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Book Reviews
Speculative Los Angeles
By: Denise Hamilton (Editor) - Akashic Books, $16.95

Description: This debut title in a new city-based anthology series, features all-new stories with speculative, sci-fi, and paranormal themes - each using distinct neighborhood settings as a launching pad.

Verdict: As an incubator of the future, Los Angeles has long mesmerized writers from Aldous Huxley to Octavia E. Butler. With its natural disasters, Hollywood artifice, staggering wealth and poverty, and urban sprawl, one can argue that Los Angeles is already so weird, surreal, irrational, and mythic that any fiction emerging from this place should be considered speculative.

So, bestselling author Denise Hamilton commissioned fourteen stories (including one of her own) and did exactly that. In Speculative Los Angeles, some of the citys most prophetic and diverse voices reimagine the metropolis in very different ways.

In this totally enthralling, and of course, wholly speculative collection of tales set in, and around Los Angeles, CA, we get to delve into all manner of city wonderments.

Indeed, those overly familiar with the area might well be able to narrow in on some landscape they themselves are local too, but never had seen it in quite the same literary light as the ones being shone here.

That said, those very same city inhabitants might also find that not only has their current landscape changed from what it was before, but has also been somewhat changed to fit the narrative.

Regardless, and whether it be back in the day, the here and now or future envisions, set within alternate realities, there is something for everyone here, young and old, based in Los Angeles.

Indeed, within these pages you will encounter twenty-first-century changelings, dirigibles plying the suburban skies, black holes and jacaranda men lurking in deep suburbia, beachfront property in Century City, walled-off canyons and coastlines reserved for the wealthy, psychic death cults, robot nursemaids, and an alternate LA where Spanish land grants never gave way to urbanization.

My own personal favorite is the totally believable Where There are Cities, These Dissolve Too which sees a future where those less fortunate collect bits of garbage from a landfill by day, later turning it into fighting machines by night.

As with our city-based Akashic Noir Series, each story in Speculative Los Angeles is set in a distinct neighborhood filled with local color, landmarks, and flavor. Since the best speculative fiction provides a wormhole into other worlds while also commenting on our own, that is exactly what you will find here.

In closing, this book us highly recommended, especially for fans of Sci-Fi shorts and as much as it scans a lot of LA time and space, it always feel naturally grounded in the here and now, so to speak.

About the Author: Edgar Award finalist Denise Hamilton is the author of seven crime novels and the editor of the best-selling anthology Los Angeles Noir (which includes the Edgar Award-winning short story The Golden Gopher by Susan Straight) and Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics.

She is a former Los Angeles Times journalist, a Fulbright Scholar, a noir and sci-fi/fantasy geek, and a proud LA native who refuses to speak only in English.

Official Book Purchase Link