Metamor City Review, great audio fiction podcast!

Metamor City Podcast Review

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Website: www.metamorcity.com

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror audio fiction

Creator: Chris Lester 

Rating 5 our of 5  5-bullets.jpg

If you have ever read and enjoyed Laurel K Hamilton, Played Shadowrun or you loved the Catch a Deadly Spell movie on HBO in the 90’s then you will be right at home in Metamor City. Chris Lester has created a fascinating and incredibly rich universe with interesting characters and situations.

The primary premise of the background is that Metamor City, a titanic cyberpunk style metropolis built like a giant steel and concrete layer cake with four levels of streets supported by 500+ meter skyscrapers. The city is inhabited by all manner of supernatural creatures from daemons, and light bringers to elves and vampires. The city is built around an ancient citadel that is the center of a religion based on the veneration of St Morai an immortal demigod who saved the city as it stood between an invasion of the gods of light and shadow in it’s distant history. ( I hope we hear more about that in future episodes!)

Anyone familiar with the classic FASA role-playing setting of Shadowrun will recognize a number of familiar themes but Metamor City is not just Shadowrun Redux. The theme is far darker and more adult in tone and is reminiscent of early Laurel K Hamilton.

The character Morgan Drauling, a police medical examiner who also happens to be a Vampire is a great example of this. In episode two Morgan, while hunting for a willing partner to feed upon, rescues a young runaway from a trio of rogue vampires. The three other vampires have, in defiance of the vampire queens order, decided to feed upon an unwilling victim with full knowledge that feeding all three of them will kill her.

Morgan kills their leader, and send his master less minions running. She then spends the rest of the episode fighting her own hunger while helping the girl who ends up submitting to Morgan’s thirst voluntarily after coming to trust her. The scene is at once touching, mildly erotic without being sexual and strangely romantic. Morgan is voiced by the amazingly talented Leann Mabry from the Tag and the Seam podcast. The entire episode is wonderfully produced with a nice use of sound effects and a fantastic integration of music at key points.

In some episodes the language and occasionally graphic sexuality make the overall show not for children but most episode are fine for anyone old enough for Harry Potter or the like. Chris is also very diligent in providing accurate disclaimers when needed.

As the show has grown it has attracted a number of talented armature voice talent to the point where each episode now boasts a full voice cast. Each episode also features a different selection of  music from talented artists. The music is all pod safe and thus free for download if you like what you hear.

I can not recommend this series highly enough, I have enjoyed every episode and marvel at the amount of work and talent that are poured into this project. I can not think of a single professional audio project that exceeds the quality found here and the fact that you can enjoy all of this for no more than the time it takes you to subscribe on itunes, or whatever non apple podcast aggregator you like, is just too good to be true.

If you haven’t listened you are robbing yourself of a wonderful bit of entertainment. If you have, you should spread the word because Chris deserves to get far more attention that he has received. I, for one, will be watching and listening very closely.

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Playing for Keeps, Podast novel review.

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Written by: Mur LaffertyPerformed by: Author

Genre: Science Fiction, Superhero

Rating: 4 out of 5 4-bullets.jpg

Description: Playing for Keeps tells the story of Keepsie Branson, a bar owner in the shining metropolis of Seventh City: birthplace of super powers. Keepsie and her friends live among egotistical heroes and manipulative villains, and manage to fall directly in the middle as people with powers, but who just aren’t strong enough to make a difference. Or that’s what they’ve been told. As the city begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad.

Opinion: Playing for Keeps is the third podcast novel presented by the prolific and well loved podosphere celebrity Mur Lafferty. Well known amongst the podcasting community for her numerous successful podcasts and books on podcasting she has yet to break into true mainstream recognition. This most recent effort by Mur may end up being the work that brings her to the attention of the wider science fiction community.

As a superhero story Playing for Keeps has to deal with the many conventions of the genre without seeming to be another rehash of a very crowded genre. Fortunately for the reader, she manages to breathe just enough originality and humor into the story to make it feel new to even the most jaded comicphile.

All of the characters in Playing for Keeps have something unique about them beyond the quirky not-so-superpowers. The lead character, Keepsie Branson is just the kind of conflicted, doubt ridden but good hearted protagonist that comic fans love. I think that anyone who has ever sympathized with Peter Parker with have no problem getting to know Keepsie.

Contrasting the main characters of the story, categorized as ‘third wavers’ due to their belonging to the third group of powered humans to emerge in Mur’s interesting universe, the “real” heroes are a bunch of arrogant, spoiled brats in tights. Even the super villains are in many ways more sympathetic, which leads to some interesting moral questions for Keepsie and her merry band when they are forced to pick sides.

The audio quality of the podcast is good, if not exceptional. Mur does not distract from her story with sound effects and big production values. The story is the key, and this podcast does nothing to take you out of the story. Mur has improved her delivery from some of her earlier efforts which had the tendency to be slightly monotone in delivery. Playing for Keeps is delivered with a strong, yet understated dramatic tone that works perfectly for the story itself.

With the full novel now available in print form I can safely say that the surprises keep coming as the story goes on. The novel has a satisfying ending that leaves plenty of room for more if Mur chooses to make this a series. I for one hope so as I have thoroughly enjoyed this outing.