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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy Hardcover – July 5, 2011
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
My favorite story in this compilation is "Bottle Tree" a beautiful mix of philosophy, magic and romance.
Highly recommended if you are browsing different authors and styles 😎
Fairy Gifts by P. Briggs is not a Mercy Thompson story but it is an outstanding story and worth the price of the book, which makes Underbridge by Peter Beagle a gift. As a disclaimer, I adore Peter Beagle and finding a story I did not know was a delight. I am certain there are other terrific stores in this volume but honestly, I will have to re-read it to discover them as Underbridge was the showstopper.
If you only get this book for these three stories, it is money well spent.
Some of it is perfect. The biggest complaint I have with the Jim Butcher Harry Dresden story is that it is flawless. Start to finish. Urban fantasy, Chicago, the cubs, an authentic niche group from historical (folk tale) fantasy and the urban legend of why the Chicago Cubs are cursed, all wrapped up in a story where Harry is actually polite to someone.
Patricia Briggs "Fairy Gifts" is tight, haunting and, like the Butcher novel, evokes a niche historical fantasy creature and meshes lore and story with perfection. Her River Marked River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6) is tight too. Briggs is back to telling clear, direct stories (River Marked has her heroine on a honeymoon, yet has as much on-screen sex as a Zelanzy novel, and is roughly as tightly plotted as one too. Briggs looks to have a great 2011).
Holly Black introduces a ghoul, (actually more than one, but a real ghoul along with the metaphysical ones) in a touching story I'd love to see spun out into a novel.
Melissa Marr has a strange tale of the afterlife. Not urban fantasy as it is usually considered within the genre, but good reading about finding a place in a city.
But, the rest? Some of the stuff is mainstream tripe, glossed a bit, with characters you would willingly root against, tales of psychological collapse, some good, some terribly flat. I guess the down side of this collection is that there is any tripe at all. I know, sturgeon's law, but still.
Worth buying for the good stuff, just be aware that parts of it you will be well able to do without.
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