by Walter Jon Williams

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NOMINATED FOR A NEBULA AWARD. Walter Jon Williams' classic science fantasy Metropolitan is once again available for a new generation of readers.

Aiah has fought her way from poverty and discovered a limitless source of plasm, the mysterious substance that powers the world-city. Her discovery soon involves her with Constantine, the charismatic, dangerous, seductive revolutionary who plans to overthrow, not simply the government, but the cosmic order . . .

"A spectacular blend of fantastic science, high politics, and low intrigue . . . Williams's world and characters are richly imagined yet utterly real."
--Melissa Scott

"Entertaining . . . Williams understands that science fiction can breathe life into language . . . [His] writing is always lean, lively and engaging.
New York Times Book Review

"Blends SF aspects with noir stylings to create a potent atmosphere or urban dystopia . . . Ever the expert storyteller, Williams provides more than enough suspense."
Publishers Weekly

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014520690
Publisher: World Domination, Ltd.
Publication date: 04/16/2012
Series: Metropolitan , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 49,641
File size: 690 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 . . ."

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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Metropolitan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a wonderfully, original story that is a cross of fantasy and science fiction. The little nuances and attention to detail that Williams gives is a breath of fresh air. At times you think the relationship between Aiah and her family is pointless, but you soon realize that Williams is doing an excellent job in character development as well as refining the softer/peripheral points of the reality he has created. I loved the way the people communicated with their little ethnic idiosyncrasies of "ne" "da" and the background in the history and religion and cultural diversities. All of it was delivered in a way that showed Williams really put some thought into fleshing out his little world. I can't wait to dig into the 2nd book.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an entertaining, fast-paced urban fantasy, set in a world covered by an unending city (even the oceans have been almost completely covered by urban pontoons). It's neither clear nor particularly relevant whether this world is some far future Earth or some other planet entirely. There are two rather odd things about the world: (1) the planet is enclosed within a sky-shield which appears to be impervious to all energy except gravity, and (2) the basic energy source is a plasm which runs through the structures of the city and can be harnessed by some individuals. Various chunks of the city are run by independent political units dominated by three groups: people who have access to and know how to use plasm, bureaucrats whose sole purpose in life is to wait for those above them in the seniority chain to die so they can move up the ladder, and the profoundly corrupt security forces whose main and usually successful investigative technique is to offer big rewards to anyone who rats out their friends, relatives, enemies, whomever. The story follows our heroine Aiah, a low level discriminated-against bureaucrat, who comes across a previously unknown well of this energy and decides what to do with it. She is plucky, inventive, and doesn't try to run from responsibility for the outcomes of her actions. The narrative format is straightforward, and the book moves along quickly, building suspense and throwing in a fair share of surprises.
Other_envious_writer More than 1 year ago
As shown on the cover, "Metropolitan" describes a world that is more than a little askew. Everything is based on an energy source called "plasm." This must be a metaphor for a multitude of things but I leave that as an exercise for the reader (or a great topic for a book club.) It is all things to all people and the more you can access, the more powerful you are. Careful though, too much will burn you, down to the soul. Otherwise, this world is a strange mix of the advanced and the backward. Sometimes I felt I was reading something written in the 1930's. That must have been intentional but I don't know why Williams felt obligated to pay homage to those who, basically, didn't write as well as he does. Generally, the story is rip-roaring, almost space operatic in tone except that it all takes place on this peculiar planet. Could it all be a metaphor for purgatory? They are encapsulated, hidden from space. Again, you decide. At more than 800 pages, it's a bit of a slog but, in this case, that's a good thing. It's the first in a series and, while I have no intention in continuing that particular journey, you may feel otherwise. Isn't it wonderful that thick books weigh no more on a Nook reader than thin ones? Enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago