Speculative Los Angeles seems like the start of another fabulous Akashic series. I hope it is. Akashic publishes a series of noir anthologies focused on different cities around the world. Speculative Los Angeles is a similar anthology focused on speculative and science fiction stories centered on L.A.
There are fourteen stories grouped into four sections: Changelings, Ghosts, and Parallel Worlds; Steampunks, Alchemists, and Memory Artists; A Tear in the Fabric of Reality; and Cops and Robots in the Future Ruins of LA. The section titles give you a good idea of the sort of stories you will find.
The first story, “Antonia and the Stranger Who Came to Rancho Los Feliz” by Lisa Morton is also excellent and sets our expectations high, a dangerous and risky thing, but it pays off because the stories remained excellent and memorable throughout. There is the strangely satisfying “Past the Mission” by Denise Hamilton, the series editor. The final story, “Sailing That Beautiful Sea” by Kathleen Kaufman, devastated me. If it were the only worthy story, the anthology would be worth your time, but it is just one of many.
“Detainment” by Alex Espinoza seems like tomorrow’s story while others are more fantastical, such as “Love, Rocket Science, and the Mother of Abominations” and “Purple Panic” by Francesca Lia Block. “Jaguar’s Breath” by Luis J. Rodriguez was too frighteningly real. “Garbo on the Skids” by A.G. Lombardo was a wonderful vindication.
Speculative Los Angeles was a wonderful book and I hope the beginning of a new series that will take us on a speculative tour of the world. What is so profound about this anthology is whether we go to an alternative universe, a future Los Angeles, or a multiverse city, the essential ingredients of the story are the human imperatives remain the same, love, family, and survival, and maybe a touch of vengeance here and there.
I received an ARC of Speculative Los Angeles from the publisher through LibraryThing.