Original Russian edition cover
|Language||Russian, translated into 34 other languages|
2010 (United States)
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback, Nocower)
|Pages||348 (Russian edition)
458 (English edition)
|Followed by||Metro 2034|
Metro 2033 (Russian: Метро 2033) is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It is set in the Moscow Metro, where the last survivors hide after a global nuclear holocaust. It was published in 2005 in Russia and on March 28, 2010 in the United States.
In 2013, a nuclear war occurred, forcing a large amount of Moscow's surviving population to relocate to underground metro stations in search of refuge. Eventually, the communities settled in the underground train stations developed into independent states. Soon, factions emerged, ranging from the independent peacekeepers the "Rangers of the Order", to the communist "Red Line" faction and the fascist "Fourth Reich", to the more powerful factions such as "Polis", which contained the greatest military power and the most knowledge of the past, and the "Hanza" regime, which controlled the main ring of metro stations by its sheer economic power. As these groups began to evolve, the Red Line and the Fourth Reich quickly entered a state of war, as both sought to destroy the other. As the war raged, the stations who refused to join either side were either demolished by the factions, merged into the Hanza regime, raided by criminal bandits, or formed their own independent states. Other stations were outright destroyed by animals, mutated by the nuclear fallout. While most of the stations were controlled by the 3 main factions, some stations formed an independent alliances, including the station VDNKh ("Exhibition"). Within that station, the events of Metro 2033 unfold.
The protagonist of the novel is a 20-year-old man named Artyom who was born before the nuclear holocaust. He was saved from a horde of carnivorous rats that killed his mother and the inhabitants of his station as a baby by Sukhoi, a military officer. Sukhoi is now one of the authorities of VDNKh, one of the stations in the Russian metro and has raised Arytom as his son. Artyom spends his time on patrol in the tunnels and working in the mushroom factories.
Artyom meets a man named Hunter, who is looking for Sukhoi. The three meet and discuss the situation in VDNKh. VDNKh is facing increasing attacks from mysterious creatures known as Dark Ones, who inspire terror throughout the station. Hunter leaves, but asks to speak to Artyom. Artyom confesses that 10 years earlier, he and his friend went to the surface at the neighbouring station, Botanical Gardens. They were unable to seal the exit after their visit and the Dark Ones have been using this entrance to the metro ever since. Hunter tells Arytom that he intends to gather intel on the Dark Ones, and in the event that he doesn't return Arytom must carry a message to a man named Melnik at Polis with news of the threat. Feeling a sense of responsibility for the Dark One's attacks and seeking adventure, Arytom accepts.
Arytom begins to journey towards the centre of the Metro. His first companion, Bourban, is killed by a psychic force transmitted through the pipes and Arytom is then guided by a mystic named Khan. Khan leads him to Kitai-Gorod which is controlled by criminal gangs, but they become separated during an attack by the Fourth Reich. Arytom flees, only to be captured by the Reich who sentence him to death for killing an officer. Just before his execution, a band of revolutionary fighters from the Red Line intervene and rescue him. Pursued by the Reich, Arytom is left at Paveletskaya station and his route to Polis is blocked by the Hansa controlled Koltsevaya Line, who operate strict border controls. Arytoms passport was lost during his detention, and after a failed attempt to gain travel papers by betting on rat races, Arytom is taken into custody. After escaping, he finally reaches Polis. He delivers his message to Melnik, and the leadership of Polis gather to determine their course of action.
Although Polis do not agree to intervene, a faction known as the Brahmins (who consist of scientists and academics who collect books from the library above), contact Arytom. They offer a solution to the threat of the Dark Ones in exchange for Arytom's help in recovering a sacred book, as they believe him to be psychically sensitive. Arytom travels to the surface with Melnik and young Brahmin called Daniel. They enter the library and are attacked by the 'librarians', mutated creatures that reside there. Daniel is mortally wounded, but before dying, gives Arytom his reward anyway. It is an envelope containing directions to a functioning missile silo. Arytom and Melnik flee without the book and re-enter the metro, arriving at station Kievskaya. Melnik leaves Arytom at the station while he goes to collect reinforcements but whilst he is away, Arytom becomes involved in the search for a missing child. Arytom and the child's father are abducted by a tribe of cannibals who worship 'The Great Worm'. They are rescued by Melnik and a squad of fighters and they escape into Metro-2, a secret set of tunnels that lead to the missile site.
The team pass through the metro station leading to the Kremlin, which contains a mutated bio-weapon that attempts to hypnotize and consume them. Several are killed before they explode a tank of fuel to distract it. The majority of the group go to the surface and the missile silo, while Arytom is accompanied back through the metro so that they can provide targeting co-ordinates from a suitable location, Ostankino Tower. On the way, they stop at VDNKh, which has been almost overrun by Dark Ones. After a brief re-union with Sukhoi, Arytom reaches the tower and his team provide the missile site with the location of the Dark Ones hive. As they do, Arytom has a vision, which relates to the dreams and nightmares that he has been having. The Dark Ones have been trying to make contact, unable to communicate with the human survivors wihthin the metro in a meaningful way, before they found Arytom. Arytom re-evaluates their behavior and realizes that what was seen as aggression were actually attempts to make contact, which were only met with violence. As Arytom realizes that the two races could co-operate, the missiles fall and the Dark Ones are killed. Realising that the Dark Ones were killed in vain, Artyom tears his mask off and heads back home in tears.
The book first appeared online in 2002 and later became an interactive experiment, drawing in thousands of readers from around Russia and abroad. In 2005 it was printed by Eksmo, Orionbooks and became a nationwide and worldwide bestseller. The English edition was released on March 18, 2010 to coincide with the release of the video game adaptation of the novel.
By 2010, over 500,000 copies of Metro 2033 had been sold in Russia alone. Over 2 million had read the book on its official site before it even was published in print. Foreign book rights have been sold to more than 20 countries. In 2007, Glukhovsky was awarded the Encouragement Award of the European Science Fiction Society at the Eurocon in Copenhagen for his novel Metro 2033.
A video game, Metro 2033, developed by 4A Games, was released worldwide in March 2010 for PC, and Xbox 360. Dmitry said that he had chosen a video game adaptation over a film as it gave him more artistic freedom to work.
As of November 2010, Glukhovsky was in talks with Hollywood-based studios and producers to sell the film rights. As of September 2012, MGM has picked up the screen rights to Metro 2033, setting F. Scott Frazier "Pavito" to pen the script. Mark Johnson is producing via his Gran Via Productions.
A sequel developed by 4A Games, Metro: Last Light, was released in May 2013, but does not follow any direct storylines of the book Metro 2034.
Sequel and franchise
Under the franchise Universe of Metro 2033 various authors have published 32 volumes of fiction by the end of 2012 with 33 further titles scheduled for publication. In addition, two anthologies of short stories by almost a score of authors has been published.
Two authors have created their personal underground universes based in other metropolitan areas.
- "Metro 2033 book details".
- "Interview: Metro 2033′s Dmitry Glukhovsky and Huw Beynon".
- "Metro 2033 review".
- "Bio of Dmitry A. Glukhovsky".
- "Metro 2033 book reviews on Goodreads".
- "Metro 2033 book reviews at Amazon".
- MGM, 'Narnia' Producer Pick Up Rights to Russian Sci-Fi Novel 'Metro 2033' (Exclusive) // Hollywoodreporter.com
- "Metro 2034 review at Goodreads".
- Tveritina, Alena (November 2, 2011). "Writers sign up for Universe of Metro 2033". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Official English language site for the book (including a translation of the novel)