Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Report: Metatropolis, ed. by John Scalzi

I've been reading an interesting swath of books lately. Among the authors are Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, and John Scalzi... so when I discovered Metatropolis through Mr. Scalzi's web site and it became widely available through Tor, I decided to check it out.

Metatropolis is a collection of stories set in a shared future world where fossil fuels are near exhaustion and urban decay has begun to tip over into urban collapse. The collection focuses on the recreation or resurrection of cities, about what can be done with them when the infrastructure that made them possible begins to decay. It's an interesting and extremely thought-provoking read. I read this just after completing the Tales of Ibis, and Metatropolis does for green cities what Ibis did for A.I.: presents a vivid, compelling future where the logical extension of human drive and capabilities leads to some startling insights.

This, like Ibis before it, is thinking person's science fiction. It's not space opera. It's not fantasy with robots. It's a plausible exploration of societal evolution and its effect on the individuals caught up in it.

If I've made it sound dry, it isn't. Each story stands perfect by itself, with believable characters and gripping plots that make for a great read.

Ulysses Rating: 4 - I loved this.

*Addendum: Lake, Bear and Butcher are all represented by agent Jennifer Jackson. It seems we have similar taste in authors.

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