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Speculative Los Angeles (2021)
de Denise Hamilton (Editor)
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Taking all the stories together, thematically the book is about about marginalized people — some down on their luck, others out of place, another being the last human alive, others hiding from the government, and so forth. Collectively their destination is the wildlands — either looking for an environment not thrashed by climate change, or the illegal tournament grounds of the old dumps, or the tar pits of La Brea, or the Angeles National Forest as a safe haven. Their routes are through the maze — danger and blind alleys in many forms, many of which are rendered in physical form by the city itself.
Full review: http://pussreboots.com/blog/2021/comments_02/speculative_los_angeles.html
That’s not to say that there are not some good stories in the collection, because there are. Among those is “Peak TV,” a story by Ben H. Winters about a television producer whose new hit series seems to be causing teens to kill themselves in copycat fashion to what happens on the show. This one has a particularly nice twist at the end that makes it even better. Then there’s Aimee Bender’s “Maintenance,” the story of a little girl and her father who take comfort from a mastodon tableau on display at the city’s famous tar pits. The tableau speaks to them emotionally in a way that fits their own family circumstances, and they visit the tar pits every week to revisit the mastodon family - right up until the massive pieces disappear and no one knows where they went or who took them.
One of the stories that does a good job with the destroyed-city concept is A.G. Lombardo’s “Garbo on the Skids” in which a bad cop thinks he his taking advantage of a beautiful young woman living in a condemned building but finds out that she may be a lot smarter than him. Another effective tale is “Walk of Fame,” a story by Duane Swierczynski in which someone has murdered so many celebrities that they are down to the “D-list” now. Needless to say, no one wants to be famous anymore.
But as it turns out, my favorite story in the entire collection is its very last one: “Sailing That Beautiful Sea” by Kathleen Kaufman. This is the story of a dying woman being tended by specially-adapted caretaker bots who are doing everything possible to make her last days as comfortable as possible. The kicker is that she is now the last human being alive on the entire planet, and that after her death the bots will carry on alone in their own brave new world.
Bottom Line: Perhaps Los Angeles was not the best choice as the city to launch the new series with because its dystopian future is so easy to visualize that it all seems to be too predictable after a while. I am looking forward to seeing what the next collection brings, however, because I do like the premise of a city-by-city alternate history survey of the world.
My favorite piece was "Where There are Cities, These Dissolve Too" , involving a future in which the disenfranchised pick useful garbage from the landfill by day and turn it into fighting mechs by night, but more because of the relationship that unfolded against that backdrop.
If I had to pick a least favorite, I'd say it was "Garbo on the Skids" where a cop freaks out about an inappropriate action he took while his body camera was on. The story itself was really quite well-written, though; I think it just made me uncomfortable.
I strongly recommend this book to fans of sci-fi shorts and am eagerly looking forward to future entries in this series as the publisher, Akashic, previously released quite a few collections of short noir set in various locations. Could we get one for Minneapolis, please?
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As an incubator of the future, Los Angeles has long mesmerized writers from Philip K. Dick to Aldous Huxley. With its natural disasters, Hollywood artifice, staggering wealth and poverty, urban sprawl, and diversity, Los Angeles is already so weird, surreal, irrational, and mythic that any fiction emerging from this place should be considered speculative. This debut title of a new city-based anthology series features brand-new tales from 14 of the city's most prophetic voices.
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El llibre de Denise Hamilton Speculative Los Angeles estava disponible a LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.0876208Literature English (North America) American fiction By type Genre fiction Adventure fiction Speculative fiction Science fiction Collections
https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/speculative-los-angeles ( )