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Empire State Paperback – December 27, 2011
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“Adam Christopher’s debut novel is a noir, Philip K Dick-ish science fiction superhero story… As captivating as a kaleidoscope… just feel it in all its weird glory.” - Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother
"A fascinating debut novel that meshes noir sensibilities and science fiction together and keeps the reader guessing throughout. Adam Christopher handles in intricacies of parallel worlds, time travel and suspense with a skill lacking in many more-seasoned authors." - Mike Stackpole, New York Times bestselling author of I, Jedi
"Adam Christopher maintains a punchy, bestseller prose style that keeps the action rocketing along, and protagonists that seem right both in their own setting, and appropriate to what we already recognise as super heroes. Empire State is an excellent, involving read, and it fully deserves to be the start of a new universe." - Paul Cornell, DC Comics and Dr Who writer
"Down these steam driven streets a man must go... straight into a pocket universe of trouble. Brutal, knowing and deft, Adam Christopher delivers." - Jon Courtenay Grimwood
"Stylish, sinister, and wickedly fun, Empire State is not your average sexy retro parallel universe superhero noir." - Lauren Beukes, award-winning author of Zoo City
"Destined to be a science fiction classic, Empire State is a breathtakingly original noir tale of intrigue, mystery, and quantum physics, deftly played out in storytelling so brilliant I'm finding it hard not to hate the author." - Diana Rowland, author of My Life as a White Trash Zombie
"From first to last page, Adam Christopher's Empire State careens along at a furious pace. Along the way, he beautifully meshes the best noir tropes with science fiction and wraps it up in a world (or two) that rivals some of the classics of speculative fiction." - John Hornor Jacobs, Author of Southern Gods
"A daring, dreamlike, almost hallucinatory thriller, one that plays with the conventions of pulp fiction and superheroes like a cat with a ball of yarn." - Kurt Busiek, Eisner Award-winning writer of Astro City and Marvels
"Fantastic stuff... The author is truly at the top of his game here. Goddamitt, I want more." - The Founding Fields
"Explosive… an effective portrait of a bleak, confused, subdued city. Most impressibely, the novel becomes more unpredicatable as it goes along. Thrilling stuff. 4****” - SFX Magazine
“Watch out for this Adam kid, he’s nobody’s sap. He’s got a sharp nib and a sharper wit. He’d steal your last few hours before you could say ‘cat’s pajamas’, and you’d thank him for it.” - Billy Campbell, star of The Rocketeer
“Empire State is a fantastic piece of fiction, it's like one of those people that you just want to be seen with because they are so cool, radiating so much style, charm and charisma that if harnessed could power Hollywood for a century. 5*****” - SFBook.com
“Empire State is a big, blockbuster action book. It has images that will stick with you. Earlier in the week, I tweeted that I kept picturing an HBO TV series trailer as I read this book. That's what you're going to get.” - Do Some Damage
“An exuberant homage to the superhero genre powered by a fabulous noir plot and wrapped up with a retro science fiction sensibility. It’s effortlessly inventive and thoroughly entertaining.” - Maura McHugh
“Rocket-powered superheros, Prohibition era bootleggers, private eyes, mysterious men in masks; and more twists and turns than you can imagine. All in all a very fun read.” - The Dragon Page
“It has a private detective and tons of fog, superheroes, robots, moonshine, gas masks, guns and ironclads. What’s not to love? And I know this is a monumentally shallow comment to make, but the cover art is stunning. Rad is a fabulous character, one that I won’t forget any time soon. 4****” - Fantasy Nibbles
“A fast, likeable novel which aims not only to surprise, but frequently to confound - with intrigue, superheroic subversion, and a few robots playing into the mix! There's also an airship. I mean, who doesn't love airships?” - Drying Ink
“The written equivalent of crack cocaine. 10/10” - Spoiler Alert
“There are twists, turns, crosses and double-cross in this one. It has a delightfully pulpy feel to it, especially during the airship chase. It's almost here, and I think you'll find it worth the wait.” - Adventures Fantastic
"This is simply one of the greatest science fiction books I have ever read. 9/10" - Starburst Magazine
"Verve and imagination abound in this accomplished debut."
- Christopher Fowler, The Fiancial Times (December 3, 2012)
About the Author
ADAM CHRISTOPHER was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles. In 2006, Adam moved to the sunny North West of England, where he lives in domestic bliss with his wife and cat in a house next to a canal. When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsessing over DC Comics, Stephen King, and The Cure. He is also a strong advocate for social media, especially Twitter, which he spends far too much time on, avoiding work.
Top customer reviews
The biggest problem I had with the story is that we are whip-sawed through the narrative, never knowing what is truly going on. Characters change allegiances, critical environmental aspects are unexplained. In this we are in the situation of the story's main protagonist, private investigator Rad Bradley. Who basically has no idea what's going on and cannot make logical decisions on how to pursue his case. Good detective fiction has plenty of twists and turns as well as clever misdirects. For both the reader and the main character. But the best examples of genre plant clues along the way that the reader can pick up on... or at least go back and see how it all fits together. Empire State is a mish-mash. Why is the Science Pirate like that? Why did she fall out with the SkyGuard? How did the fissure open up? Does it have definitive rules? How many times is Carson going to switch sides? How did the judge end up like that when everyone else from the other universe has a double? There are no answers to questions like these.
Overall it made for frustrated reading. I pushed through to the end hoping for a decent payoff. But ultimately it was just "meh".
Overall, though, Empire State is a fun read with a very interesting setting. The resolution of all those interesting bits just leaves something to be desired.
All of this makes "Empire State" well worth reading.
But, it has to be said, that Christopher's characters never quite make sense. Early on, a key figure commits a murder for no discernible reason. Fine--that sometimes happens in noir. But then none of the characters has a really convincing voice. Bad guys brandish "heat" (I think that was supposed to be a "heater"). Problems "get sorted". A tough-guy private eye compares a building to a "football pitch". And then the one ostensibly English character is a sort of unbearable Colonel Blimp pastiche.
So, a four star book, but deduct one star for dialogue that orbits the Atlantic ocean and travels in time from the modern day to a movie theater in Fresno playing a James M. Cain revival.
Interested in new-wave noir? James Ellroy's The Big Nowhere practically reinvented the genre 25 years ago and it's still going strong.