Name: Making the Cut
Author: Chris Lester
Read by: An ensemble cast
Episodes: 33 Episodes
Format: Part of a Podcast
Running Time: 27.6 Hours
AuthorNovel Website: http://www.metamorcity.com/
Podcast Feed: http://www.metamorcity.com/?feed=podcast
One sentence synopsis: In a world where magic and technology developed side by side one man after making a huge mistake decides that the best way to fix his life would be to become a woman.
It is hard to narrow this novel down into the one sentence synopsis. There are really three major stories going on that are all tied together. Any one sentence cannot capture the scope of this story as it changes and evolves over time. It cannot relay the complex metaphysical politics that are contained within as Vampires and Psychics maneuver to gain the upper hand against each other. All the while a simple love story is caught in the middle.
“Making the Cut” is an audio novel that is part of a larger podcast of audio fiction. The author has developed a world where magic and technology have developed side by side and greatly impacted each other. This is a very well developed world with many players and a long back story leading to previous collaborative work that the author had contributed to. This allows interplay with secret societies and metaphysical politics. The podcast contains mostly short stories many of which are very enjoyable and this one novel. The audio quality is very consistent across the episodes and the voice actors do an excellent job of pulling you into the story.
I approached this novel with quite a bit of trepidation. The concept of a man turning himself into a woman so he could be with his girlfriend was very off putting to me. It just didn’t seem like a story I would be able to relate to and to be completely open and honest I was afraid the subject matter would make me uncomfortable. Still I had enjoyed the short stories of the world so I decided to give this novel a chance. I’m glad that I put my concerns aside and gave this story the chance that it deserved.
As I started listening I quickly found myself pulled into the tale. I was familiar with the world, but this book was set 10 years before the other stories in the feed. As such you get to see how certain characters developed into who they are in their own stories. Many pieces of the puzzle finally start to come together in ways that I did not expect. The author shows a skill for both surprising the listener and shifting the story in new directions without the story coming off as schizophrenic. While the story does drastically change from beginning to end it does so in a manner that feels consistent and like a natural progression.
As anyone who has been reading these reviews knows; there is bound to be something that I complain about. It isn’t that I try to find these things, but if you are being fair and critical no work could ever be perfect and without room for improvement. In this case the problem is the presentation. Serialized fiction works very well if you are following it as it releases as I currently am with Scott Sigler’s “Ancestor”. If however you are listening to the work mid way through or after it has fully been released it presents a problem for those of us using ipods. The podcast downloads and plays the newest episodes first and then works backwards in progression. This is frustrating for podcasts, but even more so for works of fiction. People listening in the car or while working out have to stop and choose to play the next episode up the list instead of allowing it to just progress as standard podiobooks allow. This is a frustration with any serialized podcast fiction. Many authors choose to deal with this by releasing a podiobook version of their story after it is completely out there, but this book is just mixed in with other short fiction and commentary within a larger feed. It makes it difficult for a new listener to just pull out the novel and enjoy it.
So even though it is a bit difficult for a new listener to jump into this huge back catalog I do highly recommend the Metamor city Podcast and “Making the Cut” in particular.