The City We Became

The Metropolis We Turned is a 2020 city fantasy novel by N. Ok. Jemisin.[1] It’s the first in her Nice Cities collection.[2] It was developed from her quick story “The Metropolis Born Nice”.[3] It’s her first novel since her triple Hugo Award-winning Damaged Earth collection.[4]


The Metropolis We Turned takes place in New York Metropolis, in a model of the world through which nice cities turn out to be sentient by means of human avatars. After the avatar of New York falls right into a supernatural coma and vanishes, a gaggle of 5 new avatars representing the 5 boroughs come collectively to battle their frequent Enemy.


The avatars

  • The Main: the avatar of New York Metropolis. A queer Black homeless younger man. An artist and hustler.
  • Manny: the avatar of Manhattan. A queer Black man in his late 20s. When he turns into Manhattan’s avatar, he loses most reminiscence of his former life, representing his position as a brand new New Yorker. He’s a considerably ruthless strategist. He can permit non-avatar New Yorkers to see the Enemy if he wants to make use of them.
  • Brooklyn “MC Free” Thomason: the avatar of Brooklyn. A Black, middle-aged former rapper, lawyer, and present metropolis councilwoman. She has a baby and a sick father. Her energy is rooted in music.
  • Bronca Siwanoy: the avatar of The Bronx. A lesbian Lenape lady in her 60s. She has a PhD, a sizzling mood, and a son, and works on the Bronx artwork middle. She is the oldest of the six avatars and thus the holder of town’s lexicon of data.
  • Padmini Prakash: the avatar of Queens. A 25-year-old Tamil immigrant graduate scholar dwelling in Queens. Her first identify means “she who sits on the lotus”. She will be able to use mathematical creativeness to alter bodily actuality.
  • Aislyn Houlihan: the avatar of Staten Island. A 30-year-old white lady who lives along with her mother and father on Staten Island. Her father is an abusive, racist cop who calls her “Apple”, although her identify means “dream”. She will be able to turn out to be invisible.

Different characters

  • São Paulo: the avatar of town he’s named for. He’s brown-skinned, lean, and a smoker. His cigarette smoke can fight the Enemy.
  • Hong Kong: the avatar of town he’s named for. He has a Chinese language-inflected British accent.
  • The Enemy: an infectious, otherworldly life type that wishes to kill the newly born metropolis of New York. It seems in lots of types, together with the Lady in White, Dr. White, contagious fungal fronds, and x-shaped spider-like creatures.


The New York Instances evaluation acknowledged, “Within the face of present occasions, ‘The Metropolis We Turned’ takes a broad-shouldered stand on the aspect of sanctuary, household and love. It’s a joyful shout, a reclamation and a name to arms.”[5] NPR wrote that it’s, “a love letter, a celebration and an expression of hope and perception {that a} metropolis and its folks can and can stand as much as darkness, will stand as much as concern, and can, when referred to as to, arise for one another.”[6] A evaluation in Slate stated, “The town she sings fizzes so joyously by means of the veins of this novel that anybody mourning the New York earlier than COVID-19 will probably discover The Metropolis We Turned equally sustaining and elegiac, a tribute to a metropolis which will by no means absolutely return to us.”[7]

Awards and honors

12 months Award End result Ref.
2020 BSFA Award for Finest Novel Gained [8]
2021 Nebula Award for Finest Novel Nominated [9]
2021 Hugo Award for Finest Novel Nominated [10]

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The City We Became  
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