METAtropolis

Thoughts METAbyjs  METAtropolis story collection edited/written by John Scalzi, with Karl Schroeder, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake and Tobias S. Buckell; Audible Frontiers 2009 (orig 2008),9 hrs 12 mins

Narrated by Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, Alessandro Juliani, Stefan Rudnicki, John Scalzi (click here for the Audible page)

This was a freebie from Audible and I selected this one because 1) Science Fiction, 2) it was the longest* of the offerings and 3) Scott Brick!

And, because it is audio, I really don’t know how to access the individual story titles and my memory is already turning foggy. I find it difficult to review audiobooks because I don’t have the paper at my fingertips. So allow me to ‘wing it’ and we will see what happens.

(The publisher’s blurb says, “Welcome to the dawn of uncivilization.”)

The first story I will call Tygre Tygre because it features this wonderful speciman of a hero named Tygre Tygre and he is beyond belief in poise, strength and attractive personality. The world building was amazing. However. However, it seemed to end extremely abruptly and I really don’t have a clue what Tygre was trying to accomplish or why he was hired (if such was the case) to walk right into Cascadia and do what he did.

This whole collection was about the world-building and the imaginings of our future global – human connectedness. The first story did an excellent job describing Cascadia, the green city of the Northwest US. It is referenced by every story there after.

The second story was the one narrated by Brick and it was about Taking Over Detroit with Bicycles. Well, sort of. It was bigger than that but I did like the main guy and how he fell into his job to coordinate sneaky very clever riots to draw attention away from what was really going on.  Brick did an excellent job and thus another reason this was my favorite story of the five.

The third story featured a woman who was in hiding from her mobster husband and taking care of her stepchild. Which is a spoiler thing to say but that’s just too bad. I thought this story a tad weak but it certainly brought in more of the human element of survival. I think it, too, was set in a future Detroit. Let’s call this one Escape into Connection.

The fourth story was written by Scalzi. It was from the viewpoint of someone who had grown up inside one of the more protected and stable communities and the kid had some growing up to do to realize how the world really works ‘out there’. And it was a love story. I call this one The Pig in the Wedding Picture.

The last story was extremely science-fictiony and had some tough concepts of the Internet Layers and how people disappear into these digital worlds. Lots of game play references and constructs that had my mind struggling to hold on. Would most likely appeal to the super geeky of the sci-fi fans, I bet. It had mystery-thriller elements but to be honest, I had difficulty following the plot and final conclusion. We could also title this The Search for Plutonium.

Rating:  Three slices of pie. Mostly for rewarding myself for sticking with it and trying something new. From a performance perspective, I thought it well done and would listen to any of the narrators again.

 

* I like me a loooooong audiobook. I have this thing about dollar/hour that I don’t have with printed books. I never consider the price and how many pages a book or how long it will take me to read a book (based on ~50 pages an hour). I like to think I’m getting a ‘good deal’ when I consider audiobooks! Anybody else have silly criteria to determine what to buy next?

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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21 thoughts on “METAtropolis

  1. I like sci-fi, but I was still sort of ambivalent about this one – too much emphasis on the world, not enough on the characters and the stories for my tastes. There’s a semi-sequel, METAtropolis: Cascadia that I enjoyed more… and my favorite story from that one, “Water to Wine” by Mary Robinette Kowal, is available in text form online: http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/spring_2011/fiction_water_to_wine_by_mary_robinette_kowal

    (Also, I tend to get my audios from the library, so price isn’t an issue, but this is exactly why I almost never buy graphic novels. I get that they cost more money to produce the pretty colored pages, but I have a hard time justifying spending $10-15 for something that I’m going to read in under an hour.)

    1. Thank you Thank you! I have Mary Robinette Kowal on my must-read-soon list since she’s the wonderful mind behind Letter Month (Feb). I saw the Cascadia one on audible and love that so many of the narrators are from Star Trek.

  2. I’ve been wanting to read this one, but hadn’t made the time so far. I usually like Scalzi and Kowal (I saw her in person last May at WisCon and she is charming).

  3. Oh, I love Scalzi. I can’t say I’m a hardcore sci-fi reader at all. His writing is sharp but often very witty. Sounds like an interesting collection.

    Ditto what Fyrefly said. I don’t know if our new library system has graphic novels but our old one did not and I don’t feel like I can justify the expense. We do have a few, though, and Kiddo bought a bunch of them with our 40% coupons when Borders (*sob*) was still around.

    Who is this Brick person of whom you speak? A favorite audio narrator?

    1. Scott Brick is somebody’s fave narrator. I know his is a name I recognize when perusing audiobooks… I follow him on twitter (and I follow Scalzi, too).

  4. That reminds me that I picked this one up during the sale, too! Sorry it was just three slices for you. Science fiction isn’t generally my thing and I actually recently abandoned the audio for World War Z because I couldn’t get into it.

    Interesting thought about bang for your buck. Now that my commute is gone and I’m at a loss of when to listen to audiobooks (when I will often need my ears for listening to babes) I’ve been thinking about freezing my audible account. But generally speaking I love a good long audiobook as well.

  5. I love your titles! Especially “The Pig in the Wedding Picture”.

    I don’t tend to look at length when I’m spending my Audible credit but the “retail price” certainly sways me. If I have a choice between spending my credit on an $18.95 audiobook and one that’s over $30, and I have the same level of interest in both books, I’ll choose the higher priced one. Terrible, I know!

    1. I do tend to look at price, as well. 🙂 AND OH!! it’s the first of a new month and I have a credit to spend!! I like to have something in mind already but I don’t… uh oh.

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