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Empire State (Angry Robot) Paperback – 5 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot Books (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857661922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857661920
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Christopher was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles, which isn't a bad start for a child of the 80s. In 2006, Adam moved to the North West of England.

Adam's fiction has appeared in Pantechnicon, Hub, and Dark Fiction Magazine, and in 2010 he won a Sir Julius Vogel award, New Zealand's highest science fiction honour.

When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsessing over superhero comics and The Cure.

Visit www.adamchristopher.co.uk


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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James Turner on 13 April 2012
Format: Paperback
The multiple worlds that Adam Christopher has created for this book are genuinely unique and interesting places in which all manner of exciting tales could be told, but unfortunately this book is not one of them.

Three quarters of the book are taken up with clumsy exposition about the setting - pages and pages of characters literally explaining to the central character how the multiple worlds work - and the remaining quarter is filled with confusing and nonsensical action. The central character is supposed to be a private detective who is the key to an inter-dimensional plot, but he never does any detective work, and just gets dragged dumbly along, never doing anything to advance a story that in truth could have carried on quite well with out him.

The conclusion is supposed to be an exciting series of crosses and double crosses, but none of the characters' behaviour makes any sense, the betrayals being present more because the author felt they were required of the genre rather than because they had anything to do with the motives on the characters. I kept expecting a clever twist at the end that would suddenly make the rest of the book make sense, but when in came to the final page I was just left disappointed.

Ultimately Empire State is an ambitious attempt to cross multiple genres, but sadly it fails to satisfy in any of them. Disappointing.

(Also - why is the main character so obsessed with his hat?)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wright on 17 Dec 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh, I wanted to enjoy this. It looked so much like something I would dig. Noir, Chandleresque detectives, golden age super heroics, alternate realities... I despaired when this turned into my slog of the year. The genres are mashed, but not in a smart or invigorating way. They're just mashed. Ground up. Paid lip service, before being poorly implemented in a cliche-ridden way that avoids the heart of each, so that everything becomes tokenistic. The plot makes little sense, even though key characters repeat important plot points numerous times within each chapter so you don't miss them, the alternate reality is boring beyond measure, and the characterisation is hollow. A disappointment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Itsallgeektome on 4 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've never read a steampunk novel, a graphic novel or seen the movie Dark City you may enjoy this book.
I thought the characters were one dimensional (ironic given the nature of the story). The rules of the author's world were conveniantly broken which ended up having a detrimental effect (why didn't the same thing happen to all the characters that travelled between the cities?).Combined with a typo that gave away a significant plot point made this a disappointing read, great cover though.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Drew on 11 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are some nice ideas in this story, and some imagery that should, in theory, add up to an innovative addition to the more usual alternate history/sci-fi stuff. Sadly though, Adam Christopher just isn't a good-enough writer to bring it all together in a convincing novel. The narrative is deeply confusing, and characters seem to shift personalities and motives. In the end, the story unravels into a big mess of people running around for no real reason.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul M Ford on 2 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let's get one thing straight, the whole idea about mixing up a Raymond Chandler/Film Noir-style detective story with Science Fiction and a helping of Super-heroics was a great one. No question. It's why I picked up the book in the first place. But sadly it doesn't work. Not because the basic premise is bad, far from it, it's a very good one. It's just badly written. It takes an eternity to get going, the Empire State is poorly described and the central character is unsympathetic. I'd hoped that 'Rad Bradley' was a tip of the hat to 'Slam Bradley', a detective created by Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster, the men who gave us 'Superman'. When the owner of the illicit bar that Rad hangs out in is called Jerry, I waited on his partner Joe to turn up. Nope, the interview contained at the back of the book indicates that it was a typo owing more to Sci-Fi author Ray Bradbury. Shame. There are lots of unexplored avenues in this book. Why did the Skyguard and Science Pirate fall out originally? Why does the main villain character 'merge' when everyone else has separate and quite different versions on each side of the 'Fissure'? Why does Rad get caught up in it at all? The last is particularly problematic. We are endlessly told he's pivotal to the whole plot, but actually isn't. He's a passenger. He doesn't do anything of note. The author outlines in an afterword a 'Worldbuilder' project in which he invites, with some strict but understandable provisos, other writers to play in his world. My recommendation would be to go for it. It's an interesting world with a slew of different angles that could be taken. Sadly, none of them are on show here.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nina (Death Books and Tea) on 25 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
it's New York, and Rad Bradley is a private detective working to survive, as you do. Then he gets assigned a missing person case, and he is pulled into parallel worlds, the future, and many other places he'd rather not be. The aforementioned Parallel World is the Empire State, a very twisted Manhattan. Things will never be the same for Rad again...
It took me quite a bit of trying to get into this. Maybe it didn't help that I started it while in the bar area of the Hammersmith Apollo while whoever was opening for Thin Lizzy was playing. But still, I should have been able to get into this. But it just left me quite confused. I didn't really understand the whole thing concerning the superheroes, ie the Science Pirate and the Skyguard. This does get resolved alter with explanations, but it would have been nice to pick up quicker. The general world building, even of "normal" New York, wasn't very good at all.
I also couldn't really imagine Rad or Rex. Not good when these are the two major characters. This meant I couldn't really visualise lots of things happening, and some things that I could, I just wasn't sure if I was getting the right idea of those things.
Some things I did get though. The four worlds in this book are 20/30s New York (is writing a few days after reading and has forgotten fine details), 50s New York, the Empire State and the Space Beyond. All of these were well imagined and fit together neatly, even if it is very confusing to start with.
And we never get any explanation of why the superheroes exist. That I understood. Don't like that. I did like the time travel elements.
It's a very slow start. The first third, I wasn't sure why I was carrying on reading this, aside from just hoping that something would happen.
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