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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy

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In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,”, a vampire is called home by magic to save t In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed! Contents: Curses / by Jim Butcher -- How the pooka came to New York City / by Delia Sherman -- On the slide / by Richard Bowes -- The Duke of Riverside / by Ellen Kushner -- Oblivion by Calvin Klein / by Christopher Fowler -- Fairy gifts / by Patricia Briggs -- Picking up the pieces / by Pat Cadigan -- Underbridge / by Peter S. Beagle -- Priced to sell / by Naomi Novik -- The bricks of Gelecek / by Matthew Kressel -- Weston walks / by Kit Reed -- The projected girl/ by Lavie Tidhar -- The way station / by Nathan Ballingrud -- Guns for the dead / by Melissa Marr -- And go like this / by John Crowley -- Noble rot / by Holly Black -- Daddy longlegs of the evening / by Jeffrey Ford -- The skinny girl / by Lucius Shepard -- The Colliers' Venus (1893) / by Caitlín R. Kiernan -- King pole, gallows pole, bottle tree / by Elizabeth Bear.


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In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,”, a vampire is called home by magic to save t In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed! Contents: Curses / by Jim Butcher -- How the pooka came to New York City / by Delia Sherman -- On the slide / by Richard Bowes -- The Duke of Riverside / by Ellen Kushner -- Oblivion by Calvin Klein / by Christopher Fowler -- Fairy gifts / by Patricia Briggs -- Picking up the pieces / by Pat Cadigan -- Underbridge / by Peter S. Beagle -- Priced to sell / by Naomi Novik -- The bricks of Gelecek / by Matthew Kressel -- Weston walks / by Kit Reed -- The projected girl/ by Lavie Tidhar -- The way station / by Nathan Ballingrud -- Guns for the dead / by Melissa Marr -- And go like this / by John Crowley -- Noble rot / by Holly Black -- Daddy longlegs of the evening / by Jeffrey Ford -- The skinny girl / by Lucius Shepard -- The Colliers' Venus (1893) / by Caitlín R. Kiernan -- King pole, gallows pole, bottle tree / by Elizabeth Bear.

30 review for Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy

  1. 4 out of 5

    edge of bubble

    Just read Briggs story. Nice.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chao

    This rating is only for the following: "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs - 5-star It's a wonderful story told in few words but weaved together with rich details, excellent writings and sympathetic characters that feels real. I especially like the way Briggs tells her story; it's that ability of a good author to sweep readers off their feet and carry them along with her/him. Loved it! (Given that I only read one story in this, I've toned down the rating to 4-star for the book. But "Fairy Gifts" was 5 This rating is only for the following: "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs - 5-star It's a wonderful story told in few words but weaved together with rich details, excellent writings and sympathetic characters that feels real. I especially like the way Briggs tells her story; it's that ability of a good author to sweep readers off their feet and carry them along with her/him. Loved it! (Given that I only read one story in this, I've toned down the rating to 4-star for the book. But "Fairy Gifts" was 5-star all the way.) UPDATE: Decided I should give the other stories a chance and randomly tried some based on other reviews: "Priced to Sell" by Naomi Novick - Uh huh. It's an insight into how wretched NY real estate can be, but (view spoiler)[ it didn't make good use of the supernaturals, such that if you replace all the supernatural beings with regular humans with few minor changes -- say, substitute the bugs wall with irreparable cosmetic damage and vampire Marvin with a hapless human -- you still get the same vibe, same story. (hide spoiler)] . Has potentials though. 2 or 3-star. "Guns for the Dead" by Melissa Marr - ... Ok? What's the point of the story? 1-star. "Noble Rot" by Holly Black - Not bad, but didn't grab me either. Plot feels a bit hole-y; it can't be that simple to (view spoiler)[make a ghoul or that easy for ghoul activities to be noticed, for a race that's supposed to stay under the radar (hide spoiler)] . 2-star. "Curses" by Jim Butcher - Finally, random reading is worthwhile sometimes. Pretty fun, no fireworks but I'll check out the main series in future. 3-star. Perhaps I should lower the rating for the anthology now?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Willa

    I couldn't wait for this book to come out, pre-ordered it, and then after it came out, even saved it and put off reading it so it would last. Silly me. I finally started it, and found myself skipping pages, trying to find something worth reading. Urban fantasy is sometimes difficult to describe, but whatever it is, this isn't it. Urban fantasy, at least in my opinion, and going by books that are generally shelved in that genre, involves characters that are usually considered to be fantastic, suc I couldn't wait for this book to come out, pre-ordered it, and then after it came out, even saved it and put off reading it so it would last. Silly me. I finally started it, and found myself skipping pages, trying to find something worth reading. Urban fantasy is sometimes difficult to describe, but whatever it is, this isn't it. Urban fantasy, at least in my opinion, and going by books that are generally shelved in that genre, involves characters that are usually considered to be fantastic, such as gods and goddesses, vampires, elves, fairies, trolls, etc., set in the present day world, interacting with "normal" people. In my opinion, most of the people writing here took "urban" and "fantasy" literally without having any idea what urban fantasy actually is. Setting a fantasy story in a town or city doesn't make it urban fantasy. Urban fantasy can be dark, but it generally isn't horror. Many of these stories are what I would expect to fine in a horror anthology, others would be at home in a speculative fiction collection. In any collection of short fiction there will be clunkers, and I certainly never expect to love every start in an anthology, but sadly, this book is just awful. Maybe if I had had other expectations I wouldn't have been so disappointed, but if you, like me, expected an anthology based around the modern-day definition of urban fantasy, you will be disappointed, too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I think I would have been happier about this book as a whole if the subtitle had been: tales of urban fantasy and horror. Because really, that's what it is. I did enjoy a handful of the stories (those I liked most are in bold), but there were also quite a few that didn't work for me at all. Quick synopses/impressions below: Curses / Jim Butcher In which Harry ogles a well-mammaried faerie, gets beat up a shocking zero times and investigates a curse placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945. How the Pooka C I think I would have been happier about this book as a whole if the subtitle had been: tales of urban fantasy and horror. Because really, that's what it is. I did enjoy a handful of the stories (those I liked most are in bold), but there were also quite a few that didn't work for me at all. Quick synopses/impressions below: Curses / Jim Butcher In which Harry ogles a well-mammaried faerie, gets beat up a shocking zero times and investigates a curse placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945. How the Pooka Came to New York City / Delia Sherman Features Liam, a 19th century Irish immigrant to NYC, and his traveling companion, an iron-sick pooka who owes Liam a blood debt. Smart use of mythology and beautifully detailed. On the Slide / Richard Bowes neo-noir pop culture with time travel. Too stylized for my taste. The Duke of Riverside / Ellen Kushner I'm unfamiliar with this series so it took a bit to get into, but once I did - fabulous! A reluctant heir and his swordsman lover in a high fantasy (?) slum. I need to find other books by this author. Oblivion by Calvin Klein / Christopher Fowler metaphors are plentiful and the heroine is vacuous beyond my ability to cope Fairy Gifts / Patricia Briggs Didn't work for me as a standalone and it's been too long since I've read the last Mercy Thompson book for it to work as fan service. Also, US restrictions/racism related to Chinese immigrants in the 19th century made it really hard for me to buy into the hero's backstory (which is kind of a problem, since it's half flashbacks). Picking up the pieces / Pat Cadigan Two American sisters in Berlin when the walls come down. Engaging, but the paranormal part was a little hard to understand. Underbridge / Peter S. Beagle If it hadn't been for the grossness, I might have liked this more. The anxiety of the main character, after a lifetime of living the life of an academic gypsy, seemed both true to life and something out of Gogol. But the Seattle bridge troll? Come on, that's been done to death. Priced to Sell / Naomi Novik Funny. Real-estate sales in paranormal NYC. The bricks of Gelecek / Matthew Kressel An archetype of Destruction takes human form after hearing the songs of a young girl. Contains rhyming poetry. Weston Walks / Kit Reed Creepy, atmospheric The Projected Girl / Lavie Tidhar A 13 year old boy in Haifa investigates the disappearance of a young woman decades earlier. Beautifully written, sad and funny in turn. The Way Station / Nathan Ballingrud A homeless alcoholic, haunted by the destruction of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, searches for his estranged daughter. I didn't really get the haunted group therapy scene, but several other scenes were very moving. Guns for the Dead / Melissa Marr Gunrunners in the land of the dead, with a Western feel. Fun characters, pacing, plot. A complete story, but if this turned into a full series, I'd happily read more. And Go Like This / John Crowley I'm not sure if the better question is Why? or Huh? Noble Rot / Holly Black Wow, I really liked this one. It's hard to describe without spoiling it, but it includes elements of romance, angst and gore. Daddy Long Legs of the Evening / Jeffrey Ford Dear author, based on your description of the spider-creature in this story, the name "daddy long legs" seems very... well, wrong. The Skinny Girl / Lucius Shepard A middle-aged photographer of the dead meets Santa Muerte, incarnated in the body of a young woman who asks him to become her suitor. I'm not sure if I liked this story exactly, but it's one I'll remember. The Colliers' Venus / Caitlin R Kiernan A fossil monster in 19th century Colorado. Spooky fun. King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree / Elizabeth Bear Las Vegas and a sorcerer who eats memories. Either it's part of series or my indifference to the whole Vegas thing means I'm ignorant of what one is generally expected to know about the city, but there were large parts of this I could tell I just wasn't getting. I received an ARC of this book through the LTER program.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Just_ann_now

    I've been eagerly awaiting this book primarily for the story "The Duke of Riverside", which I've been waiting YEARS for, and it would certainly have been worth the price just for that. But there are other marvelous, amazing stories here as well. Holly Black's "Noble Rot", about a dying rock star and and his last fan, could have just tipped over sideways into being a horror story, while Elizabeth Bear's "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" was a tour-de-force I can't even begin to describe - it I've been eagerly awaiting this book primarily for the story "The Duke of Riverside", which I've been waiting YEARS for, and it would certainly have been worth the price just for that. But there are other marvelous, amazing stories here as well. Holly Black's "Noble Rot", about a dying rock star and and his last fan, could have just tipped over sideways into being a horror story, while Elizabeth Bear's "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" was a tour-de-force I can't even begin to describe - it's just, "Oh, wow. WOW.". As for "The Duke of Riverside", it was everything I hoped it would be, providing delightful glimpses into Richard and Alec's first meeting and their early life together. The narrator's voice was engaging, full of wry humor; I can easily imagine him as one of the guards of Riverside House we meet in The Privilege of the Sword. What I particularly loved (in addition to the little details, like Richard and Alec together mourning the loss of Alec's long hair, or how Alec sold his velvet coat to buy an inlaid table to go next to the chaise) was seeing how a surprising act of compassion deepened Alec's acceptance by the Riversiders, and how their spontaneous outpouring of affection uplifted him as well (though he would never, never admit it.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melodie

    Typical of pretty much all of these UF anthologies, there are some really good stories and then some really bad ones. As per usual when he has a story in one of them, Jim Butcher's story was the best. He has truly mastered the art of the short story. This one about who really placed the curse on the Cubs is the first in the book and the best, by far. The other good ones were Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs, Picking Up the Pieces by Pat Cadigan (about the fall of the Berlin Wall), Priced To Sell b Typical of pretty much all of these UF anthologies, there are some really good stories and then some really bad ones. As per usual when he has a story in one of them, Jim Butcher's story was the best. He has truly mastered the art of the short story. This one about who really placed the curse on the Cubs is the first in the book and the best, by far. The other good ones were Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs, Picking Up the Pieces by Pat Cadigan (about the fall of the Berlin Wall), Priced To Sell by Naomi Novik, Noble Rot by Holly Black & The Skinny Girl by Lucius Shepard. One of the better anthologies I've read in awhile.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    This book took me a very long time, peppered with a lot of breaks when I had to come up for air and read other books. Either it is not a very good collection, or urban fantasy is just not my thing. I found it tedious to get through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hura

    I can’t tell you how excited I was to get Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy. It sat on my To Be Read shelf for a while, as I finished up other commitments, and it taunted me, whispered to me, enticed me the whole time. There are some great authors included in this collection and I couldn’t wait to dig in. It certainly gets off to a good start! In “Curses” by Jim Butcher, Harry Dresden — the only Wizard listed in the Chicago Yellow Pages — is approached about removing a very old curse from a loca I can’t tell you how excited I was to get Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy. It sat on my To Be Read shelf for a while, as I finished up other commitments, and it taunted me, whispered to me, enticed me the whole time. There are some great authors included in this collection and I couldn’t wait to dig in. It certainly gets off to a good start! In “Curses” by Jim Butcher, Harry Dresden — the only Wizard listed in the Chicago Yellow Pages — is approached about removing a very old curse from a local sports team. I have a tremendous crush on Harry Dresden and I enjoyed the story immensely — it’s exactly the sort of local flavor I love in the Dresden Files stories. My favorite story of the bunch was “Priced to Sell” by Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series. I was completely unfamiliar with Novik’s work, although I will certainly be adding it to my watch list. This is a story of the cut-throat Manhattan real estate market. Tough enough, in this economy, but even tougher when your clients are vampires, goblins and other magical creatures. You know it’s going to be trouble when the condo board isn’t concerned that your client’s a vampire, they’re just worried that he’s less than 100 years old. Another favorite was “The Projected Girl” by Lavie Tidhar, an Israeli writer. In this story, Danny becomes fascinated with an old magician’s journal and seeks to solve the mystery of his vanished assistant. It’s an interesting story and Danny, just thirteen years old, is still young enough to get caught up in magic tricks. Finally, “Noble Rot” by Holly Black, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, was the special surprise waiting near the back of the book. Agatha is a girl with a secret, taking care of a dying rock star. I loved this story, even if it made me a little queasy. There are other stories — good, great and fair-to-middling — and in general I really enjoyed the book. I love the way it shows a broad range of urban fantasy; there’s a huge variety of settings and fantasy figures. Editor Ellen Datlow does a great job of giving the reader just the right mix, so that no matter what you favor, there is bound to be a story that appeals to you. Even the stories I really didn’t care for (“The Way Station”, “Fairy Gifts”) were good quality, if not my particular cup of tea. All in all, this is a great collection of stories that will be popular with any urban fantasy fan — it really lived up to my initial excitement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Premise: Urban fantasy tales that focus on the importance of a particular city, making the city a vital part of each tale. My brain is kind of fried after reading this one. It took a LONG time to finish, longer than I really anticipated. Some of the stories are a lot of description, which takes a lot longer to get through than action. It didn't help that the story that I most wanted to read, the Jim Butcher offering, was first in the book, so I had little to look forward to as I read. A lot of th Premise: Urban fantasy tales that focus on the importance of a particular city, making the city a vital part of each tale. My brain is kind of fried after reading this one. It took a LONG time to finish, longer than I really anticipated. Some of the stories are a lot of description, which takes a lot longer to get through than action. It didn't help that the story that I most wanted to read, the Jim Butcher offering, was first in the book, so I had little to look forward to as I read. A lot of the stories are more serious or horror-based, which also tends to slow down the pacing a bit. The stories were good as a whole, some more than others. Some highlights: "Curses" by Jim Butcher. Deals with the famous billy goat curse on the Chicago Cubs. A fun tale. "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle. Trolls in the big city=creepy. "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs. Interesting tale of a vampire and a fey. "Guns for the Dead" by Melissa Marr. Surviving the afterlife in a city of the dead. "Noble Rot" by Holly Black. Ghouls in the city. Ew.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    I think the day I'm disappointed with an Ellen Datlow anthology will be the day I give up on short stories altogether. Once again, for me there are more hits than misses in this book. The collection starts and ends strong, beginning with a Jim Butcher tale of Harry Dresden's early days and a famous sports franchise curse and ending with a ghostly tale by Elizabeth Bear of Las Vegas featuring One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King. In between, there are stories of ghosts, vampires, spiders (yes, spid I think the day I'm disappointed with an Ellen Datlow anthology will be the day I give up on short stories altogether. Once again, for me there are more hits than misses in this book. The collection starts and ends strong, beginning with a Jim Butcher tale of Harry Dresden's early days and a famous sports franchise curse and ending with a ghostly tale by Elizabeth Bear of Las Vegas featuring One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King. In between, there are stories of ghosts, vampires, spiders (yes, spiders), faeries, and more. I've posted a story-by-story analysis in the 365shortstories community on livejournal, but for me the highlights of the book, in addition to the Butcher and Bear stories, were Ellen Kushner's "Duke of Riverside," Naomi Novik's "Priced To Sell," Lavie Tidhar's "The Projected Girl," Matthew Kressel's "The Bricks of Gelecek" and Delia Sherman's "How The Pooka Came to New York City." Stories by Kit Reed, Jeffrey Ford, Nathan Ballingrud and Christopher Fowler didn't grab me quite as much, but as I always say: your reaction may vary.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    I'm not a Cubs fan, or much of a baseball fan for that matter. I was only vaguely familiar with the "Billy Goat Curse" that is the premise for this story. As a pre Changes story, things feel a bit more of "the old" Dresden. Dresden gets a case, and digs deeper into things. There is almost no action in this one though. Overall it's a decent, but unremarkable story. There are several other Dredsen short stories I think are much better. Hopefully Mr. Butcher will release a Side Jobs 2 that will inclu I'm not a Cubs fan, or much of a baseball fan for that matter. I was only vaguely familiar with the "Billy Goat Curse" that is the premise for this story. As a pre Changes story, things feel a bit more of "the old" Dresden. Dresden gets a case, and digs deeper into things. There is almost no action in this one though. Overall it's a decent, but unremarkable story. There are several other Dredsen short stories I think are much better. Hopefully Mr. Butcher will release a Side Jobs 2 that will include this and several other short stories he's written since then. Otherwise I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to read this story unless you can borrow Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (Riverside Series) from somewhere easily.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Why read: Received from LibraryThing Early Reviewers What impressed me: Nothing. What disappointed me: Naked City sealed the deal for me. I hate anthologies. The "urban fantasy" genre means different things to different people. Half of these stories did not fit into what I would consider urban fantasy. 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. Recommended: A thousand times, no.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Raicara

    Picked this up at the library. When I got home and went to add it to my Good Reads list, it showed as my having read it. I started to read and nothing struck me as familiar. There are 20 stories it took until story ten for anything to feel like I had read it before. That was the only one. So I got live the bookeormd dream, I got to read a books second time like it was the first. I enjoyed all the stories.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I picked up this book solely to read "Curses" by Jim Butcher. Wizard Harry Dresden is hired to life a curse that stops the Chicago Cubs from winning the world series. Harry must figure out who made the curse and how it is still in effect after several decades. I'm a huge fan of The Dresden Files, but I found this story just "OK". Thirty pages is way too short to really get into a good story. My rating: 3 Stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Surrette

    Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy is a themed anthology of original stories edited by Ellen Datlow. With twenty stories, there's bound to be something for every reader. The stories are by some of the top names in urban fantasy so, if you've heard of an author but haven't yet read one of their novels, Naked City is a great opportunity to get a chance to get a feel for the type of fantasy that they write. For me, the beauty of anthologies is a chance to read a selection of authors – and perhaps t Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy is a themed anthology of original stories edited by Ellen Datlow. With twenty stories, there's bound to be something for every reader. The stories are by some of the top names in urban fantasy so, if you've heard of an author but haven't yet read one of their novels, Naked City is a great opportunity to get a chance to get a feel for the type of fantasy that they write. For me, the beauty of anthologies is a chance to read a selection of authors – and perhaps to find some that will become new favorites. It's also an opportunity to read a selection of stories, especially in themed anthologies, that help the reader, as in this case, get a feel for what's out there in a subgenre. The first story in the book is "Curses" by Jim Butcher. Once again Dresden is on a case. This time he's asked to break the curse on the Chicago Cubs so that they'll have a chance at the series. Simple enough job – not! As with so many of his jobs, Dresden must dig deeper to learn who placed the curse on the team's home field and why. Of course along the way, we also learn a bit about Chicago and its magical denizens. "How the Pooka Came to New York City" by Delia Sherman is a look at the life of Irish immigrants, in this case through the experiences of Liam O'Casey. Just how do the rules and responsibilities of the old country apply in this new land – and in cities filled with iron. Richard Bowes' "On the Slide" gives us a look into a world where people can slide into a time where they believe they will fit better, or meet someone they admire. Our main character, Sean Quinlan, gives us a unique perspective on sliding. In a way it reminded me of the method used by modern playwright Richard Collier to slip back in time to meet the actress Elise McKenna. This story was an interesting nod to the old TV show, The Naked City with a few twists as the story takes place around a set for a movie. "Duke of Riverside" by Ellen Kushner takes place in the same world as her novel Swordpoint. Alec comes to Riverside looking to hire the best swordsman in the city to kill him. What he finds instead makes for a very interesting story and a look at the politics and society of this city. Christopher Fowler's "Oblivion by Clavin Klein" is a story we've all heard at one time or another. A wife who has been cheated on decides to run up all the credit cards as a mode of revenge. But Fowler's story had a very strange twist to the story that is totally unexpected. Butte, Montana, is the setting for "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs. Taking place in the present and in 1892, we learn how Thomas became what he is and that he is being pulled back to the city of his childhood. He was given a gift and in the way of the magical world, gifts are given freely. Nevertheless, Thomas feels the need to offer a gift of his own. "Picking Up the Pieces" by Pat Cadigan is a wonderful story that unfolds slowly as a tale of family responsibility. Jean is often the family member designated to pick up the pieces after her sister, Quinn, manages to totally mess up another relationship, or get disenchanted with another cause. This time, Quinn's newest boyfriend has disappeared in Berlin. Jean arrives on the evening the Berlin wall comes down – as if dealing with her sister wasn't chaos enough. It's a wonderful urban fantasy twist to a story that, even without that twist, would be an emotional reminder of a historic event – at least for those of us of a certain age. Peter S. Beagle is a wonderful writer and "Underbridge" just consolidates my opinion. This is a dark story of shattered dreams and thwarted hopes mixed, and how those feelings can get out of control when you're acquainted with the troll under the Fremont Bridge in Seattle. I'm sure this story invokes strong feelings in its readers. "Priced to Sell" by Naomi Novik was a real treasure. I actually laughed out loud at the efforts that these real estate agents had to go through to find appropriate housing for their supernatural clients. Based on this story, when the supernatural community comes out-of-the-dark, real estate agents will have an interesting redefinition of problem clients. (Safety tip: Don't drink while reading this story.) Matthew Kressel's "The Bricks of Gelecek" was an interesting story. Told from the point of view of a member of a group that travels from city to city, erasing it and its contents from everyone's memory, Kressel explores what would happen if one of these creatures began to think about what it does. I don't know that I'd label this story as urban fantasy, but then I can't think of any other label that would fit either. Well worth reading and thinking about. Kit Reed's Lawrence Weston in "Weston Walks" is proof that money can't buy happiness, though it can certainly give you a lot of advantages and comfort. Weston lost everyone he ever loved when he was four. The story takes place when he's an adult and the only way he's found to interact safely with other people is to offer walking tours of New York City. It's a way he can control the situation, until his last tour when things get away from him in a manner that will change his life forever. Lavie Tidhar is known for his stories that put the normal world just off-center. "The Projected Girl" manages to seem totally normal and yet tangential to our world. Danny's love of reading and his interest in magic combine when he finds a magician's notebook. He's convinced that this magician is connected to a mural on the side of a building that he believes is not what it seems. The story is Danny journey to learn about the magician and the mural. "The Way Station" by Nathan Ballingrud gives us a twisted tale of guilt and redemption in the wake of Katrina and those who survived. Beltrane is in Florida wanting to contact his daughter, but afraid of what she might say. Their parting before the storm was rancorous. The imagery within the story powerfully bolsters the story. Taking place in the underworld that readers were introduced to in Graveminder, "Guns for the Dead" by Melissa Marr gives us a bit more insight into the character of Alicia. Francis Lee Lemons is newly dead and he knows he needs to find a place to call home. He finds the job interview is truly unique. John Crowley's story "And Go Like This" is based on a quote by Buckminster Fuller. Farfetched and a bit surprising, even though the quote is at the very beginning of the story – it takes a while before the actuality sets in for the reader. I'm still not sure how I feel about this story. I think most readers will have an opinion and probably a strong one about it. Holly Black never tells the story you expect. "Nobel Rot" seems straightforward – a story of a young girl working as a delivery person for a restaurant. She usually takes the delivery to the dying aging rock star who doesn't bother to hand her the money, just tells her to take it out of the box in the kitchen. The twist in this one will be unexpected. I don't particularly like spiders and Jeffrey Ford's "Daddy Long Legs of the Evening" certainly didn't get me to change my mind. In fact, reading it caused not a few nightmares. Just what could happen if spiders had brains the size of a human's? You don't want to know, but this story will pull you in and you'll find out just what happens to the city of Grindly. "The Skinny Girl" by Lucius Shepard considers the idea of gods becoming incarnate and, more specifically, what if Death became incarnate. Hugo Lis has a career taking photographs of the dead in Mexico City. His photographs are considered not just forensic photos, but art. It's not just the art world, families of the deceased, or the police who have noticed his work. What he learns and what he decides to do with that knowledge is what makes the story. Caitlín R. Kiernan's "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" takes place in Colorado. The mine has found creatures in the rock of one of their shafts. When Miss Bolshaw comes to visit Prof Jeremiah Ogilvy, he learns that something much bigger and stranger than bugs has been found and they need his help. It seemed very much a period piece to me, one that if told in the present would be considered an X-File-type story. "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" by Elizabeth Bear was a story I just could not put down. The genius loci of Las Vegas is actually two people – Jackie and Stewart. Las Vegas is a city of the now and readily forgets what it doesn't want to remember, but one of Jackie's gifts is to remember all that the city doesn't want to remember. Someone is stealing Jackie's memories. For the sake of the city, they must figure out who and why and stop it. This was a very poignant story, especially in this time of Alzheimer's when so many of us worry that any memories lost may be an indication of something far worse than momentary forgetfulness. While I enjoyed some stories more than others, I didn't find a single clunker in this book. Datlow picked a great selection of stories and authors and while some may not be to your taste, Naked City is sure to have enough stories that you enjoy to be worth your time. (Originally reviewed on SFRevu.com August 2011 issue)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This took me 3 months. Holy shit. I won't read this again but I may check out a few specific authors. (very few) Here are all of my reviews for each individual short story: "Curses" by Jim Butcher - "Dresden is growing on me. Also pretty sure he's part of the staple or something of Urban Fantasy. A good start to the anthology" "Delia Sherman’s How the Pooka Came to New York City was less interesting but a cute story none the less. It’s completely self contained and very Irish." Richard Bowes’ "On the This took me 3 months. Holy shit. I won't read this again but I may check out a few specific authors. (very few) Here are all of my reviews for each individual short story: "Curses" by Jim Butcher - "Dresden is growing on me. Also pretty sure he's part of the staple or something of Urban Fantasy. A good start to the anthology" "Delia Sherman’s How the Pooka Came to New York City was less interesting but a cute story none the less. It’s completely self contained and very Irish." Richard Bowes’ "On the Slide" doesn’t immediately seem like fantasy, urban or otherwise. There are vague references but they’re easily dismissed by the main character. So I dismissed them to. It was a nice surprise to see them come true. Subtle urban fantasy. Weird but well done." "Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner is another, kinda meh but also interesting short story. All I got is it's weird." "Oblivion by Calvin Klein" by Christopher Fowler did not like this one skimmed most of it :( "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs I like Briggs and I've read this short story before It's so cool to see a variety of folklore and mythical creatures together, see the similarities, differences and the confusion that follows. "Picking Up the Pieces" by Pat Cadigan historical and dramatic but not really my cup of tea once again, only a hint of magic, But that was an interesting implementation "Underbridge" by Peter S Beagle I have never read a troll story like this "Priced to Sell" by Naomi Novik bored good concept, it's just not interested “Bricks of Gelecek” by Matthew Kressel Well that was sad. "Weston Walks" by Kit Reed skimmed most of it bored and how was this urban fantasy? "The Projected Girl" by Lavie Tidhar urban fantasy and set in Israel; cool and very interesting story. "The Way Station" by Nathan Ballingrud Weird. "Guns for the Dead" by Melissa Marr a quick read, compared to the others. And an odd approach to the afterlife. When paired with the Nac Mac Feegles (Wintersmith - Discworld), it's an interesting look at the afterlife. "And Go Like This" by John Crowley wtf no I don't get it "Noble Rot" by Holly Black I am not down for eating rotting human flesh, ghouls or no ghouls "Daddy Long Legs of the Evening" by Jeffrey Ford ewewewewewewewew I am not down for creepy, serial killing, human eatting spiderboy NOPE honestly skimmed most of this one due to ick factor "The Skinny Girl" by Lucius Shepard rather philosophical human manifestation of death. "The Colliers' Venus" by Caitlin R. Kiernan At first, I was kinda bored. It's more science oriented - fossils and such But in the end, it was more abstract than expected. A different take on anthromorphic personification (sp?) won't explore this author but not a bad story "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" by Elizabeth Bear genius or personifications of cities are fun. depressing sometimes, but still interesting to read. I should find more of those.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joel Neff

    Curses by Jim Butcher Harry Dresden finds himself being hired to find out who put a curse on the Chicago Cubs and how to get rid of it. It turns out, curses are not always a bad thing. 5/5 How the Pooka Came to New York City by Delia Sherman I'm honestly not sure if I was charmed more by the story or by the lovely Irish lilt of the narrator. Either way, this was a charming, fun story that takes a different look at the great wave of immigration to 19th century New York. Really liked this one. 5/5 On Curses by Jim Butcher Harry Dresden finds himself being hired to find out who put a curse on the Chicago Cubs and how to get rid of it. It turns out, curses are not always a bad thing. 5/5 How the Pooka Came to New York City by Delia Sherman I'm honestly not sure if I was charmed more by the story or by the lovely Irish lilt of the narrator. Either way, this was a charming, fun story that takes a different look at the great wave of immigration to 19th century New York. Really liked this one. 5/5 On the Slide by Richard Bowes Sliding, as a term, is borrowed from the old t.v. show, a fact acknowledged in the story but which triggered my anti-meta (I know it's not really meta, but…) ire and I had a hard time relaxing into the story after that. Still, good characters and an interesting idea, just one that I would have liked better had it been a little further removed from the everyday. 3/5 The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner Of all the stories thus far, this is the one that has stuck in my head the longest. The faulty narration (in the story, not the actual, physical narrator) and sometimes unreliable eyewitness accounts to this pauper to prince story makes the read all the more enjoyable. Throw in an odd relationship or two, a well worn and reworked trope (the quiet swordsman, the loud, aggressive young man) and you have a really fun story. 5/5 Oblivion by Calvin Klein by Christopher Fowler Well, in a collection like this, not every story is going to work for every reader and this one left me a little cold. The idea behind it, that a woman's obsession with shopping leads her to an unlikely savior was interesting, but the writing was a little too graphic for my commute. 2/5 Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs Chinese-American vampires, immigrant fey under Butte, Montana, and favors repaid all boil together in a tight, interesting take on the vampire mythos that is both familiar and new in all the best ways. I really liked this one and would happily read more featuring this protagonist. 5/5 Picking Up the Pieces by Pat Cadigan Truly contemporary urban fantasy, as in 'ripped from the headlines' is rare enough, but a small, familial story set during the fall of the Berlin Wall is the definition of unique. Having said that, the characters are so well realized, almost to the point of contempt (from familiarity) that the story seems to be mainstream fiction right up until the end, when it leaves you wanting more. 5/5 Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle The Fremont Troll has long been a tourist attraction for Seattle, but how many of us stop to think about where it really came from? Anything by Peter S. Beagle is guaranteed to be fun and interesting and thought provoking and this is no exception. The book is worth its asking price for this story alone. 5/5 Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik As the first non-Temeraire work I'd ever read by Naomi Novik, I was especially curious to read (hear) this one. I'm pleased to say that I found it charming and clever, much like the Temeraire series. It is also set in a wildly different era, city, and, well, it's about the real estate business. 4/5 The Bricks of Gelecek by Matthew Kressel A very Miyazaki Hayao type world came into mind as I listened to the story. It had the same evocative benign force of destruction as well as a young girl for a heroine. It had the same sense of place that was both familiar and utterly alien at the same time. It was good. 4/5 Weston Walks by Kit Reed There's a bit of a left turn half way through the story that caught me off guard. Other than that, I enjoyed it, especially for the romance between Weston and his girlfriend. But I'm not quite sure I got the ending either… 4/5 The Projected Girl by Lavie Tidhar Any story that gives me a new cultural flavor is always high on my list and this is no exception. The background of the story is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, which gives an otherwise good story a little extra edge. 4/5 The Way Station by Nathan Ballingrud I will admit I'm not a fan of 'weird' stories. I like my fantasy to have clear explanations, whether its magic or the supernatural, or just physics gone strange. And this story, while interesting, is definitely weird, with its talk of ghosts that cause cities to sprout from a man's chest…I just couldn't get into it. 2/5 Guns for the Dead by Melissa Marr The land of the dead is not quite what Frankie Lee ever expected. It's more like a town pulled out of the old west. And Frankie needs a job. This was great. 5/5 And Go Like This by John Crowley Not one of my favorites out of this collection, but not bad. 3/5 Noble Rot by Holly Black Aging rock stars and beautiful ghouls, what's not to like? In all seriousness though, there was something sad and beautiful about this story that is hard to encapsulate here. Well worth the read. 4/5 Daddy Longlegs of the Evening by Jeffrey Ford Uh, this one creeped me out for no other reason than the main baddie is a spider person. And not in a good way. Shivers, shivers, shivers all the way through. 3/5 The Skinny Girl by Lucius Shepard Stories set in an unfamiliar location are an easy draw and this is no exception, especially as it seems that it should be more familiar than it is. Especially to anyone who grew up reading DC Vertigo's Sandman tales and who had a fixation with the goth incarnation of Death. Interesting. 3/5 The Colliers' Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan Although intriguing, I lost interest about halfway through when the story stopped being about the relationship between the two main characters and became, instead, a history of a being left sleeping in the earth millennia ago. 2/5 King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree by Elizabeth Bear As much as I like Elizabeth Bear and as much as I like Las Vegas and as much as I enjoyed the premise, the story held nothing terribly interesting for me. I enjoyed it and forgot it. Not much else to say. 2/5

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    An anthology of 20 urban fantasies in a variety of cities. Series: "Curses" (The Dresden Files, 10.7) "Duke of Riverside" (The World of Riverside, 1.6 before and after Swordspoint, #1) "Guns for the Dead" (Graveminder, 1.6) "Fairy Gifts" (Mercyverse, 0.7) The Stories Jim Butcher's "Curses" is a funny tale of baseball, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field when Harry is hired to lift the curse preventing the Cubs from winning the World Series. Any World Series. Delia Sherman's "How the Pooka Came to New York City An anthology of 20 urban fantasies in a variety of cities.
 Series: "Curses" (The Dresden Files, 10.7) "Duke of Riverside" (The World of Riverside, 1.6 before and after Swordspoint, #1) "Guns for the Dead" (Graveminder, 1.6) "Fairy Gifts" (Mercyverse, 0.7) The Stories Jim Butcher's "Curses" is a funny tale of baseball, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field when Harry is hired to lift the curse preventing the Cubs from winning the World Series. Any World Series. Delia Sherman's "How the Pooka Came to New York City" is cute and unexpectedly benign with a pooka involved! It's 1855 and we follow the emigration of Liam O'Casey accompanied by a pooka who believes he owes a debt. Richard Bowes' "On the Slide" is a well-done, but sad tale of a bad economy and how a guy, himself down on his luck, is coping. Only there's more to sliding than simply slipping down the economic scale. It can also have a time element. One which could save your butt. A good story, but rather confusing to read. I'd be curious to know if this is a series. Ellen Kushner's "Duke of Riverside" leans heavily to the fantasy side of urban fantasy with a lord wanting to escape his destiny. This was clever and cute, and I'm'a gonna put the Riverside series on my TBR, starting with Swordspoint. Christopher Fowler's "Oblivion by Calvin Klein" is an odd tale about a woman addicted to spending money. These days her clitoris was located somewhere near Harrods.I did not understand the ending at all. Patricia Briggs' "Fairy Gifts" combines an historical introspection in 1900 and present-day Butte, Montana about the mines with opium, vampires, and the fey thrown in to make it interesting. Pat Cadigan's "Picking Up the Pieces" will resonate with those of you with a dysfunctional family member whom you always have to rescue as well as those who fall in love with users. Cadigan combines this with the fey and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Peter S. Beagle's "Underbridge" is a grim tale of a professor desperate for permanence and tenure and the lengths to which he may go if provoked. Eeek! I do wonder if he's having a poke at Kat Richardson and her Greywalker series...hmmm... Naomi Novik's "Priced to Sell" short story is a series of tiny tales reflecting the travails of a real estate broker in New York City when dealing with supernatural issues. This is just too funny with its combination of human concerns and fey problems. Matthew Kressel's "Bricks of Gelecek" is just too creepy with its foursome of destruction and eradication. And it's tiny kernel of hope. Kit Reed's "Weston Walks" is a sad tale of conflicting desires: retain the material goods you value or chase the one you love. Lavie Tidhar's "Projected Girl" takes place in Haifa as an episode in young Danny's life I loved the references to favorite Hebrew authors and series as well as the incorporation of Jewish culture — especially Tidhar's creating a character who loves books! Tidhar really caught the flavor of a child's view of the world. I wish, however, that Tidhar hadn't just left us hanging at the sad end. Nathan Ballingrud's "Way Station" is another sad tale of a homeless man's life as he considers tracking down his daughter and her family. Melissa Marr's "Guns for the Dead" slowly seeps its reality into your head as Francis Lee Lemons undergoes an unusual job interview. After he's dead. Sounds like this might be a prequel to a new series. Marr has created an entire world with backstory and intrigue in this short. If it is a series, it's going on my TBR! John Crowley's "And Go Like This" is confusing and appears to be a dystopian short with the world twisting in on itself. I think. Holly Black's "Noble Rot" starts out so sweetly, and then she hits you with the truth behind it. Don't eat before reading this one! Yup, it just takes that one twist... Jeffrey Ford's "Daddy Long Legs of the Evening" is just so gross. Yuck. Ick. Lucius Shepard's "Skinny Girl" is just weird. Maybe you need to know something about Santa Muerte to understand what Shepard is doing, but there was a very surreal quality to this one. Caitlí R. Kiernan's "Colliers' Venus" takes a really long time to get started. When it finally did get to the point, I got lost in why she bothered with one end or the other. Elizabeth Bear's "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" does indeed fulfill the title of the story. I have to wonder if Bear just couldn't decide which one she wanted as a title, though. This one was another weird one. You are left to wonder throughout the entire story just who the main protagonists are without ever learning. The story itself is interesting, and scary as I/me/Jackie loses his memory. The Cover and Title The cover is sleazy in its bright blue and browns with a punkish Harry in a shrunken hat checking out a corset-clad Santa Muerte. Ellen Datlow discusses her reason for the title in a reference to an old television series, The Naked City, which provides the theme for this anthology of urban fantasies in a variety of cities.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shanshad Whelan

    So I'm going to try and comment on the individual stories as I read them. Intro: short, sweet and to the point. Datlow manages to weave in her own love and connection to urban fantasy while leaving the main platform open for the authors and the stories we will find within. After reading it, I'm looking forward to diving in. #1 "Curses" by Jim Butcher--A great little Harry Dresden tale that doesn't depend on knowing the series to work well. Perfectly Chicago, and charming to boot. #2 "How the Pooka So I'm going to try and comment on the individual stories as I read them. Intro: short, sweet and to the point. Datlow manages to weave in her own love and connection to urban fantasy while leaving the main platform open for the authors and the stories we will find within. After reading it, I'm looking forward to diving in. #1 "Curses" by Jim Butcher--A great little Harry Dresden tale that doesn't depend on knowing the series to work well. Perfectly Chicago, and charming to boot. #2 "How the Pooka Came to New York" by Delia Sherman--This is a sweet tale set early New York, with an Irish immigrant and a Pooka. My only complaint on this one is that it's back to back with Butcher's tale. And BOTH feature Fae barmaids with astonishing cleavage. It's a little thing, but still . . . #3 "On the Slide" by Richard Bowes--Also set in NYC, this one has a very specific brand of magic intimated in an otherwise modern world. Very vividly set in the Big Apple. Not my fave, but decent. #4 "The Duke of Riverside" by Ellen Kushner--A story from Kushner's fantasy city. The changing viewpoint is a little disorienting, and it took me a bit of time to fall into the world (I haven't read anything set in Riverside in a while) but should appeal to fans. A fun story to read nevertheless. #5 "Oblivion by Calvin Klein" by Richard Fowles-- Okay . . . it IS set in a city, but it isn't really urban fantasy. It's a brilliantly written ride of a story. But it's more like urban surrealism rather than actual fantasy. Don't get me wrong, it's good work--but I'm a bit of a purist with themed anthologies and this doesn't quite fit the theme. #6 "Fairy Gifts" by Patricia Briggs--now I love Patricia Briggs. And this is a nice little non-series connected story written by her. But . . . I don't really buy that it belongs in an anthology collection that is about cities. It does have a city as part of the background, but it's a small mining city, and the story focuses more on the mine than on the city. Again, the story is fine in and of itself. Classic Briggs. #7 "Picking up the Pieces" by Pat Cadigan-- first story that either was too muddy for me to follow or went over my head completely. It's set in Berlin so it does imply it's urban. But the fantasy part never quite made sense to me and the end of the story had me going Huh? Oh well, no my story. # 8 "underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle--nice to see Beagle in anthologies, overall. This little Seattle piece is more horrific in its way, and not at all cute or sweet. Still, a nice offering to vary the mix in the anthology. #9 "Priced to Sell" by Naomi Novik--a fun and funny piece set in a supernaturally populated NYC where selling apartments can take a little more effort when it comes to the specialized needs of the community. #10 "The Bricks of Gelecek" by Matthew Kressel--Hmmm, I'd really debate on whether this one fits the criteria all that well. It's an oddly philosophical fantasy set almost out of time and conjures up forgotten cities and future ones. #11 "Weston Walks" by Kit Reed--This one left me sort of "huh?". Set in NYC, it really has less to do with the city than it does a sort of character study and transformation. Never quite won me over. #12 "The Projected Girl" by Lavir Tidhar--set in Jerusalem, a boy follows the story of a girl gone missing to unravel a mystery. I found myself losing the threads of this at times, but it's not bad and very much set in the the heart of the city where it is told. #13 "Way Station" by Nathan Ballingrud--Set sort of in post Katrina New Orleans it's an interesting and deeply felt tale--I think it may catch more than a few readers off guard. #14 "Guns for the Dead" Melissa Marr--Having not read the Graveminder series, I really couldn't get into this, plus I have trouble seeing it as "urban fantasy" since it reads more like "western" fantasy. Someone who likes this series may enjoy the story more. #15 'And Go Like This" by John Crowley--Oh what a charming little moment! A delicious tumble of words set in NYC that's fantastic in a completely human sort of way. Bradbury-esque in its way, I'd say. Something gentle, profound and heartstopping about it. #16 "Noble Rot" by Holly Black--It's a fine little story of love . . . and rot. I can't remember now if this was a NYC setting or not, though it was definitely city-scape. No firm objections or dislikes, thought it wasn't my favorite. Stories about ghouls seldom are. #17 "Daddy Longlegs of the Evening" by Jeffrey Ford. A very creepy disturbing story. I don't quite buy it fits this anthology extremely well, but if you don't like spiders to begin with, you'll hate them after this. #18 The Skinny Girl by Lucias Shepherd--Didn't pull me in as much, I admit I'm not always pulled in by the more masculine style perspectives, and this just didn't sing "urban" to me either. #20 The Colliers' Venus(1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan--this reminds me why I should read more Kiernan. A beautifully told story about time and the nature of the world in time. I again debate whether it really fits this anthology, but I'm a little forgiving just for how fascinating a tale it was to read. #21 "King Pole, Gallow's Pole, Bottle Tree" by Elizabeth Bear--I'm thinking this has it's roots in some earlier stories. It took me a bit to catch up with the characters, but it is certainly urban fantasy, set in the city of Las Vegas. Overall, not a bad anthology, I feel the mix may have been balanced a little more and question the inclusion of a few authors, but I was happy enough with most of the reading and may have discovered a few new names to look up and read more of their work.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Disa Marnesdottr

    An interesting selection of stories. Some excellent, some only so-so, but mostly solid.

  21. 5 out of 5

    M

    Having a city be a central character in your works requires authors to walk a fine line. You have to let the urban arena become its own entity without swallowing up its residents. The stories collected in this volume offer highs and lows of this tightrope dance. Jim Butcher opens with a humorous look at the curse placed on the Chicago Cubs, followed by an Irish immigrant's tale following the shape-shifting Pooka from Delia Sherman. Richard Bowes falls flat on his Hollywood tale On the Slide, whi Having a city be a central character in your works requires authors to walk a fine line. You have to let the urban arena become its own entity without swallowing up its residents. The stories collected in this volume offer highs and lows of this tightrope dance. Jim Butcher opens with a humorous look at the curse placed on the Chicago Cubs, followed by an Irish immigrant's tale following the shape-shifting Pooka from Delia Sherman. Richard Bowes falls flat on his Hollywood tale On the Slide, while a duelist meets the hidden Duke of Riverside in Ellen Kushner's work. The mix of money and spending collide in Chris Fowler's yarn, while the vampire gets a Chinese-American twist from Patricia Briggs. Pat Cadigan takes a closer look at the Berlin Wall's fall through its true occupants, while a massive troll attains sentience thanks to Peter S. Beagle. The tongue-in-cheek look at mystical real estate by Naomi Novik rings hollow, but Kit Reed's exploration of the tour guide who has everything and nothing feels a little fuller. Israel is the scene for the magical tricks of Lavie Tidhar, and a post-Katrina New Orleans takes center stage courtesy of Nathan Ballingrud. The dead - like Frankie Lee - are everyday folk in a metaphysical land, according to Melissa Marr; John Crowley crams the world's population into New York City for the tiwst. Holy Black introduces a cute girl (or is it ghoul?), while Jeffrey Ford generates a true spider-man that prowls a tiny hamelt. A trip to Mexico City for the dead appears from Lucius Shepard, ghost of Las Vegas forget thanks to Elizabeth Beart, while the old mining town of Chicago unearths a dusty beauty in Caitlin R. Kiernan's contribution. The true stand-out of this collection is Matthew Kressel's "The Bricks of Gelecek," where nameless beings of destruction actually erase cities and places from memory - until a young girl's songs bring their afterimages back to life. Overall, a good collection that reminds us that though Gotham and Metropolis may be better known, the fictional tales of urban areas have plenty to offer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I read this anthology during an attempt to read more urban fantasy, and the readers in my ReadingEnvy blog chose urban fantasy over paranormal romance. (I also listened to Down These Strange Streets to fulfill this task, see my review.) There are some great stories here, and others that I merely skimmed. Perhaps if I articulate what I liked, I will understand my feelings about urban fantasy more. "Picking Up the Pieces" by Pat Cadigan - about the Berlin Wall coming down. I'm still not sure I under I read this anthology during an attempt to read more urban fantasy, and the readers in my ReadingEnvy blog chose urban fantasy over paranormal romance. (I also listened to Down These Strange Streets to fulfill this task, see my review.) There are some great stories here, and others that I merely skimmed. Perhaps if I articulate what I liked, I will understand my feelings about urban fantasy more. "Picking Up the Pieces" by Pat Cadigan - about the Berlin Wall coming down. I'm still not sure I understand what happened but I still think about the story. "The Bricks of Gelecek" by Matthew Kressel - a wind in the desert befriends a human. Loved the setting, the concept, the ending. "The Projected Girl" by Lavie Tidhar - magic combined with the Holocaust. The writing was great too. "The bookshops of Haifa are clustered like a gaggle of elderly, generally good-natured but occasionally difficult uncles...." "The Way Station" by Nathan Ballingrud - the ghost of the city of New Orleans lives inside Trane's body. Cool concept! "Noble Rot" by Holly Black - there are no words. This one pushes the boundaries into horror for sure. I have been known to say I don't read urban fantasy. But I do read some. I tend not to care much for the character-based stories that have elf detectives or vampire lovers in them. But the stories that use the urban environment as a basis for telling a unique plot are what draw me in.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex Telander

    The subject known as “urban fantasy” has grown to become its very own strong and prominent genre in fantasy, and yet there are still many people who have yet to read an urban fantasy book, or an urban fantasy story for that matter. And where are said readers supposed to start with the glut of urban fantasy currently out, along with the many more works being published? An anthology is a good place to start; this particular anthology – Naked City – is a great one. With so many different authors wri The subject known as “urban fantasy” has grown to become its very own strong and prominent genre in fantasy, and yet there are still many people who have yet to read an urban fantasy book, or an urban fantasy story for that matter. And where are said readers supposed to start with the glut of urban fantasy currently out, along with the many more works being published? An anthology is a good place to start; this particular anthology – Naked City – is a great one. With so many different authors writing urban fantasy, it’s hard to decide on which one to like and read. Naked City makes that easy for the reader in offering twenty stories by different authors to get interested in and choose from. The book kicks off with another great romping ride courtesy of Jim Butcher, and this time Harry Dresden is on the case of the Chicago Cubs curse. Naomi Novik’s entertaining tale, “Priced to Sell,” is about vampires buying real estate in Manhattan. Patricia Brigg’s “Fairy Gifts” features a vampire called home to save those who freed him from a curse. Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead” is the story of a dead man trying to get by in the afterlife, who keeps falling into trouble. In the introduction, popular and prolific editor Ellen Datlow talks about the important of place in Naked City, with most of the stories featuring an important location as their focus point. Readers will learn lots about various towns across America in Naked City, as well as some other places not found on any known map. Originally written on September 21, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander. For more reviews and exclusive interviews, go to the BookBanter site.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    There are twenty short stories in this anthology, and that is ten or so more than I tend to like in anthologies. Great stories get lost with so many to choose between. On the other hand, there’s a lot of unusual settings and situations in this anthology. There’s a Harry Dresden story in this, “Curses” and several others by writers I follow, including “The Duke of Riverside” by Ellen Kushner about how Alec and Richard St. Vier met, that I was sure I’d read, perhaps online, or likely I'm misrember There are twenty short stories in this anthology, and that is ten or so more than I tend to like in anthologies. Great stories get lost with so many to choose between. On the other hand, there’s a lot of unusual settings and situations in this anthology. There’s a Harry Dresden story in this, “Curses” and several others by writers I follow, including “The Duke of Riverside” by Ellen Kushner about how Alec and Richard St. Vier met, that I was sure I’d read, perhaps online, or likely I'm misrembering? But the ones I want to write about here are the ones by authors I’ve never read before. “The Projected Girl” by Lavie Tidhar takes place in Haifa, is about Danny, a kid who loves books and discovers a magician’s journal and solves a mystery. “On the Slide” by Richard Bowes is about a world in which time travel is common and it’s about an actor who plays a detective, or is he one? Pat Cadigan’s “Picking Up the Pieces” is set in Berlin when the wall is coming down. “Priced to Sell” by Naomi Novik (who, okay I read, but this isn't anything like what I usually read from her) is set in Manhattan among real estate agents trying to find condos and apartments to sell to a vampire, goblins, an apartment a with magical beetle problems, kitsune, and a pooka. Melissa Marr is a popular writer whose books I haven’t gotten around to yet. Part of the Graveminder series, “Guns for the Dead,” Frankie Lee finds himself dead in a city of the dead, trying to get a job with a gunrunner. I quite enjoyed this anthology.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bookwormgirl

    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 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson

    Going to try and give this one another go. I'm going to be skipping around a bit in this one. First since I just finished the newest Dresden Files book, I'm starting with... Jim Butcher~"Curses". This is fairly interesting. I'm learning a little bit about baseball and the politics in the background. ooohh oooo YaY Bob the skull is in this story! Christopher Fowler~"Oblivion by Calvin Klein" This plot was just senseless to me. I didn't like the feel of the main character nor did I like her logic. Del Going to try and give this one another go. I'm going to be skipping around a bit in this one. First since I just finished the newest Dresden Files book, I'm starting with... Jim Butcher~"Curses". This is fairly interesting. I'm learning a little bit about baseball and the politics in the background. ooohh oooo YaY Bob the skull is in this story! Christopher Fowler~"Oblivion by Calvin Klein" This plot was just senseless to me. I didn't like the feel of the main character nor did I like her logic. Delia Sherman~ "How the Pooka Came to New York City" I liked this story. Even though the plot is buzzing with activity; the story still has a laid back and enjoyable feel. Elizabeth Bear~ "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" This was interesting, and I wasn't bothered by the couple. Even though I tend to steer away from reading M/M fiction. Caitlín R. Kiernan~ "Colliers' Venus" The plot? What plot? This story honestly didn't even have a point, nor was it entertaining. Ellen Kushner~ "Duke of Riverside" The plot is okay, but it doesn't seem to be so interesting to make me look for the series. Just didn't strike my fancy. Holly Black~ "Nobel Rot" Ewwww! That was gross, but such a good story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cait

    Jesus. Everybody really phoned this one in, from authors to editor to cover artist. I found myself wondering a lot throughout whether anybody involved with this project was familiar with the concept of urban fantasy beforehand or if they just shrugged their shoulders and went 'I guess I can probably figure it out.' They didn't, tho!!!! Like, you had some authors even admitting 'this was gonna be a novel but uh I got lazy so I switched the setting to a city and put it here instead.' It was almost Jesus. Everybody really phoned this one in, from authors to editor to cover artist. I found myself wondering a lot throughout whether anybody involved with this project was familiar with the concept of urban fantasy beforehand or if they just shrugged their shoulders and went 'I guess I can probably figure it out.' They didn't, tho!!!! Like, you had some authors even admitting 'this was gonna be a novel but uh I got lazy so I switched the setting to a city and put it here instead.' It was almost unreadable. I skimmed a lot. Lotta misogyny. Couple instances ("The Way Station" and "The Skinny Girl") of white authors really wince-worthily writing about communities they clearly know nothing about (la FLACITA, dude??????? like a very perfunctory google search would have showed you that it's flaquita so like did you just not even give a shit???? I mean like clearly). "Priced to Sell" was fun, and "Noble Rot" was all right too. There were a couple other middling ones but like nothing else is worth a particular mention. Oh, but based on the Dresden and Swordspoint stories I feel like it's probable (in the first case) or possible (in the second) that I wouldn't enjoy the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Naked City by Various Authors This is a book chock filled with the stories of today’s best and brightest speculative fiction authors. Since it would probably be unproductive for me to synopsize each story, I will say that there are several that I enjoyed very much. “Priced to Sell” by Naomi Novik a hilarious light story which deals with the harshness of selling real estate in New York to Vampires, Pookas and various other things that go bump in the night. “Noble Rot” by Holly Black was another of Naked City by Various Authors This is a book chock filled with the stories of today’s best and brightest speculative fiction authors. Since it would probably be unproductive for me to synopsize each story, I will say that there are several that I enjoyed very much. “Priced to Sell” by Naomi Novik a hilarious light story which deals with the harshness of selling real estate in New York to Vampires, Pookas and various other things that go bump in the night. “Noble Rot” by Holly Black was another of my favorites; a story dealing in Ghouls and the choice one Ghoul makes for someone.. “And Go Like This” was a fun somewhat confusing read with a surprise ending. Patricia Briggs story was a surprise for me since I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would and Jim Butchers story will hold interest for those who enjoy the Chicago Cubs. While this was an enjoyable read for the most part-it is not a necessary book for those following any of the author’s series,

  29. 4 out of 5

    E.J. Stevens

    This anthology is worth reading for Jim Butcher's Curses, Ellen Kushner's Duke of Riverside, Patricia Briggs' Fairy Gifts, and Melissa Marr's Guns for the Dead. Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy begins strong with a Dresden Files short story, but readers should be forewarned that many of the short stories in this collection are not what most people would consider Urban Fantasy. This does not make the collection bad. There are fantasy and horror elements in many of the stories, just not the combi This anthology is worth reading for Jim Butcher's Curses, Ellen Kushner's Duke of Riverside, Patricia Briggs' Fairy Gifts, and Melissa Marr's Guns for the Dead. Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy begins strong with a Dresden Files short story, but readers should be forewarned that many of the short stories in this collection are not what most people would consider Urban Fantasy. This does not make the collection bad. There are fantasy and horror elements in many of the stories, just not the combination of paranormals and a kick-ass hero or heroine in an urban environment that is often synonymous with the genre. Anthologies are difficult to rate, but I give this 3.5 stars for the chance to read the previously mentioned stories as well as the opportunity to try out some new-to-me authors.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    A mixed bag of urban fantasy stories, not all of which are actually fantasy, and not all of which are really all that urban. A number are magical realism, and if I liked that genre better (or at all) I would have enjoyed this collection better. My favorite stories were Delia Sherman's "How the Pooka came to New York City", Patricia Briggs's "Fairy Gifts", and Peter S Beagle's "Underbridge." Each of them provide a good deal of characterization in a short amount of space amid an interesting plot. A mixed bag of urban fantasy stories, not all of which are actually fantasy, and not all of which are really all that urban. A number are magical realism, and if I liked that genre better (or at all) I would have enjoyed this collection better. My favorite stories were Delia Sherman's "How the Pooka came to New York City", Patricia Briggs's "Fairy Gifts", and Peter S Beagle's "Underbridge." Each of them provide a good deal of characterization in a short amount of space amid an interesting plot. My very favorite was Ellen Kushner's "The Duke of Riverside" because I am desperate for any little scrap of Riverside I can get. Kushner is so good at writing characters that every time I read about Alec and Richard I feel like I'm hearing about an old friend I haven't seen in a long time, but know well. They feel very real.

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