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Metatropolis (Anglais) Relié – 1 juillet 2009


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Relié, 1 juillet 2009
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16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Promising Concept, Good Execution, Mixed Stories 12 octobre 2010
Par Lonnie E. Holder - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Common framework stories exist. "Thieves' World" has served as a framework for multiple anthologies since 1978. One thing that such anthologies have in common is that the different styles of the authors can make the anthology seem uneven.

METAtropolis contains five stories by five different authors, each introduced by editor and author John Scalzi. Though I expected METAtropolis to be in a single city, the authors set their stories in several locations. There are connections between the stories, but each story stands on its own.

The first story is "In the Forests of the Night" by Jay Lake, narrated by actor Michael Hogan. Lake introduces Tyger Tyger as he attempts to enter Cascadiopolis. Tyger is charismatic and intelligent and quickly becomes influential and popular.

Puzzling were the parallel stories. A second, female person boldly enters Cascadiopolis, following Tyger. Then there is Bashar, a military leader of Cascadiopolis. Other significant characters are introduced, all centered on Tyger. In addition to the attempted character development, we learn much about Cascadiopolis, including tidbits that hint at bigger things never exploited.

John Scalzi tells us in the introduction to the story that the reason this story is first is that it provides the most description of the Cascadiopolis metatropolis. Unfortunately, that detail bogs the story down. Tyger's story contains interesting elements, but we deal with so much detail that the Tyger story often fades into the background and I became bored. Worse, by the time we get to the end of the story I was so bored that I actually no longer cared about Tyger. I was thankful that the story was over.

Bottom line: "In the Forests of the Night" is an eminently forgettable story that requires too much energy to wade through for the little value that it adds to METAtropolis. Though the story is coherent, because of the pacing and complexity, I give it two stars out of five.

Things look up with the second story, "Stochasti-City" by Tobias Buckell, narrated by Scott Brick. The hero of our story is an ex-military bouncer who finds himself in the center of plots and schemes. Our hero is initially a victim, but he finally takes charge of his life and works toward something better, all the while revealing some of the complexity of societal evolution in metatropolis. I found myself concerned about the hero of our story and was able to put myself quickly in his position.

The one downside to this story is the underlying messages. Yes, greed is bad, carbon footprint is important, and cars are evil. Unfortunately, Buckell repeated these not-so-subtle messages multiple times and eventually I tired of them. I really did not need to have the evils of internal combustion powered cars rubbed in my face five or ten times to get the message.

Other than the not-so-hidden propaganda, this story was quite interesting and intriguing. I give this story four stars out of five.

The third story, Elizabeth Bear's "The Red in the Sky is Our Blood," read by Kandyse McClure, contained an interesting barter system, in combination with communes and a raft of other philosophical concerns. Sometimes the detail got in the way of the very interesting and complex story. This story points out one of the consistent flaws in this concept: the authors often seemed so caught up in describing their dystopic vision of the future that they forgot that their primary purpose was to tell a story. This story rates three out of five stars.

This collection finishes strong.

The fourth story is John Scalzi's "Utere Nihil non Extra Quiritationem Suis," read by Alessandro Juliani, which I think means something like "Everything but the Squeal."

Scalzi tells the story of Benjy the slacker, who seems to think the world should revolve around him. The reality of life strikes Benjy when he comes of age and is required to get a job or literally get out - of the city. Sadly, Benjy has spent most of his life sucking off the creativity and labor of others and he finds that his only skill (besides being a leech on society) involves pigs. Benjy soon learns that he and pigs have much in common.

Though there are serious undertones to this story, it is quite humorous and reminds me strongly of Robert A. Heinlein. Benjy realizes that he does want to be a good citizen and realizes that his skills are far greater than what he knew he had. Be prepared to laugh and enjoy the best story of this group, the only five star story in the bunch.

The last story has moments where it was cumbersome, but contains a concept so intriguing that it may have been the story that made me think the most. Karl Schroeder's "To Hie from Far Celenia," read by Stefan Rudnicki, describes, as I thought to myself as I listened to it for the third time, circles within circles within circles. You have to listen to the story to understand why I described the story in this way. The closest parallel I have is the plot of "Three Days of Condor," where there was a network within the U.S. intelligence community with its own agenda and rules. Apply to a virtual world where there worlds within worlds. The concept is dizzying and difficult to follow in parts. Reading might have been easier than listening. Four stars out of five for this one.

If you add the totals and divide, you end up with 3.6 stars, which means that this collection is closer (by a small amount) to Amazon's four stars than three stars, but only barely. The struggle is not so much with the rating, but the price. My thought: if you can find this collection for half the normal list price, it is probably worth having. Otherwise, you have to be a fan of audio books and the authors to choose this collection.

Good luck!
44 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Up and down - the ups are solid, the downs are low, so low I nearly quit listening 27 janvier 2010
Par DWD's Reviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Metatropolis is a collection of short stories about a fictional future world in which the United States government is much weaker and local governments have had to shoulder most of the responsibility for governing. We get to see 4 future settings in this anthology - Cascadia in the American Northwest, Detroit, New St. Louis and Scandinavia. While the U.S. government is much weaker, the role of technology has grown much stronger. There are virtual on-line worlds and cellphones are everywhere and even more plugged in than they are now. The five authors sat down and mapped out the ground rules of this future world and than separated to write their stories. John Scalzi edited the collection and was the last one to write a story. He specifically tailored his story to fill in the blanks left by the other four.

So far, so good but what about the individual stories?

What's good is pretty good, what's bad is real, real bad.

The first story is "In the Forests of the Night," by Jay Lake. It is bad. The worst of the bunch. The story concerns a messiah-like figure called Tyger Tyger who arrives at Cascadia, a city of anti-technology greens in the Cascades in the Washington/Oregon area. The messiah-figure concept was done poorly, the anti-capitalist, anti-technology, anti-religion angle was silly (for example, in one scene creationists storm the geology department of a university and kill all of the geologists). I doubt that Lake actually understands the meaning of the political term "Libertarian" and he certainly overuses the phrase "reputation economics" - in fact the concept is bantered around in the book so often that you'd think this was a new idea. Nah - just overuse of a cool-sounding phrase. The government of Cascadia is so loose and yet so complicated that it reminded me of the peasant collective government in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition) described by Dennis the Peasant ("Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"). Lake's premise that you can hide an entire city under the basalt and loam (two more overused words in this story - buy a thesaurus, man!) and keep all of the heat created by people just living hidden from heat-detecting satellites is so silly that I have to wonder why this wasn't sent back for a re-write. 1 star for this story.

The second story is set in Detroit. It is "Stochasti-City," by Tobias Bickell. I enjoyed this one. It explored the conditions of America in this world the authors created and the story was in and of itself interesting as well. 4 stars

"The Red in the Sky is Our Blood" by Elizabeth Bear is the third story. It is forgettable except that I noted that it was the victim of long soliloquies about the evils of globalization. 1 star.

"Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis" by John Scalzi is the fourth story, and in my opinion, the best of the bunch by far. It had the most important thing that any story has to have - good characters. As a bonus, the slacker is kinda likable and we do get to learn even more about the world these authors created because, as I already noted, he specifically tailored his story to fill in the blanks left by the other four. 5 stars.

"To Hide from Far Celenia" is the last story. Written by Karl Schroeder, it builds on the notion that people can and will retreat into a video game world. This is not news - people do that now with online games. There are already online economies. They'll do it even more with the addition of 3D video glasses that overlay the online world over the real one. The story just didn't really go anywhere and the authors comments on economics are a joke. Too many long monologues - at points it was like listening to a half-baked graduate dissertation on economics and computer technology. I only finished it because I had already invested so much time listening to the other stories. I have to give it 1 star.

So - 5 stories with scores of 1 + 4 + 1 + 5 + 1. That equals 12. 12/5 = 2.4

Total score 2 out of 5 stars.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
so-so collection of stories 19 janvier 2010
Par Mary Jo DiBella - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I had high hopes for this because I have read and books from several of the authors. Sadly, I don't think it represents their best work.

The first story set the mood... and maybe I am just dumb but I didn't 'get' it. Yes, there was some lovely imagery, descriptions that I could picture so clearly in my mind's eye. It was the story that lacked. What exactly was happening? And more importantly, what was the point?

Overall, this is my biggest problem with these stories. There is a message here, a overbearingly presented 'Capitalism is bad, Environmentalism is good' that overlaid all aspects of each story and frankly it spoiled them. It was hard to follow the stories when this message kept getting in the way.

I stopped and started listening a lot because I just couldn't relate to the characters and thus I could not enjoy the stories.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
first and foremost... tell a story 1 février 2010
Par Soar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
From a conceptual point of view, I liked the proposed vision of this work. The line up of authors had me excited. Upon listening, I grew frustrated and annoyed with the first 3 stories and eventually, got to enjoy the last 2 stories.

My message to the authors is to remember first and foremost to tell a good story. I felt like, for several of the authors, the priority was to bash me over the head with beliefs about global warming, capitalism, and what I am doing wrong today that will cause the terrible conditions the world is in in the stories. And that took me right out of the story... instead as I listened, I questioned beliefs and conclusions in the underlying structure of the universe in the stories and was busy doing that and not caught up in the plot. Whatever the authors' intents were, this is how it came through to me.

For me... the last 2 stories were enjoyable and well written. Whether or not I agreed with the underlying premise, I enjoyed the stories, got caught up in the plot, and was exposed in a pleasant way to the universe that it felt like the first 3 authors were trying to force feed to me. Whether or not all 5 stories are messages I and others need to hear clearly, the last 2 stories had a much better chance of being 'heard'.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Bad stories and bad science... 9 mars 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is a set of five stories meant to share a common theme of future cities. Of the stores, only the Scalzi story is very good. The rest are ponderous and preachy. I was often quite bored. The book reads like a political manifesto about how evil corporations are and how great it would be if everyone just shared everything.

Many have commented on the poor quality of the stories, but I've not seen many comments about the bad science in the book and many other ideas that are just not very sound. Much of the book is based on various forms of indoor farming, sometimes underground, but mainly in skyscrapers. Vertical farming has been proposed as an idea, but in general it does not work. The power requirements for a skyscraper to have farming on every floor are way too much for the solar panels they mount on the sides, which would also tend to block the direct sunlight they would need. Somehow this simple idea is ignored.

Two of the stories take place in Detroit. Have they been to Detroit? Wind power has a lot of potential, but much of the year a solar plant would be useless in Michigan due to the weather. They also want to make Detroit a car-free city, by making everyone use bicycles. Have they tried to ride a bike in the winter? They claim one of the authors is from the Detroit area. I don't believe it.

There is the idea of skyscrapers in Detroit that are abandoned. Nobody knows who owns them and nobody can buy or use them because they would have to pay decades of back taxes and such. The real owners can't use even them themselves because they would have to pay all of those back taxes. Oh, how they could help the people if they would just let them move in. But, the owners have hired a private security company to guard them. How many things are wrong with this idea? If you don't pay taxes, eventually the property is seized. The city will know who owns them, for sure. Fundamentally, one of the stories is based on the idea of stealing such a building. Now, how is that supposed to be a good thing?

I don't know what to make of the first story, where a messiah arrives, accomplishes nothing, and the city is destroyed by the military because they keep releasing technology they invent into the public domain? What nonsense! The last story assumed that as long as you had good VR glasses, you could live your life in a shipping container and be as happy as a peach.
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