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Naked City- Tales of Urban Fantasy

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy ~ Anthology, art by Dan Dos Santos

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (2011) — Anthology of Urban Fantasy authors. 


Urban Fantasy


The "urban" part of urban fantasy—the city.

List of Authors[]

  • Editor: Ellen Datlow (Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories)

Contributors: Jim Butcher (UF), Patricia Briggs (UF), Melissa Marr (UF, YA), Holly Black (UF, YA), Naomi Novik (Hist-Fant), Pat Cadigan (Fantasy), Peter S. Beagle (Fantasy), Matthew Kressel (SciFi, Steampnk, Shorts), Kit Reed (Dystopian), Lavie Tidhar (SciFi-Steampunk), Nathan Ballingrud (Fant, Hor), John Crowley (SciFi-Fant), Jeffrey Ford (SciFi-fant, Short), Lucius Shepard (Scify-Fant-Hor), Caitlín R. Kiernan (Horror), Elizabeth Bear (SciFi), Delia Sherman (Fantasy, YA, Shorts), Richard Bowes (SciFi-fant, Gay), Ellen Kushner (Fantasy), Christopher Fowler (Mystery)

(Note: only the linked names are "Urban Fantasy" writers. Please do NOT link names that are not UF writers; and don't make links if you are not going to fill out the pages right away—please!)


Datlow introduction: "Urban fantasy as we have come to know it today combines the often-dark edge of city living with enticing worlds of magic. Its subgenres include noir crime and paranormal romance. But the urban landscape is what's crucial."

Supernatural Elements[]

Faeries, Curse, Wizard, shape-shifting Pooka, troll, Time Travel, spider-creature, spider-man, Magical Object, fossil monster, sorcerer, ghosts, magician’s journal, vampire, mystical real estate, ghoul, goblins, magical beetle, kitsune, magic

City Settings[]

New York City (with several stories), London, Berlin, New Orleans, Haifa (Israel), Chicago, Seattle, Mexico City, Las Vegas, Asbury Park (NJ), and Cherry Creek (CO) ~ Fang-tastic

List of Stories []

Story Title Series and Order Number Author  Supes Leads
"Curses" The Dresden Files #10.9 Jim Butcher faeries, Curse Harry
“How the Pooka Came to New York City” Delia Sherman Shape-shifting Pooka, mythology Liam
"On the Slide" Richard Bowes time travel (neo-noir) Sean Quinlan
"The Duke of Riverside" Riverside Series #1.6 Ellen Kushner swordsman Alec
"Oblivion by Calvin Klein" Christopher Fowler
"Fairy Gifts" Mercy Thompson series #0.1 Patricia Briggs Vampire (Chin-Amer), Faeries Thomas Hao
"Picking Up the Pieces" (Hist-Fant) Pat Cadigan Jean, Quinn
“Underbridge” Peter S. Beagle Seattle bridge troll
"Priced to Sell" Naomi Novick mystical real estate, vampire, goblins, magical beetle, kitsune, pooka
"The Bricks of Gelecek" Matthew Kressel nameless beings of destruction erase cities
"Weston Walks" Kit Reed Weston
“The Projected Girl” Lavie Tidhar magician's notebook Danny
"The Way Station" Ballingrud Beltrane
"Guns for the Dead" Graveminder series Melissa Marr The dead in a metaphysical land (Western feel) Frankie Lee Lemons, Alicia
"And Go Like This" John Crowley
"Noble Rot" Holly Black Agatha
"Daddy Long Legs of the Evening" Jeffrey Ford spider-creature, spider-man
"The Skinny Girl" Lucius Shepard Saint Death Hugo Lis
“The Collier’s Venus (1893)” (steampunk) Caitlín Keirnan fossil monster Miss Bolshaw, Prof Jeremiah Ogilvy
“King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree” Elizabeth Bear sorcerer, ghost Jackie, Stewart

Synopsis by Story[]

Curses” by Jim ButcherDresden Files #10.9

Harry Dresden is takes a job investigating and removing the Billy Goat Curse from the Chicago cubs, inflicted by the Faeries that interferes with them playing well in the world series. 

How the Pooka Came To New York City” by Delia Sherman (fantasy)

After being saved by a mortal a pooka decides to accompany him to the new world and attempt to repay the debt. —— 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.

On the Slide” by Richard Bowes 

Follows an aging Hollywood actor playing the role of a tough cop in a retro crime show titled “The Naked City” becomes embroiled in a legal case that could make some very dangerous people angry if he testifies tries to find a way to go back in time.

The Duke of Riverside” by Ellen Kushner (Fantasy) — Riverside Series #1.6

Tells the story of how two of her most well-known characters, the mysterious Alec and the swordsman Richard St. Vier, met in the slum of Riverside. — A young nobleman comes across to the darker side of town for someone to kill but instead falls in love with his would-be-assassin. Things get more complicated when he inherits the dukedom and his relatives have a trial period to challenge him for it. Some impressive world-building with a society based on very set rules or manners. Some of the story is told from a bystanders point of view

Oblivion by Calvin Klein” by Christopher Fowler

A disgruntled house wife who takes retail therapy to an extreme goes on a rampage when her credit card declines. 

Fairy Gifts” by Patricia Briggs

Set in Butte, Montana—Years ago a vampire named Thomas was given freedom after helping a faery in peril. Thomas is called on again when the fairy finds herself in trouble yet again.

Picking up the Pieces” by Pat Cadigan

Jean recounts a trip to Berlin in 1989 when she traveled to Germany to rescue her younger sister who ran out of money while looking for a lost boyfriend. Set Amidst events the Berlin wall is coming down and the boyfriend has a secret of his own. —— 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.

Underbridge” by Peter S. Beagle

Troll statue in Seattle coming to life — Middle age college lecturer who takes on a position at Seattle. There he encounters a homeless man and realizes he has a strange connection to the Frement Bridge troll. — 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.

Priced To Sell” by Naomi Novik

A real estate company in Manhattan specializes in fulfilling the unusual requirements of its supernatural clientele. —— Humourous efforts that these real estate agents 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.

The Bricks of Gelecek” by Matthew Kressel

A mysterious supernatural being becomes fascinated by a young woman in a medieval desert city. — nameless beings of destruction actually erase cities and places from memory - until a young girl's songs bring their afterimages back to life. —— 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.

Weston Walks” by Kit Reed

Set in New York City—Weston is a eccentric wealthy recluse who lost his parents at a young age which has led to him not letting people get close to protect himself. He runs walking tours of the city but when one goes wrong he encounters a girl who won't leave him alone. —— 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.

The Projected Girl” by Lavie Tidhar

Magic combined with the Holocaust —This story set in Haifa, Israel. Danny, a young Jewish boy uses his bar mitzvah money to buy a World War II-era magician’s journal and realizes that a lifelike painting of a young woman may be more than what it seems. —— 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

An old man living in a homeless shelter goes in search of his long lost daughter but the ghosts of the New Orleans Katrina flood haunt him, literally. — 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.

Guns for the Dead” by Melissa Marr — Graveminder series

In the land of the dead, the newly deceased Frankie Lee is looking for a job but when he encounters gun store owner Alicia he is in for a job interview he won't soon forget. Taking place in the underworld that readers were introduced to in Graveminder.

And Go Like This” by John Crowley

The world's population is transported to New York City to be counted in a mysterious reckoning. —— based on a quote by Buckminster Fuller. Farfetched and a bit surprising, even though the quote is at the very beginning of the story.

Noble Rot” by Holly Black

Agatha is a delivery girl working for a Chinese take-away who develops a soft spot for one of her clients, a dying rock star. —— 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.

Daddy Long Legs of the Evening” by Jeffrey Ford (Horror)

A young boy's brain is taken over by a spider. Years later he remerges and decides to prey on the unfortunate residents of the city of Grindly. —— 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

Hugo Lis is a photographer who specializes in taking photos of dead bodies. One day he comes encounters a mysterious supernatural woman called Santa Muerte: “Saint Death.” —— 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.

The Colliers’ Venus” by Caitlín R. Kiernan

This is a Lovecraftian tale concerning an eccentric museum curator whose fascination with oddities of natural history not only endangers his own life, but may ultimately alter history. —— 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.

King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree” by Elizabeth Bear

The genius Loci of Las Vegas Jackie and Stewart are confronted with a strange old woman who uses captured ghosts to restore her memory. —— 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.

~ Sources

Daniel Dos Santos-Naked City

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy - original oil painting by Dan Dos Santos

Cover Artist[]

Dan Dos Santos

Publishing Information[]

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

  • Book data: Hardcover, 539 pages, Pub, July 5th 2011, ISBN-0312604319

Cover Blurb[]

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! ~ [Goodreads]

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