Thursday, May 14, 2009

StochastiCity by Tobias Buckell (from Metatropolis)

In the second story in the anthology Metatropolis, Tobias Buckell takes us to post-apocalyptic Detroit, where civil unrest is ripe. A security company called Edgewater keeps things under control, but radicals still find a way to make their voices heard.

Reginald is a bouncer at a local bar, and to make extra money he engages is "turking" - illegal work where each person only performs one small task, so noone knows the complete mission. One of his assignments goes wrong, and he gets caught. To his great surprise, a lawyer comes to bail him out - except the lawyer also informs him he won't get paid for the job. Determined to get his money, Reginald embarks on a journey that sees him working for both Edgewater and the radicals, and undergoing a transformation of his own.

This was another captivating story in this great anthology. Because much of the worldbuilding was done in the first story, Buckell is really able to jump right in to his narrative, introducing the engaging character Reginald, and setting a blistering pace that is sustained through much of the story. There are a few points where it seems to bog down - most specifically, when the eco-friendly message takes precedence over the actual story - but in general, this was thoroughly engaging. I can't wait to see what city I visit next!

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