City of Darkness

  • by Ben Bova
  • Narrated by Harlan Ellison
  • 3 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The huge Manhattan Dome hovers high in the smog. Beneath it, the city lies deserted, its buildings haunted, hollow shells. Years ago it was closed by the government in response to insidious crime and pollution. Now it is open only 2 months out of the year as a sort of morbid recreational park, and its only residents are the poor and downtrodden. Many of those left behind have formed gangs who fight over turf and food and prey on those who venture the darkest streets. Now Ron Morgan, a teenage runaway from the suburbs, finds himself trapped inside the city when the dome is closed at the season's end, and his recreational journey has become a nightmarish struggle for survival.


What the Critics Say

Winner of Audio Publishers Association 1999 Audie Award, Solo Narration - Male


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sufferin,,, Succatash

This is a YA book written in 1976, and it has not really stood the test of time. Most of the big cities have so much pollution that they have been closed. Deemed too dangerous to live in or too unhealthy. New York City is open only for the summer. If you get caught there after Labor Day you are stuck for the winter. Then the city is run by teenage gangs.

The main character Ron, gets stuck in New York City for the winter and has to join a gang. He is accepted into the gang because of his abilities to fix things. This story reminded me very much of Heinlein's YA books. If you like Heinlein's YA books, then you might like this. It is not as good as Starman Jones, but not as bad as Podkayne of Mars. There are some flaws in the story, but toward the end I was starting to get into the book. There is a lot here on gangs and race relations. The biggest gang is black. They are portrayed as good doing good for the city, while the white gangs are very bigoted and selfish.

About the narrator Harlan. First let me say I am not as big a fan of Harlan as Harlan is of himself, But. I believe Harlan has taken a bad rap from some of the reviewers. I have a hard copy of the book and Harlan reads it exactly as it is written. Many of the sentences have to it to show the character is stuttering. Harlan follows this to a tea, just as it is written. The accents are written into the text. Shaddup instead of Shut up. I believe in 1976 Bova wanted these accents to be exaggerated. Now, there are also some funny parts where Harlan sounds like Sylvester the Cat.

Bova has been writing a long time and is still writing and he has put out a lot of material. I have liked most of his books, but not really loved any. On the other hand I have not ever really hated anything he has written. I am still looking for that great Bova book, but I have liked Sam Gunn Unlimited, Venus and Mars.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

Dated, predictable

The story had an early-work feel, very predictable end, but overall good story. I don't think Harlan Ellison has any business on the microphone end of a book.
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- Lisa

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-16-1999
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books