METAtropolis: Green Space Audiobook Review
Written by: Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder, Seanan McGuire, Tobias S. Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Scholes
Narrated by: Dion Graham, Robin Miles, Mark Boyett, Scott Brick, Allyson Johnson, Sanjiv Jhaveri, Jennifer Van Dyck, Jonathan Davis
Length: 14 hrs and 16 mins
Series: METAtropolis, Book 3
Release Date:10-15-13, Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Warning! You’re entering serious geek territory! Only authorized geeky personnel is to proceed beyond this point! OK, I’m kidding but seriously, this is some awesome hardcore sci-fi stuff. When a few years ago I started listening to audiobooks, one of the first books that I listened to was the original METAtropolis and I can say without any doubt that it was that moment I got completely hooked on the medium. If you haven’t read it, it’s a collection of five novellas specifically written for this book by award-winning sci-fi authors and narrated by actors from the awesome Battlestar Galactica TV show and other A Team voice talent. I just can’t recommend it enough. After hungrily plowing through it I immediately got my little hands on the next installment of this series - METAtropolis: Cascadia and indulged in some more amazing science fiction from these talented authors. That was somewhere around 2011 or 2012, I think. Imagine my recent reaction when I found out there’s a new third book.
Now, the good news is you could just ignore the first two books and get this one if you wanted to. You shouldn’t but you could. Yes, you’ll be missing out on some of the world building and the overall atmosphere of the books but I think each one of the three can be it’s own chapter in the context of the bigger story. Although all the novellas are separate stories, they share the same world and there’s even some character overlapping within the book and between the three books. It was nice to meet some of these characters again and I feel like this book was an adequate conclusion for this unique series.
METAtropolis: Green Space starts pretty much where the previous book ends, or actually a little bit into the future. It’s the 22nd century and things are even weirder than they were before with the Green Crash and the Green Renaissance. The part of the population that likes technology is pretty much connected all the time through a very advanced version of the internet we know today. Think Siri in your head with subvocalized commands, feeding you all kinds of real-time information at a moment’s notice and that’s only scratching the surface.
If you’re following the current events in the tech industry you’ve probably heard about the internet of things which nowadays is just barely being explored and implemented. In METAtropolis: Green Space it’s a reality and a fact of everyday life. It has some pretty fascinating implications for… well, everything really. The world has moved on to a completely different social and economic structure than we’re used to and I don’t think I can do it justice by trying to describe it but trust me, it’s way cool. All of the novellas in the book show different facets of this world, which is by no means an utopia, turns out. There’re are still private and corporate interests although now that money is pretty much non-existent the dynamics between the opposing forces are quite different.
What I like about the METAtropolis books and specifically about Green Space is that the world building is subtle and you don’t even notice it’s there – it’s like they’re telling you things you already knew but kind of forgot and now you remember them again, if that makes any sense. Also, the action. Boy, there’s some thrilling action scenes in this book all the way from the underground soul-crushing office cubicles of the Appleceed corporation, through sentient forests untouched by humans, self-sufficient ocean and sky cities to space stations in low Earth orbit.
There’s just so much going on even if there’s not an intense action sequence happening at the moment. There are biology, bioengineering, climate change, high-tech and socioeconomic references basically in every other sentence which makes it a little harder to do other things while listening. On the other hand, the re-reading value is huge and I’m certainly going to do that some day and see what details I failed to pick up the first time around. I liked that for some more obscure terms they included little footnotes from “Green Wiki” which enriched the experience even more, made it feel more real and somewhat blurred the lines of what I know to be real in today’s world, what could happen and what what is happening in the book.
It’s not all blazing guns and testosterone, though. Like, half of the protagonists are female and all of them are really well thought out, realistic and when they have to be – pretty badass. There’s also some pretty touching moments, acts of bravery, love, loyalty and just people trying to do the right things in an unforgiving time and world. So, yeah, if you like your sci-fi existential, there’s some of that too.
I’ve seen some audiobook reviewers talking about each of the stories separately which is fine but I’m not going to do that because firstly, I see it as a whole book that happens to tell different stories and the fact that its’ parts are written from different authors is just a minor detail for me. Secondly, if I did talk about the characters, themes and plot of each novella and you haven’t read the book you wouldn’t know what I was talking about anyway so what’s the point?
The narration was nothing short of epic. Each of the narrators was good in his/her own way, perfectly portraying emotions and the mood of the scene. Just listen to this short sample and tell me it’s not awesome:
Anyway, I’m starting to ramble and I could write a 10,000 word paper about stuff like this, just nerding out about sciency, techy things. Bottom line – if you like science, tech and silky smooth voices in your ears, go get yourself the METAtropolis books. Seriously, you’re welcome.
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Tagged with: Allyson Johnson • biotech • Dion Graham • Elizabeth Bear • gene engineering • high tech • implants • internet of things • Jay Lake • Jennifer Van Dyck • Jonathan Davis • Karl Schroeder • Ken Scholes • Mark Boyett • Mary Robinette Kowal • metatropolis • near future • novellas • Robin Miles • Sanjiv Jhaveri • Scott Brick • Seanan McGuire • Tobias S. Buckell
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