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The Municipalists Review: Back-of-Book Description
The Municipalists A novel about an unlikely pair of lonely outsiders–one human, one AI–on an adventure to save the great American city of Metropolis written by “one of the most exciting new voices in fiction” (Charles Yu)
*Named one of the best books of the month by Library Journal (“Debut of the Month”), The Verge, io9, Amazon Books, Book of the Month Club, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, NYLON, and Tor.com*
In Metropolis, the gleaming city of tomorrow, the dream of the great American city has been achieved. But all that is about to change, unless a neurotic, rule-following bureaucrat and an irreverent, freewheeling artificial intelligence can save the city from a mysterious terrorist plot that threatens its very existence.
Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer. Soon, Henry and OWEN are fighting to save not only their own lives and those of the city’s millions of inhabitants, but also the soul of Metropolis. is a thrilling, funny, and touching adventure story, a tour-de-force of imagination that trenchantly explores our relationships to the cities around us and the technologies guiding us into the future.
“A new and irreverent take on both real-world politics and sci-fi history.”-The Wall Street Journal
The Municipalists Review: My Thoughts
I found this book through Book of the Month. It seemed like a cool, quirky sci-fi and well…I was right!
The Municipalists was a short, fun read involving two really interesting main characters, only one of whom is in fact a real person. It feels kind of hard to classify this book as one single genre because it has elements of political fiction, science fiction, and maybe even dystopian?
I was immediately intrigued by the main character, and then – to my surprise and delight – I was also captivated by the second main character, the human embodiment of an AI program. Their dialogue and interaction was fun and well written.
This book somehow touched on all kinds of themes, such as sexism, gentrification, and poverty. While also finding ways to be light and funny. It made you feel a lot of emotions, including angry at times, while also making you appreciate the beauty in personal relationships.
The world built in this book was well-developed and explained, making it easy to picture while reading. And there were a couple of fun quote to be found in the writing.
Overall, it was a really good read and I found it to be light and funny as well as action-packed, fast-paced and enlightening. It might be one of the rare situations where I think it could have been longer, too.
Favorite Quotes from The Municipalists:
“I’m sure you’re all trying to solve problems the only way you know how. But you never stop to ask why…”
“I’ve been aware of the societal norm to be careful around men. Meanwhile, those same norms have programmed men to believe that their manhood is contingent on their behaving the exact opposite of careful.”
“Here, pay attention, what I’m about to tell you is the truest, most important thing: None of us is right.”
“…only when you give up on the fantasy of moral authority can you approach any problem without doing more harm than good.”
The Municipalists Review: In Conclusion
I really enjoyed this book! I was invested in the characters, and I wanted to find out how it all played out and ended up. 4.75 stars for The Municipalists! I can’t think of anything that was really wrong with it, per se (except maybe that it could have been longer), but it just wasn’t one of the favorites I guess, so I hesitate to give it 5.
Regardless of my star rating – I think this is a fun book and I would encourage you to check it out. It would appeal to people who are interested in futuristic subtle sci-fi or even those who like a dystopian novel as there are kind of elements of that in there as well.
I can see this book becoming popular with book clubs or high school reading lists because it’s an upbeat and adventurous story while also having a lot of interesting relevant modern topics for debate and discussion.
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