collection described to me the fully formed idea that had only started to occur in my own head.

The stories are well written and have a concise and efficient feeling as good short stories should. Each narration is as good as the last, I can still hear the phrase "arrived on the wings of a storm" in my head when I think about it.

I thoroughly recommend this book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 07-07-10

An amazing audio

I, like so many, am new to sci fi audio books, I like to get reading books that are relevant to me. Also the same is true with audio books. I need something to fill the gaps of my imagination that have been untouched by tv or movies, or need rekindling. The audio book METAtropolis is a great read for the reason that its several smaller stories well spoken and tied together in a very good use of an audible credit.

I personally, specfically chose this audio book, because I was going to London to meet Kandyse McClure ('Dee' in Battlestar Galacticas reimagined series). She ended up being a very nice woman and this is evident in her reading of the character in METAtropolis.

I very much enjoyed the audio book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Smith
  • 12-12-17

Hard work

It was quite hard for me to concentrate on, and particularly the first 2 stories I didn't follow the characters or what was happening to them. The 3rd and 4th stories were good. I did however really like the voice of the first story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Des
  • 07-07-10

Almost perfect

This is a brilliant piece of work with several authors in different ways writing about a shared earth of the future.

As each story is about 2 hours and independently set in the same world as the other stories, I have listened to all but one twice. It means a journey in the car can be a whole story and not leave you wanting more commuting ;-)

I love this take on our future and how given this ground rules it can be seen in such different ways - from technology altering lives for the better to harsh realities of post oil survival.
Great book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • WereTortoise
  • 04-20-20

a bit of a brain -bender but so well done!

I keep coming back to this time and again. the concept is great and the way the individual stories explore different aspects and mesh together is brilliant.
shades of "the city and the city" here and there.
the performances are really good too, no exceptions.
a collection to stimulate the brain!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tinder
  • 01-15-20

Mix of stories

I loved a couple of the stories. Not all. But as a group they mostly worked well. I loved the collaboration.
Didn't like all the readers but mostly good. What I really liked was the combined feel of the whole thing. A possible future.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin Brown
  • 05-02-19

Sci-fi? Eco-fi?

This collection of short stories contains some really imaginative and interesting ideas, especially Karl Schroeder's Matrix meets bit coin augmented reality. The only thing i felt let these tales down was the mainly overwhelmingly wholesome characters. Apart from one side-lined and doomed female assassin, everyone seemed to want to save the World. One decent villain or anti-hero wouod have been a nice balance.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Al S.
  • 08-21-22

post cyberpunk for the virtual apocalypse era

some genuinely original and extremely thought provoking stuff here - interesting stories about a world that is scarily close. Buckle up suckers!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CMWalke
  • 05-25-22

Fascinating ideas skillfully explored

I didn’t love every story in this, but I did love a few. They all stuck with me long after I’d listened… mark of craftsmanship in writing and narration to be sure!
Would definitely recommend this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JONAH8208
  • 03-31-22

OK But not Brilliant

5 Novellas, all a little boring tho. The stories are based on the same world but range from OK to why bother. You need a far more interesting basis to do this well if the Cities an world is drab and depressed then you get drab and depressed no matter how good the author is. Not my scene but some may like this.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erwan
  • 11-15-22

mixed

The second and last stories were probably the best of the bunch, third was alright, but I could have done without the first and fourth they were not great in my opinion. (sorry)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-22

Narrators are great and match the story

First time listening to an anthology. For me each story was really enjoyable. John S was my favourite.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-22

Fascinating look into the future!

All 5 authors have worked on a prediction of the future, writing stories that develop the theme over time, as well as by aspect. Thought provoking!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jess
  • 03-04-22

Just couldnt get past the narration

I cant give any feedback about the stories themselves, as I could not get past the narration of the first story.
I listened for a few chapters but it ended up frustrating me so much, I couldn't take it any more. Every sentence seemed to trail off into a whisper. It was highly irritating.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Burgess
  • 10-08-16

Absolutely loved it

I can imagine the near future being just like this. Looking forward to reading the other books in the series