Other Cities

Benjamin Rosenbaum  - published November 2003

First printing, November 2003, 48 pp.

No.6 in the Small Beer Press chapbook series is Benjamin Rosenbaum’s Other Cities. Twelve of the stories in Other Cities were previously published as a weekly series on Strange Horizons. The entire series is presented here for the first time and each story is illustrated with the art of Boston artist and architect Peter Reiss.

The author requested that instead of a royalty, his payment for Other Cities be sent to the Grameen Foundation USA (see below). So on publication we sent along a check for $625 and we are still passing on payments on, thank you. If you would like to donate more to the Grameen Foundation when you buy Other Cities please use this link here and fill in the amount (including $6 for the chapbook). Thank you!

Quiz: Which “Other City” Should You Live In?

Cities are seemingly inevitable, seductive, depressing, and inebriating. In his Other Cities series Benjamin Rosenbaum takes us on a tour of fourteen imaginary cities:

  • from “The White City” — where two sisters fight one another and their fate — to Bellur — which celebrates its censors —
  • from Ponge — that’s already enough about that — to Zvlotsk — where by 1912 detective work accounted for a third of the economy
  • from Jouiselle-aux-Chantes — the city of erotic forgetting — to Stin — the city for those who are tired of other cities —

Rosenbaum’s stories illuminate the hidden corners of the world the train rider suspects exist at the stop after theirs, the tourist knows the locals will never reveal, and the mapmakers keep for themselves.

“Rosenbaum’s fertile sense of invention and his sly humor (“Ponge, as its inhabitants will tell you, is a thoroughly unattractive city. ‘Well,’ they always say at the mention of any horrible news, ‘we do live in Ponge.'”) make these parables a real treat.”
— Asimov’s

“Throughout Other Cities, compressed insight and wonder are compressed into but a handful of words. This small book’s crisp design and illustrations mirror the elegance of the writing: recommended.”
— Xerography Debt

— Locus

“I enthusiastically urge you to get a copy and enjoy the exciting and odd metropolises in Other Cities.
Washington Science Fiction Association The WSFA Journal Dec. 2003

“And though the stories are tiny, they do not disappoint as a result of their brevity. When you leave one fantastic destination behind, there is another city right around the corner.”
— Tangent Online

The White City
The City of Peace
Amea Amaau
Ylla’s Choice
New (n) Pernch
Penelar of the Reefs
The Cities of Myrkhyr

Other Cities by Ben Rosenbaum is a collection of fourteen gems, expertly cut and highly polished. Each contains, within its myriad facets, a metropolis, brimming with mystery, insight and wonder.”
— Jeffrey Ford (The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant)

“Rosenbaum’s little book of cities is like a box of very good chocolates, picked out by a dear friend with an intimate understanding of both confectionary and you. These vignettes are urbane without being arch, sweet without being maudlin, mysterious without being cryptic. Cities are the pinnacle of human acheivment: if you have any doubt, read this.”
— Cory Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and A Place So Foreign and Eight More)

“Benjamin Rosenbaum’s miniature stories are like tiny arrows aimed straight at the heart of Mystery.”
— Walter Jon Williams (Dread Empire’s Fall: The Praxis)

“The eloquence and poignancy of each of these stories astonished me. “The City of Peace,” alone, is enough to make one weep. But when read as a whole, Other Cities is not only harrowing, but exhilarating. It’s a fearless exploration into both the heart of darkness and the soul of hope. Here, despair and joy are neither opposites nor antagonists — but husband and wife, brother and sister, yin and yang. In these Cities of Humanity, you won’t meet one without meeting the other.”
— Bradley Denton (One Day Closer to Death: Eight Stabs at Immortality)

(Want to see the rest of Bradley Denton’s quote?)

About the author:

Benjamin Rosenbaum is troubled but hopeful. He used to live near Basel, Switzerland, but now he is moving back to the tangled superhighways of Northern Virginia, with his wife Esther, his daughter Aviva, and Aviva’s imaginary friends: Kiko, Makke, and the Happy Boy. He is the author of the collection The Ant King and Other Stories and his stories can be found in Asimov’s, Harper’s, Argosy, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Vestal Review, McSweeney’s, The Infinite Matrix,and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 11.

About the artist:

Peter Reiss was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended The Cooper Union in New York City; Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy; and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. His artwork focuses on paintings of urban landscapes and abstracted aerial views. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, his sons, and his cats.

About the Grameen Foundation USA:

25% of the gross revenues from the sales of this book go to the Grameen Foundation USA, which fights poverty all over the world by establishing banks that loan very small amounts to very poor people to start businesses, and helping them to coordinate and pool their resources. The effect of microcredit loans is transformative rather than palliative: every year Grameen-style loans lift hundreds of thousands of people above the poverty line. Because of the high repayment rate (typically over 95%), money donated to Grameen is highly leveraged: each dollar donated will be loaned again and again, they can also use services as nation21loans.com-payday loans lenders to get even more money into their businesses. As borrowers become successful in their businesses and begin saving, a Grameen-style bank becomes independent of donations. The original Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which loans $3.8 billion dollars to 2.54 million very poor people, is now self-sufficient.

You can find out more on their website.

Some of the stories in Other Cities were previously published in the following places:

Bellur, Ponge, Ahavah, Amea Amaau, Ylla’s Choice, Zvlotsk, New (n) Pernch, Maxis, Jouiselle-Aux-Chantes, Penelar of the Reefs, The Cities of Myrkhyr, & Stin, Strange Horizons; The White City, The Vestal Review. The City of Peace appears here for the first time.