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"Metropolis" Review

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What do you do when you're stuck in the middle of the complete and inescapable breakdown of society as we know it? Darion's story, "Metropolis" attempts to offer a glimpse at an answer.<p>


The story takes place nearly 100 years in the future, and civilization has seemingly fallen prey to the clutches of anarchy. Wandering pillagers, military forces, hardcore rebels...with the exception of a few safe zones, the world itself has pretty much fallen to pieces. And this is where our story begins. Our protagonist, Brent Gibson, is a 16 year old boy who is stuck in the middle of this world. Living with a hard working father, his younger brother, Daniel, and mother who is suffering the last stages of a returning cancer...Brent is simply trying to keep his head up and do what he can to survive.<p>


Then....tragedy strikes. There is a huge prison outbreak that the Felix Registration Security guards cannot seem to contain. Some of society's worst criminals are free to roam the streets, and the situation has gotten so out of hand that the part of the city they live in has been forced into a swift and immediate evacuation. Caring a great deal for their children, Brent's parents send Brent and his brother along to a mysterious family member that they had no previous knowledge about. The mother is too sick to go along with them, and the father stays behind to help take care of her until the current crisis passes.<p>


Our story begins from there, and while I did read a little bit further, I've got to confine my review to the first five chapters. So, as everyone knows, I'm a big stickler for detail as I feel it builds character. And characters build storylines. I think "Metropolis" has an AWESOME setting and a feel to it that could really be used to create an emotional ride. A teenage boy, trying to take care of his little brother in a strange place, and separated from his parents for the first time (one of them seriously, maybe even terminally, ill)...and having those parents being trapped in a virtual war zone? That's genius. I think the possibilities are endless for a story like that. And then....enter 'Mark Kelly', and things get even juicier from there. <p>


However, I think there are a few ways to strengthen the actual 'connection' to the main characters. So when the shit hits the fan, it has an even bigger emotional impact on the reader. I'm actually really intrigued as to what happened to make the world the way it is in this story. What major even happened to turn the tide and cause this unraveling of civilization as we know it. <p>


Don't get me wrong, I think it was a great artistic choice to just thrust the readers into this apocalyptic world and let them deal with it as the main character deals with it, but I think just a FEW more sentences about what actually happened to light the fuse to this powder keg would really help to further create the potency for the mood and setting in a story like this one. The thing about certain parts of science fiction, in my opinion, is that you have to create and quickly explain the futuristic folklore behind it. You have to get everyone on the same page so we can all say, "Oh, that's how things work in this world. Ok, gotchya." Darion does a good job on this as the story progresses and evolves over time, but I think a few quick punches in the beginning would help to hook the readers and pull them in to the story he's telling. <p>


I do love the closeness of the family, and Alan Chapman, the older gentleman that lives next door. the father works to keep things together, and Brent has to take care of his little brother and sick mother, which is addressed in a few instances in the story. That's got to be hard on a teenager. I think that's an emotional side of him that could be explored a bit more. I sympathize with this character. And that's awesome to have happen when you're reading someone's story. I think that could be explained more in detail. A boy going through something like that might be a bit conflicted, tired and weary...he may even develop occasional feelings of resentment for being forced into that situation. I think taking advantage of opportunities like that will create a stronger involvement with the main character and the story itself.<p>


Darion's writing has a visual appeal to it, and you are definitely getting a feel for what's going on. I would just love to se him step into the shoes of his characters and really flesh out certain parts of the plot. All of the elements are there. Just expand. What is it like being stuck in the frantic hysteria of a city wide evacuation? What is it like to talk to your mother on a video screen, knowing that danger is just outside her front door and that he could lose her at any moment? What is it like to sneak past the violence and chaos in the streets? More more more! This story brings up a lot of intense situations, so I'd love for Darion to pour all the emotion and intensity that he can into every paragraph. Go for broke! Because I think the premise alone is the beginnings for a really epic sci fi saga!<p>


Also, Darion...watch for stuff like this. I know, because I do it all the time myself:


<b>"The only untouched part of the <u>city</u> is in the southeast part of the <u>city</u>. Evacuees are being led out of the <u>city</u> as we speak."</b>


When you go back to edit, try to keep from using the same word more than once. I, personally, have to keep a thesaurus next to me at all times when I write. I actually have an old one that my grandmother bought me years ago. I like having an actual 'book', because I can thumb through the pages in a search for one word, and I'll come across an even <i>better</i> word by accident. But it's just as easy to find a free Thesaurus online. Try something like:


<b>"The only untouched part of the <u>city</u> is in the southeast <u>areas</u>. Evacuees are being led out of the <u>the chaos</u> as we speak."</b>


It just keeps the sentences from sounding the same. Keeps the flow of the story smooth.<p>


So there you have it! Darion's "Metropolis" is a story that you can seriously get into once you start reading. And stick with it...because things take a few more turns as the story goes on. :)<p>


"Metropolis" is a COMPLETED series (I believe it's about 15 chapters), and can be found at The Chat Shack (http://irc.shackoutback.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=139:qmetropolisq&Itemid=124&layout=default)


Stop by and let him know what you think!<p>

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