Metatropolis Review at io9
Posted on March 14, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 9 Comments
Over at io9, Charlie Jane Anders takes a swing through Metatropolis and comes away impressed:
These feel like cities where anything can happen, from getting your skull cracked to discovering your life purpose. And most important of all, when I was done reading about this future dys/utopia, I wanted to spend a lot more time there.
Excellent. Of course, if things keep going as they’ve been going, Charlie is going to spend a lot more time there, if you know what I mean. But I guess we’ll be unwillingly dragged across that bridge when we come to it.
Was this a review of the audiobook or did they have a prerelease paper copy? They mentioned it was an audiobook, but they didn’t mention how high quality the audiobook was.
I don’t know which version Charlie went from.
The NYT had an article about “The $100 House” in Detroit, and a group of artists and others buying these houses and rehabbing them, taking them off grid with solar and wind, etc. etc., reminding me of several of the stories in the collection. Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/bpr3am
I’m surprised there hasn’t actually been more of this.
I was hoping something like it would happen in the Motor City after Katrina, actually. A city’s worth of people who have lost their homes and physical infrastructure could have been matched with a city that has plenty of infrastructure (albeit deteriorating) but has lost a significant percentage of its population. Would’ve made a great story.
Actually, now that I think about it, it was a great story, on a smaller scale. “Hand-Me-Down Town”, by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Analog SF/SF, 1989. The author has very thoughtfully posted the story, apparently in its entirety:
So much for my original ideas.
Wow, this is great! So first let me say that I found all the stories in METAtropolis very compelling and in particular I really enjoyed Scalzi’s and Buckell’s contributions. That said I’m really looking forward to the summer release of the collection.
My son and I were just reviewing a Time (magazine) photo collection from Detroit.
While we flipped through the images he became visibly upset that there was a grand piano sitting on its side in the Lee Plaza Hotel. He was ready to head to the Midwest to rescue the piano and make some use of the flotsam scattered about the city. I think what bothered him the most was that there is a framework in place with so much potential and it’s all gone to waste.
Jim Kunstler has written a bit about the idea of how “in the future” we might be forced to reclaim that very same flotsam simply to survive. There are other authors and thinkers who have attempted to imagine how we might organize. It’s even neater to me to see examples of people who have ignored the generational distraction that is software and are experimenting in the real world with these new organizational principles.
I’m of mixed thought as to whether or not to buy this book. On the one hand, it sounds good, and includes some of my favourite authors. On the other hand, The End Of The World As We Know It is grim fare, particularly as I am an artist/writer, and my kind will not easily survive TEOTWAWKI. I’m already depressed, and when the state runs out of money to subsidise my antidepressants that’s only going to get worse. Reading about the collapse of modern society will only make me depressed /now/.
I still hope that the transition to a sustainable economy will happen without the world coming apart at the seams first. But I half expect to be eaten by a gang of cannibalistic suburbanites once the oil dries up.
The old science-fiction idea that Science Will Save Us – that new energy sources, or energy storage, might stave off societal collapse until brutal reality forces the world economy out of overdrive – seems like wishful thinking. But I dunno, maybe I should write it. It seems like a lot of science fiction these days is gloomy, maybe we could do with some good old-fashioned optimism.
… shit, now I *am* depressed.
I didn’t find this grim at all. There’s lots of “collapse”, but the message seemed to be “humans will always find a way to progress”.