Metatropolis is Out!

And just in case you needed them: Some reasons why the Metatropolis, the audiobook anthology I edited and which is out today, totally rocks and you should all rush out and get it right now.

1. Because it’s the first and so far only time that Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder and I have combined forces. Well, except for that one time at a convention where we all, like, went and got dinner. But you weren’t there to enjoy those spicy nachos with us! You can enjoy this! Yes, we have combined forces — like a rock and roll supergroup or a league of super beings — and we have come together for a single goal, which in this case is not to perform half-hour pot-scented prog-rock jams or fight Galctor, Interdimensional Digester of Worlds, but to entertain you. Yes, you. You specifically. We all got together and said, “but most importantly, how will we best entertain [Your Name Here]?” It’s the personal touch that makes it work, really.

2. Because our all-star cast of story readers (Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani and Kandyse McClure, plus legendary audiobook narrators Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki) are actually made of awesome. You think I’m exaggerating, but an international team of top scientists took them all into the lab and took samples, which they then ran through gas chromatography and DNA analysis and that spinny thing that goes fwwwwwwwfffffffffaaaaaa. And here’s what the tests say they’re made of: 3% carbon, 6% water, and 91% awesome. They speculate that the carbon and water exist only to provide a colloidal suspension for all that awesome. Now, I’m not a scientist, but that makes sense to me.

3. Because this collection of stories — of a future in which economic and environmental declines have changed the very nature of what cities are — has a topic which is excruciatingly perfect for the moment, don’t you think? I mean, hey: Economic turmoil, countries on the brink, Iceland selling its children for cash on the barrelhead to buy Purina Viking Chow — who could have predicted? Well, we could have. We did. It’s all right here. And you ask, well, if you predicted it, why didn’t you do anything about it? Well, you know. We’re writers. What are we going to do, prop up the global economy with the change in our pockets? Hey, we need that for the Styrofoam vat of cheap convenience store coffee we use to make it through the day. And anyway, we did do something. We wrote these stories. Everything you need to know to survive the next, oh, 70 years is in this audio anthology. And if it’s not, at the end of those 70 years, you come see me and I’ll personally give you a refund. You’re welcome.

4. The audio nature of this anthology means that you can do other things while you listen, including but not limited to Web surfing, cleaning the house, driving long distances (download the anthology onto your iPod or other player or onto CDs to do this, unless you have a very long extension cord), yoga, ninja yoga, fighting the zombie hordes, blasting across the Bonneville salt flats in a monkey-navigated rocket car, field dressing a yak or emu, performing Lasik surgery, and, of course, hot, sweet, tender lovemaking of the sort you previously thought was only possible between movie stars and/or ecstasy-infused stoats. Oh, yes. Don’t ask me how I know about this last one.

5. The rumors that not listening to Metatropolis will plunge you into the sort of existential malaise not seen since the Carter years are, oh, probably not true. On the other hand, why take that chance? I’ve seen your life, dude. You don’t need any more pain. Also, the rumors to converse — i.e., that listening to Metatropolis makes you smarter and more attractive to the people you want to be more attractive to — have not been substantiated, either. But I have to say that personally and wholly anecdotally, since listening to the anthology, I brain no longer the dumb got have, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t stop people from wanting to perform hot, sweet, tender lovemaking on me. Really, it’s getting kind of annoying. I have deadlines. Your mileage may vary.

Aside from all the really excellent reasons above, here’s one more: That this anthology features really good stories from really good writers, performed by really good readers, and I think it’s one of the best and most interesting fiction projects I’ve been involved with. I’m honored to be able to present it to you with Bear, Toby, Jay, Karl, all our readers and with Audible, which did such a great job in putting all the elements together.

Welcome to Metatropolis. I hope you enjoy it.

52 Comments on “Metatropolis is Out!”

  1. Quick note: objections to DRM (which Audible uses on its files) should be assumed as read and noted. Please don’t don’t turn the thread into yet another referendum on the subject. I’m bored enough with the topic that I’m likely to snip out comments about it if/when they pop up. Please save me the trouble. Thanks.

  2. Well, you know. If you want people to believe something is entertaining, entertain them while talking about it. It’s a nutty philosophy, but it just might work!

  3. Cool, I’m purchasing this right now! This is my first introduction to audible, and audio books in general for that matter. But I figure this is a better alternative to listening to an umpteenth reshuffling of my Queen albums during work today.

    I’m going to have to control myself from squee’ing too loudly when I get to the Kandyse McClure reading of Elizabeth Bear . . .

  4. if Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder and John Scalzi were to form a rock supergroup, what would they be called? And who would play what instrument (guitar bass, drums, keyboards, vocals)? I know John plays something, but I can’t for the life of me remember what…

    I suggest “Metatrope” for the band’s name.

    All right, John, you’ve convinced me. I usually hate audiobooks, but I’ll give this one a spin. Now I just need to find a monkey-navigated rocket car.

  5. mensley:

    I play drums, actually. And I can sing, believe it or not. And I know eBear can play guitar, so we’re two-fifths there.

    As for the band name, well, isn’t it obvious?: “Writer’s Bloc.”

  6. I’m a librarian and I’d love to buy it for my library, but, as far as I can tell, Audible doesn’t sell to Libraries.

  7. “And if it’s not, at the end of those 70 years, you come see me and I’ll personally give you a refund. You’re welcome.”

    Should we all end up as Futurama heads-in-jars, then you may well live to regret such a hasty guarantee.

  8. @6: “…so we’re two-fifths there.”

    Well right now you’re already on par with the White Stripes. Just give Schroeder a tambourine and Lake a cowbell, and Toby can dance like that guy in the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. \m/

    BTW, I still, at first glance, read this title as “Meatopolis.” So, how’s the food there?

  9. Better than that–not only will he show up at your library and sell a copy right on the library steps, he’ll also sign you up for Band Uniforms and play the one and only Base! All around the Square!

  10. Hell, I’ll buy it just for that salespitch…although I have no doubt that the awesomeness content of the product is roughly as advertised.

  11. Is this going to come out in a dead-tree format? I know people who are deaf like your work.

    Getting Toby to mime the stories would be an interesting possibility, though. “That’s funny,” the watchers think to themselves. “These future cities all have a guy trapped in an invisible box trying to get out!

  12. As nifty as this audiobook stuff, sounds, I still like to read my short stories. Any chance of seeing this stuff in print at some future date?

  13. Will this also be made available in a standard CD audio format? (For reasons implied by comments 1 and 7, among others.)

    Or is the burn-your-own audio CD procedure mentioned in a previous thread the way to go, and if so, do the terms of use prohibit an individual burning a disc [set], and then giving it to a library for them to put in their circulating collection? (The individual would delete any personal copies upon giving the CD[s] to the library.)

    No intent to start an argument here; I just want to get more details on options for acquisition.

  14. Madeley @ 9: Everything you need to know to survive the next, oh, 70 years is in this audio anthology. And if it’s not, at the end of those 70 years, you come see me and I’ll personally give you a refund. You’re welcome.

    So, presumably, suitable proof for a refund would be your not surviving, which would make collecting said refund somewhat troublesome.

  15. Mensely:

    I think it’s entirely possible that I could die happy sometime between now and 2078. I could go into details of achieving that, but I don’t think you really want me to.

  16. 91% awesome is right! I will most certainly buy this once I have access to a computer not rife with work-related firewalls. Damn their download-prohibiting nature!

    On another note, I was amused that the headshot of Michael Hogan on Audible’s site features his Colonel Tigh eyepatch. “Saul Tigh doesn’t need a headshot any more! Auditions are for frackin’ Sagitterons!”

  17. I have never purchased an audio book. I would like to purchase this one. But I would like to purchase a physical CD version from my local Borders or Barnes & Noble. Will I find it there?

  18. Is this exclusively an Audible release? Or is it/will it be on iTunes? Not to beat a dead horse, but I’m concerned about DRM/compatibility issues if I try to put it on my iPhone . . .

  19. And me with two audible credits waiting to be spent!

    John D: I listen to all my audible stuff on an iPod nano. Audible automatically loads everything directly into iTunes for you.

  20. I don’t have an Audible-compatible MP3 player or a CD player in the car (and seriously? Audio CDs?), so I’m afraid I won’t be able to enjoy this.

  21. I love short stories (and not enough of them get written today), but as audio?

    /makes unhappy face
    //hopes for dead tree version

  22. …we have come together for a single goal, which in this case is not… fight Galctor, Interdimensional Digester of Worlds…

    Great. I guess I’ll go fight him/her/it myself. Although maybe I should load up my mp3 player first as it could take a while. I seem to have lent out a lot of my space/science/monsterslaying gear…

    …and that spinny thing that goes fwwwwwwwfffffffffaaaaaa

    If that’s my centrifuge, it may take longer than expected to defeat Galctor; it seems your scientists are too busy measuring awesome to analyse his/her/it’s samples.

  23. Joined, downloaded, burned (7 CDs!). Another step into the 21st Century for me. Can’t wait to listen!

  24. Hmm. It’s $4.95 on the iTunes store, and $19.95 at

    Maybe one is made from recycled, inferior bits that will fall apart after a few listenings?

  25. ok am I retarded? I can only find the download for the free story, not the whole book.

  26. @#38
    I’m glad I checked iTunes first… that’s where I bought it!!! I’m listening to it as I clean my 8X10 ft dormitory domain =)

  27. I’m sorry but iCrap or not. iTunes has a price point 75% lower than I was suspicious that I was buying a single story or sample version but nope its all there for 4.95

  28. yeah the 4.95 vs the 19.95 thing is making me feel guilty.. Is there some reason I should buy it from the site instead of itunes? Because since I already have itunes and an ipod it just seems easier than dealing with any download and transfer-into-itunes issue. I have very little patience for technical stuff. :)

  29. I am blown away by this anthology! So much so that I just had to Google “Metatropolis” and see what others were saying! This is my first experience with any of the authors who wrote it, but I’m a big fan of Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki already. I can’t just say I love it, because it’s so inherently sad to think of our nation that wrecked. But the writing is so excellent that it has almost made me wish, maybe not to experience the death of our nation as we know it, but that it wouldn’t take that death to create such zero-footprint, community-centered practopias.

  30. Metatropolis is truly excellent — the best sf I’ve read or listened to this year. The performance of the readers and the production values put it over the top. Mr. Scalzi, please keep the shared-world writing coalition together. I really hope you and your co-conspirators are planning a sequel.

  31. Loving the stories. I bought them Thursday or some such and am through most of them now.

    They are… changing me. Not quickly, really, but more often I see the appeal of getting rid of the house and the stuff, attaching a trailer to my bike, and living out of a tent. Especially with advanced technology that makes living out of a tent comfortable; truly portable computers (my iBook is close, but not quite there); and meta-cultures where I really can walk into a building where I am a member, grab a few dishes, cook the food that I brought in, then clean up and move on.

    I plan on buying a few more copies of this for friends who will appreciate it and relatives who might be inspired by it.

    Please write more. This is a rich world that could be a wonderful playground!

  32. Hmmmmm…well, you had better be right as I am burning up an Audible credit for this one rather than buying much needed Purina Baby Chow (made from genuine imported Icelandic babies).

    If you are wrong I am personally going to find your garden gnome and coax my bladder to work past my ever enlarging prostate to empty itself all over said gnome!! And just to prove I am serious I have pictures:

    so here goes nothing…burning Audible credits!!

  33. I thought I would come back after listening to a free Audible download titled:

    I am not sure if it is only free to Audible subscribers or anyone who creates an Audible account but it was enough of an into for me to let me happily burn credits for both the first books METAtropolis as well as the “sequel”. I think the best comparison, however weak it might be, is to the TV series Jeremiah. It had that same post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian feel to it. Still the story is the same….only different. I know, I know that’s one heck of an oxymoron but it’s the best my limited US edu-ma-cated vocabulary can offer.

    Basically I think this is one of the most entertaining Audible downloads I have done this year. So, thanks to John for not only contributing to the first volume but also for the enthusiastic promotion of the Audible version. It tipped the scales which made me happy as I have been on a stretch of listening to and reading all things dystopian this year. Maybe that says more about me than anything else… ;)

    But if the 2-hour “free” story is free to anyone it’s worth the download. It might not be as easy to follow for some new to the genre but given my appetite for works of this tone of late, it was a wonderful intro that confirmed I would be interested in the other volumes. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more every now and then.

  34. I am reading the second story. I don’t get why this isn’t all over the place – this is invovative creative science fiction that is doing what people are crying for science fiction to do. Imaging the future being innovative and written freaking well. I am already raving about this.

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