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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy Paperback – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312385242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312385248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This anthology of short fiction affords a superb sampling of urban fantasy, that popular sf/fantasy subgenre defined in the book’s introduction (which, in all of three pages, is a welcome and helpful, to say nothing of articulate, definition of this subgenre) as a combination of the “often-dark edge of city living with enticing worlds of magic”—with an urban landscape being absolutely crucial to the story. To put it another way (as also expressed in the introduction, that is), “where the story takes place should matter, in some way, to the story.” The headliner piece, by virtue of its placement first in the collection’s presentation and the name recognition of the author, is “Curses,” by Jim Butcher, creator of the urban-fantasy series Dresden Files. It opens like a noir detective story—“Most of my cases are pretty tame”—but by page 2, we see this is Dresden Files fiction as well. The premise is a riot: the famous curse upon the Chicago Cubs has supernatural origins here. “Priced to Sell,” by Naomi Novik, is also very entertaining. It’s about vampires buying real estate in Manhattan. But you will have fun with all 20 stories."--Booklist

About the Author

Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for almost thirty years. She was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and has edited more than fifty anthologies, including the horror half of the long-running The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She lives in New York. Visit her on the web at www.datlow.com.


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Customer Reviews

While I enjoyed some stories more than others, I didn't find a single clunker in this book.
Amazon Customer
It's really clear the editor was way more concerned with getting big names rather than sticking to the types of stories readers would expect from a book like this.
Jennifer Sicurella
I purchased this book for the Jim Butcher story but found some new-to-me authors to read in the future.
Karen Bock-Losee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By thebookwormgirl on July 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With 20 authors contributing to this anthology, I have decided not to break it down by each story. My review would then be endless and y'all would just get bored reading it. Instead, I'll tell you that this is an outstanding collection of short stories that showcases some of the many faces of urban fantasy. From Horror to Faeries, a Wizard Detective, and the Troll of Seattle, you will find something you like in this collection.

My favorites are the following (in order of appearance):

1. Curses by Jim Butcher
2. On the Slide by Richard Bowes
3. Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs
4. Picking up the Pieces by Pat Cadigan
5. Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle
6. The Bricks of Gelecek by Matthew Kressel
7. The Way Station by Nathan Ballingrud
8. Guns for the Dead by Melissa Marr
9. King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree by Elizabeth Bear

The other eleven stories are good, but to me, these just stood out as great examples of what a short story should be (a glimpse in a character's life, one theme explored; in short the modern fairy tale). With so many to choose from, I am sure there will be those who disagree with me on which stories are their favorites. But that is the beauty of this collection, it's all good and there is something for everyone
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Moody TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Urban fantasy" is one of those subgenre labels that I've never been quite sure of the meaning of. I associate it primarily with Charles de Lint, an obviously gifted writer whose work I've never yet been able to enjoy, and with a certain type of contemporary magical realism. But in the case of Naked City, Ellen Datlow's new anthology, the meaning of urban fantasy is quite literal. Each of those twenty tales takes place in a city. The city might be a real one, or fictional; it might be within the United States (New York City features five times) or elsewhere in the world, or in another reality entirely; the setting might be past or present. But always, there is the city, bewitching and terrifying, frustrating and wonderful.

For many readers, the major attraction of this anthology will be Jim Butcher's "Curses," a Dresden Files story set in that series' milieu, Chicago. I'll confess that I've never read any of the series (supernatural detectives aren't my thing), and while "Curses" wasn't dazzling enough to change my mind on that, it's obvious that Butcher has mastered the wry private detective voice and done a credible job placing that voice in a world of fairies, demons, and yes, curses. This particular story is about baseball, another pastime that has entirely passed me by, but I imagine fans of the sport will get a kick out of Harry Dresden's investigation into the true story behind the Cubs' bad luck, and even I enjoyed it.

Fans of Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint and other novels set in that fantasy world will certainly want to pick up the anthology for "The Duke of Riverside," a story set both before and after the events of that novel, and featuring St. Vier and Alec.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is mostly NOT Urban Fantasy- or at least what I think is Urban Fantasy. I consider Urban Fantasy to be the standard and well known elements from High Fantasy (Elves, Dragons, Vampires, Wizards, etc- hence the "Fantasy") taken out of their stereotypical surroundings and brought into a more or less modern setting- often a city (hence the "Urban"). Urban Fantasy is often a little more gritty than High Fantasy, and the heroes are sometimes anti-heroes. However, there's often humor involved too. What's fun is seeing those old fantasy standbys adapt to a modern setting- and the modern urbanites try to adapt to suddenly having magic in their midst.

Jim Butcher is perhaps the current Master of this genre, but there are plenty of others- Simon Green, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews, Charles DeLint, China Meiville, Melissa Marr, Tanya Huff, Holly Black- and the list goes on.

But of those, only 4 appear here. Mind you, their stories are all quite good. Jim has one of his best short stories yet, full of whimsy and manners.

However, of the other 16 authors I only enjoyed a handful, and only a few are what I'd call Urban Fantasy. Some might even be considered "Speculative Fiction", which is a genre I don't care for.

Besides the "Big Four" I mentioned there's also: Delia Sherman writes a nice period piece "How the Pooka Came to New York City". Naomi Novik, who writes the "His Majesties Dragon" series has a nice little tale set in the crazy world of Manhattan Real Estate sales. Peter S Beagle, a fantasy writer of great renown dips into Urban Fantasy with a story about a bridge and a troll- perhaps the 2nd most famous troll in the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nora B. Peevy on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Naked City is one of Ellen Datlow's latest urban fantasy short story collections. As usual, an entertaining read with lots of my faves in the business, including Holly Black, Patricia Briggs, and Kit Reed. This collection breathes new life into the Fair Folk and I discovered some new authors. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good fairy story, the urban fantasy genre, or is looking for something new.
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