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Speculative Los Angeles

Edited by:

The debut title in a new city-based anthology series featuring all-new stories with speculative, sci-fi, and paranormal themes—each using distinct neighborhood settings as a launching pad.

Forthcoming: 2/2/21

$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

Speculative Los Angeles is a thrill ride of grand ideas and warnings. Take a place that already defines the future of culture, add fourteen unbound minds, and you get a collection that wows the imagination like no other.”
—Michael Connelly, author of the best-selling Harry Bosch series

“The problem of buying books for others can be solved by offering the equivalent of the literary box of chocolates: the anthology . . . For Californians, or people who just like the West Coast, there’s Speculative Los Angeles, edited by Denise Hamilton.”
Washington Post, recommended by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“14 outstanding stories of weird and uncanny happenings in the City of Angels . . . Each story presents a fresh take on the magic and strangeness of LA past, present, and future, and the characters are representative of the diverse region, caught in situations ranging from surreal to chilling. Readers should snap this up.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

“Many [stories] have a distinctly gritty and postapocalyptic flavor that takes advantage of a uniquely L.A. vibe.”
Library Journal

“The contributing authors skillfully capture the presences of different Los Angeles neighborhoods that become characters all on their own, teetering on the precipice of many possibilities . . . An excellent collection of what-ifs that will pique readers’ imaginations.”

“Echoing Akashic’s popular city-specific ‘Noir’ series, this first in what promises to be an intriguing new run of books looks at weirdly wonderful Los Angeles and sees changelings, dirigibles, jacaranda men, psychic death cults, robot nursemaids, a walled-in canyon for the rich, and an alternate city where Spanish land grants endured. With brand-new stories from Aimee Bender, Alex Espinoza, Francesca Lia Block, Charles Yu, Duane Swierczynski, and more.”
Library Journal, Barbara Hoffert’s Prepub Alert

A Booklist Shout ‘n’ Share Title to Watch (July 2020)

“The stories here move among all of Los Angeles’ gritty and bright corners.”
Kirkus Reviews

Critical praise for Los Angeles Noir:

Winner of an Edgar Award (for “The Golden Gopher” by Susan Straight)

A Los Angeles Times Best Seller

Winner of a Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Book Award

A Book Sense Notable Pick

Two stories selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2008 (“Mulholland Dive” by Michael Connelly and “The Hour When the Ship Comes In” by Robert Ferrigno)

“These seventeen very different stories confirm just how many places LA has become . . . Janet Fitch, as usual, operates at a scary level of intensity. Her story, ‘The Method,’ opens with a string of zippy one-liners that out-Chandler Chandler . . .”
Los Angeles Times


As an incubator of the future, Los Angeles has long mesmerized writers from Aldous Huxley to Octavia E. Butler. With its natural disasters, Hollywood artifice, staggering wealth and poverty, and urban sprawl, one can argue that Los Angeles is already so weird, surreal, irrational, and mythic that any fiction emerging from this place should be considered speculative. So, bestselling author Denise Hamilton commissioned fourteen stories (including one of her own) and did exactly that. In Speculative Los Angeles, some of the city’s most prophetic and diverse voices reimagine the metropolis in very different ways.

In these pages, you’ll encounter twenty-first-century changelings, dirigibles plying the suburban skies, 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.

As with our city-based Akashic Noir Series, each story in Speculative Los Angeles is set in a distinct neighborhood filled with local color, landmarks, and flavor. Since the best speculative fiction provides a wormhole into other worlds while also commenting on our own, that is exactly what you’ll find here.

Featuring brand-new stories by: Charles Yu, Aimee Bender, Lisa Morton, Alex Espinoza, Ben H. Winters, Denise Hamilton, Lynell George, Stephen Blackmoore, Francesca Lia Block, Duane Swierczynski, Luis J. Rodriguez, A.G. Lombardo, Kathleen Kaufman, and S. Qiouyi Lu.

Table of Contents


Part I: Changelings, Ghosts, and Parallel Worlds
“Antonia and the Stranger Who Came to Rancho Los Feliz” by Lisa Morton (Los Feliz)
“Detainment” by Alex Espinoza (El Sereno)
“Peak TV” by Ben H. Winters (Culver City)
“Past the Mission” by Denise Hamilton (Encino)

Part II: Steampunks, Alchemists, and Memory Artists
“Where There Are Cities, These Dissolve Too” by S. Qiouyi Lu (La Puente)
“If Memory Serves” by Lynell George (Echo Park)
“Love, Rocket Science, and the Mother of Abominations” by Stephen Blackmoore (Pasadena)

Part III: A Tear in the Fabric of Reality
“Purple Panic” by Francesca Lia Block (Studio City)
“Maintenance” by Aimee Bender (Miracle Mile)
“West Torrance 2BR 2BA w/Pool and Black Hole” by Charles Yu (West Torrance)

Part IV: Cops and Robots in the Future Ruins of LA
“Walk of Fame” by Duane Swierczynski (Hollywood)
“Jaguar’s Breath” by Luis J. Rodriguez (Angeles National Forest)
“Garbo on the Skids” by A.G. Lombardo (Downtown Los Angeles)
“Sailing That Beautiful Sea” by Kathleen Kaufman (Century City)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Published: 2/2/21
  • IBSN: 9781617758560
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758683
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617758645


Edgar Award finalist DENISE HAMILTON is the author of seven crime novels and the editor of the best-selling anthology Los Angeles Noir (which includes the Edgar Award–winning short story “The Golden Gopher” by Susan Straight) and Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics. She is a former Los Angeles Times journalist, a Fulbright Scholar, a noir and sci-fi/fantasy geek, and a proud LA native who refuses to speak only in English. She is the editor of Speculative Los Angeles.

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