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Metrophage (Ace Science Fiction Special) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1988

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

The cult-classic dystopian cyberpunk tale from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey, after twenty years, now back in print in a special signed, collectible edition

Welcome to our future: L.A. in the late twenty-first century—a segregated city of haves and have-nots, where morality is dead and technology rules. Here, a small wealthy group secludes themselves in gilded cages. Beyond their high-security compounds, far from their pretty comforts, lies a lawless wasteland where the angry masses battle hunger, rampant disease, and their own despair in order to survive.

Jonny was born into this Hobbesian paradise. A streetwise hustler who deals drugs on the black market—narcotics that heal the body and cool the mind—he looks out for nobody but himself. Until a terrifying plague sweeps through L.A., wreaking death and panic, and no one, not even a clever operator like Jonny, is safe.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey has published nine novels, including Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Devil Said Bang, Kill City Blues, The Getaway God, Killing Pretty, Butcher Bird, and Metrophage, and more than fifty stories. He has been immortalized as an action figure, his short story “Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye,” was nominated for a British Science Fiction Association Award, and Butcher Bird was nominated for the Prix Elbakin in France. A freelance writer and photographer, he lives in San Francisco, California.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ace Science Fiction Special
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441528139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441528134
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,799,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Higgins on September 6, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
`Metrophage', released in 1988, was one of the 12 `New' Ace Science Fiction Specials published between 1984 and 1990. The cover art is by Earl Keleny.

Unfortunately, the book has long been out of print and copies in good condition fetch steep prices.

Metrophage is a `first generation' cyberpunk novel that, stylistically, belongs with members of the Canon such as 'Count Zero', 'Neuromancer', 'Dr Adder', and 'Islands in the Net'. With its near-future, dystopian Los Angeles setting, 'Metrophage' is best regarded as a direct descendent of Jeter's `Dr Adder', which was written in the early 70s (but not published till 1984).

Metrophage is set in a chaotic, partially destroyed LA, early in the 21st century. The city is divided into small clusters of wealth and affluence, and a larger, impoverished metropolis, peopled by various tribes of techno-enthusiasts, scavengers, self-styled anarchists, and ethnic groups.

The hero is one Jonny Qabbala, a street punk who supports himself by selling drugs and moving contraband for the Smuggler Lords, the de facto rulers of L.A. As the novel opens, Jonny is looking to avenge the death of one of his friends at the hands of Easy Money, another dealer. Impulsive and prone to making bad decisions, Jonny soon runs afoul of Colonel Zamora, the head of the city police force; this is a quasi-facist oganization that periodically sweeps into the city to engage in combat with its less tractable inhabitants.

On the run from Zamora, Jonny becomes entangled in a vast, but secretive, underground conflict being waged between offworld economic blocs, and the militant, far-right organizations formed in the aftermath of the collapse of the US and Europe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author is quite open that he was inspired in large part by Gibson, and it shows. Reading Metrophage, I kept thinking "I've read this before, but better." The book isn't bad, but it, feels a bit stale, and rather derivative. If I had never read the Neuromancer trilogy or the Burning Chrome anthology, I would have probably really enjoyed it. As it is, I'd recommend reading those again instead.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't read the entire book and I really tried because I'm a HUGE Richard Kadrey fan! Richard Kadrey has said that this was one of the first books that he ever had published, if not THE first, and he admits that he was trying to copy the style of some of the authors that he admired at the time. Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it doesn't necessarily make a fantastic book.

If you've read all the Sandman Slim novels and Butcher Bird, you might be disappointed. If this is your first introduction to Kadrey, it's a pretty good book. Heavy on the sci/fi so don't go into it thinking fantasy.

Either way, I'd say that you should buy it to support the author, at the very least. And if you like it, even better!
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Format: Paperback
Reading Metrophage was like re-discovering cyberpunk fiction all over again. He channels noir writers just like Gibson does in Neuromancer, but also drops in some sweet art history and quite respectable tech-extrapolations just like Sterling circa Holy Fire and street pomo theory, a la Zeitgeist.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got a copy of this novel to review through NetGalley. This was a well done and gritty cyberpunk novel. Previously I have read a variety of cyberpunk, mostly books by William Gibson and some of Neal Stephenson's earlier works (Diamond Age and Snow Crash). I didn’t like this book quite as much as those books, but I still thought it was a fun read.

The story is set in future a Los Angeles where everything has pretty much gone to the dogs. Our “hero” (actually more of an anti-hero) is Johnny. He’s hustler that sells drugs to those who need them on the streets. He used to be part of a government organization that loosely enforced the law in Los Angeles, but he gave that up to avoid being burned out by all the stimulants the government feeds their agents.

However Johnny’s past comes back to haunt him when the government hears rumors that Johnny is involved with the Alpha Rats. The whole conspiracy is news to Johnny, but his involvement gets deeper when he one of his friends gets sick with the strange leprosy-like disease that is plaguing the streets. Now Johnny is on a mission to help cure this disease.

This book is full of Kadrey's gritty style, one liners and over the top dialogue. For those who have read and loved his Sandman Slim series, the writing style of this book is similar is a bit less refined.

Johnny is a typical anti-hero. He is mostly out for himself but somehow ends up trying to save humanity through a series of chance encounters and mishaps. He is self-destructive to a fault, but also has a canny ability to survive almost everything. If Johnny has a super power it is survival...and maybe fast talking.

I enjoyed a lot of the side characters as well.
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This is a reissue of Richard Kadrey's first novel published in 1988 by ACE Science Fiction from his current publisher, Harper Voyager. It’s true this cyberpunk drama of a pre-dystopian L.A. & its annihilation by aliens foreshadowing lacks the biting wit and over-the-top action of Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series.

The near-future L.A. is edging towards the apocalypse for sure; brooding, cutthroat, and somewhat unpredictable people all standing on the razor’s edge of death. The former L.A. zoo is full of the homeless, thieves, and drug dealers. The former occupants are “out and about”, roaming the former Hollywood hills where protagonist Johnny will commune with one very special tiger!

Included is an introduction Q&A were fellow author "Cory Doctorow interviews Richard Kadrey about Metrophage, first novels, altered states, and more", shedding light on Kadrey's state of mind while writing Metrophage, Kamikaze L'Amour and Butcher Bird.

If you’re Mr. Kadrey’s number one fan or just a die-hard one looking to own everything he’s ever written, buy this reissue instead of the overpriced original. If you’re someone uninitiated to the author, you’ll probably enjoy and appreciate Metrophage more after reading a few of Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books. I know I have and I feel my twelve bucks and change was money well spent.

As an aside, although not specified in Amazon's synopsis of Metrophage or in the product details, I was pleasantly surprised to find my copy was signed by the author. This was probably just a case of dumb luck working in my favor for once but you know what?

YIPPEE-KAY-YAY-[REVIEW EDITED]-!!!!!!!
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