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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Empire State Paperback – December 27, 2011

3.2 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Empire State Series

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Editorial Reviews


“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.


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Product Details

  • Series: Empire State (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; Original edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857661930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857661937
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stefan VINE VOICE on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Angry Robot is one of those publishers you just have to keep an eye on, because they come out with some unique, surprising fiction. Their books tend to defy genre conventions and often are impossible to classify. To mess with our heads even more, they then stick weird little filing instructions on them, such as "File Under: Fantasy [ Aztec Mystery Locked Room Human Sacrifice The Dead Walk! ]" for Aliette de Bodard's Servant of the Underworld, or "[The Mob & Magic Ancient Secrets Zombie Wizardry Bet Your Life]" for Matt Forbeck's Vegas Knights.

So when Angry Robot announced Adam Christopher's Empire State and mentioned a Prohibition-era parallel universe in the book description, deftly combining two topics I dearly love, I couldn't wait to get my copy. (And if you're wondering, this one says: File Under: Science Fiction [ Pocket Universe Heroes or Villains Speak Easy Loyalties Divided ]). Unfortunately, Empire State didn't entirely live up to my expectations, but there's still a lot to love about this intriguing debut novel.

Rex Braybury is a small time bootlegger in Prohibition-era New York who is shaking down one of his clients when a competitor shows up and threatens to cut his burgeoning criminal career short. The resulting chase scene ends with him more or less accidentally witnessing a major confrontation between the city's two major superheroes, the Skyguard and the Science Pirate -- a fight that will prove to have major consequences....

A few chapters later, we're introduced to private detective Rad Bradley, who lives in the Empire State, a strange -- but strangely familiar -- city that's perpetually at war with an unseen Enemy somewhere beyond its mist-shrouded shores. It's the year Nineteen, and all is not well.
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Format: Paperback
Start by combining a depression-era gangster story with a comic book saga of superheroes wearing rocket boots, mix in a private detective, toss in a rogue robot, add an alternate history in which a parallel version of New York City is isolated and at war with an enemy that surrounds it, top it off with transdimensional travel and time confusion and you've got Empire State. Sounds like a mess, doesn't it? Empire State is such a strange novel that, despite being unimpressed with Adam Christopher's prose and unenthused about the storyline, I kept reading just to find out what would happen next. I suppose that's a recommendation of sorts.

The two superheroes who once protected New York City -- the Skyguard and the Science Pirate -- have taken a holiday from crime fighting so they can battle each other, leaving the depression-era city at the mercy of bootleggers and mobsters, predators and corrupt officials. One defeats the other and a gangster named Rex Braybury seems to defeat the winner.

Years later, a private detective in Empire State named Rad Bradley (who bears an uncanny resemblance to New York's Rex) is hired to find a missing woman. The woman's corpse turns up before Rad has a chance to conduct a serious search. The evidence suggests that the woman was murdered by a robot but in this novel things aren't always as they appear. Besides, robots are generally found only on the ironclad ships that sail off to war in defense of the Empire State, never to return -- except, that is, for the ironclad that recently came home and is now quarantined at a safe distance from the port. Could a killer robot have come from the ship? Rad, his reporter friend Kane, and a strange character named Captain Carson resolve to find out.
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I really did want to like this book - truly. The setting is right up my alley, being a pulp/noir superhero fantasy set in 1920's New York. But ultimately, the writing didn't live up to the idea.

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".
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Format: Paperback
In a New York lost in endless fog and tied up in an endless war, private detective Rad Bradley is given a new job by the classic high-class dame: find out what happened to her lover. To do so, Bradley must find the elusive Pastor of Lost Souls, avoid the attentions of mysterious gas-mask wearing men, and team up with New York's greatest explorer. But there's also a little problem with the Skyguard, the city's self-appointed superhero, who keeps popping up despite his highly public execution for vigilantism. And Bradley keeps getting these headaches ...

Empire State isn't quite what the publishers paint it as: there's a lot less superhero and a lot more private detective than the blurbs suggest, along with strange physics, more than a little steampunk (again), and some world-hopping that only just manages to avoid being confusing. I found the book a struggle to finish, because ultimately - between the mystery, the war, the superheroes and the heavily-signposted hints that there is Something Wrong - there was just too much going on. Like The Company Man, the Empire State could have been a better book if it had avoided trying to give all the answers. There is something to be said for offering a weird setting and asking readers to accept it and its weirdness, and as long as the internal rules are consistent we don't need to have all the whys.

My edition of Empire State came with lots of extras including interviews, a playlist (truly) and an invitation to join, and contribute to, a shared world based on the characters and settings of the novel. Judging by the number of contributions on the web site its an invitation not too many people have accepted. I'm not surprised: it's not a world I want to go back to, either. I have plenty of books to read, and even more to re-read, but Empire State won't be making it on to the second list.

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