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New Anthology “Speculative Los Angeles” Explores Fictional Stories In A City That’s Already Stranger Than Fiction




Downtown Los Angeles (top) and Hollywood (R) are visible during a short break in the rain as the region is under a tornado watch and Orange County is under a tornado warning February 22, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.
Downtown Los Angeles (top) and Hollywood (R) are visible during a short break in the rain as the region is under a tornado watch and Orange County is under a tornado warning February 22, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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As a city, Los Angeles is, itself, a bit stranger than fiction, all at once it is both a major American metropolis sprawling hundreds of square miles across Southern California and a collection of smaller, multicultural neighborhoods that can change from block to block. It’s a place where there is both great wealth and abject poverty, where natural disasters are only a moment away and where you can go skiing and hit the beach all in the same day, if you’re especially intrepid.

Despite the fact that Los Angeles is strange enough to author its own fiction, novelist Denise Hamilton commissioned short stories from local writers in which, as Hamilton writes on her website, “you’ll encounter twenty-first-century changelings, giant mecha robots battling on landfills, black holes and jacaranda men lurking in deep suburbia, beachfront property in Century City, walled-off canyons and coastlines reserved for the wealthy, psychic death cults, robot nursemaids, and an alternate LA where Spanish land grants never gave way to urbanization.”

Today on AirTalk, “Speculative Los Angeles” editor Denise Hamilton joins us to talk about her new anthology and preview some of the stories you’ll find inside.

Guest:

Denise Hamilton, editor of “Speculative Los Angeles” (February 2021, Akashic Books); she tweets @DeniseHamilton_