Metropolitan (#1)

Next: City on Fire

Aiah has fought her way from poverty and discovered a limitless source of plasm, the mysterious substance that powers the world-city. Her discovery soon involves her with Constantine, the charismatic, dangerous, seductive revolutionary who plans to overthrow, not simply the government, but the cosmic order . . . 


“A potent atmosphere of urban dystopia […] 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.”

Publishers Weekly

“Although the author of DAYS OF ATONEMENT continues to explore new territory, his focus rests solidly on the creation of believable, sympathetic characters supported by a well-turned plot. Libraries should consider this a priority purchase.”

Library Journal

“[METROPOLITAN] is science fiction that can be read as fantasy. Whichever way you do it, it’s a fascinating book […] Williams does a wonderful job of portraying Aiah and her world. The changes in Aiah’s understanding of her city and the changes in her relationships with her family, her lover, and Constantine make a complex and well-rounded story.”

The Denver Post

“The most striking quality of METROPOLITAN is its sheer readability, due largely to pungent characterization and persuasive dialogue […] [Aiah] is about as three-dimensional a character as you’ll find in modern science fiction […] [Constantine] is Machiavelli’s Prince a thousand years from now.”

Book World

“Williams knows he has dynamite stuff here [...] What he does offer – in addition to that stunning opening – is an eerily convincing portrait of a very odd and curiously low-tech future […] The ancient, layered city of Jaspeer, with its abandoned tunnels, creepy streets, and vaulting skyscrapers, may show its cyperpunk origins, but it’s enough to make us want to see more of this world, and to wonder about its unresolved mysteries.”

Locus (Gary K. Wolfe)

“Williams’s striking new novel, METROPOLITAN, is one of those books of ambiguous generic identity; it could be an alternate-world tale or a future-supernatural-fantasy, or some mutant hybrid form with traits of both […]The stronger appeal of the book is in how real and solid it makes its odd world, with its familiar-but-distanced social tensions, its constant recycling of its finite space, its Shield, and its strange metaphysics in which the material and something like the spiritual interpenetrate. And that melding of the domestic and the marvelous is, I think, what makes METROPOLITAN finally feel more like science fiction than fantasy: the solidity of the milieu in all of its social and operational details, its imagining of magical force as something as amenable to plumbing as to zapping.”

Locus (Russell Letson)

“Insightful and well-told story about the temptations of power.”

Discover Magazine

“There’s a Jules Verne solidity to it, all girders and ductwork and massively clanking machineries, a Victorian feel of iron and stone and steam somehow, beautifully and cunningly rendered […] not only a well-realized work but a hopeful landmark of sorts.”

Norman Spinrad, award-winning author of The Iron Dream

Awards & Accolades


Nebula Award Nominee