Metamor City by Chris Lester

The Metamor City podcast takes place in a world in which sci-fi and fantasy meet. There’s flying cars, but also vampires, psychics, wizards, and the like. This is an action-packed story with a large cast of characters and interesting plot twists.

The podcast starts with some short stories before delving into a novel. Some of the short stories are action-packed, while others just feature characters talking about their love lives. The short story “Troubled Minds” bothered me a bit. In it, one of the heroes uses mind control to force a bunch of underage girls to have an orgy with each other. Afterward, the girls all seem fine with what happened. A real WTF? moment.

The novel Making the Cut focuses on a group of friends with psychic powers who are coming of age. When we first meet them, they’re using their psychic powers to cheat at basketball and they complain that they can’t use their powers more openly because people without superpowers are so prejudiced. I’ve got to admit, I’m tired of stories in which we’re supposed to feel sorry for people with superpowers. You’ve got superpowers! If anybody has a right to complain, it’s the normal people. I also found it odd that the friends were willing to come to blows with each other over minor ribbing. Why so serious?

After the rocky start, the story does get better. A lot of interesting issues are raised. For example, abortion is forbidden once a fetus is able to communicate telepathically, which I’d guess would be the moment a fetus is first able to feel emotion. I’m not sure when that would be, but it’s interesting to think about.

Some psychics have precognition, which raises the free will question. However, we’re also told that free will interferes with precognition. I’d think this would make precognition a largely useless power. Maybe you could predict natural disasters and the weather, but that would be about it. Also complicating the free will question is the fact that psychics and vampires can use mind control on people. There’s also a guy who can control souls, but I’m unclear on how that’s different from the other types of mind control in the story.

One character becomes an androgyne, which means he can change into a woman. In order to give her a personality distinct from his own, she’s given false memories. This raises the question of identity. How much of our personalities are a result of our memories and how much of our personalities come from other things like our genes and environment?

Overall, an interesting book with a fast paced story that really got me thinking. There are additional stories that take place in the same world that I haven’t gotten to yet. Looking forward to more.

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