An A–Z of the Fantastic City

Hal Duncan  - published April 2012

February 2012 · signed, numbered limited hardcover · trade paper (978-1-61873-020-6) · ebook (pdf only · $4.99 · 978-1-61873-021-3)
November 2012: trade paper, second printing.

“A cheeky look at 26 cities from fantastic literature (“fantastic” and “literature,” defined loosely), supposedly an academic work (complete with introduction by Professor Henry V. Duncan). Loving, clever, entertaining, and of course as we expect from Hal Duncan, quite excellently written.”
—Rich Horton, Locus

No. 10 in the Small Beer Press chapbook series is An A-Z of the Fantastic City. Compiled and Arranged by Hal Duncan and illustrated by Eric Schaller, it also features an introduction by noted academic Henry V. Duncan.

This guidebook leads readers and explorers through twenty-six cities of yore (Yore, while included, is one of the shorter entries), including such familiar and unfamiliar haunts as

Ambergris

A city of saints and madmen, Ambergris sits on the banks of the River Moth, over the ruins of dead Cinsorium. The genocide of Cinsorium’s inhabitants, the Grey Caps, who even now skulk and screech in the sewers and side-streets of Ambergris and in its present inhabitants’ minds, is a crime that pervades the atmosphere of the city, along with the spores and mycelia of fungi—green, and gold, and blue, and red like blood—which infest the city as they infest the body and mind of its foremost chronicler, Jeff VanderMeer, a brilliant scholar but unreliable, believing as he does that Ambergris is a figment of his imagination, and that any evidence to the contrary is part of an elaborate delusion on his part….

Dublin

Visitors to Dublin have at their hand quite possibly the most invaluable tour guide ever written for any city, in the shape of Joyce’s four-volume work: Things To Do in Dublin as a Young Man; The People of Dublin; Dublin, A Day In The Life; and Dublin At Night. Nowhere is the full scope of a city’s cultural character explored in as great a depth as in Joyce’s seminal travelogues of Dublin’s boarding houses, bars and brothels….

London

The firm of Ackroyd, Moorcock and Sinclair, Solicitors, is the oldest existing company on record, dating back to the dawn of Albion in the foundation of Trynovantium, or New Troy, the settlement which was to go through a few more names—Caerlundein, Londinium—before settling on its present day nomenclature of London….

R’lyeh

Not all cities are for humans….

Sexy, secretive, yet clear-eyed, Duncan brings pop, high, and low cultures together in one handy A-Z which every bibliophile and armchair adventurer will find to be a necessary guidebook through the temerarious pages of international literature.

Published in a limited signed and numbered hardcover edition of about 80 copies available through this website and by mail order and later through a select number of independent booksellers as well as a perfectbound trade paperback edition.

Interior: 5.5″ x 8.5″ · 74 pages · 60# Nature’s Natural 30% PCR paper · frontispiece · illustrations

Binding:

  • Signed and hand-numbered limited edition with heavy rag cotton signing sheet tipped-in. Smythe sewn deluxe case bound in deep burgundy with gold stamped illustrated covers.
  • Paperback edition: saddle stitched, one-color (changes every hundred copies) chapbook edition.
  • Ebook: electrons on the screen of your choice.

Table of Contents

Toward a Geological Methodology in the Cartography of Fantasia: An Address to the 31st International Symposium on Literary Cartography, Kentigern, 5th February, 2011) by Henry V. Duncan

Ambergris
Byzantium
Camelot
Dublin
Erewhon
Further
Guernica
Heaven
Interzone
Jerusalem
Kur
London
Metropolis
Nevèrÿon
Oxbridge
Provan
Quiz
R’lyeh
Sodom
Tir-na-Nog
Urville
Viriconium
Washington
Xanadu
Yore
Zeropol

About the Author

Hal Duncan was born in 1971, brought up in a small town in Ayrshire, and now lives in the West End of Glasgow. A member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, his first novel, Vellum, won the Spectrum Award and was nominated for the Crawford, Locus, BFS and World Fantasy Awards. As well as the sequel, Ink, he has published a poetry collection, Sonnets for Orpheus, a stand-alone novella, Escape from Hell!, and short stories in magazines such as Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and Interzone, and anthologies such as Nova Scotia, Logorrhea, and Paper Cities. He also collaborated with Scottish band Aereogramme on the song “If You Love Me, You’d Destroy Me” for the Ballads of the Book album from Chemikal Underground.

About the Artist

Eric Schaller contributed the cover to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, #19, printed in Northampton, “The Paradise of America,” Massachusetts. He illustrated Jeff VanderMeer’s collection The City of Saints and Madmen, set in squid-entangled Ambergris. He was part of the All Elvis exhibit at the World Tattoo Gallery in Chicago, “The City of Broad Shoulders,” Illinois and he recently helped construct two camera obscuras at Sculpturefest in Woodstock, “One of America’s 100 Top Towns,” Vermont. He lives in Lebanon, “The City of Fountains,” New Hampshire.

An A–Z of the Fantastic City. Compiled and Arranged by Hal Duncan. A Guidebook for Readers and Explorers with frontispiece and many illustrations by Eric Schaller.

Comments

4 Responses to “An A–Z of the Fantastic City”

  1. SF Signal on May 20th, 2011 12:31 am

    SF Tidbits for 5/20/11…

    Interviews/ProfilesRead Horror interviews Angela Slatter. The Dead Robot Society interviews Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris (podcast).Examiner (David Gerard) interviews Neil Gaiman.Horror World (Blue Gilliant) interviews Christopher Golden and Tim L…

  2. More good things for Mr Duncan | ayeahmur on May 20th, 2011 12:34 pm

    [...] on the heels of the news of his Spectrum award, Hal Duncan has announced a new book. His A to Z of the Fantastic City features Hal’s unique take on the what makes a city fantastica, focusing on some truly [...]

  3. An A-Z of the Fantastic City « Jim Steel's Cave of Doom on May 20th, 2011 3:33 pm

    [...] Hal Duncan will soon have a new guide book for you. [...]

  4. Interview: Eric Schaller and Weird Art | Adam Mills | Weird Fiction Review on May 29th, 2012 1:45 pm

    [...] of different fantastical metropolises, written by Hal Duncan and illustrated by Schaller. Copies are available for purchase in a variety of formats from the Small Beer Press website. I recently interviewed Schaller via email about his involvement in A-Z, as well as his own art [...]

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