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Cities ("The Tain", "Firing the Cathedral", "A Year In the Linear City", "V.A.O.") [Hardcover]

Peter Crowther , Paul di Filippo , Geoff Ryman
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 2003 Gollancz S.F.
Four of the biggest names in modern fantasy writing novellas that are new to the general trade. This collection celebrates the fantastic potential of the city whether in the terrifying teeming gothic grandeur of New Crobuzon, or the subtle otherness of Geoff Ryman's London. This is a landmark collection from four of the genre's most respected names. An A to Z to the streets of the imagination.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (1 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057507504X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575075047
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 19.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 561,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'The very best fantasy writing of today', claim the publishers, and, for once, the hyperbole is justified. This is a celebration of the city in fantasy, including a fresh novella from China Mi ville, the brightest new star in fantasy, whose Perdido Street Station was the novel that introduced his fabled setting, New Crobuzon, and was an international bestseller and multiple award winner. In fact, this collection can boast four of the biggest names in modern fantasy, all celebrating in individual fashion the fantastic potential of the city whether in the terrifying, teeming gothic grandeur of New Crobuzon, or the subtle otherness of Geoff Ryman's London. At times uneven, this is still a dazzling collection. An A to Z to the streets of the imagination.

About the Author

Peter Crowther is an award-winning anthologist and editor.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
February, and his father could talk only of his own impending death, swearing wildly that he saw coveys of Yardbulls massing specifically for him, ragged-winged specks afloat like flakes of ash in the warped fulgurant smokes of the northern rim of the world. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Cities. Half Not. 6 July 2010
I picked this up in hardback for a great price on the Marketplace. It is part of the Foursight collection, each an anthology of 4 novellas. (Foursight, Futures, Infinities, Cities).

The original introductions to these Novellas are removed when they are combined for the Foursight Anthologies

A Year in the Linear City - Paul di Fillippo
The best depiction of a fantasy city in this anthology. A never-ending straight line of buildings with a river on one side and railway tracks on the other. The actual coming about of such a place is left to the readers imagination as the main character - a budding CF (Cosmogenic Fiction) author - can only speculate on this. Although the foundation isn't really explored and the mysteries remain unexplained, a picture of the city itself can be built. The Yardbulls and Fisherwives are omnipresent and shepherd the dead of the city to rest in the sky. The living occupants witness the bodies taken to either The Wrong Side Of The Tracks or The Other Shore and do not actually know which is preferable. Venturing underground, the city appears to be built on something very strange indeed.

The Tain - China Mieville
Written in 2002, it would be interesting to know if this story came before 28 Days Later (2002) as it begins in a very similar fashion. Waking in a deserted London now inhabited by... Well nothing nice. Altered humans. The culprit is not however a viral menace but an invasion via the tain in mirrors and other reflective surfaces. Shohl must venture to avert the crisis that has befallen London and also everywhere else - maybe he can thwart The Enemy as the Yellow Emperor did, on behalf of humanity, once before.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag. 13 July 2003
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Cities promises a lot, but in part fails to deliver.
It's main shortcoming is that some of the stories are without context. Some sort of introduction to set the scene would be helpful.
For example, “A Year in the Linear City” – is this taken from some other, larger book or series of stories? Could we have some suggestion about where this city is, how it came into being, where its makers went?
“The Tain” – I can suspend belief with the best of them, everything from Banks to Buffy, this one is OK, but difficult.
But most disappointing is “Firing the Cathedral”. I’ve been reading Moorcock on and off since the 60’s, mostly his Elric stories, but this is my first Jerry Cornelius story - and it’s incomprehensible. Maybe I need to read some other stories in the same series to work out what has happened in the past, why it jumps randomly around the world, why each chapter seems to bare little or no relationship to any other and why there is no apparent story or plot.
V.A.O. is the shortest and best of the bunch. Strangely it has little to do with Cities as such.
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