Metropolitan

Walter Jon Williams, Author
Walter Jon Williams, Author HarperPrism $20 (342p) ISBN 978-0-06-105212-5
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-06-105441-9
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The world created in Williams's (Aristoi) latest novel is similar enough to our own that the SF aspects blend with noir stylings to create a potent atmosphere of urban dystopia. Williams tells the tale of Aiah, a lower-level government functionary whose investigation of a ``plasm'' leak leads her into a macabre alliance with the powerful rebel Constantine, whose financial success has been built in part on a failed revolution he instigated several years before. Joined by Constantine's associate and occasional paramour Sorya (who declares, paraphrasing Leona Helmsley, that ``laws are made by little people''), the three valiantly plan to restart the revolution. The action is often hectic, complete with several red herrings concerning who will betray whom first. Williams's great strengths, though, are his depiction of future society-in ``the city that girdles the world,'' street vendors sell roasted pigeon-on-a-stick-and his understanding of the roots of political rebellion; here, he presents a solid case that rebellion arises not in response to large evils but to small slights. Ever the expert storyteller, Williams is also careful to provide more than enough suspense to maintain reader interest. (Apr.)
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