Thursday, July 29, 2010

Metropolitan by Walter John Williams

MetropolitanI’ve always liked everything this man has written, and once again he’s crafted a good yarn. Every novel he’s written, with the exception of The Crown Jewels and House of Shards, has been set in a different universe. It’s gotta be tough to come up with these new , internally consistent worlds every time, but he does a darn good job of it. In Metropolitan, we have a tightly controlled bureaucratic city, with rigid social strata determined by wealth and power, and racial discrimination casually practiced by whatever tribe is on top of the heap at any given moment. Temporal and fiscal power is exercised by those who control the plasm, a geomantic energy siphoned from the earth through the foundations, walls, and ceilings of buildings in the metropolis. Plasm can be used as a healing tool, a weapon, or anything in between, channeled into any form by the will of those who can afford it. Our heroine, Aiah, is a minor functionary locked into her place in society by her race and poverty until she discovers an untapped well of plasm, then she gets to run with the big dogs in Williams’ tale of intrigue and adventure. Good stuff, Maynard.

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