City on Fire (Metropolitan 2)

City on Fire (Metropolitan 2)

by Walter Jon Williams

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Nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Award, City on Fire returns to the world-city of Metropolitan, a city dominated by plasm, the magical substance capable of both creation and destruction.

With her help, Aiah's lover Constantine has established himself in the metropolis of Caraqui, a nation dominated by corrupt officials, gangsters, and the genetically altered known as the "twisted." Here they hope to create a revolution in the cosmic order--- but first they must fend off treachery, war, and the threat of Taikoen, the "hanged man," a deadly creature that lives within plasm itself. Aiah must fight not only for her revolution and for her place in the world, but for Constantine's very soul.

"City on Fire is a splendid, riveting novel in which the most powerful magic is that of a writer directing the twin streams of reason and intuition to produce a dream within the texture of reality."
--- Russell Letson, Locus, April 1997

"City on Fire, by Walter Jon Williams, is that rarest of entertainments, a sequel that improves on a successful predecessor . . . Mr. Williams' prose is distinguished by a no-nonsense confidence that perfectly matches Constantine's unshakable faith in his own destiny and in his ability to resist the corruption that notoriously comes with power."
---Gerald Jonas, NY Times Book Review, Feb 23, 1997

"City on Fire offers something for just about every kind of reader . . . Williams really gives the reader hours of entertainment with polished style, twisty plots, action and vivid characters."
---Jeff Watkins

"Williams [creates] a magnificent world-city, its entire surface urbanized by a multitude of civilizations that draw their very existence from plasm, the mysterious energy contained in all matter . . . Well-drawn, believable characters give emotional force to this fine novel . . . Ultimately, however, it is Williams's complex world-city, more convincing than even Asimov in Foundation, and his endlessly inventive use of plasm that will hold readers' fascinated attention.
--- Publishers Weekly, Dec 30, 1996./

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014491037
Publisher: World Domination, Ltd.
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Series: Metropolitan , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 212,057
File size: 487 KB

About the Author

Walter Jon Williams is an author, traveler, kenpo fiend, and scuba maven. After an early career as a historical novelist, he switched to science fiction. His first novel to attract serious public attention was "Hardwired" (1986), described by Roger Zelazny as "a tough, sleek juggernaut of a story, punctuated by strobe-light movements, coursing to the wail of jets and the twang of steel guitars." In 2001 he won a Nebula Award for his novelette, "Daddy's World," and in 2005 another Nebula for “The Green Leopard Plague.”

Walter's subject matter has an unusually wide range, and include the glittering surfaces of Hardwired, the opulent tapestries of Aristoi, the bleak science-tinged roman policier Days of Atonement, and the pensive young Mary Shelley of the novella "Wall, Stone, Craft," which was nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, and a World Fantasy Award.

The fantasy Metropolitan, which was nominated for a Nebula Award, begins a sequence continued in a Nebula- and Hugo-nominated second novel, City on Fire. Of these works, Norman Spinrad wrote, "There's a Jules Verne solidity to it, all girders and ductwork and massively clanking machineries, a Victorian feel of iron and stone and steam somehow,beautifully and cunningly rendered. . . not only a well-realized work but a hopeful landmark of sorts . . ."

Walter has written numerous works of alternate history, featuring Edgar Allan Poe ("No Spot of Ground"), Mary Shelley ("Wall, Stone, Craft"), Elvis Presley ("Red Elvis"), and the Empress Dowager of China ("Foreign Devils.") He has also contributed to the alternate history science fantasy series, Wild Cards.

His latest work is "The Fourth Wall," the third book in his series of near-future thrillers featuring game designer Dagmar Shaw.

Walter=s web page may be found at

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City on Fire 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
888john More than 1 year ago
I escaped into Aiah's world (this is the second of the series) and was transported into rich tapestries of intrigue and humanities frailties - all nearly 1400 pages worth!  A definite jewel of a novel.  The characters come alive, and are complex and conflicted, much like their surroundings. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is nothing to say, just read it
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Metropolitan was a very good book; City on Fire is even better. These urban fantasy/science fantasy books are epic in scale in a way reminiscent of a big romantic novel like War and Peace. Yes, City on Fire gives us magic (of a dark, thaumatergical sort), but it also includes plenty of war, love, loyalty, treason, military strategy and tactics, insurgency, prejudice, politics, science, economics, academia, religion, the entertainment industry, naïve idealism, and Machiavellian scheming. The atmosphere of the books remind me of China Mieville¿s New Crobuzon books, but a bit less horrific. The setting is a planet (perhaps a distant future Earth) surrounded by an impervious shield of unremembered origin. The planet is covered by a single unending city, broken up into independent city states. The world¿s energy source is plasm, a pseudoscientific force that inhabits all things, especially large masses of metal (kind of like Lucas' Force without the religious overtones). Our protagonist is Aiah, a minor bureaucrat who in the first book discovers a substantial plasm source and decides NOT to simply turn it over to the government. The second book picks up in the aftermath of the great event that culminated the first book. Race and ethnicity play key roles in the story: Aiah is a Barkazil, an ethnic group recently displaced from their ancestral homeland, subject to frequent prejudice. The Barkazil philosophy of life boils down to ¿there are two types of people, those who are taken for a ride and those who do the taking.¿ Aiah really grows in City on Fire, declaring her moral independence from her lover Constantine, even as she works with him to achieve his political goals. Constantine is an idealist turned Machiavellian who seems prepared to make any sacrifice to achieve his very specific vision of a better future. Add to the mix Constantine¿s other sometimes-lover-turned-ally, the brutally manipulative Sorya (whose philosophy of life is that ¿all truces are temporary¿) and you have an intriguing trio pushing the action. These main characters are explicitly set up as almost mythological archetypes, in a way that is very directly explored in Aiah¿s three visits to the Dreaming Sisters. Williams has said that he eventually plans to write a third book to the series. I sure hope he does.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago